“They who drink beer will think beer.” — Washington Irving

Starting this July 1, the Tri-Cities will have its very own tap trail! No, silly… this isn’t a trail for the clickety clack of tap dancing (though that would be excellent). This trail is a way to encourage your exploration of our thriving local craft beer and cider scene. Hiking the Tri-Cities Tap Trail will lead you to the breweries, cideries, and taphouses around the greater Tri-Cities region who focus on local craft beverages. Plus, there will be prizes, and who doesn’t love prizes?! It’s like a game, but it’s life (but not the game of Life). Sorry, got a little off track… back to the tap trail talk.

Did you know the Yakima Valley is home to roughly 75% of all hops farms in the U.S. and that they generate 77% of the hops used throughout the country? I read it on the internet, so it has to be true. By my estimate, that’s technically a lot. Go ahead and check my math. With all those hops being so ever-present and abundant, Rob Whitney — avid beer nerd and brewery professional — was shocked when he moved to Tri-Cities six years ago and learned the area didn’t boast a tap trail rivaling those in Bellingham, Bend, and up the Oregon Coast. Rob decided that this absence could not stand, so he rounded up several of his beer nerd cohorts (spoiler: yours truly was included) and got to work. Soon, the idea fermented into a reality, and the Tri-Cities Tap Trail was born out of a desire to support local breweries, cideries, and tap houses through fostering cooperation, collaboration, and tourism.

Board members from left: Rosemary Fotheringham, Justine Koehle, Kristen Heinemeyer, Michelle York, BJ Johnson, Rob Whitney. Not pictured: Bonnie Walter. Pics taken at Moonshot Pub at the Park.

Tri-Cities Tap Trail is a 501c(6) non-profit; for you non-accountant and tax attorney folks, that means we generate operating costs from membership dues instead of donations. With no other staff, all money put into Tri-Cities Tap Trail goes directly back into the program, keeping costs low for the participating businesses and the fun times free for everyone else.

I hear you asking, “What’s this all about?” I’m getting to that; get off my back! Anyways, as I was saying, Tap Trailers (that’s what we’re calling y'all: Tap Trailers) will pick up a passport from any of the participating breweries, cideries, or taprooms at zero cost. The passports contain a map of all participating venues, as well as info regarding each location, such as if they serve food or have food trucks, if the place is child or dog friendly, or whether a password is required to get through a weird, below-ground, secret entrance with a big scary bouncer who for some reason is actually that gorilla from Who Framed Roger Rabbit. But once you get past the gorilla, take said passport to each location where any purchase will earn you a sticker for that specific spot. Complete your passport by collecting every sticker and then you can turn it in for prizes and admiration (admiration sold separately). Did I mention this whole shebang is free to Tap Trailers? I did? Then call me Britney Spears, because oops, I did it again.

The roster for 2024 locations is being finalized but we can say it’s already a pretty exciting list! For more info on becoming a participating venue or a participating participant, you can go to our website: tricitiestaptrail.com or follow us on Instagram: @tricitiestaptrail for upcoming events, news about our partners, and of course, pictures of beer.

2024 Tri-Cities Tap Trail will kick off July 1. 

I know what you’re thinking: “BJ, how can y’all launch Tri-Cities Tap Trail on Canada Day?” Well, we asked Canada, and they said that they would be honored to share their birthday with our commencement. So in true reverence to Canada, let’s get to partying it up on the Tri-Cities Tap Trail starting July 1, 2024. See you on the trail!

BJ (he/him) is a local REALTOR, quizmaster, beer nerd, and business card owner. He can be found on the internet through a computer or other internet enabled device.

Tri-Cities Tap Trail
The “Tri-Cities Tap Trail” is a nonprofit 501C6 for economic development and tourism through the promotion of our breweries, cideries and tap houses! Our goal is to help grow local businesses whos…