BREWS NEWS

This section is about the great microbrews of the Pacific Northwest.

The Pacific Northwest has become noted for the excellent microbrews produced throughout the area. The Brews News section is about the great microbrews, breweries, and brewmasters of the Pacific Northwest.
Following is the Index of the Brews News.  Click on the titles and it will take you to the article

The Origins and History of Beer

West Sound Area Microbreweries

Olympic Brewing Supplies

7 Seas Brewing, Gig Harbor, Washington

The Origins and History of Beer

 Historians speculate that prehistoric nomads may have made beer from grain and water before learning to make bread. They believe that beer may have been the cause of civilization, because it appears to have been the beginning of farming between 13,000 and 8,000 B. C. About that time, humans stopped being nomadic hunters and gatherers and began to settle into organized communities.

 It is thought that wild grapes and grain had probably been turned into drinks before their purposeful cultivation. In 1986, Professor Solomon Kratz of the University of Pennsylvania found what he described as the worlds oldest recipe on a number of tablets made by the early Sumerians, who settled in Mesopotamia.

(Mesopotamia is a Greek word meaning 'between the rivers', which are the Tigris and Euphrates flowing  through modern Iraq. The Euphrates also flows through much of Syria.)These tablets include pictograms, or drawings, of what appears to be barley, and show bread being baked. The bread is mixed into water to make a mash, which is then made into a drink. The drink is recorded as having made people feel exhilarated, wonderful and blissful. 

As civilization expanded around the world, the cultivation of barley grew with it, as did the technique for brewing beer. Currently, beer falls into two classifications, ale and lager. Ales are the older, traditional brews of the world, predating lagers by thousands of years. Lagers are a relatively modern invention, dating from the mid‑nineteenth century.

 There is an account of beer making in America. It is said to have begun at the Roanoke Island colony, settled in 1585 under the leadership of Sir Walter Raleigh. Beer was being made in what is now New York before the arrival of the Mayflower in 1620. A brewery was set up there in 1612.

West Sound Area Microbreweries

If you=re wondering what beer is, the simple explanation is that beer is a fermented drink made from grain (usually barley, but also wheat, oats, corn, rice or rye) water, yeast and hops. A more detailed explanation of what it is, how it is made and how it changed from its beginning to the present time can be found on the world wide web (www), or in numerous books on the subject, available in your local bookstore; for example, Michael Jackson=s Beer Companion.

 The micro‑brewery boom surfaced in the 1980s, preceded by the sales of imported beer in the 1970s taking off. Washington=s Craft‑Brewing Industry began in 1982 when two breweries opened almost simultaneously. Veteran beer maker Bert Grant began producing the assertively hopped Grant's Scottish Ale at his Yakima Brewing & Malting Company, and the new Redhook Brewery began production in Seattle.

 The West Sound area has a number of microbreweries, a brewing supplies store and a Home Brewers Club.

Silver City Brewery and Restaurant is owned by Steve & Scott Houmas, and is located at 2799 NW Myhre Rd. Silverdale, Washington. Phone Number (360)698‑5879;  http://www.silvercitybrewery.com.  Brewmaster: Don Spencer

Hood Canal Brewery Owner/Brewmaster, Mr. Don Wyatt named all his brews after locations around Hood Canal: Agate Pass Amber, Dabob Bay IPA, Dosewallips Special Ale, Southpoint Porter, Big Beef Oatmeal Stout, and Briedablik Barley Wine. My favorite is Southpoint Porter. There=s no food on site, but Wyatt invites visitors to bring their favorite food to enjoy with his beers.

Contact information: Mr. Don Wyatt Owner/Brewmaster, 26499 Bond Road NE Kingston, WA. 98346; 360‑297‑8316. Web site: http://www.hoodcanalbrewery.com. Hours of Operation: 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.

 Olympic Brewing Supplies is a popular retail store catering to Home Brewers, Winemakers, Soda Making, Liqueurs (Cordials & Brandy), Keg Systems for homebrew and commercial beer, and more. They have been in business since 1994 constantly expanding their inventory and services.

 Contact information: Owner Bill Sproules, 2817 Wheaton Way, Bremerton, WA. 98310; 360‑373‑1094. www.olybrew.com, e‑mail: olybrew@olybrew.com. Hours of Operation: Tuesday  thru Saturday 10 a. m. to 6 p. m., closed  Sunday.

 West Sound Brewers Club is home brewing and beer appreciation club based in Kitsap County, Washington, with members from Bremerton, Silverdale, Poulsbo, Kingston, Bainbridge Island, Port Orchard, Olalla and as far away as Tacoma. Activities include monthly meetings and beer tastings, brewery tours, special tasting events and more.

Contact information: www.westsoundbrewers.org; e‑mail: info@westsoundbrewers.org.

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Olympic Brewing Supplies

   The microbrew phenomena in the Pacific Northwest have generated an increased awareness of, and participation in, home brewing. This in turn changed the course of Bill Sproule's life. Bill is the founder and owner of Olympic Brewing Supplies, at 2817 Wheaton Way, Bremerton, WA.

   Born in Chicago and raised in Boston, the Navy took him to Todd Shipyard in Seattle about the time his enlistment was up. He opted to stay in the Pacific Northwest, married and moved to Kitsap County to raise a family, now numbering one wife and three girls. He liked the idea of having more input in the school system, and the family living arrangements in Kitsap County verses Seattle.

   An energetic redhead with an easy smile and outgoing personality, he started home brewing and home winemaking as a hobby getting his supplies from Seattle because there was no place to get them in this area. He soon realized there was a need for such a place.

   At the time, Sproules was working in Seattle for Burlington Resources. His background is in computer networking and telephone systems, anything having to do with administration and managing information systems. The company decided to move the Seattle offices to Houston, Texas. He was going to be the last person in Seattle for the company as an administrator and would be the one to shut off the lights.

   He had the opportunity to move with the company to Houston or take the severance check and start the business. He decided it was a good opportunity, and the timing was right, so he chose to start the business.

   He started at the present site in July, 1994, a one person operation, and now has one employee, Ken Pettie. The home brewing and winemaking phenomenon has allowed his business to grow. Word-of-mouth and hobbyists influencing other hobbyists continue to grow the business.

   He believes word-of-mouth advertising is better than anything else, so he developed a newsletter, distributed every few months, that is available to customers and anyone who drops in and asks to be placed on the mailing list. You can visit his web site www.olybrew.com where he announces specials, recipes, new products, etc, keeping people up-to-date on the news  of home brewing and winemaking.

   Naming the business Olympic Brewing was a conscious decision born out of the observation that some businesses are named for the owner of the business. He said, "My father taught me that when you open a business it's better to name it something that would allow it to be easy to sell." Sproules made the choice between Olympic, Evergreen, and Cascades, generic and recognizable names, but 'Brewing Supplies' is what he wanted people to see more than anything.

   A self-taught Brewmaster, he learns from customers who have been home brewing for a long time. He often records the information from customers in his newsletters, to pass on, so the information isn't lost.

   Olympic Brewing Supplies is a retail store catering to Home Brewers, Winemakers, Soda Making, Liqueurs (Cordials & Brandy), Keg Systems for homebrew and commercial beer, and more. Sproules provides free classes at Olympic Brewing Supplies to learn the processes, and has the equipment and supplies available for making beer, wine, country wines, cider, vinegar and oil.

 Contact information:

Mr. Bill Sproules

2817 Wheaton Way # 102
Bremerton, WA 98310
(360) 373-1094

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7 Seas Brewing, Gig Harbor, Washington

by Nick Tomassi

The current new brewery is located at 3207 57th Street Ct. NW, Gig Harbor, Washington, 98335, next to The Inn at Gig Harbor. Owners Mike Runion, CEE (Chief Executive Everything); 253-686-3703; mike@7seasbrewing.com and Travis Guterson, Brewmaster, travis@7seasbrewing.com

relocated after the building in the original location burned down because of a neighbors faulty space heater.

The new building is a 4,000 square foot Tap Room and Brewing Production area, a great improvement over the one that burned down. They also lost most of their equipment in the fire and had to find new equipment. Runion calls all that “A blessing in disguise.”

The front door opens to their Tap Room and Brewing Production facility, a great improvement over the one that burned down. They also have a 5,000 foot Storage area beyond the Brewing Production area. The storage area includes 150,000 beer cans for the craft brews made there. (More interesting info on cans later.)

Runion received a Business degree at Washington State University, and early on focused on the entrepreneurship and the microbrew industry. He did an internship at Silver City Brewery and Restaurant where he met Travis Guterson. Guterson was then the Head Production brewer at Silver City.

 Guterson attended the University of Washington, and was brewing beer as a hobby for a few years when he decided to make it a lifelong endeavor. He has been brewing beer as a professional for about seven years, including (The Lompoc, Portland, Oregon, The Pelican in Pacific City, Oregon) and Silver City in Silverdale, Washington.

They became friends and found a mutual interest in craft beer and starting their own production brewery. They spent about two years putting together a business plan, planning their new ‘adventure’ and acquiring the funding, equipment and location.

They are proud to be recognized as the first microbrewery in Washington State to sell their craft beers in a can. Their plan is to be a production brewery, focus on beer, and not be distracted, as so many others are, because they include a restaurant. The partners purchased 150,000 cans for their craft brews, which are currently in their storage area. They use 16 oz cans, and each can filled by hand one at a time.

7 Seas Brewing’s craft beer is protected from the can’s aluminum. They use a water-based coating on the inside of the aluminum can. The beer does not come in contact with aluminum, so it is not affected by the metal in the can. Cans provide 100% protection from ultraviolet light, and less oxygen gets into can than into a bottle, therefore it will stay fresh longer than in bottles. Additionally, it takes 60% less energy to produce, ship, consume, and recycle cans than bottles, and the customer is able to squash the can for recycling when done.

(Runion noted that not just beer, but wine, is now being produced in the can, and sited Elkans Winery in Chile who produce wine in a can.)

 The Brewery was named 7 Seas Brewing to focus on the Pacific Northwest but they produce different styles from around the world. Their logo is a World Compass with an arm pointed at the Northwest - NW.

7 Seas Brewing Craft Microbrews

Runion explained that there are four ingredients in brewing beer: Hops, Malt, Water and Yeast.

Hops, from the Yakima Valley, the 'Mecca' for hops.

Malt, mostly malted barley from the Pacific Northwest, some malt is imported from England  especially for their craft beers.

Water, a local aquifer, that Runion calls ‘amazing’.

Yeast, a proprietary (secret) blend.

They produce four microbrews year round and one seasonal brew. It takes 2 to 3 weeks to make their craft microbrews, depending on the style.

Tasting Notes:

Ballz Deep: Debatedly 7 Seas most popular, is the Ballz Deep, a double IPA at 8.4% alcohol content, has a slightly sweet malt flavor and is big, bold and balanced.

British Pale Ale: displays aromas of fresh fruit, earthy hop notes, and a clean, snappy finish.

Cutt's Ale: brilliantly clear reddish hue, an intense nose of pine and citrus, a medium body, malt notes of fresh toasted bread, and a pleasant lingering hop bitterness. Quite assertive for an Amber Ale, Cutt’s remains well balanced yet truly Northwest.

Port Royal Export Style Stout: seven different malt varieties are used to create intriguing flavors of dark chocolate, espresso, and roasted barley. Nugget and Mt. Hood hops offer a soft floral nose and just enough bitterness to balance the creamy, smooth finish.

The 2010 Summer Seasonal was Rude Parrot, an India Pale Ale (IPA), a big juicy, tropical fruit hop nose yields way to an off dry, pleasantly bitter finish. Drink up while you can, the Rude Parrot is flying circles around you! They’re still discussing alternatives for the Winter Seasonal at this time.

Their 16 ounce pint cans cost $3 to $4 in their Tap Room, depending on the style, and are sold at around twenty locations locally, focused mostly at specialty beer shops. Kegs are self-distributed to taverns and restaurants in Seattle, Tacoma and Gig Harbor, including the Tides Tavern. Others include Tizely’s Restaurant in Poulsbo, 122 in Winslow, San Carlos and the Harbor Public House in Bainbridge Island. Visit www.7seasbrewing.com/avilability to locate a store near you.

August, 2010 saw the brewing of their 100th batch, a barley wine, which takes up to a year to age and mature to be ready for sale.

Recent Awards: South sound Magazine, Best Brewery in the South Sound, quite an accomplishment for a first year brewery. They have not yet entered any competitions but plan on entering the Great American Beer festival in Denver, Colorado this year.

Future plans: They are currently a small operation and planning on gradual growth, include a larger brewing system with larger tanks. They have a waiting list of places wanting to sell their craft microbrews. They also plan to add more and different styles and different seasonals.

Relaxation, Hobbies, etc.: The brewery takes up most of the partners time, but Runion still tries to find time for kayaking, running, play with his dog, cooking. He said, “I feel blessed to live in this area”, because he has the support of the community which embraces artisan breweries.

Directions to the Brewery:

From the North: Exit from Highway 16 at Olympic Drive NW. Turn Right onto Olympic Drive NW and right again onto Pt. Fosdick. Follow Pt. Fosdick to the Inn at Gig Harbor. Go through the Inn parking lot and through the gate to park at the Brewery Building. (Large trees on the right (West) side of Highway 16 hide the Inn until you get on the exit.

From the south: Exit from Highway 16 at Olympic Drive NW. Turn Left onto Olympic Drive NW, cross over the highway and turn Right onto Pt. Fosdick. Follow Pt. Fosdick to the Inn at Gig Harbor. Go through the Inn parking lot and through the gate to park at the Brewery Building.

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