The first new beer brewery to open on Capitol Hill since these guys started playing with yeast and hops on E Pike will debut its creations to the public for the first time Friday.
“I just hope we’re busy but don’t run out of beer,” Outer Planet Craft Brewing co-founder Renato Martins told CHS Thursday afternoon as he and brewmaster James Stoccardo prepared for their first days of business inside the tiny brewery and tasting room on the ground floor of a new 12th Ave building filled with tiny apartments.
The self-proclaimed “nano brewery” inside a microhousing development serves only its 12th Ave-brewed beers.
“We’ll only serve something we’re proud of,” Martins said. That pride means your early experiences with Outer Planet will be limited to Thursdays through Saturdays for the time being. Hours will be 4:30 PM until the brewers are ready to shut down for the night or the taps run dry.
Friday’s opening is the first of two beer breweries slated to open this year on Capitol Hill. The husband and wife who paid $6.15 million for an auto row-era home for their Optimism Brewing project at Broadway and Union tell CHS they are planning an “early 2015” opening for the facility. “Optimism is a brewery, not a brewpub, focused solely on making beer,” the project’s “about us” page says. “We will not have a kitchen or serve food. Instead, we are creating space for an ever-changing group of 2-3 food trucks to drive into the building and serve food.” Meanwhile, Broadway is also getting a new tavern and bottle shop as Euro Pub is planned to open next month.
CHS first reported on the Outer Planet project last summer as Martins and Stoccardo first began tackling the challenges of setting up a brewery in such tight quarters.
The learning curve for Outer Planet’s business partners has been steep. Since the start of production in December, Martins said brewing at a commercial scale required battling through new equipment and new processes. Ten barrels of beer ended up going down the drain as Stoccardo found his bearings.
Today, Outer Planet is ready to serve. The tiny, three barrels at a time production facility has also inspired innovation. Challenged with creating a time-consuming pilsner, Stoccardo — Jimmy, at the beer counter — developed a faster turnaround for the brew. “The pilsner is an experiment that became a recipe,” Stoccardo said.
You’ll find the pilsner on the Outer Planet menu as the Bohemian along with an IPA, ESB, Brown, Barleywine, Imperial Stout, and a Saison. Martins said the plan is to start simple and introduce more exotic brews as the partners get the swing of things. He said things like Outer Planet-inspired naming for the brews will also come down the line. You can get a head start by offering helpful suggestions while you sip Stoccardo’s creations.
Pints go for $6, $8 for Imperial varieties. It’s a tasting room without a kitchen so don’t expect more than snacks until Culture Club is up and running next door. The “cheese bar” concept from Melrose Market cheesemonger Sheri Lavigne is slated to open next door this spring with cheese flights and beer-friendly pairings.
A home brewer with a couple decades experience tending bar in Seattle,Stoccardo said he’s ready for the next test — sharing his creation with paying customers.
“It’s surreal after so many months making beer to see people finally drinking it,” Stoccardo said.
Outer Planet is open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays starting at 4:30 PM at 1812 12th Ave. You can learn more at outerplanetbrewing.com.