Jim Parker and Skip Madsen are two familiar faces on the local beer scene. That’s not only because the two happen to have memorable faces, but because they’ve both been involved in the beer business for a long time. In fact, Jim gave Skip his first beer industry job way back in 1992. Ever since, they’ve been known as “Skipper and his Little Buddy,” a nod to Gilligan’s Island. Over the years, they’ve both been working in the beer biz from Montana to Colorado to Oregon and Washington.
These days Skip brews for American Brewing Company. Jim hocks beer for Fort George Brewing. To commemorate their long-standing friendship, the two will host a series of dual-brewers events at pubs around western Washington. Events will feature beers from both American Brewing and Fort George Brewing. Beat that. Here are the details as we have them right now.
BARLEY LEGAL TOUR COMING TO A PUB NEAR YOU
‘Skipper’ and his ‘Little Buddy’ celebrate 21 years in the beer business
“Just sit right back and you’ll hear some tales, some tales from two guys who brew. And when they are not making beer, they like to tip a few!”
Skip Madsen and Jim Parker are familiar faces in the Pacific Northwest beer scene. Madsen is the brewer of many of Washington’s favorite beers at breweries such as Pike, Big Time, Boundary Bay, Water Street and now American. Parker has bounced around Oregon and Washington as a brewer, publican, brewers guild director and now salesman for Oregon’s Fort George Brewery.
But what many don’t know is that these two, who affectionately refer to each other as “Skipper” and “Little Buddy,” got their start in the beer business together 21 years ago in Fort Collins, Colo.
“Jim gave me my first job in the beer business as a bartender at the Mountain Tap Tavern in 1992,” Madsen says.
As Parker recalls, “I had corresponded with Skip about the Montana beer scene when I was publishing my brewspaper, ‘Rocky Mountain Brews’ and he was head of the Zoo City Zymurgists club in Missoula. We first met at a homebrew competition in Fort Collins where I was judging and he won best-of-show. I was in the midst of opening a pub and offered him a job bartending.”
The two became fast friends and soon after, the “Skipper” and “Little Buddy” monikers – a play on the characters from the “Gilligan’s Island” TV show – took hold.
“Skipper is one of the main reasons I moved to Washington,” Parker says. “After he moved here, I ended up back in Oregon, and whenever possible, we would visit each other or make sure to connect at events like the Great American Beer Festival.”
To celebrate the 21 years of friendship and fermentation the two are holding a series of co-brewers nights at pubs around the state, calling it their “Barley Legal Tour.” The idea started at a brewers night the two shared at Special Brews in Lynnwood last month.
“As usually happens when Skipper and I get together, stories started flying and pretty soon we were both laughing so hard no one could hear anything else,” Parker says. “So we decided we needed to do more of these.”
The next stop on the “Barley Legal Tour” is Thursday, May 16 at The Pub on Piper’s Creek as part of Seattle Beer Week. They will also make a two-day stop at Woodinville’s The Collective on Tap on May 27 and 27. They are working on June dates at Pourhouse in Port Townsend and Darrel’s Tavern in Shoreline before celebrating the 21st anniversary of the opening of the Mountain Tap on July 3 at the Copper Hog in Bellingham. After that, who knows?
“We’ll probably continue this all year… as long as there are pubs who will have us,” Parker says. “We’re talking about doing a ‘Tour Shirt’ and maybe even a collaboration beer. In reality, it is just another excuse for Skipper and I to get together, have a few beers and tell stories about each other… some of them are even true.”
Both Fort George and American Brewing beers are distributed in the Seattle area by Click Distributing. Any pub owner wanting to book a stop on the “Barley Legal Tour” can contact their Click representative or contact Parker directly at [email protected]