Starting your own brewery can be a big decision. Some people ponder the idea for years before taking any action. Others just feel that spark and jump right in. In a way, both of these are the case for Outer Planet Brewing Company founders Renato Martins and Jim Stoccardo.
Now, stay with me here. A few years back Renato was Jim’s brother’s boss at Microsoft. Jim is an artist by trade but has been homebrewing since the mid 90’s. One afternoon when they all got together Renato and Jim started talking and Renato, considering brewing an art as well (which indeed it is), felt that spark and asked Jim if he’d ever considered opening a brewery. Honestly, what homebrewer hasn’t at least considered the idea at one point or another? Jim had, of course, thought about it but didn’t know if he had the means on his own. Renato proposed that Jim take care of the brewing, and he’d take care of the business end of things. Jim agreed. They scarped together what money they could, borrowed a bit more from friends and family and Outer Planet Brewing Company was born.
Last night I and several other members of the local craft beer media attended a preview event at Outer Planet Brewing on Capitol Hill, where we had the opportunity to meet the founders, tour the brewery and sample a few of their beers.
Outer Planet is starting both small and big. They have a small, 3 barrel brew system with two 6 barrel fermenters, but they also have a fairly large taproom. We had the opportunity to taste 7 of their beers last night, which is an impressive number when you consider that they only have two fermenters to work with so far. They’ve been busy.
The Outer Planet Brewing beers we had the opportunity to taste last night included:
- Oatmeal Brown
- Bohemian ‘Lager’
- Imperial Stout
Out of these selections, the ESB was my favorite. It’s an English Style ESB with a nice but not overly assertive hop nose and is very drinkable. I wasn’t the only one who ordered more than one sample of this tasty brew. It’s really become somewhat of an overlooked style these days. Not too many craft breweries regularly offer an ESB. Most tend to just stick with IPAs. Perhaps the B in ESB, which stands for ‘Bitter’, is what scares some people off. ESBs tend to be a bit more robust and Earthy than the more hop forward IPA, but I really enjoy them when I can find a good one.
The Bohemian ‘Lager’ isn’t truly a lager. It’s an ale, brewed with ale yeast, but done in style of a bohemian Pilsner. It was an interesting take on the style. Not as crisp as a true Pilsner, but still pretty good. The Saison was also very solid and actually won first place at last year’s XBrew Awards. All of their beers were decent, though a few could use a bit more refinement.
Outer Planet Brewing Company is located at 1812 12th Avenue, between E. Howell and E. Denny about a block from Cal Anderson Park and, depending on your stance regarding the Anheuser Busch takeover of Elysian Brewing Company, you could say that they are now the only craft brewery on Capitol Hill.
Renato and Jim wanted the brewery to have a ‘neighborhood’ feel and, while I’m sure financial considerations played a part, Renato told me they didn’t want to start with something as large as, for example, a 15 barrel system. They want to offer small, carefully crafted batches of different beers and expand slowly.
Set to open to the public today (2/20) at 4:30 PM, Outer Planet Brewing will start out opening on just Friday and Saturday, but they hope to expand to 5 days a week and eventually 7 days a week as soon as possible. Parking can be somewhat challenging, considering their location, so keep this in mind. You might want to take the bus instead of driving to save you the hassle of searching for a place to park. Currently, the only food Outer Planet offers is complimentary pretzels, but they plan on setting up partnerships with some local food trucks and, of course, you’re welcome to bring in any outside food. Drop by today when they open and say hello.
Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.