Those who pay attention to the local beer and food scene recognize Warren Peterson as Tom Douglas Restaurants‘ Beer Czar. Beyond his duties as one of Douglas’ sous chefs, he helped make beer-related decisions companywide. It is not unusual to find a chef that likes beer, but Warren’s passion exceeds that of most other chefs. If he were not a chef, he’d probably be a brewer. Perhaps that helps explain why he is leaving Tom Douglas Restaurants to work as one of the new chefs at Elliott Bay Brewing Company’s highly anticipated Lake City brewpub.
“This will get me closer to the source,” Warren said. “I look forward to working so close with the actual brewery on a regular basis.”
Warren is no stranger to the brewhouse. Working with Tom Douglas Restaurants provided him opportunities to collaborate with local brewers, especially since the opening of the Brave Horse Tavern–Douglas’ beer-focused, upscale tavern in South Lake Union. Working side-by-side with local brewers, Warren helped formulate and brew beers specifically for the Brave Horse.
For instance, last summer Warren teamed up with renowned brewer Skip Madsen at American Brewing Company to create Brave American Brown Ale. The strong, American-style Brown Ale was popular with patrons at the Brave Horse Tavern, which surprised no one. The beer is dark, rich and sweet but also has a notable hop-forward bitterness. What did exceed expectations, the beer won a Bronze Medal at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver. Beer geeks know that bringing home a medal from the GABF is no small feat.
You could call it his swansong as Tom Douglas’ Beer Czar: Warren Peterson recently worked with Bart Traubeck of Alpine Brewing Company to formulate a beer commemorating the Brave Horse Tavern’s first anniversary. The beer will be released next month at a party marking the occasion and will be available thereafter at the tavern.
At Home in the Brewhouse
I was at the American Brewing Company’s brewery in Edmonds last July when Warren brewed the first batch of Brave American Brown Ale. Over lunch, as the mash rested and grains were being converted to fermentable sugars, I enjoyed an opportunity to talk to Warren about beer, food and his passion for both.
“Don’t get me wrong, I think wine is great and I have experienced some amazing pairings,” Warren told me as he dipped a wedge of naan into an impossibly bright red dipping sauce that seemed to be a version of raita made with beets instead of carrots. “But I think beer pairs better with food.”
I’ve heard a number of chefs make this assertion. This time I actually had the opportunity to dig deeper and ask why.
“To begin with, wine is acidic. That’s not a bad thing, but it is acidic. That makes it impossible to pair some foods with wine. Beer is not acidic unless you get into sours and stuff like that. Generally you can pair anything with beer.”
This morning Warren told me that things are still coming together at the new Elliott Bay brewpub and the conversations are just beginning regarding subjects like pairing menus, beer dinners and more. Warren says he looks forward to working with Bill Jenkins, who will be making the beer at the Lake City brewery.
This will be Elliott Bay Brewing Company’s third location. The original location in West Seattle opened in 1997. The company’s Burien location recently celebrated its 5th birthday (see pictures). Elliott Bay Brewing hopes to open the Lake City location on March 26th. That date is not firm; we will report any news about the brewpub’s official opening date as soon as it is available.
Elliott Bay Public House & Brewery
12537 Lake City Way NE
Seattle, WA 98125