Above, from top to bottom: B.J., Sam, and  Jim.

Ten Pin Brewing is coming to Western Washington – here’s their story

A couple weeks ago Kim and I stopped by Ten Pin Brewing in Moses Lake to introduce ourselves, learn the story, and sample some beers. Bowling and beer is an age-old pairing and it’s hard to imagine one without the other, but in Washington beer and bowling haven’t always been so closely connected. We’ll talk more about that in a minute. For now, know that Ten Pin Brewing, as the name suggests, fully embraces the relationship between beer and bowling. Last August we told you about expansion plans at Ten Pin (read it); that project is now complete.

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Two important facts we learned that day, Ten Pin Brewing is coming to the Washington Brewers Festival this year (this upcoming weekend at Marymoor Park in Redmond) and will soon begin distributing beer in Western Washington. The festival provides a great opportunity for the brewery to introduce itself to beer drinkers west of the mountains.

Beyond that, we discovered that Ten Pin Brewing’s beers are very good. Among other accolades, they’ve won a number of medals at the Washington Beer Awards over the past couple years.

The official tasting room for Ten Pin Brewing is, basically, the bar/restaurant at Lake Bowl in Moses Lake. Behind glass at the tasting room, the original 3-barrel brewery is on display. So if you happen to find yourself in Moses Lake, now there’s a place to go for good, fresh, local beer.

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The new brewery, which is bigger than you might imagine, is across the parking lot from the bowling alley. No tasting room at the brewery itself. The brand new, very large, free-standing, purpose-built structure is the home of a new 30-barrel brewhouse, a handful of fermenters, a 2,500 square-foot “drive in” cooler, and room to expand and add things like a canning line. The brewery is currently configured to brew 7,500 barrels annually, with the capability of expanding to 21,000.

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Jim Madden, Head Brewer, is a decorated homebrewer who seamlessly transitioned to full-on commercial brewing. He talks about the scaling-up process (from three-barrel to 30-barrel batches) like it’s no big deal, but it is. He previously worked as a chemical engineer, which might explain why his beer is so good. Compared to other things he’s done, brewing beer is probably a pretty simple process.

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B.J. Garbe, the CEO at Ten Pin Brewing, is a Moses Lake native and former professional baseball player who spent time, primarily, in the Minnesota Twins and Seattle Mariners organizations. Sam Russell, Sales Manager, is also a Moses Lake native and handles the sales and marketing side of the business.

30-barrel brewhouse.
Above: 30-barrel brewhouse.

Both B.J. and Sam are, in the most literal sense of the word, related to the family that has owned and operated Lake Bowl for generations. B.J. married into the family and Sam’s great-grandfather started the bowling alley back in 1957. The family still runs it today. George Russell, Sam’s great-grandfather, worked diligently to help change state laws so that beer could be served in his bowling alley right down at the lanes. As I said earlier, it’s hard to imagine beer and bowling being so disconnected.

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I think people will be talking about Ten Pin Brewing at the Washington Brewers Festival. If for no other reason, because of the jockey box from which they’ll pour the beer. I’ll just tell you that it’s a sight to behold; it’s rather large. An impressive piece of equipment.

To the festival, they plan to bring their regular, “everyday” lineup of beers—IPA, Stout, Amber, and so on. Among them, Groove Pineapple Wheat, which is brewed using Mosaic hops and fresh pineapple. Usually, Kim and I don’t get excited about fruited beers, but this one is special and we both I loved it. Beyond that, I’m not sure what they’ll bring to the event.

Above, from top to bottom: B.J., Sam, and Jim.
Above, from top to bottom: B.J., Sam, and Jim.

Be sure to stop by the Ten Pin Brewing booth at the festival this weekend. Tell ’em that you heard the story on the blog.


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One comment

  1. I know it’s not a big difference, but George Russell was Sam’s grandfather, not great grandfather. (:

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