Session beer drinkers, rejoice. Machine House Brewery has set up shop in the “Malt House” of the original location of the Rainier Brewery at 5840 Airport Way S. in Georgetown and will be focused on brewing English-style session ales. Brewery Manager Bill Arnott and Business Manager Alex Brenner have teamed up to make Machine House Brewery a reality, and they plan to be open shortly.
Bill moved to Seattle from England two years ago, where he was Head Brewer at Tipple’s Brewery in Norfolk. He will be brewing what he knows best with plans to start off with a best bitter, golden ale, and a mild as their regular lineup. They will be brewing on a 7bbl system obtained from Two Beers Brewing Company, and they will be using open fermentation to try and recreate the true British “real ale” experience as closely as possible. They plan to distribute their beers to the local market, but they will also have a tasting room at the brewery where they will pour cask ale through three authentic hand pumps at their custom-made bar.
Regarding the open fermentation method, Bill says, “It’s what I’ve used before. I’m not sure how much it adds to the flavor, but I think it maybe contributes to the live aspect of cask ales. A lot of brewers are scared of contamination, but I’ve never had any problems.” They have a separate, temperature controlled fermentation room with their two open-top fermenters. After a few days in the open fermenters, the beer will be transferred straight to casks or kegs to finish conditioning, and they are also going to recondition some used equipment that they might use as a secondary bright tank.
True English-style session ales (between 3.6% & 4.8%) as a focus is something a bit different from your average NW IPA and high alcohol styles that have helped drive strong growth in the craft brewing industry. But, I think that there is definitely a place for a brewery making these styles well on a regular basis. They will find plenty of people not interested in trying something below 50 IBUs and 7% ABV. But, they should find more than enough people that find the idea of drinking fresh, flavorful, low alcohol beer very appealing. You can count me as one of them. If these traditional styles don’t catch your attention, maybe their seasonals and special releases will. They plan to experiment and play around with different styles as time goes on.
The location of the brewery is very fitting. Aside from being the former home of the Seattle Brewing & Malting Company and Rainier, the main strip of Georgetown is a great spot for a brewery with a tasting room these days. There are many other bars and restaurants, and another place to drink good, local beer will fit in perfectly.
Bill just brewed their first beer on Monday, and they already have all of their necessary permits and licensing. So, as soon as they are comfortable with the quality of the beer you can expect them to open the doors of their tasting room. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter to keep up-to-date with news on when they will be opening and more.
Best of luck to Alex and Bill! Can’t wait to try the beers.
You can see a few more images here.
Here is a press release from them with more info:
Standing for over a century in the Georgetown neighborhood the Original Rainier Building is once again home to a brewery. Beginning this month Machine House Brewery will be brewing ales in traditional English style in the ‘Malt House’ building at 5840 Airport Way S. Machine House will be utilizing a 7-barrel system and an open-top fermentation process. The brewery plans to distribute to local bars and pubs, but will also open up a small tasting room at the brewery pouring cask beer from an authentic hand pump system. The tasting room will also feature television for catching the latest Sounders match or whatever else may be going on in the sporting world.
Machine House will deliver the authentic session beer experience to Seattle, whether in their own tap room or down at your favorite local pub. The guys at Machine House truly believe that beer drinking is an experience best shared with your closest friends or the guy on the stool next to you who you just met. True session beer ranges between 3.6% and 4.8% alcohol by volume while providing the aromatic and rich flavors Northwest beer drinkers have come to expect and appreciate. However, because of the lower alcohol content you can continue to enjoy the conversation late into the evening and not sacrifice the following morning. The desire to bring session beer and that classic pub experience to Seattle is what has driven Machine House to get off the ground.
Bringing the session beer experience to Seattle are Brewery Manager Bill Arnott and Business Manager Alex Brenner. Bill is a native of Norfolk, England and plied his trade as Head Brewer at Tipple’s Brewery, a 7-barrel microbrewery in the Norfolk Broads. At Tipple’s Bill was in charge of day-to-day activities at the brewery, focusing on production and recipe formulation of award-winning cask ales at a rate of 1,500 barrels per year. In that time he also developed a 1-barrel pilot system for a local brewpub connected to Tipple’s. Thanks to his time in England Bill has developed an ability to produce quality beers on a small commercial scale, as well as an understanding of the requirements to manage the operation of such a microbrewery in terms of physical infrastructure, marketing and labor. Bill has loved making beer since his homebrewing days and continues to make classic English and Northwest style ales while also experimenting with various subtle herbal additions and exotic yeast strains.
Alex is originally from Napa, Ca, and while a fan of wine, beer has always been his passion. In fact, he cites the beer as a key factor in his decision to move to the Northwest. Alex has a degree in Economics from the University of California at San Diego and a Masters in Business Administration from Oregon State University. He has worked in Accounting, Finance and Market Analysis since earning his bachelor’s degree. Alex’s business and financial experience have helped guide the brewery through the challenging start-up phase. Alex has been brewing beer at home for nearly ten years off and on and often dreamt about starting his own brewery.
While Bill and Alex have worked extremely hard for over a year to get this business up and running they could not have made it happen without the support, understanding and patience of their friends and family. Machine House Brewery can be found online at machinehousebrewery.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/machinehousebrewery and on Twitter @machinehouse.