If you ask the founders of English Setter Brewing Company how they got their start, they'll tell you that it was a hobby that got a little out of hand. They started as a couple of beer lovers brewing their own drinks in their garage, occasionally providing custom batches for special occasions such as weddings or Tuesdays. But word of their brews soon got out, and the amateurs became professionals to keep up with demand.
Today, English Setter has moved into its own microbrewery, where it pours out original craft beers. Each bears a dog-inspired name, from the Fetching Blonde to the Wiggly Butt IPA. The canine theme extends to the kitchen as well, where cooks fill metal dog dishes with popcorn for snacking. Other eats from their grease-free fryer, such as beer-battered onion rings and tater tots, arrive on human-sized plates. Should guests wish to take beer home, growlers and Party Pigs are available.
Vintner Tim Nodland approaches blending his wines like arranging a song, which makes sense, because as a professional jazz musician he possesses an astute sense of creativity and balance. He describes his winery as being “more like a musician’s studio” and his wines as “liquid art.” Nodland's musical background inspires the names of wines such as "Bebop" and earned his winery a mention in Wine and Jazz magazine. Nodland Cellars produces only one red wine and one white wine every year, allowing the winery to focus all of its energy on refining each vintage. Nodland's meticulously selected grapes, sourced from quality Columbia Valley vineyards, are each handpicked before enjoying a gentle press in stainless steel. Each vintage, aged in 100% new french oak, uses a blend of six grapes, primarily made up of cabernet sauvignon and merlot, which recalls a classic bordeaux from the late 1700s or early 1800s. Nodland's private blend’s complex Old World flavor comes from rare carmenere grapes, which were wiped out in Europe by a phylloxera blight in the 1800s.
In 1982, Mike Conway walked away from more than a decade of large-scale wine production at E.&J. Gallo, Parducci, and Franzia Brothers to open Latah Creek Wine Cellars with his wife, Ellena. Today, with help from their daughter Natalie, they package more than 17,000 cases each year. The trio devotes much of their winemaking expertise to their most popular bottles, which include a riesling, Huckleberry L'Atah, and a chardonnay that Wine Press Northwest describes as "exotic and hedonistic." They develop each varietal with a minimal amount of processing and handling to keep flavors intact and prevent grapes from having reasons to make tell-all appearances on afternoon talk shows. The team can also swathe bottles in personalized wine labels for special occasions such as weddings and birthdays. The winery welcomes visitors to amble through its tiled walkways and arched courtyard, around the winemaking facilities, and into a gift shop teeming with trinkets and a well-stocked wine-tasting bar.