First look inside Redhook’s Capitol Hill Brewlab

Though his vats and filters are squished tightly into a Pike/Pine auto row-era building transformed into a 260-unit apartment building, Nick Crandall tells CHS there are no compromises when it comes to making beer in the new Redhook Brewlab.

“You can definitely smell when I’m brewing,” the project’s brewer said Thursday night as the new small-batch brewery and pub from the big beer brand held parties for media and the Puget Sound beer industry. More parties will follow over the next few days. The Redhook Brewlab opens officially to the public on August 17th.

The project has been a long time coming. Delayed as Redhook and its parent Craft Beer Alliance, a company partly owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, overhauled the company and were challenged by logistical issues around the infrastructure and electrical system required to power a brewery in the middle of a city block, the project first came to light way back in November 2015. The plan had been to open the brewery and pub in fall 2016 to coincide with the 35th anniversary of the brewery’s beginnings in a North Seattle garage. Redhook moved its operation from Seattle to Woodinville in the mid ’90s. The Woodinville brewing operation closed in June.

The new Capitol Hill “brewlab” is more about the beer and the experience than bottling. The original plans for a ten-barrel system have manifested in an eight-barrel system and a focus on experimentation, trial, and error. Redhook calls the project “a beer-focused working space” and “a test ground to experiment and create new small-batch beers primarily for the pub, and to develop recipes that will eventually come to life on a wider scale in Washington and beyond.”

Redhook Brewlab is now the fourth venture utilizing Capitol Hill’s light manufacturing zoning to make beer in the neighborhood. Indie Optimism Brewing celebrated its first year of Hill beer in January and paved the way for creating a modern showcase brewery inside a Pike/Pine auto row-era building. Neighborhood longtimer Elysian continues to fill E Pike’s with the smells of malt and barley and has followed suit with plans to make the beer making experience a bigger part of its offerings. Meanwhile, tiny Outer Planet — fittingly located beneath a microhousing apartment building — is undergoing a change in ownership.

While Redhook’s new test brewing operation is tightly packed, the Brewlab pub and patio fills as much space as the old BMW showroom that used to call the block home. With a design by Graham Baba Architects, Redhook says Poquitos and Rhein Haus owners James Weimann and Deming Maclise — “who intentionally worked to emphasize the industrial features of the Pike Motorworks space while incorporating historic elements such as a 1930s bar salvaged from a Greyhound Bus Station in Soap Lake, Wash., and vintage lighting fixtures” — consulted on the look and feel of the expansive pub space.

Weimann and Maclise also reportedly advised on the project’s menu which emphasizes creations like pizzas from its wood-fired oven.

The Redhook project, meanwhile, represents a reality of “marketplace” concepts that accompanied a small wave of massive Pike/Pine preservation incentive-boosted development. The buildings like Pike Motorworks created large, open commercial spaces where the strategy was focused on a collection of small retailers, cafes, and restaurants inspired by Liz Dunn’s development at Melrose Market. So far, only Dunn’s Chophouse Row has delivered on the promise.

The Redhook Brewlab’s grand opening, meanwhile, will be a collaboration with the pub’s “radio partner” KEXP featuring live music, lots of beer, and your first chance to hang out on the project’s large street level patio to watch the bustle of E Pike go by and think about all the changes with an experimental brew or two.

The Redhook Brewlab is located inside the Pike Motorworks building at 714 E Pike. It will be open 3 PM to midnight on Fridays, noon to midnight on Saturdays, noon to 10 PM on Sundays, and 3 PM to 10 PM the rest of the week. You can learn more at redhook.com/breweries-pubs/capitol-hill.

 

 

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