Atomic Ale Brewpub & Eatery

[Atomic logo]

Just two blocks from the serene and majestic Columbia River, Atomic Ale glows from the heart of its Richland, Washington neighborhood.. Five outdoor tables await those fearless of fallout, while inside twenty more tables of light wood and dark green Formica offer dark green padded chairs and a comfortable view of the three barrel New World Brewing System. Behind the small bar stand the mug club glassware where proud owners leave their drinking vessels in between tasting sessions. The brewhouse is clearly visible to the left while the elevated pint glass collection looks down from above, lit by a string of white Christmas tree lights that show off the detailed colors of the logo'd glasses. The exterior red brick design is matched to an identical interior one where the ten foot black ceiling suspends tin ducting over the bar and dining areas. The small gray Formica-topped bar features seven taps pouring house favorites. Custom glassware includes half-yard and full-yard drinking vessels. A chalkboard at one end of the room describes available beers while a counterpart on an opposing wall across the open room lists food specialties. Popular favorites include pizza, salads and soups.

The Atomic Amber is a light-bodied brew of hazy amber color with an even flavor balance, very light malty flavor, and dry finish. The Waynier Isotope IPA is an amber color with a light malty flavor where the flavor and finish are dominated by hops. The Plutonium Porter has a smooth, chocolately flavor, evenly balanced, and an overall nice light character. The Burks Blonde is a hazy straw color with a light body and light hop flavor where a subtle maltiness surfaces briefly before the hop finish sets in. The Oppenheimer Oatmeal Stout, at 5.5% ABV, is opaque with a dry, chocolately flavor, medium body, and alcoholic finish. The Half-Life Hefeweizen is a 60/40 wheat/malt brew with a light golden color, very light wheat flavor and nice crisp hoppy finish. The Olde Ale, a Brewmaster's Taps special, comes in at 5% and is a hazy dark brown with a malty aroma, full mouthfeel, big body, rich malty/alcoholic flavor and a dry finish. Overall, enjoyably filling! The 8+% Russian Imperial Stout starts with a thick creamy head where a very full body is matched to a malty flavor with serious sweetness and pronounced alcohol presence. The interesting molasses flavor adds to the complexity and the brew finishes in a balanced fashion with a slightly dry aftertaste. Process-wise, the brewing techniques take advantage of great city water and no filtering nor finings are employed.

The family-oriented neighborhood crowd prefers boardgames and cards to loud TVs and this brewpub accommodates. The atmosphere is also smoke-free! Due to primitive state alcohol laws regarding ownership of multiple establishments, Atomic Ale cannot participate in local festivals nor sell growlers to go. Even donations to local charitable fund-raisers are prohibited, mostly due to lobbying on the part of well-established Washington microbreweries! Local fans contribute $75 to receive their discounted pints for life while others make business investments in the company through $100 and $200 contributions towards a personalized tile on the brewpub floor. Current capacity is running less than half of the 700 barrel annual maximum so look for future promotions and expansion to draught accounts around town.

Happy hour runs 3 to 6 PM and yields $1 off pints and $2 off bottles. Local artists drop in most nights to offer live music in an "up close and personal" setting. Ignore the radiation suits on the wall and the scary references to past happenings at the nearby U.S. Department of Energy Hanford Nuclear Facility and enjoy the beers hand-crafted by Arron Burks and the tasty lunches and dinners at Atomic Ales, the only brewpub where the menu items have a half-life.

Atomic Ale Brewpub & Eatery
1015 Lee Blvd.
Richland, Washington 99352

Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - May, 1998; Updated February, 1999

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