A Bus Came By and I Got On – Happy Anniversary to Hale’s

For Seattle natives, 40 seems to be the dividing line. If you are over 40, you likely remember a time when finding a good beer around Seattle was challenging. (Hard for you young whippersnappers to imagine, I know.) If you are under 40, you’ve likely never known a world without good beer.  If you are a serious old timer like me, you are likely aware that Hale’s Ale Brewery was one of the original craft breweries, not only in Washington but also in the entire country.

Hale’s Ale is celebrating its 30th year. In 1983, Mike Hale began brewing beer in Colville, Washington on a small, homemade brewing system. As I remember the legend, his first beer poured at a Fourth of July celebration in 1983. The brewery will celebrate the anniversary with a series of events this year (see below).

The Very First

In addition to the beer, here is something I love about Hale’s Ale. The Delux Bar and Grill was the very first bar in Seattle to pour Hale’s Ale. So was FX McRory’s. So was Jake O’Shaughnessy’s. The list goes on. Over on Mercer Island, the Roanoke Inn Tavern will swear it was the first establishment west of the Cascades to pour Hale’s Ale, though I’m certain there are several other bars proudly touting that distinction.

It was the 80s. Craft beer was in its infancy. It was a hard thing to sell. Great strategy!

A Bus Came By and I Got On

Here’s the way I look at my relationship with craft beer. It’s simple, really.

Many years ago, a bus came by and I got on.

Thanks for stopping to pick me up, Mike.

I was a spry, young homebrewer when Hale’s Ale opened its brewery and pub in Kirkland. Was it a brewpub or just two side-by-side businesses? Memory fails. I don’t want to tell you what year that was, but I was still in college–me and my buddies sitting at that copper-topped bar, bright-eyed and strong-backed, with the whole world spread out in front of us like a delicious taster-tray of handcrafted ales. Ahhhh. Misty, water-colored memories….

“Thirty years ago it wasn’t easy to find a fresh, tasty handcrafted ale,” says Mike Hale, “In fact, it was almost impossible. We figure celebrating our 30th is really a celebration of craft beer in general.  We are grateful for the support of beer lovers in the Northwest.”

What many people might not know is that Hale’s is currently the longest running independently owned brewery in the Northwest.

“Except for some of my long time employees who now have a share in the business, Hale’s is still owned by the original small group of local investors who had this crazy idea to open a brewery,” says Hale.

Anniversary Events

  • Hale’s Brewery Celebrations at bars and restaurants across the state that have been loyal Hale’s customers for 30 years,
  • A Blow Out “Thank You” Anniversary Party with beer food and music at the Hale’s Palladium sometime in September,
  • A series of small batch, specialty beer releases throughout the year, including a special 30th Anniversary Imperial Pale Ale.

We will keep you posted as more details become available.

Happy Anniversary!


  1. Great article and Happy Anniversary Hales!

    I remember Hales Kirkland as being a part of my first Good Beer Trip back in 1992. I think it was our first stop before heading on to Redhook and Maritime Pacific. Me and a couple college friends were on a fact finding mission for our report on the fledgling Washinton Microbrewery industry. Who knew it would have lead me on life long passion. We got an A on the report, but there were a lot of disappointed classmates when we did’t bring back any samples.


  2. Cheers to Mike and company. Thanks for “paving the road” that we all ride on each day.

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