Tag Archives: Thomas Kemper

Brewery to open on Bainbridge

Poulsbo has four breweries. Bremerton has two and is about to get a third. Kingston has had a brewery for years. Port Orchard’s brewery hasn’t opened yet, but they’ve already broken ground and hosted a mini-brewfest.

And Bainbridge? Not a drop.

Despite its blue-blooded microbrew pedigree (craft beer pioneer Thomas Kemper Brewery started here), Bainbridge has fallen far behind its Kitsap cousins in producing local brews.

Island native Russell Everett is hoping to change that. His Bainbridge Island Brewing Company is set to open this spring in an industrial area along Sportsman Club Road.

He’ll offer a line of five beers to bars and restaurants, and have an on-site taproom for tastings and growler bottle fill-ups.

Everett graduated from law school in 2009 but found there’s more demand for brewing than for lawyering.

“It’s grim right now for law grads,” he said. “But it’s a great time for brewing. We’re in the middle of craft brewing revolution.”

Everett has been brewing at home since 2003 and had a stint as an assistant brewer at a Miami brewery.

He writes about his brewing (and other culinary) adventures at his blog, Everett Cellars.

Bainbridge Island Brewing Company’s initial menu will include a German-style blond, English-style brown, Northwest-style pale ale, India pale and a stout. Everett said the brewery will also include a rotating lineup of experimental and seasonal beers.

Follow the brewery’s progress at its Facebook page.

Islanders who brew big…elswhere

Former Bainbridge resident Mike Hale is following a long tradition of talented beer-brewing islanders who live their brewery dreams off-island.

Hale, one of the pioneers in the microbrew movement, recently announced plans to establish a brewpub in Poulsbo sometime this year. Read all about it in North Kitsap reporter Derek Sheppard’s story, here. The brewpub will likely employ 40 people and draw some of the clientele that crowd into Silverdale’s Silvercity Brewery.

Hale established his Hales Ales in 1983 and operates a brewpub in Frelard. He was brewing his first batches at the same time as former islander Will Kemper, who started Thomas Kemper brewery on Bainbridge in 1984, but quickly moved the operation to Poulsbo. Eventually, the Thomas Kemper company was sold and split into a soda company, which still bears the Thomas Kemper name, and a beer operation that was later folded into the Pyramid brewing company of Seattle.

Will Kemper recently decided to open a brewpub, but not on Bainbridge. Instead, he chose Bellingham, where his Chuckanut Brewery & Kitchen offers six site-brewed beers and an upscale ethnic-fusiony food menu.

Seems like that would have gone over quite well on Bainbridge, where islanders pack the local pub and generally spend a fair amount of money on good food and drink.

Enter Travis Guterson, an upstart brewer who’s trained under some of the county’s best beer-makers. Raised on Bainbridge, and still a resident, Guterson will later this year haul his collection of industrial vats down to Gig Harbor to open 7 Seas Brewery. He tried to find a spot on Bainbridge, but Gig Harbor proved the right fit.

Ah, to think what could have been….

(P.S. – I’ve caught wind that Bremerton (yes, Bremerton) is to get a microbrewery in the coming months)

The microbrew movement’s island roots

I had the chance to talk with former islander and microbrewery pioneer Will Kemper last week.

I was working on a story (read it by clicking here) about Kitsap County’s beer brewing history, which apparently had its start with Port Orchard’s Silver Springs Brewery in the early ’30s. After Silver Springs was purchased out and shipped away, Kitsap was brewery-less until Kemper teamed with the Thomas family of Seattle to form Thomas Kemper Brewery on Day Road in 1984.

Now best known for its old-fashioned sodas, the Thomas Kemper brand was one of the first of the microbreweries to sprout up in the 1980s. Only Redhook, Hale’s Ales and Hart’s predated Thomas Kemper in Washington state.

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