We were truly honored to be invited to the Pike Brewing 20th Birthday Party last night. It was a veritable who’s-who of the local beer industry. Charles and Rose Finkel pulled out all the stops and threw one heck of a bash. As anyone who has ever met the Finkels can imagine, they were gracious hosts. The food was amazing, the beer was amazing, and the crowd was sincerely appreciative of the effort put out by Charles, Rose and their amazing staff. We were very, very honored to be there. I already said that, but still.
Below, we’ve included a video from last night’s event. The band is The Atlas Stringband. The video includes an excerpt from the speech that Charles Finkel made (with his wife at his side). It also includes Drew Cluley (Pike’s current brew master) presenting a wonderful, heart-felt gift to the Finkels – a quilt made out of used T-shirts worn by the brewers. As Drew explains, such T-shirts are a brewer’s uniform.
Us locals sometimes take the Pike Brewery for granted. Perhaps it’s current location at the Pike Street Market (since 1997) frightens many of us Seattle folk who tend to avoid the tourist hordes at all costs. We forget that the brewery and the pub are amazing. When it comes to the Seattle craft beer scene, it truly is one of our gems. Perhaps some people cop an attitude because Pike Brewing are masters of merchandising – nobody makes better swag than Pike. And they make a lot of it. But get real, given the location, they’d be stupid not to. If some guy in Baltimore is walking around in a Pike Kilt Lifter T-shirt because he was touring the market and saw a sign that said, “Brewery,” I am pretty happy about the way he is representing our local beer scene.
For those of you who do not know, Charles and Rose were the original owners of Pike Brewing. In 1997, they sold it. In 2006, they bought it back. That was a happy day, not just for Charles and Rose, but for all of us Seattle beer lovers. Because of their passion, Pike is much, much more than a stop on many “See Seattle” tours. It is a world-class brewery pumping out a wide variety of amazing ales.
The legacy of the Pike Brewery is too long to adequately describe here. The great local brewers spawned by Pike adorn the walls of the Washington Beer Pantheon (if there were such a thing). I’ll mention just a few here. People like Dick Cantwell (Elysian Brewing), Bill Jenkins (Big Time Brewing), Skip Madsen (of Boundary Bay and Water Street fame), Kevin Forhan (Ram Northgate), Janelle Pritchard (Snoqualmie Falls Brewing), Shawn Loring (Lazy Boy Brewing), and Fal Allen (from whom all blessings flow). The unabridged list is longer. Many Pike alumni were at the party last night. Of particular note was Jason Parker, who is credited as the guy who got it all started as the original brewer back in 1989. And we absolutely must mention Drew Cluley, the current brew guru at Pike, who has introduced some amazing beers in the last few years.
We want to congratulate Pike on surviving and flourishing for 20 years in a business that is -let’s just say- dynamic. They are great people and they have a great brewery. We raise our glass and wish them continued success. Here, Here!