By Jamie Flathers
Salutations, beer friends. Jamie here, with another ale adventure to recount. Recently, with spring well begun, I found myself surrendering to a certain wanderlust brought on by the release of the Palouse from the captivity of snow and ice. So Edward and I journeyed down the hill to Clarkston, where the tasting room at the Riverport Brewing Company awaited our curious palates.
It’s worth noting that, before we went to Riverport, we stopped for a bite at Rooster’s Landing in Clarkston. The burger I ordered was magnificent, as was the view of the river. It’s probably not news to residents of the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley, but that place is a rare bird.
We arrived at Riverport, just down the street from Rooster’s, about 30 minutes before closing. It’s part of an unassuming cluster of warehouses, so keep your eyes peeled. When you walk in, there’s no question that you’ve entered a bar in the Inland Northwest — it has that singular combination of decoration that includes deer heads, college football memorabilia and pictures of the owners. The tasting room is dog-friendly, so there were not one, but two doggos for the petting. Edward and I sat at the bar and ordered a flight of six. I don’t have time to describe them all, so I’ll just tell you about my favorites: River Rat Red, one of the friendliest beers I’ve ever tasted, and Bedrock Bock, which might be a close second.
River Rat Red is Riverport’s signature brew, the one distributed most often to bars in the area. I’ve mentioned this before, and it bears repeating: red ales are the universal donors of the beer world, since they share characteristics with both darks and pales. River Rat Red was no exception. Its nose is mild and unassuming, its color a mellow red, and at 4.3 percent alcohol content, it’s a beer that can get you through the night. It starts out like a darker beer, roasty and malty, but finishes like a pale, a little bitter and a little crisp. I thought I detected a hint of grapefruit. It’s like that one super low-maintenance friend, or a little black dress — it could be at home almost anywhere.
Bedrock Bock is just as friendly, though with an alcohol content that’s almost double River Rat’s (8 percent), it’s a little more aggressive. I’d never had a bock before, so I did some research, and it turns out that it’s a traditional malty German lager. This Bedrock Bock is an inviting dark amber color, and its nose has something woody about it, a little oak to get you going. It’s somewhat smoother than River Rat, with a sweeter, more malty profile, but it’s also lightly hopped, so its finish is balanced and nimble.
Riverport’s repertoire is vast, friends. Besides reds and bocks, they also make an oatmeal stout, a couple of different IPAs and a whole host of seasonal offerings that include things like sours and barley wine. Riverport’s Facebook page is packed with intel about bands that perform at the tasting room in the summer months, as well as seasonal offerings as they become available. If you visit, bring your doggo, just in case I’m there, too.
Flathers is a Moscow resident and University of Idaho alum. She does a killer impression of a corkscrew. She’s a Ravenclaw with Hufflepuff leanings and is usually reading two or three books at a time. Questions or glad tidings can be sent to her at email@example.com.