With grand opening on hold, Mount Vernon’s District Brewing marches forward

For 18 months, Mark Shintaffer oversaw the renovation of a large historical building along the riverwalk in downtown Mount Vernon. It was a project filled with the kind of ups and downs that come with trying to turn a 100-year-old building into something modern and state-of-the-art.

Shintaffer’s end goal was to turn the rundown building, which used to house the Lyric Theater, into a destination brewery and restaurant. By mid-March of this year he was finished and ready to fling open the doors.

Then the pandemic hit.

The weekend that District Brewing was set to open in late March, the Governor was preparing to issue his Stay Home, Stay Safe order. Shintaffer never got to truly open the brewery. Instead, like many breweries and restaurants, District had to pivot quickly. They began selling pizzas and crowler and growler fills to go. So far the response has been promising.

“The concept is really neighborhood brewery; that ‘third place’ feeling.”

Mark Shintaffer, District Brewing owner

“We continue to blow through kegs, so the consumer has responded very well,” said Shintaffer.

For weeks now customers have been lining up in front of the brewery along the riverwalk, waiting their turn to order pizza and beer. Inside the building, the beautiful brew tanks serve as the backdrop to a large dining room, with a second floor of customer seating overhead. 

Until this week, the beer on tap has been outsourced. But Monday Shintaffer finally posted a District Brewing original: First Strike, a West Coast IPA. Three days later, Tropical Vacation, a hazy IPA, was added to the menu.

The head brewer at District is John Kochendorfer, whose brewing experience includes stints at Elysian Brewing, where he brewed Snail Bones and Space Dust, and Mukilteo’s Diamond Knot Craft Brewing

Along with helping him make connections in the craft beer world that has already led to collaborations with Iron Horse Brewing and Bale Breaker, brewing at a big player like Elysian taught Kochendorfer a lot about the beer-making process.

District Brewing head brewer John Kochendorfer (left) and owner Mark Shintaffer in District’s brewhouse.

“(I learned) that details make the difference between a mediocre beer and a great beer, and to always question the accepted wisdom if you ever want to make progress,” Kochendorfer said.

As for the beer at District, Kochendorfer plans to focus on hop-forward beers. But that doesn’t mean he’ll be looking to just fit his beers into a pre-defined style or flavor profile and start pumping our cookie-cutter IPAs.

“I plan to make a wide variety of hop forward beers in a range of different alcohol content and in varying degrees of haze or clarity,” said Kochendorfer. “There will be names and descriptions to guide you through them of course, but as brewers, and drinkers, we are blessed these days with an amazingly wide variety of hops that continues to grow every year and I intend to play with as many of them as possible to bring people uniquely refreshing hoppy experiences.”

District will have 20 beers on tap, most of them being their own beer. 

When looking for a brewer to head up his operation, Shintaffer wanted someone with experience in a professional setting and knowledge of how to make beers consistent and reliable. He believes that’s what he’s got in Kochendorfer.

“When John’s brewing he’s brewing to the gram,” Shintaffer said. “He’s a scientist. It’s all math for him. He’s dialing in each recipe so it’s exactly the same every time. We want our customers t to be able to depend on that.”

For Shintaffer, beer is just part of the experience he hopes patrons enjoy when District can finally open to foot traffic. With the restaurant focusing mostly on pizza and the theme and decor around movies (paying tribute to the building’s past as a theater), Shintaffer wanted to create a place where everybody felt welcome.

“The concept is really neighborhood brewery; that ‘third place’ feeling,” Shintaffer said. “We want people to bring the wife, the kids, your neighbor. It’s going to be a fun environment.”

The vision Shintaffer has in his head was put there by Pinthouse Pizza, a small chain of pizza and beer spots he visited in Austin, Texas. Like what District will eventually do, Pinthouse has customers order their pizza and beer at the counter and then sit down and eventually bus their own tables.

“It’s new to our area,” Shintaffer said, “but I believe that if you build it they will come.” 

Shintaffer comes from a long line of beverage people. His family started Sound Beverages, a beer and beverage distributor in Whatcom County, 70 years ago. In recent years, Shintaffer decided it was time to try opening his own brewery.

“I’ve enjoyed the business, but I needed to find something of my own,” Shintaffer said.

For now, he’ll have to wait a little longer until that vision is fully realized.

District Beers

First Strike IPA

| KEY INGREDIENTS Mosaic, El Dorado, Centennial, and Pahto hops
| ABV 6.1% | IBU 67

Tropical Vacation Hazy IPA

| ABV 8.3% | IBU 71

Order here

Pizza and beer to go in Skagit Valley

| Photography courtesy of Aaron Swaney and District Brewing.


Skookum releases Chuck’s Hop Shop collaboration Enjoyable Distraction Wednesday

For brewers, creating the official beer for the annual Seattle Beer Week is quite an honor. This year that job was supposed to fall to the brewers at Skookum Brewery and Old Schoolhouse Brewery.

Of course, we know what happened to all that. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak, Seattle Beer Week was canceled, the official beer was scuttled and Skookum’s head brewer Hollis Wood and the folks at Old Schoolhouse were left holding the bag on a 1,000 pounds of experimental HBC-630 hops.

But when life gives you lemons … apparently you make delicious beer. 

Wood took the hops that were once destined for the collaboration with Old Schoolhouse and spun it into another beer collaboration, this one with Chuck’s Hop Shop. Enjoyable Distraction is a tropical IPA made with spelt and oats and a whole mess of hops, including the Yakma Chief experimental hops HBC-630, 

“We had these hops, so I figured let’s do something fun,” Wood said. “This was a perfect chance. I’m really liking the beer.”

Skookum canned the beer on Tuesday and will be delivering 50 cases to each of Chuck’s Hop Shop locations, Greenwood and Central District. The brewery will also be selling cans of the beer starting at 3 p.m. Wednesday, May 20.

This is Skookum’s second collaboration with Chuck’s after brewing Chucklehead, a double IPA made with Amarillo, Mosaic and Southern Star hops, for the 2017 Seattle Beer Week. The connection between brewery and bottleshop goes back to when Chuck’s became a gateway for Skookum into the competitive Seattle market.

“Chuck’s was one of the first accounts to take our beer in Seattle,” Wood said. “They helped get us established in Seattle and I’ve always felt we owe them a bit for having given us a chance.” 

As for the beer, Wood said it’s tropical with a hint of stone fruit like apricot and peach from the HBC-630. The other hops are Citra, Vic’s Secret and Azacca.

On Monday, Skookum released 16-ounce cans of its IPA Southern Glow and Parlor Trick, an imperial oatmeal milk stout brewed with cocoa powder and finished on strawberries. Along with Tuesday’s canning of Enjoyable Distraction, it’s a second major canning session for a brewery that had only canned its beers once before the pandemic. Wood said the brewery is planning to do more canning in the coming weeks.

The additional canning runs comes on the heels of Skookum digging through its cellar to sell the final bottles and kegs of crowd favorites like Heavy is the Head That Wears the Crown, a blend of barleywine and wheatwine, releasing a four-way barleywine blend called Quarantine and #BIL in crowlers and even selling kegs retail.

“We’ve had to bob and weave and change up our plans,” Wood said. “We decided early on we would do what we could to survive. We’re adapting to the current market.”

Look for more goodies from Skookum coming out soon. In the meantime, the Arlington brewery plans to return to its normal hours of operation June 1. Currently the brewery is open 3 to 7 p.m. every day. 

Enjoyable Distraction

Artwork for the Enjoyable Distraction cans was created by Alyson Osborn of Handsome Meatball.

Skookum Brewery/Chuck’s Hop Shop
A tropical IPA from Skookum Brewery and made in collaboration with Seattle bottleshop Chuck’s Hop Shop. Brewed with spelt and oat and Citra, Vic’s Secret, Azacca and HBC-630 hops.

From the brewery: In these dark times we’re all grasping for a semblance of normalcy. We brewed this collaboration IPA to remind you of better times, and that we’re all in this together.

Available at Skookum Brewery, and Chuck’s Hop Shop Greenwood and Central District locations


| Photo courtesy of Skookum Brewery.

Everett’s Crucible Brewing releases collaboration with Special Brews in bottles May 8

Crucible Brewing is releasing its first bottle today.

Originally brewed for Special Brews‘ seventh anniversary, the beer, Jake Gave Dick Wood, is a buckwheat wine aged in JP Trodden Bourbon barrels and tequila barrels. The 500-ml bottles are $15 and will go on sale May 8 at noon at the brewery and at Special Brews.

Crucible Brewing co-owners Dick Mergens and Dylan Sandberg were long-time mug club members at Special Brews and have forged a strong relationship with Special Brews’ owner Jake Taylor over the years. In 2017, Crucible brewed the buckwheat wine for Special Brews seventh anniversary. After it was released a year later, Mergens kept a couple kegs behind and aged them a little longer in hopes of releasing them for Special Brews’ ninth anniversary next month.

With the COVID outbreak, though, the anniversary celebration was put on hold. So Mergens and Taylor decided to bottle the special beer. On Wednesday, they bottled 700 bottles in eight hours.

“It was mostly a manual process for this first bottle release, so it was mostly blood, sweat an beers,” said Crucible co-owner Shawn Dowling. “We had a lot of fun and it was great checking off this milestone for the brewery.”

Dowling hinted that there will be a few more bottle releases in Crucible’s near future.

Jake Gave Dick Wood

Crucible Brewing, Everett
A creamy mouthfeel brings forward a medley of chocolate, vanilla, caramel, plum, raisins, dates and, of course, bourbon and tequila! The massive grain bill consists of English barley, buckwheat, chocolate malt and copious amounts of agave nectar and finished with East Kent Golding hops. 13.3 ABV.

Available in 500ml bottles 5/8.


Crucible’s first bottle release is a 500-ml buckwheat wine aged in JP Trodden Bourbon barrels and tequila barrels.

| Photo courtesy of Crucible Brewing.

WHAT’S BREWING | Snohomish’s Spada Farmhouse Brewery readies new downtown location

John Spada and his wife Emily recently welcomed their first child into the world.

Soon, Spada’s brewery, Spada Farmhouse Brewery, will be undergoing a huge change of its own. Spada Farmhouse Brewery is using this time in quarantine to renovate a building in downtown Snohomish that will eventually be its new home. It’s a huge move for the small craft brewery that focuses on sours and barrel-aged beers.

“I’m really excited for the opportunity for growth,” said Spada, whose taproom until recently was housed in a cozy taproom just up from First Street on Union Avenue in downtown Snohomish. “I think it’ll be an opportunity to attract a wider base of customers.”

Spada’s new space is located on First Street, which is coveted real estate for retailers with all of its antique shops, restaurants and other tourist retailers. The former tenant was Stewart’s Place Tavern, a fixture in Snohomish. 

“The majority of foot traffic in Snohomish is on First Street,” said Spada. “It was tough being off of First Street because it really cuts down on that foot traffic.”

Spada said they had been looking for two years for a spot that could house both the brewery and taproom on First Street, but that the real estate market for that type of building is very competitive. Not only was First Street desirable, but Spada was looking to keep distance between his brewery and the five other breweries in Snohomish. 

So when Spada found out Stewart’s was leaving, he jumped at the opportunity. Once they secured the building, Spada closed its former spot on Union Ave. and is now putting all of its energy into building out and renovating the new space. 

The new space will allow Spada to move brewing production on site. Spada’s sour and barrel-aging program will remain on the family farm outside of Snohomish to ensure the separation of clean and sour beer.

Another bonus to making the move for Spada is the addition of food service, something the brewery didn’t have at its former spot. The kitchen will be run by Spada’s friend Tyler Stocker, who was one of the original owners of the Trail’s End Taproom and has run his own catering and food truck businesses.

“The menu will be unique and will complement the beer,” Spada said. “Tyler and I work really well together.”

Well-known for making great sour beers, Spada said that the brewery will also feature a few more approachable beers to serve a wider audience. 

The schedule for opening the new space is dependent on Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order. Spada said that when the order is lifted they hope to be ready and can use the easing back in as a soft opening for the new location.

Spada Farmhouse Brewery’s New Location

Spada Farmhouse Brewery

709 1st St
Snohomish, WA | 98290


| Images courtesy of Spada Farmhouse Brewery.

SPEAKEASY | A chat with The Republic’s TJ + Emily Borden

The Bordens have a new beer quest. 

The husband and wife team of T.J. and Emily Borden, who are behind the wildly popular Instagram account Great American Beer Quest, have teamed with Doug Hall and Jeff Sadighi of The Independent Beer Bar to open The Republic Bottleshop in Marysville. 

If you’ve spent any time on “craft beer Instagram,” you know T.J. and Emily. In about a year, the Borden’s Great American Beer Quest has ballooned to more than 5,000 followers and is one of the most enjoyable follows for craft beer fans.

For T.J., who works full time in the construction industry, and Emily, opening The Republic, is one way to take their social media presence and place it in real life. And despite the fact we’re all quarantining and bottleshops can no longer host guests for a pint, The Republic opened last week.

I recently sat down with T.J. and Emily to ask them some questions about their craft beer journey.

| Interview edited for brevity by Aaron Swaney

Question: How did this whole thing come about? Where did the idea come from to open your own bottleshop?

TJ: The origins are really with Doug and Jeff at the Independent. They had been wanting to do something new, not necessarily a new location, but branch out and try something different. I was helping them scout places and after a while they approached me and asked if I’d be willing to go in with them as a partner. I remember when I called Emily, thinking this is one of those things where she shoots down the dream. I called Em and said ‘Jeff and Doug want us to go in with them on a bottleshop and beer bar,’ and I barely finished the question and she was like, ‘Yes!’

Emily: Then I remember thinking, ‘Oh wait, what does that mean? How much money?’ But as soon as he said Jeff and Doug want to start a beer bar I was like, ‘Yes!’ 

Q: When was that?

Emily: It was June. I remember because it was toward the end of the school year and I was meeting some friends for happy hour and I was like, ‘Apparently we’re starting a beer bar business. I don’t know how this is happening though.’

Q: How has the partnership been with Doug and Jeff?

Emily: It’s been great. They come from the industry already and there were so many times we would have been lost trying to open this place without knowing how to go through different avenues to get certain permits or getting Square up and collecting money. They know how to get into distribution centers. Their wealth of knowledge on how to start a successful business of this style was huge.

Q: How did you guys get involved in craft beer?

TJ: I’m a late-comer to the beer scene. I was just looking at my Untappd and my 6,600 unique check-ins and that’s since June 2013 and that’s about the time I got involved in craft beer. At the time, I was just a Hefe drinker. I couldn’t handle the bitterness. I didn’t like the malt stuff or the dark beers. Hefe was a good gateway beer. Like so many, my palate has adjusted to where I’ll drink anything. My go-to is a good IPA. Emily has been a beer drinker for a long time. (laughing)

Emily: Same thing, though. The hefes and then the gateway was Corona (laughing). Super, super light. Then we started trying different things. I remember for the longest time I didn’t like anything pumpkin or sour, and then he had me try a pumpkin sour and I’ve liked both ever since. 

Q: How is your craft beer experience as a couple?

TJ: We try to go to breweries together as much as we can, but there’s a lot of them while I’m traveling for work that I’ll hit on my own. But in general we like to go together and in part that’s what spawned the Instagram thing. We don’t like just going to a brewery and talking to ourselves about the beer. We love engaging with the staff and the brewers whenever we can. We want to get the story behind the beer and that’s formed what some of our favorite beers are. Some of our favorite beers and breweries aren’t necessarily our favorite beer, but rather the story behind the beer.

Q: When did you start the GABQ Instagram account?

TJ: February of last year. In a previous job I was traveling around the country and that’s when I started hitting different breweries and got more into beer. That’s when I got into my tin-tecker obsession … which now has an application because they’re hanging here (pointing to all the tin beer signs adoring The Republic’s walls). So when I was home from those travels I’d tell Emily about them and that was the one downside that she wasn’t with me. I got to go to all these iconic breweries, but I was by myself.

So we started talking and we were like how cool would it be if we could travel around together and go to these places. It kind of morphed from how cool would it be to what would we have to do to make that happen. We started going down that path of: Is there a way we could basically hit the road part time and go on some major road trips? We were working on that and a friend said, ‘Well, you should really build your brand.’ We didn’t really know what that meant, but she introduced us to Instagram, which I equated to Pinterest. We set it up and we’ve been blown away by how much it has taken off, especially since I’m not a writer or a photographer. 

Emily: And we really haven’t been able to travel much yet. We’ve largely just done stuff in the Pacific Northwest so far. Though I guess we are a big deal in Tennessee.

TJ: Yeah, we took a trip to Tennessee and got a good following there. It’s really surreal.

Q: So you didn’t really know much about Instagram when you started?

TJ: No, not at all. In fact, our first five posts didn’t even have hashtags. I’d heard of hashtags, but didn’t know that’s where it applied.

Emily: I had an account, but had like six pictures posted from years ago. TJ watched so many videos on how to create a brand, how to use hashtags to pop up in feeds. All of that. He did so much research on it.  

TJ: I basically watched the YouTube video “Instagram for Dummies.”

Emily: We talked to our friend Nadine and she said you should do polls and giveaways and once we did those things we started getting more followers. 

TJ: Turns out people love it when you give way Great Notion beer. (laughing)

Q: At its peak, how many hours a day were you spending on Instagram?

TJ: It became the focus of my ADD. I was probably on there 3 to 4 hours per day. A lot of it was just the social aspect and the building up of our audience happened on its own.

Emily: I remember TJ calling me when he started the account and he was like, ‘We have 12 followers!’ I was like, ‘Why are 12 people following us?’ And my friend’s like, ‘They’re just bots.’ But there were still 12 bots following us! I had no idea that 12 followers would turn into whatever we have now. (5,555 as of Monday)

Q: How do you take the two brands you have now? Will you meld them?

TJ: One of the other aspects to hitting the road is we started researching RVs. We have dogs, so we’re not going to be hotel-hopping. As we’re watching all these videos, we’re seeing all these people just living on the road. They sell their house and all their things and live this simple lifestyle. It kind of developed into the Great American Beer Quest and the logo (the keg camper logo was designed by Tasha Riedman of The Independent Beer Bar). That morphed into an idea of starting YouTube channel where we’re actually going around and visiting the breweries and interviewing the brewers. More getting the backstory of the brewery and less about just sitting down and talking about what we like and don’t like about the beers.

Though the bottleshop does delay the plans of hitting the road a bit it also adds to the story once we hit the road. No longer are we just craft beer fans hitting the road, but now we own a bottleshop. It gives us more of a connection to the industry when we’re talking to folks.

Q: So how long are you delaying hitting the open road?

TJ: I think once we get this up and running and things are back to normal, we’ll be in a better position to stay home and focus on the bottleshop and then hit the road for a few months and the partners (Jeff and Doug) can focus on it while we’re gone.

Q: Why did you decide to open The Republic in Marysville?

TJ: There’s only two breweries in Marysville. By the standard for cities in Washington, that’s really low. But both are killing it. Whitewall is doing really well and R.J. at 5 Rights has taken off. So often he can’t even keep up with the demand for beer in his taproom. That’s what made us feel like it could work. Marysville is a good-sized, growing city in Washington and they didn’t really have anything like this, so we felt there was a need. It seemed like a gamble, but it felt like a natural spot. We’ve found that the craft beer community is supportive of not only breweries but bottleshops. There’s a couple of bottleshops that aren’t too terribly far away that we might be poaching a little business, but not much. And everyone has been really supportive. Eric (Schaffer) from The Hop and Hound and Dan at Special Brews have been up front offering help for whatever we need. 

Emily: It seems like the people of Marysville are excited. We’ve had several people come through this past week that are like, ‘I can’t believe you’re just down the street from me. This is going to be great.’ They’re excited and for now they’re just coming through and grabbing what they like.

Q: How was the process of building out the space?

TJ: Definitely longer than we’d hoped. But like anything that’s the story. The real estate in Marysville was tough. There wasn’t a lot of commercial real estate available that fit what we needed. A lot of them were warehouses that were far too big for us. On the flip side, other places were just too small. We finally found one. It did need some electrical and plumbing upgrades and so by the time that was done it was quite a bit of infrastructure that had to go into it.

Q: What is your philosophy on the beers you’ll have on tap and in the coolers?

TJ: Well, you gotta bring people what they love. Like Great Notion, we knew word would spread about us having it and that would get people to know about us. Other than that, we’re definitely going to carry the fancier higher-end beers, but the most part you’re not going to be buying anything for your cellar. You’re going to find stuff that you want to take home and drink. We will eventually expand into more of that stuff you’ll want to take home and put away. Because we weren’t exactly certain about the Marysville beer scene, we brought in the shit beer too. But thankfully I can say we’ve been open eight days now and we have not sold one Bud Light, and I could not be happier about that. I don’t mind that I’m sitting on 120 cans of it. I’m perfectly happy we haven’t sold one.

Q: But it does sound like you’re going to have a style for everyone?

TJ: Yeah, but at the moment we are IPA heavy. We have 12 doors of coolers and six of them are IPAs and pales. The rest is covering all the styles. What we have been surprised by are the ciders. They have been huge in Marysville. A lot more so than I thought.

Q: Opening up in this time, customers not being able to stick around for a pint and instead lining up out the door and buying to go, how has that been?

TJ: It’s been encouraging to see the turnout we’ve had so far. In many ways, it’s been greater than we expected. We considered not opening up until we could open for real, but we finally figured it’s not going to cost us anymore to be open than not, so we figured let’s get open and build a clientele and learn the market. So far it’s worked. During the week is slow, but the weekends have been good. We’re doing the whole social distancing thing and only have three people in at a time and we’ve had many times where we have a line out the door waiting to get in. We never would have expected that.

Q: What is the plan when you can open for real?

TJ: We’ll have tables and 14 seats at the bar. We can fit about 30 people comfortably. Right now, we’re filling growlers, 32- and 16-ounce mason jars, and we’re excited to move more to draft since that’s where we can support some of the smaller breweries. Eventually we’ll have 19 beers on tap and we’re sitting on about 250 different beers, ciders and seltzers and that’s growing slowly.

Visit The Republic Bottleshop

The Republic Bottleshop

9414 State Ave Ste G
Marysville, WA | 98270


Monday 12-5, Tuesday-Sunday 12-6

A Puppet-Making Beertender from Seattle + friends create 3D masks for the masses

Populuxe’s Keith Lovik designed two open-source 3D-printable masks to serve community and healthcare workers.

Keith Lovik was hearing the same stories over and over from his friends and relatives in the health-care industry: they didn’t have enough masks.

“They were using bandanas or their shirts for protection,” said Lovik, who has been a beertender at Populuxe Brewing for the past five years. “I knew I had to do something.”

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lovik decided he couldn’t just quarantine at home and listen to more stories. He got to work. 

“It seemed like the world was falling apart, so I thought
why not move forward and do something I’m good at.”

Keith Lovik

Lovik recruited friends, like Greg Krsak at Scrappy Punk Brewing and put his manufacturing and design skills to work in creating The Unity Mask, an open source, 3D-printable face mask with a filtered respirator. Now anyone with a 3D printer can download the specs, print the mask and filter and wear it or donate the mask to first responders or health-care workers.

“It seemed like the world was falling apart, so I thought why not move forward and do something I’m good at,” said Lovik.

Lovik got into 3D printing about eight years ago through his life as a ventriloquist puppet maker. Helping design a puppet for renowned Las Vegas ventriloquist Terry Fator, Lovik used a 3D printer to make a robot puppet lighter than the traditional wood composition. It was an experience that Lovik enjoyed and something he continued to do. 

It was also a skill that has allowed him to give back to his community in its time of need.

There are two versions of The Unity Mask. The Unity Mask HOME, which launched in late April, is designed to be used “if you’re not likely going to be performing CPR, exercising, or otherwise exerting yourself strenuously.” And soon-to-be-released, The Unity Mask PRO is an enhanced version made specifically for workers on the front line. The PRO mask is currently going through government certification.

“Keith wanted to get the masks out there and in front of the people who could make and use them,” said Greg Krsak, Scrappy Punk Brewing owner. “He was just like, ‘Greg, can you get this online as quickly as possible.” 

Krsak, who has a background in software development, created a brand and website for the masks, which are available on GitHub, an open-source platform for developers to share their projects with the world. Now anyone who has the equipment and the need can have a high-quality mask.

To create the mask, Lovik recruited his long-time friend Matt Cowgill, a design specialist. The two began designing specs for the mask and then going through iterations. Lovik would print the prototype off on his 3D printer and then leave it on Cowgill’s front porch so he could go over it in detail, testing it for weaknesses.

The Unity Mask facepiece (far left) with filter, filter housing and outer cover.
Elise Mattson of Scrappy Punk Brewing designed the logo for The Unity Mask project.

“I’d leave it on his doorstep and then we’d talk and go over the issues,” said Lovik. “Then I’d print out another version and we’d do it again.”

Lovik and Cowgill were aiming for a mask that was simple, could include a filtered respirator and created a seal to the face. Rapid prototyping of the kind Lovik and Cowgill were undertaking usually takes at least a month, said Lovik. They got the final design for The Unity Mask nailed down in a week.

“There were some days I didn’t get much sleep,” said Lovik.

Lovik knew he also needed some help promoting their new product. That’s where the connections he made in the craft beer world paid dividends. Lovik reached out to Krsak, whom he had met as a customer while working behind the bar at Populuxe. It’s no secret that Krsak used the Ballard brewery as a template for his own garage-style brewery in Snohomish, Scrappy Punk.

“Greg was one of those customers that when they walk in you’re just really glad to see them,” Lovik said. 

Krsak volunteered on behind the scenes technical development and helped launch the masks into the world, making sure they got into the hands of the people who could make them. Krsak said that once Lovik reached out, he knew he wanted to help.

“Keith is one of the coolest beertenders in the Seattle beer scene,” said Krsak.

Along with Krsak and Cowgill, the rest of The Unity Mask team is made up of Matt Kraske on design, Marc Chavez with technical writing, and Bret Spangler with testing.

More information on The Unity Mask can be found at theunitymask.com.

| Photos courtesy of The Unity Mask project.

WHAT’S BREWING | Republic Bottleshop Opens + more news

Marysville’s Republic Brewing OPEN for business

TJ and Emily Borden, the couple behind the beer Instagram account, The Great American Beer Quest, recently teamed with the guys from Everett’s The Independent Beer Bar, Doug Hall and Jeff Sadighi, to open a bottleshop in Marysville. The new bottleshop, The Republic Bottleshop, opened on April 24.

Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, the owners felt it was important to open up and get their business off the ground. On Friday, opening day, there was a line of about a dozen beer fans waiting for the doors to open.

Until they can serve pints to customers, The Republic Bottleshop plans to have a collection of great beer to-go, both bottles and draft. On Friday, the beer list included taps from locals like At Large and Skookum, and an eclectic cast of bottles from hard-to-find breweries like Great Notion, Level and de Garde Brewing.

To find out more, visit them at marsysville.beer and look for an interview with TJ, Doug and Jeff on the blog soon.

Monroe’s Dreadnought joins ‘All Together’ movement

We’re all in this together. That’s the message that Monroe’s Dreadnought Brewing and the other more than 700 breweries are delivering by joining Other Half’s All Together IPA Project. The worldwide beer collaboration has breweries across the globe brewing the same beer with proceeds from the sale going to support hospitality workers via the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund.

Dreadnought Brewing brewed the IPA recipe (6.5%, 81 IBUs) last week and sold the beer over the weekend. It was one of only five Washington breweries to take part in the cool project. If you’d like to read more, visit Dreadnought Brewing at dreadnoughtbrewing.com.

Fremont Brewing Continues To Help

Fremont Brewing can add The Plate Fund to its most recent list of charitable work during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the last few weeks Fremont has partnered with the Ballard Food Bank and provided lunches for essential healthcare providers with their Heron Rising Lunch Program. And now, Fremont will be donating 1% of gross profits from the sale of their Golden Pilsner and Space Danger IPA to The Plate Fund.

As we all know the restaurant industry has been devastated due to the pandemic. Many are now closed or operating with a limited staff, displacing workers like wait staff, dishwashers and cooks. People whom are now missing paychecks and trying to make ends meet. The Plate Fund aims to help those workers with direct cash payments to help hold them over financially.

The Plate Fund has raised $7 million so far and distributed $5.25 million to over 10,000 industry workers. To help directly go to theplatefund.com and while you’re at it buy a 6 pack (or two) of Space Danger or Golden Pilsner.

Skookum cans up more goodness

Another week and another intriguing release from this Arlington brewery. Six months after running out its first run of canned four packs, Skookum Brewery has decided to can again. Four packs of a pilsner Brumation and two IPAs, Image of Objects and Gene Pool, were released this week.

One of my favorite Skookum IPAs, Image of Objects is brewed with Mosaic (Image) hops and Talisman (Objects) malts. Gene Pool is a double IPA brewed with Mosaic, Simcoe and Nugget hops. Brumation is a lager brewed with German pilsner malt and Czech Saaz hops.

Currently, these four packs are available to-go at Skookum along with the Arlington brewery’s collaboration with Bellingham’s Structures Brewing: Farewell Transmission, a double IPA brewed with Citra, Sabro, Mosaic and Simcoe hops.

Reuben’s readies Triple Crush

Tomorrow Triple Crush returns. One of the smoothest triple IPAs to grace the lips of beer nerds, Triple Crush is a returning U.S. Beer Open Championship gold medal winner in the hazy IPA competition. Wednesday, Reuben’s Brews unleashes it on the world once again.

Clocking in at an astounding 10%, this hazy IPA is smooth and balanced. Purchase the beer online at reubensbrews.com/shop or at the Reuben’s taproom. Just remember to keep your triple distance of 6 feet.

Silver City’s Charming Disarmer

The latest iteration of Silver City’s Charming Disarmer Wild Ale is available to the general public with a limited 500ml bottle release at the Silver City Taproom on Tuesday. This yearly offering is an approachable wild ale aged in chardonnay barrels, which produces a peach, wheat and vanilla notes.

The beer boasts a light tartness and an ABV of 5.4%.

Hellbent Brewing offers two new releases

Hellbent Brewing in Seattle has two new offerings available when they open at noon on Tuesday: Hazy at Home IPA and Helles Lager. Hazy at Home is a 6.4% ABV New England IPA-style with fruit juice and coconut hop aromas.

The Helles Lager is a light pale lager at 4.5% ABV that is lightly hopped with Hallertau Mittelfruh and Tardif De Bourgogne. The beer can be purchased online at biermi.com/brewery/hellbent and picked up at the brewery or delivered to your home if you’re within the delivery area.

| Images courtesy of The Republic Bottleshop, Reuben’s Brews and Skookum Brewery.

DRINK THIS | From gin to hand sanitizer

Originally posted in Everett Herald HOPS AND SIPS | March 31, 2020

The past two weeks have thrown all of our lives into chaos. Most of us are staying home all day and all night, working from our dining room tables and teaching our children in our living rooms.

Brewers and distillers are no different. March has brought with it a number of surprises, with most beertenders now serving customers curbside instead of barside.

For some, the changes have been dramatic. 

From gin to hand sanitizer

Slowly business began to shut down for Lynnwood’s Temple Distilling as the quarantine ramped up. Then AJ Temple, owner and distiller for Temple Distilling, began seeing other distillers changing operations to make hand sanitizers. Finally, phone calls began asking if Temple was making the alcohol-based cleaner.

Lynnwood’s Temple Distilling is now making the alcohol-based cleaner — but you can still order spirits.

“Our energy level is through the roof fright now,” Temple said. “The community response from customers and organizations have been great. We’re excited to be doing this.”

“We’re also looking forward to getting back to normal.”

Temple is following the World Health Organization and Federal Drug Administration standards in producing the hand sanitizer. After denaturing the alcohol with isopropyl alcohol, Temple adds hydrogen peroxide and glycerin. 

“I talked to a woman who worked in the ER who was splashing Everclear on her hands,” said Temple. “Whatever they need, they’re using it.”

Temple is still selling its gins, including its new Constant Reader gin and Co-Authored Vol. 2 gin, in its online store at chapteronegin.com and offering free delivery within 30 miles of the distillery. 

From brewer to delivery man

Dick Mergens is used to spending his days in the brewhouse wrestling with a recipe and mixing and matching hops, malt and yeast. He’s not used to being a door-to-door delivery guy.

Since the Governor’s stay-at-home edict, Mergens, owner and head brewer of Crucible Brewing, has been delivering his beers as part of Crucible’s curbside and delivery program.

“People has been really generous,” Mergens said. “They’re excited to see the owner delivering beer, but honestly I think they’d rather see someone else — another employee — doing it.”

Laying off most of his staff has been the hardest part for Mergens, who said he’s been mostly completing cleaning projects during the quarantine. The brewery has cut hours down to five per day for the entire staff. Meanwhile, delivery, curbside pickup and to-go options have all been extended.

“We’re doing OK,” said Mergens, who equated the current situation to a slow January week. “My main goal is that on the other side of this all of our people will have their jobs back.”

Crucible has set up an online store and is offering delivery, curbside and pickup to-go options via text message. Check out cruciblebrewing.com for more information. 

From kegs to cans

When the quarantine began, SnoTown Brewing’s Frank Sandoval could only fill growlers to go. A phone call from a friend changed everything.

Scuttlebutt head brewer Eric Nord rang Sandoval and offered up the brewery’s unused crowler. It was a friendly gesture that Sandoval saw as a lifeline for his business.

Sandoval ran over to Scuttlebutt’s brewery on March 20 and got a crash course on filling and seaming the cans. He then brought the crowler to SnoTown and started an assembly line of filling cans. He created 24 four packs of 16-ounce cans and started selling them last weekend. SnoTown sold out quickly and had repeated success this past weekend.

Next weekend — SnoTown is only open Fridays through Sundays currently — Sandoval plans to have a dark beer and IPA four-pack.


For 5 Rights, the imperial IPA that was originally slated to be the brewery’s anniversary beer, is now Essential Business IPA. 5 Rights owner R.J. Whitlow said that the anniversary party has been put off indefinitely, but the brewery remains open for to-go orders Tuesday through Saturday.

Arlington’s Bad Dog Distillery recently released its BD Quad whiskey. Made from equal parts rye, corn, wheat and barley, the unique whiskey is available at the distillery, which is open for to-go sales Friday and Saturday. Like Temple, Bad Dog Distilling is also making hand sanitizer.