Tin Dog Brewing in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood is still unknown to many local beer drinkers, but the company recently brought home three medals that should earn the brewery some wider recognition.
- Melange Deux. Gold Medal at the 2018 Washington Brewers Choice Awards – Sour beer category.
- Mandala. Silver medal at the 2018 Washington Beer Awards – Mixed Culture Brett Beers category.
- Melange Deux. Bronze medal at the 2018 Washington Beer Awards – Belgian and Wild Sour Beers category.
Located on Cloverdale Street, just off of Highway 509, Tin Dog Brewing has been in business for four and a half years. Until recently they did not distribute beer and the only way to taste it, for the most part, was by visiting the brewery’s taproom. A true family operation, you would usually find Eric and Lisa, a husband and wife team, manning the taps.
“For the first three and a half years we labored in the obscurity of the undiscovered neighborhood of South Park,” said Lisa Rough of Tin Dog Brewing in a recent email announcement. “We had a tiny taproom, a two-barrel brew system and lots of creative beer ideas. We very rarely sold beer to a bar. We did not distribute any bottles. We were at a few Farmer’s Markets. People shook their heads and wondered how we could exist without the hype, without the staff, without investors. Just my husband and I, a volunteer named William (still on staff) and a few friendly neighbors. We are older and people kept asking us if we were enjoying our retirement years. We’d answer that this is sure a lot of work to be doing in retirement!”
“We did the reverse of what other breweries were doing – we vowed to always have enough to support the drinking habits of our regulars and the outside sales would come if we had extra,” explains Lisa. “We didn’t have any extra and found it hard to keep up with the growing and continual thirst of our patrons. We had a secret weapon to keep up with demand and always have a wide variety of beers (we are well past thirty now and I have lost count). We had eight two-barrel fermenters to rack 16 barrels of beer. We also were making experimental beers that our patrons would try on our PICO system. Our hours were “We will close when the last person stops drinking”.”
Lisa explains a little bit about what sets Tin Dog Brewing apart:
- “We make uncommon beers that push boundaries. You will not and have never found a standard line up at our brewery. We have never done tasters because each beer is distinct and needs to be experienced on its own merits. We don’t do traditional IPA’s or chase after trends. We approach beer making as you would cooking – with all the ingredients at our fingertips. Have you ever had an Apricot Thai Basil Pale or a Lemon Sage Wit? I bet not.”
- “We see beer as a harmony of elements, and not just one string. Beer is a balance of hops, water, malt and yeast and each element has an important part to play like a symphony.”
- “We are teachers that educate people to stretch their minds and their taste buds.”
- “We use Skagit Valley barley and wheat, grown and malted right here in Western Washington. Fresh, tasty local malt makes tasty beer and is the baseline of any beer.”
- “We do not use neutral yeast. We use captured yeast. We use Wild yeast. We use yeast that adds all kinds of flavor – nutty, spicy, floral, fruity, earthy flavor.”
- “We blend our Wild and Sour beers. This creates a balanced beer without the “super pucker” factor.”
- “We age our beers naturally and don’t artificially chill them.”
- “We take our time and let the beer take as long as it needs to be ready.”
- “We are rooted in our community and have contributed to many local charities.”
Beyond visiting Tin Dog Brewing in South Park, how can you get the beer?
“We are new to the distribution thing, having just distributed our first bottles in October of 2017. Since then, we are in 17 bottle shops, 6 Farmer’s Markets, and will be on the shelves at PCC soon with Whole Foods interested, too. And now the three medals. Our beer has always been good. It’s just that more people know it’s good now. And hopefully those who haven’t had the opportunity to try it will be able to do so soon.”
Tin Dog Brewing is located at 309 South Cloverdale Street Suite A2, Seattle, WA 98108.