507 Columbia St., Vancouver, Wash. 360-566-2323, loowitbrewing.com. 4-9 pm Monday-Thursday, 4-10 pm Friday, 2-10 pm Saturday, noon-8 pm Sunday.
Last time we were in, Loowit had a sniff test: The dog by the middle table either liked you or he didn't, and God help you if it went wrong. We passed, luckily—and so does the beer. Loowit manages something most brewpubs never do, which is seeming like a dive bar—a rough-around-the-edges version of the Laurelthirst, maybe—while brewing solid beer. This is where 'Couv insiders come to flip a happy middle finger to their afternoon. The bar opens at 4 on weekdays, and by 4:30 the spot's already packed with locals catching the jump on quittin' time by tossing back a beautifully hoppy, copper-toned Shadow Ninja IPA in front of the dartboard…or the Neo Geo arcade cabinet…or the tables by the brew tanks. Most recently, it was the Auld Lang Syne scotch ale, but take note that at Loowit, there's always something on nitro.
Drink This: That smooth Two-Sixteen Red Ale is a fine brew. And the people of Washington agreed by giving it a gold medal among state-brewed beers.