Introducing, West Seattle Brewing

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Kevin Fawcett knows everybody. A longtime home brewer, he is a familiar face at Larry’s Brewing Supply in Kent, where he is a regular customer and has even taught homebrewing classes. He is also a longtime member of local homebrew clubs like the Impaling Alers. Kevin was also a writer for Northwest Brewing News back when that publication was just getting off the ground. On top of that, he is a contractor who has worked with local breweries, helping others bring their brewery dreams to life. Most recently, he helped Airways Brewing install its new brewhouse. Yep, Kevin has been around the beer business for a long time and pretty much knows everyone.

Now, Kevin is one of the owners at West Seattle Brewing. (Follow them on Facebook.) The company is awaiting the final approval from the TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) and West Seattle Brewing will be 100 percent legal. That all-important letter from the federal government could arrive in the mail any day. In the meantime, I stopped by the brewery at the corner of Fauntleroy Way SW and SW 36th Street yesterday and chatted with Kevin about his plans.

The space still looks rough, though you can see the potential. The space is being converted into a brewery and taproom. Constructed in the 1920s, the building was originally an auto showroom. Most recently it was a mini-mart. There is still a lot of work to do before a public opening. The first order of business, they demolished the ugly, dropped ceiling and exposed the original, old-growth beams and 15 foot-high ceilings.

Like most mini-marts, one wall is a walk-in cooler with glass doors. The cooler is a valuable asset for a brewery. The cooler doors will be modified: there is no sense in having all of those doors on the front. Kevin tells me that they will still be glass, exposing what will eventually be the serving tanks.

West Seattle Brewing plans to serve beer but not food. Next door, Jones Barbeque serves up delicious, award-winning barbecue. Kitty-corner, Buddha Ruksa serves up wildly popular Thai food that attracts foodies from across the city. (Can you say, Pliny the Thai Food?) Beyond that, there are plenty of nearby food options.

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West Seattle Brewing will start out by brewing on Kevin’s overgrown homebrewing system—basically, a nano-brewery system. The plan is to grow almost immediately. He tells me that he is not yet certain what size brewhouse and tanks they will install. Something like a three-barrel system sounds likely, but he also mentioned a real possibility of going larger, speaking of a ten-barrel system that lies in waiting.

In addition to hordes of thirsty West Seattleites, a local Irish pub is awaiting Kevin’s beers. There is already a relationship between the two businesses and chances are West Seattle Brewing will provide at least a couple of house beers for A Terrible Beauty, which currently has restaurants in Renton and West Seattle. Rumor has it the company is looking to open a third location soon. A Terrible Beauty differentiates itself from other Irish pubs by featuring a thoughtful selection of good beer—meaning, they offer more than Guinness, Harp, Smithwick’s and the usual suspects. Both the Renton and West Seattle locations have 20+ taps pouring mostly local craft beers.

When West Seattle Brewing opens its taproom, it is going to be wildly popular with the neighborhood. As a longtime West Seattleite, I can guarantee it. How much of the company’s beer will make it across the bridge? We will have to wait and see.

6 Responses to Introducing, West Seattle Brewing
  1. jason weiss
    October 30, 2012 | 11:18 am

    Any word on the styles he’s interested in brewing?

  2. Kendall Jones
    October 30, 2012 | 12:22 pm

    The best I understand is that Kevin brews the traditional NW styles. He is particularly proud (and should be) of his ESB which is delicious. I think he leans towards well-crafted, balanced English style ales.

  3. Keef
    October 30, 2012 | 3:20 pm

    I think I live closed to that location than you, Kendall. LOL. You bet I’ll be there. Grab a quick pint while waiting for a Buddha Ruksa to go order. Oh yeah! :-)

  4. jason weiss
    October 30, 2012 | 3:31 pm

    That sounds great to me. I like seeing these newer breweries straying away from the standard IPA, Pale, Porter, Stout, Wheat, Amber standards. We have plenty of those styles to go around already.

  5. service catalog
    November 5, 2012 | 10:06 am

    Exciting! This is the first I heard of them. I like a good ESB or English Brown. Can’t wait.

  6. Kev
    November 13, 2012 | 8:23 pm

    Most any styles. I have no preferences. We will start with the previously-mentioned “usual suspects” (Blond, pale, IPA, porter, ESB etc.) and the concentration will not be on out-hopping everyone else in town as seems to be the trend these days, but we will offer maybe one of those every now and then. There will be bourbon-barrel offerings (an Imperial Stout is definitely in the works) Barleywine on a regular basis, several Belgians, always something seasonal, a sour or two and yes, we WILL be brewing lagers. I am especially proud of my North German Pilsner as is Drew Locke, my partner in this venture (who apparently didn’t even rate an honorable mention here). Drew is the genius behind all of this and had the whole thing in mind waaaayyy before he met me. Without Drew, West Seattle Brewing Co. would not even exist.

    There will be many small batch offerings and cask-conditioned ale as well but once the pub is open, these will likely be available only here at the brewery.

    Drew and I are lookin’ forward to hanging with everyone in the near future..

    -Kev