Edmonds’ Gallaghers’ Where-U-Brew closes

Gallaghers’ Where-U-Brew, the popular do-it-yourself brewery and taproom in Edmonds, announced Friday morning that it will be closing its doors. In an email to subscribers, owners Tom and Marcie Kretzler acknowledged that the current COVID-19 pandemic played a role in the brewery’s closure.

“It is with great sadness that Gallaghers’ Where-U-Brew is having to permanently close it’s doors,” the Kretzlers said in the email. “The past few years have been a struggle, and the recent pandemic has made it impossible for us to continue. We have agonized over this decision and we are forced to accept this as reality.”

Gallaghers, located near the Edmonds waterfront, boasted all the equipment and ingredients necessary to brew a batch of your own beer. Customers could choose a recipe, make the beer and then come back in a couple weeks to bottle the beer and take it home. There were also options to brew cider, root beer or wine, as well as a taproom for customers to come try a variety of homemade beers on tap.

In the email, Tom and Marcie Kretzler thanked their customers and told anyone interested in buying a brewery to give them a call.

“From the bottom of our hearts, we thank each of you for your support these past years and wish you all health and happiness,” the Kretzlers wrote. “You have touched our lives and we will miss you dearly.”

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.

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.