Pike_25

Raise a glass and toast Pike Brewing with me

This isn’t a typical post. This one is kind of personal.

It was 1985 or 1986 and we barely knew what the word microbrew meant. I was a college student and home brewer living in Bellingham. One Saturday, my roommate and I went to something called a microbrew festival.

It’s a stretch to call it a festival; we were among the five or six people who showed up. I met some interesting people from the beer world that day; people who became legends and helped shape what we now know as the craft beer industry. I’ll spare you the name dropping. Among the would-be legends, I met a nice woman named Rose Ann Finkel, who at the time was part of a company called Merchant du Vin.

A few years later, Rose Ann and her husband Charles opened Pike Brewing Company. Today, Pike Brewing Company celebrates its 25th Anniversary at the brewery in Seattle—a big, sold out event.

Delivering the first keg of Pike Pale Ale on October 17, 1989.
Delivering the first keg of Pike Pale Ale on October 17, 1989.

When I pause and think about where I am now, sitting here writing about beer, I consider all the different turns my life has taken in so many different directions leading me to this place. It hasn’t always been about beer. It mostly hasn’t been about beer. But here I am. And there is Rose Ann and Pike Brewing.

At the time, you never could have convinced me that nearly 30 years later I would remember that event in Bellingham, in an atrium next to a bar called Bully’s, with such fondness and in such detail. At the time, it just seemed like a cool way for a couple college kids to spend a Saturday afternoon before moving on to the next thing. Without knowing it at the time, it was a monumental moment.

Did that single event really have such an impact on my life? Is it coincidence that I’m sitting here writing this? Maybe. It’s impossible to tell. So, what’s my point? We never know what is going to end up being important. Try to pay attention as life roars by, knowing that it is almost impossible to recognize what will end up being the most monumental moments.

For whatever reason, and in different ways, breweries can become part of our lives. They are part of our community. The best breweries earn a place in our hearts. I think that’s because the best breweries are built by good people. The best breweries have personality, like Pike Brewing is a reflection of its founders.

Pike Brewing Company is part of the fabric of the city. It is part of the fabric of the craft beer revolution and the national craft beer scene. More importantly, Pike Brewing is part of the fabric of my life and the lives of so many other people. I am not alone in saying that Pike Brewing indelibly touched my life.

So cheers to Charlie and Rose! And cheers to Pike Brewing!

2 comments

  1. Cheers, Kendall. I myself would not be in the beer business without Rose Ann and Charles.

    The man in the cap wheeling the hand truck in the photo is my friend John Farias, who died in 2011 just a couple of weeks before his 90th birthday.

    In 1964, he bought a booth in the Pike Place Market called Liberty Malt Supply – a business founded in 1921 during prohibition. He knew a lot about winemaking, having first helped his father make wine at the age of around 12, and had brewed beer too. I would guess that John was the main Seattle supplier of homebrewing and home winemaking supplies, certainly through the 60s and 70s at least.

    When Rose Ann and Charles opened Pike in 1989, John was – and remained for years – a jack-of-all trades: driving the van, sourcing supplies . . . wheeling kegs around on a hand truck. He never really retired, but spent the later years of his life making delicious wine at his winery, Market Cellar, located in the original Pike Brewery space on Western.

    As you noted, Pike is part of the fabric of the city.

    Cheers to John Farias, a part of Pike.

    -Craig Hartinger

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