Old Schoolhouse Brewery

Old Schoolhouse BreweryOld Schoolhouse Brewery
Liked Their Beers
3.81 w/ 509 ratings
Old Schoolhouse BreweryOld Schoolhouse Brewery

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

155 Riverside Avenue
Winthrop, Washington, 98862
United States

(509) 996-3183 | map

Winthrop Brewing Company sold in 2008 and renamed Old Schoolhouse Brewery.

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Ratings: 11 |  Reviews: 5
Photo of Taybeh
4.01/5  rDev -1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Photo of LXIXME
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75

Photo of SeattleBoB76
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of efsulliv
4.14/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of Ja5onM
4.28/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of DaveRinn
4.75/5  rDev +17.3%

Photo of didgeridolphin
3.59/5  rDev -11.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5

Winthrop, a delightful tourist "trap" Western town -- I mean trap in a very fun sense. The Old School House fits right in: You can feel like you are in your own Clint Eastwood Western as you enter into the brewery. There is another brewery in "these parts" which has excellent food. good beer, and a much larger dining area (in Twisp). While I recommend it for dinner and beer, comparing the beer alone I've gotta say that the Old Schoolhouse Brewery beats the Twisp River Pub (and I haven't tried the food here, so it may be even better, although that's hard to imagine). IPA's, Porters, and Coffee Stouts, all excellent here. And, if you make it to Winthrop, you are SURE to be ready for a brew, 'cuz there ain't nothin' else there (except the pathway to some of the most beautiful mountains you've ever seen). Middle of nowhere with excellent beer. There are some days in which it just couldn't get any better than that.

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Photo of KimenTshom
4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

My wife and I stopped here on our way out of the Northern Cascades after a two-week camping trip around the Olympic Peninsula. It was the middle of the day so the place was dead, but we picked up several bombers of their excellent beer. I can imagine that the place is great on a weekend night when it is a bit livelier, although based on the fact that the entire town seems to be composed of tourists and businesses catering to tourists... perhaps not. Regardless, the beer is great and the bar looks like something straight out of the mid-19th century. I was able to peek through a side door and catch a glimpse of their old-school brass brew kettle. Very cool.

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Photo of RedDiamond
3.2/5  rDev -21%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

I imagine that a century ago Winthrop was a perfectly ordinary little western town. Today, it’s a bit touristy. I don’t mind touristy. I just can’t stand tourists. Having recently arrived following a visit to Snoqualmie where I lamented the lack of a beer garden at their riverside brewpub, I was overjoyed to discover exactly that here in Winthrop. Winthrop’s rear patio has two levels and the lower one isn’t 50 feet from the waters of the Chewack River. Or perhaps that’s the Chewuch River or the Chewach. No one seems to know.

A good river and a good beer is plenty good for me. And while the river was easy to find (though not so easily named), it took me a while to find a compatible Winthrop beer. Most of their recipes are fine, but one after another they consistently lack body, vigor, and suds. In other words, they’re flat. Some beer styles don’t require much carbonation. Others are lifeless without a good stream of rising bubbles. At Winthrop, the beers came up flat too often. I hope this trend can be remedied sometime soon.

Follow the plank sidewalks and hitching posts a block upriver from the town’s only traffic light and the Winthrop Brewing Co. is on the left. It’s a bright red building and its skinny frontage on Riverside Ave. hints at how tiny the place is. But the building is wedge-shaped and angles out towards the brewery in the rear. The brewery also extends to the basement where it shares space with the kitchen. One might imagine that a mechanical dumbwaiter would come in handy to deliver food from the subterranean kitchen to patrons in the restaurant above. But with no such device in this former schoolhouse, servers must haul food outdoors, upstairs, and across both patios. I can’t imagine how they manage this during inclement weather, but I feel for them.

Keep in mind that even when the lower patio is open, table service is often not provided there. I don’t know why Winthrop can’t serve food and drink to guests seated at their most desirable tables, but if you intend to sit there you’ll need to order indoors and above. I’ve only been to Winthrop on a handful of occasions, but I’ve never failed to hear patrons complain about food service and quality. Service can indeed be lax, and they do get busy sometimes. But tourists are a bitchy lot, don’t you think? Another thing you’ll need to contend with are the yellow jackets that swarm about near the river. They’re generally more nuisance than threat but they tend to make some children a bit unsettled.

Winthrop brews eight regular beers and lists five rotational offerings on their menu, though at any given moment it’s likely that three or more will be tapped out. No cask or guest taps are available. Best bets include the porter, a honey rye, and a murky strong ale called Bush Wacker. In keeping with the town’s western heritage, a modest collection of rifles, shotguns, and pistols ornament the walls – some of which looked quite functional to me.

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Photo of woemad
3.66/5  rDev -9.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

I pulled over in the highly touristy town of Winthrop (pop: 360), which was apparently made famous by a Western TV series of my parents' generation, but that I've never seen. Now, its very much styled to look like the average person's idea of what a "Wild West" town should look like, so it's difficult to guage the authenticity. Still, it very much makes it's mark on the town's atmosphere. Being a tourist town, it was filled with lots of cars (though the town is small enough it doesn't take too many cars to make it look crowded).

The wild west atmosphere extends to Winthrop Brewing Company's brewpub. From the outside, the building looks like a stereotypical old west schoolhouse, painted red and with what looks like a bellfry. It appears from the street to be very small. This is an optical illusion, as the building, though somewhat narrow, is actually quite long, and has a pretty decent amount of volume to it. Perhaps because I was there at about 3pm, it wasn't overly crowded. Like the rest of the town, it tries a little too hard with the town's theme. The bar (where I sat) is all wood, and is made to look "rough-hewn." All the booze bottles are set below the bar, like in a saloon, presumably so as to avoid being broken by any chair tossing melee that might develop. One jarring 21st century touch are the two TVs at either end of the bar, where I saw that my Seahawks had beat the Rams (I lost radio reception midway through the 3rd quarter somewhere along the North Cascades Highway) and that the Cowboys were giving Donavan McNabb a bad day (and ensuring my fantasty football team was not going to do well). There is outdoor seating that is probably spectacular, but I was only there for one beer before getting back on the road, so I opted for the bar.

There are about a dozen or so taps, plus a couple cider/soft-drink taps. Winthrop Brewing brews a pretty decent selection of micros, including a summer seasonal gruit, something I thought was a little unusual for a tourist environment, and therefore commendable. I opted for a porter (which I'd had before, a few years ago, at the Viking in Spokane). The porter was full-bodied and traditional tasting in the best sense of the world, and compared mostly favorably to the one I tried at Methow Valley in Twisp (8 miles down the road). All the tap handles, by the way, appear to be hand-carved in the likeness of some wild west characters like grizzled cowboys and buxom saloon gals.

The service was best described as perfunctory, the mid-twentysomething dude that was behind the bar had a bad case of the mumbles and didn't seem too enthused about being there, but I wasn't there long enough to get too good a feel for the service. The menu looked interesting and somewhat reasonably priced for a tourist town, but I had no time for food.

An interesting setting with surprising good beer and an adventurous brewer from what I could tell. The place isn't hard to find (the town is tiny and Highway 20 runs right through it), and might make a very nice beer-and-meal destination, but I'd go on a weekday when the town might be less crowded.

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Photo of pluto
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

A big thumbs up for the Winthrop brewing company. We visited on a glorious October weekend. After a good dayhike we rolled into town and tried several of their beers. All were quite good, I was particularly impressed with the Hop a Long Red, a very nice hoppy red, sort of hard to pigeonhole but very nice. We ate out back on the deck which was scenic. The Nachos grande were enormous and could fill two people.
The next night we stopped by and had a beer in the bar. Very friendly, busy place, nice mix locals and tourists except for the Bellevue lady who came in and complained to her compadres "Why Winthrop?" If you don't know, don't come. For the rest of us, it's a great daytrip from Seattle.

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Old Schoolhouse Brewery in Winthrop, WA
Brewery rating: 70.3% out of 100 with 509 ratings
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