When you look at a map showing all of the breweries in the greater Seattle-Tacoma-Everett area, there are very few blank spots. For the most part, any community that seems like it should have a brewery does have a brewery. There are a few exceptions: Edmonds, for instance. Sure, Edmonds is the home of Gallagher’s Where U Brew, a well-established and beloved Brew on Premise operation, but the community lacks a more traditional brewery.
That’s about to change. American Brewing Company is in the process of building a new brewery near the waterfront in Edmonds. We are happy to report that Skip Madsen will be the man creating the beer.
Combining the Familiar with the New
American Brewing represents the meeting of two minds. One is familiar to Washington beer lovers, while the other brings fresh energy to the local beer scene.
Fans of Washington beer will be excited to know that Skip Madsen will be responsible for brewing the beer at American Brewing. One of the Northwest’s most revered and decorated brewers, Skip’s awards include 10 Great American Beer Festival medals, 15 North American Beer Awards medals, and three World Beer Cup medals. His work experience includes stints brewing for Pike Brewery, Big Time Brewery, Boundary Bay Brewery, and most recently Water Street Brewing. His recipe book includes beers like Breakaway IPA, Queen Nina’s Imperial IPA, Boundary Bay Imperial IPA, Panama Red, and Big Phatty Imperial Red.
The new brew-blood at American Brewing comes from business owner Neil Fallon. This is his first venture into the world of brewing. A Tacoma native, Neil is a real estate developer looking for a new challenge and a new business adventure.
“I’m a residential real estate developer and I was looking for a new opportunity,” Neil told me Wednesday at the soon-to-be brewery in Edmonds. “Someone suggested that I consider getting a sports bar. I talked to a broker and looked at some stuff but I didn’t want to deal with owning a bar, working until 2:00 a.m. and all that, but I looked at the bar—the bottles, the beer—and I thought maybe that’s what I should do. So I started to look at getting into the brewing business.”
“I manufacture things,” he says. “I find property and source materials; I build homes and then deliver them to people. Making beer is the same process.”
It’s a bit of a stretch, but I understand his point. Whether you’re making houses or beer, at the end of the day you have produced and delivered something to people—something that they want and/or need. There are a lot of things you can do in life to make a buck which do not involve producing and delivering something so essential as beer and housing. Philosophically, I get it.
When Neil decided to pursue the brewery business, he made a few key contacts around the beer business. He quickly learned that getting a top-notch brewer onboard was imperative. Neil contacted the Washington Beer Commission, which helped spread the news that he was looking for a brewer. He also contacted Jeannie McWilliams, a well-respected writer for the Northwest Brewing News, and asked for her advice.
“Jeannie told me that with Skip as my brewer I couldn’t go wrong.”
Building the Brewery
“Neil looked at some places in Fife, but he wasn’t getting anywhere,” says Skip. “I’ve had my eye on this location for a while now and had already talked to the city about building a brewery here, so it was pretty much ready to go.” All indications are that Edmonds is happy to have American Brewing come to town.
Neil and Skip are building out the brewery themselves along with help from some carpenters and other specialists. For those of you familiar with the Edmond’s waterfront, the brewery is directly across the train tracks from Arnies Restaurant in a business park that houses a variety of different types of businesses.
This will not be a brew pub. It will be a brewery with a tasting room.
The walk-in cooler is there. A lot of the stainless steel brewing equipment is also there. They installed floor drains. Basically, things are coming together. It has not yet taken the shape of a completed brewery, but it’s getting there.
“I’m hoping that Skip can start brewing in December,” Neil says.
A Beer Destination
I mentioned Gallagher’s Where U Brew at the beginning of this post. Gallagher’s is part of this story, too. The plan is for Gallagher’s to move in right next door to American Brewing. Apparently they’ve been looking for a new location and there just happens to be one next to American Brewing. In addition to providing a place for people to brew it themselves, Gallagher’s features beer on tap. There will be a great synergy between the two businesses, creating a sort of beer destination in Edmonds.
What about the Beer?
“I think we’ll start with the Breakaway IPA,” says Skip. Breakaway IPA is a beer that Skip introduced, with help from his friends at Baron Brewing, last year. The hop-hungry public quickly approved of the hop wizard’s newest creation.
“We’ll see, but starting with the IPA sounds good. Some people say we should do a Hefeweizen, but I don’t know. Hefeweizen sells pretty well, though I don’t usually drink them. We’ll see.”
“I’m thinking that there aren’t a lot of red ales out there so maybe we’ll do one of those. People seemed to really like the Panama Red and the Big Phatty.”
To follow the progress at American Brewing, be sure to get on the mailing list by filling out the Contact for on their website. http://www.americanbrewing.com