The Ballard beer scene just keeps booming. Lucky Envelope Brewing looks to become the *10th brewery operating in Ballard when they open the doors to their tasting room at 907 NW 50th St., hopefully sometime in April or May. I had a chance to meet with co-owners Raymond Kwan & Barry Chan yesterday, and crews were hard at work getting their 15-barrel brewing system ready, as well as the tasting room out front. They were hoping to do their first test brew on the system today or sometime this weekend.
Chan will be the Brewmaster at Lucky Envelope, and he appreciates that many of the brewers in Ballard started out just like they are. He says, “The Ballard area is prime with examples of homebrewers going pro…we’ve been getting a lot of support from the local guys where we’ve needed it as we get things set up. They have been more than willing to lend their expertise where they can.” Kwan adds, “We had considered various locations…but one of the big things about Ballard is that it is an established destination for craft breweries. That was a big draw for us. From a business standpoint it just makes sense. It really is a great neighborhood.”
As for the beer, Chan says the beers will be culturally inspired. “That is a very broad term, but it does mean first focusing on the Northwest. So, having a solid IPA is essential as well as a hoppy pale ale. We also want to have a German lager available most of the time…the two I really like are Munich Helles and Schwarzbier.” Both Kwan & Chan are of Chinese ethnicity, and they also plan to occasionally incorporate Asian flavors into some of their beers. Chan says, “The one we are definitely going to bring out is a Belgian trippel with some Thai ingredients. That was one that did very well at the National Homebrew Conference.”
Like many before him, Chan started out as an avid homebrewer. “I caught myself at one point criticizing a beer, and I realized how unfair that was since I didn’t know how to make beer. That was in about 2008. It was kind of a self-realization point. I had to put my money where my mouth was, so I headed over to Bob’s Homebrew, picked up a kit and started getting into the nitty-gritty of it all, from the chemistry to recipe formulation and it really was the most perfect combination of science, technology, engineering and magic….it just clicked with me.” He does have a bit of experience brewing on professional systems. He says, “We did an immersion course in Colorado with Echo Brewing Company, and then I also spent some time interning in Napa at Downtown Joes.”
Kwan says that they were hoping to be able to open in early March, but that isn’t realistic at this point. “We’re experiencing some of the normal delays as everyone else. We were hoping to be open early March, which isn’t going to happen, but hopefully it won’t be much longer. I’d say it will be an April to May time frame as long as nothing major goes wrong.” Like most Ballard breweries, Lucky Envelop will be focused on on-premise consumption to start. The tasting room will be kid & dog friendly, and they’ll be able to throw some seating out in the parking lot when the weather improves. Over time, they will look towards distributing to local bars & retailers.
* Note that this number has fluctuated recently. 2nd Chance Brewing was a nanobrewery that was briefly open near Stoup, but their web presence seems to have disappeared. Urban Family Brewing moved to Magnolia.