Big Time Brewing Celebrates 25 Years

December 9th, 2013 · No Comments · Washington Breweries

2013 Old Wooly. Thanks to +Russ.

I’d like to say a belated happy anniversary to Big Time Brewing, which celebrated 25 years of business this past Saturday. Big Time is one of the best breweries in town, and even though the party has passed it is definitely worth a stop by this week to see what is left over. At the very least, this year’s batch of the outstanding Old Wooly Barleywine will be pouring (bottles still available as well, I believe).

Big Time consistently makes some of the best beers in Seattle, and I don’t make it over there nearly often enough. It was the first brewpub I ever visited in Seattle (on the very first day I arrived), and it continues to be one of my favorites. Cheers to head brewer Drew Cluley and assistant brewer Greg Maddrey. Keep up the great work, guys.

Here is a press release sent out last week, which includes some great history on the brewpub and the people that have passed through there over the years:

The Big Time Brewing Company is celebrating their 25th Anniversary on Saturday December 7th. Washington’s oldest brew pub first began selling pints of Prime Time Pale Ale, Atlas Amber and Coal Creek Porter on that December day back in 1988. Old Rip Oatmeal Stout and Bhagwan’s Best IPA soon joined our tap lineup in late January and early February 1989.

The Big Time was conceived and is owned by Reid Martin who along with his brother John Martin started Triple Rock Brewery in Berkeley California in 1986.

The first head brewer was Ed Tringali, he was hired away from Triple Rock. He commanded the brew deck until 1993. Ed selected Dick Cantwell then a brewer at Pike Brewing Co to replace himself when Ed left to start an international brewing consulting firm. Soon Dick hired Bill Jenkins to be his assistant brewer (also a Pike alum), and Bill was promoted to head brewer in 1995 when Cantwell left to start the Elysian Brewing Co. Bill left in 1997 to take a head brewing job in Ireland and tapped Kevin Forhan, (also a Pike employee) to fill his brewers boots. Bill returned for a year in 1998 as Kevin’s Assistant Brewer, and then he returned once again to be head brewer in 2003 when Forhan moved to Spain. Jenkins left in April 2011, and choose Drew Cluley (you guessed it, at that time Cluley was head brewer at Pike Brewing Co), to stir the mash at BigTime.

The Big Time has also had its share of talented assistant brewers;

Eric Jefferts (Lassen Ale Works, California), John Haggerty (New Holland Brewing, Michigan), Skip Madsen (American Brewing Company), Frank Helderman (Terminal Gravity Brewery, Oregon), Kelly Wiese (Sound Brewing), Carter Camp (Port Townsend Brewing), Bradley Zimmerman (Toe Yard Brewing, Indiana). Greg Maddrey (formerly of Hales Brewing Co) is currently filling the talented assistant brewer position.

In 1988 when the Big Time opened they had only 3 beer taps and pints cost just $1.75. In the early 90’s they started adding taps and now have 11 beers pouring, 1 apple cider and a english cask engine. Drew Cluley recalls, “I remember visiting Seattle in 1990 shortly after making my first batch of homebrew. I tried Bhagwans Best IPA for the first time and I was blown away by the delicious complex flavor. I was especially impressed with the cask version of Bhagwans. That experience was defiantly influential in leading me to a brewing career.” The Big Time makes about 35 different ales during the year, specializing in IPA’s.

On tap for Saturday December 7th will be their 5 year round ales, (Prime Time Pale, Atlas Amber, Coal Creek Porter, Bhagwans Best IPA and Scarlet Fire IPA), as well as Icculus IPA, Lollipop Weizenbock, Yulefest Christmas Ale, Old Rip Oatmeal Stout, Lift Ticket Winter Ale, Old Wooly Barleywine – and from the archive a keg each of Whiny the Complainer triple IPA, Decade 2.5 double IPA, and Mammoth Pilsner. Birthday cake will be served several times during the festivities.

The Big Time is located in the U-District at 4133 University Way NE.

Hours are 11:30am – 2:00am.


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