On February 10th of this year, a small brewery in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood – one some of you may not have heard of before – celebrated their latest anniversary. That brewery is Tin Dog Brewing Company and they’ve bee operating quietly on the other side of the Duwamish since February 2014.
Specializing in Belgian-style beers, including sour/wild beers and aged, blended/mixed cluture styles, Tin Dog has been honing their craft, and their work has paid off. I’d like to offer my congratulations to Tin Dog Brewing Company for taking home Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in this year’s wild sour beer category at the Washington Beer Awards and Brewer’s Choice Awards, taking home Gold, Silver and Bronze.
Here is some more information about the awards from Tin Dog Brewing Company:
By now people are asking, “Who is Tin Dog Brewing?” “Why haven’t I heard of them?” Why will they be asking this now? Because we just swept the Wild and Sour categories awards at the Washington Beer Awards and Brewers Choice Awards and came away with a Gold, a Silver and a Bronze and no one knows who the heck we are.
That is partially intentional. For the first 3 ½ years we labored in the obscurity of the undiscovered neighborhood of South Park. We had a tiny taproom, a 2 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. 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 8 2BBL fermenters to rack 16 BBL 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”.
So, what are the things that make our beer stand out and make it unique? How did we win 3 medals and get featured at “The Herbfarm”?
- 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
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.
Congratulations once again to Tin Dog Brewing Company! I must admit, even though they’re very close to me, I don’t visit often enough. I’ll have to rectify that situation. As noted above, Tin Dog started local distribution late last year and you can find their beers at several local craft bottle shops, including Full Throttle Bottles in Georgetown. (Full disclosure – I work at Full Throttle Bottles. Come visit me on Saturdays between 11 am and 4-5 pm).
Tin Dog brewing is family and dog friendly, and will also fill Crowlers, in case you’d like to take some Tin Dog beers to go.
Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.