The Ultimate Quarantine Six Pack

Like most of you, I have been quarantined at home for the better part of 2 months. If you’re a beer nerd like me, these quarantine days have you drinking just a little bit more. 

For me, it started innocently enough. Grabbing a few extras from my cellar. But once I saw the releases breweries we’re putting together, I started re-stocking the fridge. It became part of my weekly routine: groceries and beer, not necessarily in that order. 

With American Craft Beer Week starting today (May 11) and running all week, I thought it would be a good time to take stock and highlight a few of the beers released during quarantine that I have really enjoyed. Beers I was actually able to secure (while social distancing) and drink. Some I missed out on (Reuben’s Triple Crush!) and a few that went right into the cellar (Fremont’s B4K and Skookum’s Quarantine and #BIL). Those aren’t included. I also wanted to highlight a few different styles, a mixed 6 pack if you will. Without further ado, here is Wheezy’s Quarantine 6-pack.


Vanilla Solitary Confinement
Skookum Brewery

| RELEASE DATE April 8
| ABV 11% | UNTAPPD 4.22

A version of Solitary Confinement (stout aged 13-20 months in bourbon barrels) but aged 16 months in Woodford Reserve barrels and finished on whole vanilla beans.

Tasting Notes
At this point do we expect anything less than barrel-aged perfection from head brewer Hollis Wood and the crew at Skookum? They have set the bar high and people are driving up from parts unknown to the lil’ ol’ brewery near the airport. I’ve seen Skookum bottles pop up as far away as Kansas City and Florida as the trade market has been crazy for any and all of their barrel-aged offerings.    

While I prefer the original SC, this one is still exquisite. I found where the regular SC has that delicious big bourbon, boozy kick on the back end, VSC is smoother with a hint of vanilla. It still has some warmth, but is more approachable. The vanilla really smooths the edges so if bourbon isn’t your thing you may prefer VSC over SC. That being said I love bourbon, but I also love VSC.

| BETTER UP YOUR TRADE GAME; SOLD OUT

Die in Haze
Structures Brewing

| RELEASE DATE April 23
| ABV 10.2% | UNTAPPD 4.64

Hazy Triple IPA

Tasting Notes
Structures released this version of Die In Haze on the same day as Fuzz and their collaboration with Skookum, Farewell Transmission. While all three are really good, Die in Haze stood out to me. It was the best IPA that I have tasted this year, so far.

This tasty juice bomb hits everything you want and not too much or too little of anything. With its juicy but smooth taste you won’t believe this is a triple IPA. It’s so chock full of hops that I found a fair bit of hop residue lingering in the bottom of my pint glass.  

| SOLD OUT

Demonteller
Holy Mountain Brewing

| RELEASE DATE April 20 
| ABV 5.1% | UNTAPPD 4.13

Mixed culture Saison fermented and aged in oak foudres and hopped with galaxy and mosaic 

Tasting Notes
This is not a new beer. It’s actually one of the tap list staples at HM. The reason this beer is on the list is because for the first time ever it has been bottled and offered to go. A refreshing, moderately tart Saison with light funk and a citrusy effervescent mouth feel.  Demonteller is a classic summer sipper and can now be enjoyed at home, sitting on the porch, reading a book or tending the barbecue. At $10 a piece there is no reason not to add a couple in on your next HM order. 

| GET THIS BEER

Dr. Evil
At Large Brewing

| RELEASE DATE March 27 
| ABV 6.3 % | UNTAPPD 4.16

Hazy IPA made with Citra, Idaho 7, Wai-iti hops.

Tasting Notes
Part of At Large’s Villain Series of IPAs, Dr Evil is a soft IPA that still has a full creamy mouthfeel, with citrus notes galore. Before we go any further, I need to admit my love affair with Idaho 7.  It’s real and while I don’t think the feeling is reciprocated, I won’t stop enjoying its charms any time soon. Idaho 7 has all the flavors that make IPAs great. Pine, tropical fruit, citrus and some say earthy. I don’t know, but when this hop is used with Citra it’s an instant classic for me. At Large has been cranking out tasty IPAs for a while but this is one of my all-time favorites from them.    

| SOLD OUT

Patchwork Pale Ale
Good Brewing

| RELEASE DATE April 18
| ABV 5.2% | IBU 40 | UNTAPPD 4.06

A hazy pale ale with 100% Mosaic hops.

Tasting Notes
While not as hazy as we’ve come to expect from the style, this cloudy beer still delivers on flavor with 100% Mosaic. Kevin King of Good Brewing is not one to skimp on the addition of hops to his beers and Patchwork shines with the dry hopping with copious amounts of Mosaic hops. 

This amber-colored gem is easily crushable with its lower ABV and IBU, but it still delivers on flavor. If you are looking for something hoppier than a pilsner but not as heavy as an IPA, this is a great choice. Easy to drink while mowing the lawn — or watching someone else mow a lawn. 

| GET THIS BEER

Three Strands IPA
5 Rights Brewing

| RELEASE DATE March 12
| ABV 6.6% | IBU 55 | UNTAPP 4.24

Hazy IPA made with Citra, Idaho 7 and Azzacca hops.

Tasting Notes
5 Rights has always exuded and fostered a feeling of family and community. Three Strands IPA is a symbol of that connection. I didn’t pick this beer because of those references, I picked it because it is damn delicious. 

Loaded with the delicious combo of Citra and Idaho 7 (I told ya’ I love these hops!) this smooth haze bomb is chock full of tropical fruit flavors on the nose and in the mouth, while remaining creamy and well-balanced. I’m impressed because a couple of the hops are so high in bittering alpha acids but this beer remains delicious and juicy without a ton of bitterness. My hope is this beer joins the family of other 5 Rights IPAs in regular rotation. 

| SOLD OUT


As the majority of us are waiting for the world to reopen, and breweries are continuing to crush it with releases, this 6 pack may easily grow into a half rack or even a case. It’s been exciting to see the speed, styles and creativity of the brewers during this time. Adaptation is a skill of survival and for us the beer drinker, this adaptation has led to some amazing beer releases.

Now this is just one man’s rambling, so I fully expect and am actually excited to hear everyone’s own Quarantine 6-Pack. Leave a note, make a comment, or tag us in a post. Until we can drink together again, Happy American Craft Beer Week and Cheers! 

| Photographs by Brian.

Seattle Beer Festival coming to a couch near you

The Seattle Beer Festival was supposed to take place under the Space Needle next week. However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced event organizers to alter the plan and get a little creative.

Rock Star Beer, which runs beer festivals along the west coast, decided to bring the festival experience to your couch with this year’s “Virtual Edition” beer festival. A ticket will get you a package of 10 full beers along with some swag items delivered to your front door. A list of participating breweries was not available, but the event says, “the case features beers from 10 different regional breweries.” According to the event page, the package is made for “1 person if you are a huge beer drinker. 2 people, if you are a moderate beer drinker.”

The beer will be delivered to your home, as long as you live within a 100-mile radius of Seattle, on Thursday (so make room in your refrigerator) and at 8 p.m. Friday May 15 the beer fest goes live with a link that is emailed to all guests. The video will include guided tastings of each beer from the brew master or brewery ambassador. There will also be live musical performances and interactive games. The video is shown live, so attendees must be available from 8 to 10 p.m. After that, the video will be gone.

Tickets for the event cost $45 and there is an additional $10 delivery fee. Tickets are available until Sunday, May 10. You must be 21+ to sign for and receive your festival kit. Rockstar Beer is putting on similar events in several other cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Sacramento and Phoenix.

| Photo courtesy of Seattle Beer Week.

Kenmore’s Nine Yards closes temporarily, launches GoFundMe

When a statewide stay at home order came down in March, breweries all over the state raced to find crowler machines, CO2 and cans in an effort to stay open and transform into breweries to go.

After internal — and external — deliberating, Nine Yards Brewing in Kenmore went a different route.

Knowing the large, open space he had could make it difficult to prevent the virus from spreading and over concern for his employees’ safety, owner Ethan Savaglio made the tough decision to temporarily close his brewery while he, and the rest of the region, wait out COVID-19.

“Our staff is very loyal, very dedicated, very capable,” Savaglio said. “We want to take care of our staff. We can only control so many factors. One of the factors that we could control was where they went to work. It was more important to us to have them stay home and have them remain healthy so when we reopen we have the staff we need. Also, ethically, having people stay healthy, that was more important to us.”

Savaglio loves the community feel Nine Yards Brewing’s staff and customers have been able to cultivate since it opened in 2015. The brewery hosts game nights, movie and sports screenings and does a comedy show one Friday a month.

“More than anything it’s just getting people out there, building a community,” Savaglio said. “We’re built around building a community and events. And no one wants to be in the position of having their event be the catalyst of having people getting sick.”

Until it can reopen, a GoFundMe has been set up to help to help Nine Yards with some expenses and provide some monetary relief to the brewery’s employees. Savaglio said he has enjoyed being able to use the funds to write checks for his employees once again.

The COVID-19 virus will likely cause some changes to Nine Yards Brewing when it does reopen, according to Savaglio. He is reassessing all aspects of the brewery from the shared cart of silverware and condiments down to the community water jug to figure out the best ways to keep people healthy both in the immediate, and long, term.

Along with his staff, Savalio is eagerly looking forward to being able to hang out again soon over a Homewrecker Red or a Sunset Cerveza or a Wee Heavy Scotch Ale.

Or a “specialty beer” that is currently in the works.

“We do have something pretty cool that is going to go up on the menu when we get back,” Savaglio said. “The biggest thing to do is, when we do open back up in whatever capacity we open up at first because we don’t know what the restrictions are, just come patronize the place. Let us know that you’re back! If you’re just comfortable grabbing growlers, we can make that happen. Just getting us back to where we can take care of our folks, that would mean the world to us. It would mean the world to have the community back and not have that place be dark.

“Come on back, watch a movie or sports on the big screen. Or replays of sports.”


Nine Yards Brewing

7324 NE 175th St., Suite A
Kenmore, WA

| GO FUND ME

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

| GET THIS BEER

| 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.

| GET THIS BEER

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

NEW LOCATION
Spada Farmhouse Brewery

709 1st St
Snohomish, WA | 98290

| WEBSITE

| 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

| WEBSITE

| HOURS
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.