I’ve always enjoyed the beers coming out of Lagunitas Brewing Company. I even used to live in Petaluma, CA but I moved to Seattle just a few years after they opened and never had the opportunity to visit the brewery there (it was also before I started writing about craft beer). That’s why I was excited when the news broke last year that Lagunitas would be opening a brewery right here in Seattle – taking over the space formerly occupied by Hilliard’s Brewing.
After a media/friends/family sneak peek, The Lagunitas Seattle Taproom And Beer Sanctuary opened their doors back on January 12th. At the time, there was a rumor going around that the new Seattle location would be producing some pilot batches of new, unique beers that would only be available in the Seattle market. Those rumors were quickly confirmed, but no date was set for when those Seattle-only brews would begin.
Yesterday, I was invited to the brewery to join Lagunitas and a whole host of their hop and barley farming partners who produce the necessary raw materials for our favorite beverage: craft beer. The growers had come together to enjoy many of the beers Lagunitas creates with their crops, and brought along ingredients, including a whole host of different hops, to brew the first commercially available beer brewed by Lagunitas in Seattle. In fact, they only got the final licenses for their brewing system (Hilliard’s old system) and the OK to start brewing a few weeks ago.
By the time I arrived at about 11:30 am, the brewing was already under way and Lagunitas’ farming partners were enjoying all the different beers Lagunitas had on tap. The wonderful smell of grains in the mash tun filled the brewery, and I was enjoying discussing the ins and outs of hop and barley farming with several of the attendees.
We weren’t provided with any type of detailed information regarding the recipe of the beer being brewed, but I got the idea that it would be a very unique IPA; one that would not likely be able to be reproduced since several unique hop additions were used (and drop hopping is planned). I’ll let Lagunitas’ Brewmaster, Jeremy Marshall, explain:
I also wanted to update you on something I mentioned back in January regarding upcoming food options at Lagunitas Seattle. When Lagunitas first moved into their space in Ballard, they had plans to open a full kitchen. It seems those plans may have been put on hold. I was discussing their culinary plans with one of their managers and he mentioned that they might have to forego the idea of installing a full kitchen, because it would require thousands of dollars in building upgrades. Lagunitas isn’t so sure they want to spend the money on those upgrades, especially considering the fact that they rent rather than own the building.
Lagunitas has also come to realize how robust the food truck scene is in Seattle and haven’t had a problem keeping food trucks booked for the taproom pretty regularly. It’s also inspired them to consider opening/operating their own food truck on site. Like any other food truck, they would still require a brick and mortar kitchen space for prep work, but they might be able to install a kitchen in the brewery that serves this purpose without requiring as many costly upgrades as a full restaurant kitchen might. I’ll keep you updated when I know more.
The first Seattle-exclusive beer from Lagunitas was only brewed yesterday, but it should be available on tap in about three weeks. I will keep track of things and keep you updated in exactly when it will be going on tap.
Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.