Those of you that live in Ballard might not believe it, but there are actually still a few Seattle neighborhoods that do not have a single brewery, yet. My home of Beacon Hill is one of those neighborhoods. Relief is in site, though, as Perihelion Brewery is coming to Beacon Hill later this year.
Located at 2800 16th Ave S, the brewery will boast a prime location across the street from the Hilltop Red Apple grocery store and the Beacon Hill Light Rail Station. Owner Les McAuliffe will be the Head Brewer, and Hunter Jaworski will be his hard-working Assistant Brewer. They took possession of the key to the space a little less than a month ago, and they are currently hard at work ripping out the old infrastructure from what was most recently a dentist office.
McAuliffe is a long-time Beacon Hill resident and a former contractor, and he’s excited for Perihelion to become a part of the neighborhood. McAuliffe says, “I’m excited to finally be doing what I’ve been dreaming about for a long time. But, to do it here, it just couldn’t be better. It’s really exciting. Having lived here for so many years and seeing the changes, it’s just huge to be a part of what’s going on.”
The name “Perihelion” refers to the point in a planet’s orbit when it is closest to the sun. McAuliffe, who is a long-time homebrewer of 20+ years, has made a homebrew by the same name for many years. The brewery & pub space will be compact, with about 1,100 to 1,200 sq ft of usable area. They will be brewing on a 7bbl system with 3 fermenters, to start, which will help keep multiple styles flowing for patrons to choose from. McAuliffe explains, “One of the things that I think is exciting when you go into a brewery is to have a big selection. So, my thought is that even in this small space, I’d like to have 10 taps. 5 of those might be our standards, while the others might be more experimental type stuff. I think that variety is important.”
They understand that they’ll need to have some standard beers like an IPA to satisfy everyone’s hop cravings, but McAuliffe is really a fan of Belgian-style beers. He loves saisons, and according to Jaworski, McAuliffe also makes a great Belgian-style golden ale. They have both done a good deal of “research” at local breweries, and they know they need to make quality beers right out of the gate. McAuliffe says, “Hopefully, we can shake the bugs out pretty quickly. I’m keenly aware that for myself, as a drinker and a brewer, it only takes one bad beer to turn me off from a place.”
The brewery will be kid-friendly, and there will be a small kitchen serving “elevated pub food”. With limited space, they’ll have to be creative to make the food prep side of the house work efficiently. McAuliffe has experience smoking salmon and pork shoulders, and he hopes to incorporate those into the menu.
In addition to pouring pints, Perihelion will become the first business on Beacon Hill where you can get a growler filled. They will also consider limited self-distribution of beer, especially to local businesses up on the hill.
While the indoor space may be a bit tight, the space they’ll have for a patio is pretty expansive. They have a big stretch of on the east side of the building where they’ll add patio seating. On that side of the building, they are also considering adding a glass garage door to their construction plans. McAuliffe says, “It would incorporate that space into the brewery and make it feel more open and together. That’s really important to us.”
The building itself is perfect for the feel of a neighborhood brewery. With so much new construction going on around the core of North Beacon Hill, no one would have been surprised to see the building get torn down. They lucked out that the owner of the building has no such intentions. McAuliffe explains, “There is a lot of money to be made in building 4 or 5 floors up. A lot of developers would just tear it down. But, this is a beautiful building and his (the owner’s) goal is to restore it.”
The location really is about as perfect as it gets for Beacon Hill. McAuliffe says, “Honestly, I could not think of a better place. I just couldn’t. Over the course of the past year, I’ve gotten cold feet…since we’ve been here demoing this place for just three weeks, I now have no doubt. My cold feet are gone. People are so supportive and excited about having this here. The interest spans all demographics in this neighborhood.”
McAuliffe and Jaworski hope to have beer pouring and the doors open by the end of October. You can keep track of their progress through their Twitter page at @Perihelionbeer.
Cheers to McAuliffe for bringing a brewery to a neighborhood that could really use one.