Lagunitas Brewing Set to Take Over Hilliard’s Space in Ballard

August 25th, 2016 · California Beer, General Beer News, Washington Breweries

Welcome to Seattle, Lagunitas.

When Hilliard’s Beer was recently purchased by Odin Brewing Company, the old Hilliard’s brewery and tasting room space in Ballard was put up for sale. Odin took some of the fermenters and the canning line, but they were selling the Ballard space as a turnkey operation with most of the brewing equipment included. This certainly seemed like a great opportunity for some hopeful new brewery to open up in a prime location. Or, how about a 20+ year-old brewery based out of Petaluma, CA? Say hello to the new space for the Lagunitas Taproom and Beer Sanctuary.

Tony Magee, the outspoken owner & founder of Lagunitas Brewing, announced last night via a short series of tweets that they would be taking over the Hilliard’s space. I had a chance to chat with Magee last night to confirm the news and get a few details.

In a nutshell, Lagunitas will be taking over the space with the existing brewing system and turning it into what he is calling for now the Lagunitas Taproom and Beer Sanctuary. They will make some tweaks to the system and expand the footprint a bit, but this will very much be a small operation meant to meld with the existing vibe of the neighborhood. Magee says, “Yeah, we’ll be buying everything that is there. Odin kind of worked with Hilliard’s to wind it down….the brewhouse and the rest of it is all still there. So, we’re just going to operate it like a small brewery and make one-offs right there and have it be a whole separate adventure…It’s a really cool thing that Hilliard’s had going on there. But, he didn’t have the money to see it all the way through. The old building needs sprinklers and stuff and so his attendance limits were held down and the city was putting pressure on him. So, we’re going to try to fix the place up. There’s a space in the front of that building that’s a really large space that Hilliard’s sublet to a machine shop that we are going to incorporate into it, so the whole of that old car dealership will be the site…Hilliard’s had a really nice outdoor seating area that we’ll expand, so we’ll have a beer garden aspect to it like in Petaluma.”

Magee says that becoming a part of the Seattle brewing scene and the Ballard neighborhood is an exciting prospect. “Well, I would love to be part of Seattle….and the nature of craft brewing is local. And, if you want to be local you have to walk the talk. There’s a whole scene there (In Ballard). To me, it’s a place where there is already a lot of energy and enthusiasm about beer…We just want to be able to be there and participate in that flow of folks. Hopefully, by putting our toe in the water we can add something to it. That’s the big job, right? Not simply to carve something off, but to add some energy.”

For those that aren’t familiar with Lagunitas, it was #6 on the Brewers Association list of the Top 50 U.S. Craft Brewing Companies for 2015. A little less than a year ago, Lagunitas formed a joint venture with Heineken, and Lagunitas continues to operate fully independently. Since then, they have announced regional partnerships with small breweries in South Carolina, Texas and California, as well as new event space openings in Portland & San Diego.

Magee explains that there isn’t exactly a set long-term strategy to what they are doing around the country. “The truth of the matter is, this and the other ventures that we are undertaking all over the country, all of these things have a question mark attached to them. They aren’t really statements, like we have a business plan and this is what we are going to achieve. It’s not quite like that. It’s more like, what would happen if we did this? It’s like just continually starting Lagunitas over and over again in a way. Walking in and seeing a 20-barrel kettle, it’s like having a second child.”

Some local beer drinkers will certainly be turned off by the brewery’s partnership with Heineken. Magee says, “Heineken actually has no role in any of this at all. That’s the god’s honest truth, it’s not spin. All these things we are doing on our own balance sheet. That’s why we are partnering with small breweries, because that is what we can afford for an investment…The thing I did learn from Heineiken, is that it is in the Dutch nature to collaborate and to partner. Everywhere in the world, beer is local. And, so Heineken was able to make themselves global by partnering with local players. So, my thinking is that the United States is not just one place, it’s a lot of different places. There’s this rising sense of regional identify returning and I think craft brewing has something to do with that. And, so my thought was that we can emulate that model here in the 50 states by making partnerships.”

To sum up his intentions for the new Seattle taproom, Magee says, “The real intention is to just have a place where people can come and party with us. Show them the things that we know and learn from them what they know….The trick is, the whole thing comes with a question mark.”

Magee notes that they have some work to do to get the space licensed and built out how they want it, so it will be “a few months” until it opens.

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Populuxe Brewing to Expand Brewery & Taproom in Ballard

August 18th, 2016 · Washington Breweries

Image from Populuxe Facebook page.

Good news from Populxe Brewing in Ballard. They are moving into a larger space, right next door to the brewery’s current location, which will allow for more of everything: more beer, a larger taproom and expanded days and hours.

Congrats to the crew at Populuxe!

Press Release:

August 17, 2016. Seattle, WA.  Populuxe Brewing officially announced its plans to move into a new, larger space next door to their current space at 826 NW 49th Street. The move to the 4000 square foot space, which once housed Ballard’s infamous Oddvars Automotive, will feature a 7-barrel brewhouse, 15-barrel fermenters, a larger taproom with 20 taps, a sizable beer garden with food trucks and cornhole, more seating, and large screen TV’s for showing Sounders and Seahawks games and other major events.

Beer fans will also be able to enjoy Populuxe seven days a week! The new taproom will be open MondayThursday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday 3 p.m. – 10 p.m., Saturday from noon to 10:00 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

When co-owners Peter Charbonnier and his wife Amy Besunder opened the doors in March of 2013, they had just three beers on tap. They quickly became a neighborhood favorite, winning awards for their beers and praise for their relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere.  The tap list now boasts upwards of ten different brews at any time and the brewery hosts a bevy of free community events like Family Happy Hour with children’s entertainers and Record Store Day, with DJ’s spinning live music.

“We are excited for the next chapter,” said Charbonnier. “Our goal is to open the new space this spring, likely in March or April”.

Populuxe is currently working with architects and the city to design the space, but here’s what we can tell you so far:

  • The taproom room will move from the current location to the new one, where it will be bigger, open longer hours, and have even more taps.

  • The new space will have more room, so we’ll be able to brew more beer! We’ll retain the same feel of our current space by keeping the brewery operations connected to the taproom.

  • The new space will enable us to expand our barrel-aging program, increase our bottling capacity, develop our sour beer program, create more experimental beers and include a lab for advanced quality assurance.

  • We will have a separate room to accommodate private parties.


You can follow the progress of the expansion on Populuxe’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages.

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The Brewmaster’s Taproom & Bakery to Offer Unique Concept in Renton

August 3rd, 2016 · Press Release, Washington Breweries

BrewmastersTaproomHave you ever wondered what happens to all the spent grain produced during the brewing process at the multitudes of local breweries around the Seattle area? There are many answers to that question, but The Brewmaster’s Taproom and its sister company, The Brewmaster’s Bakery, will soon offer a unique way to bring the “circle of life” concept together for consumers by pouring craft beer alongside baked goods made using spent grain from local breweries.

So, you could potentially soon be sitting in the Brewmaster’s Taproom sipping on a Vienna Lager from Hi-Fi Brewing while munching on a baked good created with the spent grain from that same beer. That’s a pretty interesting business concept. Here is a list of some of the breweries that provide The Brewmaster’s Bakery with spent grain.

Continue reading below for information on opening dates and more.

Press Release:

Renton, WA – The Brewmaster’s Taproom, and sister company, The Brewmaster’s Bakery are opening a storefront together in the Benson Heights area of Renton Tuesday, August 9, 2016 with Grand Opening activities kicking off Saturday, August 13, 2016. The kid- and dog-friendly establishment will offer TVs to watch the Seahawks, Sounders and Mariners, along with a great outdoor seating area to enjoy the weather. Patrons will be able to bring outside food into the taproom.

The Brewmaster’s Taproom and The Brewmaster’s Bakery complement each other and combine to create a “circle of life” concept, serving craft beer alongside baked goods made using spent grain from local breweries. Spent grain is the most plentiful byproduct of the brewing process and the typical brewery produces thousands of pounds of the stuff every week. Although the post-brewing barley is of no use to brewers, it is still a valuable food product and, in the right hands, can be used to create a variety of delicious, nutritious treats.

Along with a wide selection of bottled and canned beers, The Brewmaster’s Taproom will offer draft beer from some of its partner breweries, with 20 craft beers on tap, alongside draft cider and root beer. They will feature beers from small, new breweries that are just starting out, as well as beers from more recognizable breweries, including unique brews often available only at the breweries’ taprooms.

As for food, the new taproom will offer the company’s flagship line of granolas, along with an extended line of baked goods, like breads, cookies, caramels, and anything else the baker dreams up. Everything The Brewmaster’s Bakery creates makes use of spent grain, beer, or other beer ingredients. They also produce a line of dog treats and donate a portion of the profits from every sale to Summit Assistance Dogs of Anacortes, Washington.

The Brewmaster’s Bakery was founded in March 2015 by Marley Rall, who spent years watching her husband and in-laws homebrew, wondering how to make use of the spent grain that each brewing cycle produced.

Rall often jokes, “It was really my vanity that started all of this; I really just wanted my in-laws to like me. But now I’m excited to bring craft beer and baked goods to the Renton area where it’s so desperately needed.”

To make the taproom and bakery come to life, Rall relied on help from Parteek Singh and the Green River College Small Business Assistance Center.


The Brewmaster’s Taproom is located at 2000 Benson Road South, Renton, WA 98055

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Seattle’s Largest Cider Tasting Festival Returns to South Lake Union for 7th Annual Event on September 9 & 10

August 1st, 2016 · Cider

CSS_300x250-2I really enjoy cider. The only problem is that I really, really enjoy beer. And wine. There is only so much room for imbibing in a given week, and I rarely find myself drinking cider. That’s why I love Cider Summit. This annual festival features 150+ ciders from some of the best producers in the country and gives me a chance to narrow my focus. There is no beer or wine around at this fest to get in my way, and I love being able to sample different varieties and offerings from the various producers. The venue outside at the South Lake Union Discovery Center lawn is a perfect location that is easy to get to, and the early September timing is almost guaranteed to be a beautiful weekend in the NW (apologies if I jinx it).

Tickets are on sale now.

If you are interested, you can also volunteer to work the festival (in return for free admission to a session, I believe).

Press Release:

Seattle, WA (July 5, 2016) – Cider Summit is pleased to announce that advance purchase tickets to attend Cider Summit Seattle are now on sale.  The seventh annual event will be held Friday-Saturday, September 9-10, 2016 at the South Lake Union Discovery Center Lawn at 101 Westlake Avenue N.  Cider Summit Seattle celebrates local, regional and international artisanal ciders and cidermakers.  Cider Summit is presented by Whole Foods Market.

As in years past, Cider Summit will feature leading cidermakers, including dozens from the Pacific Northwest and ciders from at least five states and five countries.  Cidermakers and importers will be on hand to inform and guide guests through the tastings poured into the commemorative festival glassware.  Several of the cidermakers will be participating in the second annual Oregon Fruit Products Fruit CiderChallenge.  These cidermakers will create pilot batch fruit ciders using Oregon Fruit Product’s puree and the attendees will vote on their favorites.  Winners will be announced at the conclusion of the event on Saturday.

The event will also feature specially paired food selections that will be available for purchase from vendors including Whole Foods Market, Capitol Cider and other small bites.  There will be a “Dog Lounge” hosted by Seattle Humane which will provide dogs and owners an opportunity to refresh and socialize.  This year’s event will also feature a range of cider cocktails and special appearances and music programming from KEXP.

“This is a milestone event for us,” noted event co-founder, Alan Shapiro.  “This will be the 20th festival we’ve produced in our series across four cities.  It all started in Seattle in 2010 with a small gathering of cider lovers.  We look forward to welcoming both the area’s cider lovers and cider curious to our most diverse selection of ciders ever for our 7th annual in our hometown.”

General admission advance purchase tickets are now on sale for $30 exclusively online at  Beginning August 1, general admission tickets will be $35 in advance online or at selected event sponsor locations and $40 at the door.  VIP tickets are available for $45, exclusively online, and include four extra tasting tickets and exclusive early access to the event between 2pm-3pm on Friday.  Designated driver tickets will be available for $5 at the door only and include a bottle of water.  This event is strictly 21 & over – no exceptions.

Cider Summit is committed to working with several community and non-profit organizations.  This year’s event beneficiaries include The Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research, Northwest Cider Association, and Seattle Humane.

For more information please visit, or follow us on Twitter @CiderSummit.

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10th Annual PNA Summer Beer Taste on July 23: Beer Olympics

July 12th, 2016 · Events, Washington Breweries

Join the Phinney Neighborhood Association (PNA) for “Beer Olympics” on July 23. The 10th annual PNA Summer Beer Taste will feature beers from 30 local breweries and cideries.

Tickets for this fundraiser are $25 for PNA members and $30 for the general public.

Below is a list of the breweries that will be attending, and you can visit the event website for a partial list of beers that will be pouring.

Aslan Brewing Co.
Bainbridge Island Brewing
Black Raven Brewing Co.
Bluebird Microcreamery & Brewery
Counterbalance Brewing Company
Diamond Knot Craft Brewery
Dru Bru
Fish Brewing Company
Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery
Fremont Brewing
Georgetown Brewing Company
Ghostfish Brewing Company
Hellbent Brewing Co.
Lantern Brewing
Lazy Boy Brewing
Lucky Envelope Brewing
Maritime Pacific Brewing Co.
Naked City Brewery
NW Peaks Brewery
Pike Brewing Co.
Populuxe Brewing
Portland Cider Company
Reuben’s Brews
Rooftop Brewing Co.
Salish Sea Brewing Co.
Seattle Cider Co.
Spinnaker Bay Brewing
Spire Mountain Cider
Stoup Brewing
Two Beers Brewing Company
Woodinville Cider Works

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Aged From the Beginning: Big Al Brewing Set to Release Eight Year-Old Time Capsule Wild Ale on July 23

July 6th, 2016 · Beer Releases, Washington Breweries

When Big Al Brewing opened back in 2008, owner Alejandro Brown and his team decided to devote an entire tank to sour fermentations. It is not a high-volume part of their business, but Al has a love for sour beers and wanted to be able to experiment with them. Over the years, they’ve pulled beer from the tank for various releases, and then the tank is topped off with fresh wort from a new batch of beer. The result is a tank of base sour beer that has its origins at the start of the brewery, but it is also evolving and changing each year as new wort is mixed in.

With the brewery’s 8th anniversary coming up next month, Alejandro has decided that it is time to release bottles of this 8-year-old brown sour ale. Bottles will be available on Saturday, July 23, at 1pm. The 375ml bottles will be $12/each with a limit of 4 per person. If you arrive early, please line up at the gate.

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Uber Tavern Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary This Friday

June 30th, 2016 · Uncategorized

I don’t make it there nearly as often as I’d like to these days, but Uber Tavern is hitting a big milestone this weekend. The tiny bar with a big selection will celebrate 10 great years on Friday.

Owner Rick Carpenter is in full planning mode for next weekend’s Seattle International Beer Festival (which you should go to), so the celebration at Uber is a bit understated. They will be doing pours from a jeroboam (read, “big ass bottle”) of 2006 Samichlaus, and there will also be 16oz cans of Delirium Tremens and some tasty JW Lees Harvest Ales.

I’ve spent many a great night at Uber. I suggest you make it in there sometime this weekend to put down a few pints.



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Two Doors Down Kicks Off Gay Pride Weekend With Queers and Beers on Thursday

June 22nd, 2016 · Events, Washington Breweries

Queers & Beers at Two Doors DownTwo Doors Down, “Seattle’s only gay-owned beer and burger bar”, is kicking off Pride Weekend this Thursday with a special event featuring 20 beers and ciders from local breweries.

Press Release:

Queers and Beers at Two Doors Down

Thursday, June 23rd      8 PM – Midnight

Love a good beer?  Kick-off Gay Pride at Two Doors Down, Seattle’s only gay-owned beer and burger bar, on Thursday June 23rd over a pint of something spectacular.  We’re featuring twenty beers and ciders on draft from gay-friendly breweries based right here in Seattle who want to show their support and who love a good party.  Enjoy an IPA from Capitol Hill’s own Outer Planet Brewing, sample the Fremont Kolsch, brewed specifically for the weekend, or try The Ghostfish Vanishing Point Pale Ale, which won gold last year for Best Gluten Free Beer.  Great beer not enough?  We’ll be giving away T shirts, glasses and growlers throughout the night, dancing along to Priscilla Queen of the Desert on the big screens, and enjoying some of the best burgers (veggie too) in town.  All ages welcome.  And yes, we have cider!

2332 E. Madison St.    Seattle, WA  98112


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Optimism Beer Releases “Pride” to Raise Money in Support of LGBTQ Community

June 21st, 2016 · Beer Releases, Washington Breweries

optimismWith PrideFest in full swing this upcoming weekend, Optimism Brewing is raising money for the LGBTQ community with the release of a new beer. They released Pride, a saison, back on June 11, and the brewery is donating $1 of each pint to Gay City.

It sounds like Pride has been the #1 seller at Optimism since being released, but it’s not too late to help raise more money. If you are headed to PrideFest in Capitol Hill this weekend, make sure to stop by for a pint.

Press Release:

In honor of Gay Pride month, Optimism Brewing on Capitol Hill is releasing a new beer named Pride with $1 of each pint going to Gay City, a neighboring non-profit that supports the local LBGTQ community.

Pride is a light, fruity saison that’s available starting June 11th. The donation will go towards Gay City’s mission to promote holistic wellness among the many facets of Seattle’s LGBTQ community, which includes free and anonymous HIV testing, supporting queer arts and artists and connecting people to the services they need.

Optimism was founded by a local husband and wife team, Troy Hakala and Gay Gilmore, with the goal to provide a welcoming and safe place for people to enjoy their beer while having a positive influence on the community. From their gender-neutral bathrooms, kids play area and tip-free practice, Optimism challenges itself and others to rethink norms to make the world (starting on Capitol Hill) a better place. After all, that’s what Optimism is all about!

Optimism is located at Broadway and E Union on Capitol Hill. Their hours are:

Wednesday 4-11pm

Thursday 4-11pm

Friday 4-12am

Saturday 12-12am

Sunday 12-9pm


Optimism is wearing the rainbow flag and their logo with pride in support of the LGBTQ community and invites you to do the same. Tee-shirts will be available for sale starting June 15th with part of the proceeds going to Gay City.

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Three Breweries Come Out on Top at Fourth Annual Washington Beer Awards

June 20th, 2016 · Washington Breweries

Image from E9’s Facebook page.

139 Washington breweries submitted 950 beers for evaluation at the fourth annual Washington Beer Awards. Once the judges worked their way through all of the entries, there were three breweries that came out on top with the most medals. The results were announced at the Washington Brewers Festival this past weekend. Ten Pin Brewing took home the Small Brewery of the Year with four total medals, including two golds. E9 Brewery LLC won the Mid-Size Brewery of the Year with five medals, including two golds.  The Large Brewery of the Year was won by No-Li Brewhouse with five medals, which included one gold.

In total, 86 breweries were awarded medals in 56 category groupings.

Congrats to all of the winning breweries. Check out the full list of winners by category here.

Press Release:

Specialty Competitions LLC is proud to release the results of the fourth annual Washington Beer Awards®.  This year 86 Washington breweries received recognition of gold, silver, and bronze medals in 56 award category groupings.
The results for this Washington-only professional beer competition were announced on June 18th at the Washington Brewers Festival at Marymoor Park in Redmond where some of Washington’s best brewers received medals for their award winning beers.
The judging for the Washington Beer Awards was held on June 4th at Elliott Bay Public House & Brewery in Lake City.  The panels of trained judges had to evaluate 950 beers from 139 breweries spanning over 110 unique styles from the Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines for technical and stylistic excellence.
The competition was held with the endorsement of the Washington Beer Commission as a way to celebrate Washington’s growing brewing culture and recognize excellence in the craft.  All of Washington’s craft breweries were invited to submit entries to the competition held in a similar format to other craft beer competitions like the Great American Beer Festival® and World Beer Cup®.
Three special awards, the Small, Mid-Sized and Large Breweries of the Year, were presented to breweries who won numerous medals in many categories.  Ten Pin Brewing took home the Small Brewery of the Year. E9 Brewery LLC won the Mid-Size Brewery of the Year with five medals, including two golds.  The Large Brewery of the Year was won by No-Li Brewhouse with five medals.
A few special awards were also providing recognizing some unique Washington brewing excellence.  E9 Brewery’s “Blackberry” was selected as the Best Washington Agricultural Product Inspired Beer for showcasing locally harvested blackberries in a barrel aged lambic.  Four Horsemen Brewery had their Black Plague Stout selected as the Best Washington Malt beer showcasing malts produced strictly in Washington.  Aslan Brewing Company won a gold in the “Pro-Am” category for a Vienna lager that was developed by a Washington homebrewer and scaled up for commercial production.
More information on the competition and the complete list of results can be found at and a press release can be found at  Watch for Washington’s award winning beers marked at your local craft beer bars and beer stores and get ready for the Washington Beer Awards to return in 2017 where new winners will be decided!

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