2005 | REGIONAL | PACIFIC NW
Puget Soundings : Beer In The Pacific Northwest
By Don Scheidt
There are times when you see something you wrote show up
in print, and you realize it’s made a liar of you. For
instance, I wrote that Bill Jenkins and Frank Halderman were
in charge of the kettles at the Big Time
brewpub in Seattle’s University District. That’s
no longer true. Jenkins is still there, but working with him
now is Kelly Wiese. Wiese doesn’t just assist Jenkins
at the Big Time, either; he also is an assistant brewer at
the Elysian brewpub, in an arrangement Dick Cantwell told
me was “further cementing the bond between the two places.”
The bond seems to be holding well, and as both Elysian
and the Big Time continue to put out high-quality beers for
their thirsty fans, let the bond cement. I’ve continued
to enjoy warming winter ales from both breweries, particularly
this year’s batch of BiFröst from Elysian, nourishing
and warming at 7.8% abv. Elysian beers were featured at an
excellent brewer’s dinner at Seattle’s Brasserie
Margaux on December 15, 2004. The dinner included five courses
paired with an ambitious selection of Elysian brews, including
Bête Blanch Triple, Zephyrus Pilsner, Saison Elysée,
The Wise ESB and Night Owl Pumpkin Ale. The courses blended
in perfect harmony with the selected beers, particularly the
dessert, which paired the limited-edition pumpkin ale with
a rich pumpkin cheesecake.
I also reported that Jay Fisher, of the Dog & Pony in
Renton, was involved in the new Red House beer and wine shop
and tapas restaurant in the same suburban town. This relationship
has come to an end, allowing Fisher to concentrate on running
his successful Renton pub.
The new Brouwers café and pub’s opening has
been pushed back, too; readers of this edition of the CBN
may have gotten their copies just in time for its opening.
Owner Matt Vandenberghe and General Manager Matt Bonney still
plan to have the 2005 edition of their nearly legendary Hard
Liver Barley Wine Festival there, but this may be held closer
to the end of winter. The plan is to make it somewhat similar
in style to the very legendary Barleywine Festival held at
San Francisco’s Toronado, with a weekend kickoff leading
to a week in which strong barley wine–style beers, rich
and fortifying and generally not low in alcohol, will dominate
There have been big changes for Bear Creek Brewing.
Owner Mike Piechowiak was forced to move his brewing company
out of the former brewpub that housed his brewing plant. Unfortunately,
he didn’t get to take the actual brewery with him. The
brewing equipment was subsequently sold off, and Piechowiak
has been working a contract-brewing arrangement with Grant’s
in Yakima to ensure a continuing supply of Bear Creek beers.
Down the road, Piechowiak is optimistic that a brewing deal
will be worked out with a cooperating brewery, perhaps the
one that acquired the equipment that used to turn out his
beers: Diamond Knot, based in Mukilteo, Wash.
February and March will see the return of two festivals,
“Hops and Props” and “Hops on Equinox,”
both for their third editions. Hops and Props is a special
event put on to benefit the Museum of Flight in south Seattle.
It will be held on February 12, 2005, and will feature 35
breweries from throughout the West and a few imported beers
McCormick and Schmick’s will cater the event, and guests
will receive a tasting glass, a tasting guide and access to
the museum’s viewing galleries. Guests who spring for
VIP tickets will also get early admission, reserved parking
and a private tasting of specialty beers prior to the main
event. As might be expected, entry is limited to adults 21
and over. Visit www.museumofflight.org
for more information.
Don Scheidt is the author of the Northwest
BrewPage at nwbrewpage.com.
He also edits BeerWeek. He can also be reached via