Category Archives: Beer

2 days, more than 120 beers: the return of Bremerton BrewFest


Bremerton has some big parties each year, but none is bigger than BrewFest. The sixth annual event is just around the corner on the city’s Louis Mentor Boardwalk.


This year for the first time, you have not just one day to sample more than 120 locally brewed beers, but two. Enjoy some tasty brews on Friday night before the festival’s traditional main day on Saturday.

And yes, about that beer: 34 breweries, including a strong West Sound contingent, plus a chance to sample Rainier’s first beer brewed in Washington in two decades.

This will be the second year the BrewFest will be held on the boardwalk. In its first four years, Pacific Avenue was fenced off between Burwell and Sixth. But the Washington Beer Commission, which organizes it, had to pay a lot of money in just fencing alone. Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent asked to move it to the boardwalk a year ago.

Eric Radovich, the beer commission’s executive director, said that adding a second day hopefully will alleviate some “congestion” experienced last year.

“It’s a very popular event but it was a little tight on the boardwalk with the beer lines,” said Radovich, noting almost 3,000 people came in one day. “Our goal is to spread it out a little bit.”

He’s hopeful some new attendees will give it a try on Friday as well, perhaps some ferry commuters capping a long work week with a tasty beverage.

Lent said she’s excited for this year’s expanded schedule.

“The more people that get exposed to Bremerton through this event, the better,” she said.

You can purchase tickets here.

Hale’s plans July opening in Bremerton









There’s a special place in Mike Hale’s heart for English culture. As the longtime Washington brewer prepares to open his newest location in Bremerton, a cherry red London-style double decker bus sits in its driveway; inside a tasting room in the English pub tradition is taking shape at 15th Street and North Wycoff Avenue.

Mike Hale.

He calls the location of his brand new barrelhouse one nestled in a “middle class, beer drinking neighborhood,” that he’s proud to join. “Nothing but good vibes here,” he said.

Hale was looking for a warehouse space in Kitsap that would make it easier to get beer to market. His company self-distributes. What would cost millions in Seattle can be bought for a fraction in Bremerton. The barrelhouse is a way to go “deeper” within the local market, rather than expanding wider. He’ll become the fifth brewery doing business in Bremerton.

The location is another move west for Hale and his wife Kathleen, whose brewery churns out about 10,000 barrels each year. What started in North Spokane about 33 years ago moved to Kirkland in 1987, then to Seattle in 1995. There was a brief stint at the Kitsap Mall that didn’t work out for a variety of reasons. “My hubris caught up to me,” he joked Monday.

The barrels are in.
The barrels are in.

With brews like Supergoose IPA gaining a huge following, I asked him if he’d ever want to go bigger.  Absolutely not, he told me. He loves being locally owned and made — the beer is fresher, the company happier, and that includes himself, he said.

The city told him its zoning code would require a retail element; Hale gladly obliged. His tasting room is just under 750 square-feet — any more would’ve required a massive overhaul to bring the building into modern standards.

Hale plans a soft opening to coincide with the annual Volkswagen van fest at nearby Hi-Lo Cafe July 9.

15th and Wycoff.

There will be 23 beers on tap to choose from, including — you guessed it — English style hand pumps and three nitro taps. Many of the beers will be barrel-aged. Hale envisions hours from 3-10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays as a start.

He invites customers to bring food in from other venues to eat and share; there won’t be food service outside of maybe some pretzels, he said.

Oh, and if you want to have a ride in his English bus — which he rebuilt with an American engine — check out the Hale’s bus crawl coming up July 23. Hale will be driving it himself.


Are you up for a walk through the cove?

The new park in Anderson Cove is almost done.
The new park in Anderson Cove is almost done.

Good things are happening in Anderson Cove. A new park on the waterfront is slated to open in about a month. Plus, a few new businesses, including an Irish pub and a brewery, have come to 15th Street.

Who wants to go check it out?

At 2 p.m. on Saturday, I will lead my latest Story Walk through the cove, starting at Hi-Lo Cafe at 15th Street and Wycoff Avenue. We’ll hear from the owners about how they’ve created one of the best breakfast and lunch spots in all of Kitsap County.

Then, we’ll set off for an approximately 1/2 mile walk to Bremerton’s newest park, named for Bremerton civil rights pioneers James and Lillian Walker. The park, with an ampitheater-like setting overlooking the Port Washington Narrows, will likely open in September. We’ll get a sneak peak with help from Bremerton Parks Preservation and Development Manager Colette Berna. The architect of many of Bremerton’s redeveloped parks will take us through how the less than 1-acre parcel came together, and how it demonstrates the state’s newest methods to keep stormwater out of Puget Sound.

We’ll return to 15th and Wycoff to conclude the walk (you can also take a bus back for $2) and a stop at Bremerton’s newest restaurant, Bualadh Bos, for some food and good company. I am also hopeful we can speak with the proprietors of soon-to-be opened Hale’s Ales brewery and taproom, on the corner of 15th and Wycoff as well.

I hope you’ll join us for a walk through this changing Bremerton neighborhood Saturday! Please RSVP here, and here’s links to our previous walks.

Photo by Greg Salo.
Photo by Greg Salo.

Storywalking history, the Roxy, and all things hoppy

Walking the new Westpark

The new Lower Wheaton Way

Washington Avenue, past and present

The meandering Madrona Forest

Redwood Rendezvous in West Bremerton

Fourth Street’s Economic Divide

Cheat sheet: where the beer flows in Bremerton

July + Bremerton = beer. And all you need is right here in Kitsap: Nearly 400,000 gallons were produced by the county’s 11 craft breweries this past year.


I’ve got some big brewery festivities to tell you about, starting with my tour Saturday of Bremerton’s four craft breweries and finishing with Bremerton’s massive Summer BrewFest taking place on the town’s waterfront July 18. Here’s your cheat sheet:


This free Kitsap Sun tour, at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 11, will go see each of Bremertons’ four breweries. It will start downtown at LoveCraft and Wobbly Hopps Brewery, which will open soon, and then venture across the Manette Bridge to see Silver City Brewery (at the Manette Saloon) and finish at Der Blokken Brewery.

Meet at the Norm Dicks’ Government Center parking lot on Fifth Street, between Pacific and Washington avenues. Wear comfortable shoes, as we will be walking across the Manette Bridge and back.

You can RSVP here.


The Horse and Cow Pub and Grill (536 Fourth Street) will host a first anniversary block party from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. The street will be shut down and beers from the local breweries served, along with live music, barbecue and $2 burgers.


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Did I mention I host a news trivia night? On Thursday, July 16, we’ll do a local beer-inspired quiz at the Manette Saloon (2113 E. 11th Street) starting sharply at 7 p.m.

For more details, check out the Facebook invite here and be sure to RSVP. Bring a team or just bring yourself. The winning team will get beer-related prizes to take home.


On the eve of the actual BrewFest, Toro Lounge (315 Pacific Avenue) is hosting a preview featuring several local breweries. It will run from 6-8 p.m.


Aaaaand we’ve come to the main event: from noon to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, July 18, 30 craft breweries from around Washington will pour around 100 different beers. This year — the fifth in the festival’s history — is the first time it won’t be located on Pacific Avenue, and instead will pack the Louis Mentor Boardwalk near the maria. Each year has drawn thousands of people from all over Western Washington. Tickets are $25 at the door or $20 if pre-purchased, which buys you six five-ounce tastes. Tickets can be purchased here.


That should do it, ladies and gents (let me know if I’ve missed any!). And please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you have questions.

For more information about each of Kitsap County’s breweries, check out this amazing graphic my colleague Tad Sooter put together. Oh, and below, you’ll also find a full list of beers for the Summer BrewFest.


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Friday’s festivities in Bremerton

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Here comes Friday night. I’ve already mentioned many of the big festivities downtown tonight, as well as the appearance of chef-restauranteur Renee Erickson. But there’s much more going on, and here’s a running list to help you out. Did I forget something? Please let me know.

Fingers Duke Design Studio presents the artwork of Sean Dietrich (pictured), 523 Fourth Street. Bottom line: the ‘Industricide’ artist is ridiculously talented. Time: 6-9 p.m.

FROG Soap‘s grand opening and ribbon cutting, 530 Fifth Street. (Here’s a story the Kitsap Sun wrote about this environmentally conscious business.) Time: 4 p.m.

Admiral Theater Presents Livewire Theater, 515 Pacific Avenue. Tickets are $18 to $55 and a family pack is $40. Dinner’s 5:30 p.m. and show’s at 7 p.m.

Ish Vintage Clothing & Costume‘s Sixth Annual Art & Craft Show Local, handmade goods paired with live music and window models. Time: 5-8 p.m.

Mistarian Roses‘ Second Annual Student Art Show, 519 Fourth Street: first exhibitions by Stephen Voyles, Chloe O’Laughlin and Maggie Babb, students from Olympic College and NCAD. Live music to go with. Time: 5-8 p.m. 

Isella Salon & Spas Eighth Anniversary, 530 Fourth Street: Gift and service specials, live music, sample spa services and giveaways. Time: 5-8 p.m.

Viva Flow Yoga‘s Christmas Party, 515 Fourth Street: Complete with free Henna for guests. Time: 5-8 p.m.

Bremerton City Nursery’s Holiday Social, 912 Adele Avenue: Enjoy hors devours, Harvey’s Hot buttered rum and assorted desserts at the annual event. There’s also going to be a drawing for a $50 gift certificate. Time: 5-8 p.m.

Corner Coffee & Cafe’s Open Mic Night, 435 Pacific Avenue, plus the music of The Folkers. Time: 5-8 p.m.

Tami Sioux’s Open House, 658 Pleasant Avenue. Gathering at her home and studio. Time: 4-8 p.m.

The Kitsap Community Food Co-op at Toro Lounge, 315 Pacific Avenue: The co-op is hosting an art show this month, to include a piece it inspired. Time: 5-8 p.m.

RIP, Maple Leaf Tavern


This morning, crews knocked down the already precarious structure that long housed Bremerton’s historic Maple Leaf TavernCrews from the city’s streets department will continue to clear debris from the area throughout the day as the once treasured bar-turned-eyesore is fully removed.

In case you missed it, we wrote a lengthy piece about its history in Saturday’s paper.

The clearing of the Maple Leaf makes way for the Lower Wheaton Way street project, to commence in late May.

I’ve passed by the Maple Leaf each day for quite a few years now, and it will be weird to see the road without it. I’ve been asked by a few people about whether a memorial will be placed at the site.

I asked Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent if anything was in the works. She said no, but she hadn’t consulted the landowner, John Stephanus, who also owns the nearby Bremerton Gardens.

“It’s up to them,” she said. “But I wouldn’t mind memorializing it somehow.”

Gone is its home, but no doubt will it will live on the memories of those who went there.


Could Bremerton host the 2022 Winter Olympics?

psns olympics
Could the Olympics come to Bremerton? Well, no. STEVE JOHNSON / KITSAP SUN RENDERING

With the conclusion of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, I am feeling energized. But I never imagined how jazzed I’d get when Elliot Smith, a dear Twitter friend from Bellingham, noted that Pyeongchang — site of the 2018 Winter Olympics — has around 44,000 people in it.

That, he said, would be like Bremerton — population 39,000 — hosting the Winter Olympics.

To which I replied: Why not Bremerton?

Like any sane person, I took the ball and ran with it. On Twitter, at any rate. “Let’s go for it!” I wrote, using what will become one of the great hashtags of our time: #BremertonOlympics2022

I even asked Bremerton native Bree Schaaf, bobsledder who competed in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, what she thought of the idea.

I like it!” Schaaf said to the idea on Twitter. “Gonna take some serious bake sales and spaghetti feeds to match Putin’s billiondy dollar games…” she added. 

Former Kitsap Sun Sports Editor Chuck Stark has already begun planning venues for the games. He suggested bobsled races down Burwell Street, curling aboard the Bremerton-Seattle ferry route and building an Olympic-sized hockey rink at the old East High School site.

Others weren’t so supportive of the idea. Shaun Guerrero told me via Twitter, “Bro just cause it’s legal doesn’t mean you should start so early,” referring to my early morning tweet — and an apparent drug problem he thinks I have. Rod, a.k.a. Torpedoman69, tried to divert the Bremerton 2022 campaign to Seabeck.

“I think Seabeck would be great for the Olympics,” Rod said, adding the Seabeck Conference Center would do well as the Olympic village.

None were so hurtful, however, as Kitsap Sun Sports Writer Annette Griffus, who tweeted simply: “No. Just no.”

When I responded to her that the Olympic fire had already been lit, she even threatened to play saboteur.

“I can douse it,” she tweeted.

But many were supportive, and I’m thankful for that.

“Can’t be worse than Sochi right?” Cooper tweeted.

Truth be told, I know Bremerton hasn’t a snowball’s chance. But just for fun, I asked Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent, at the conclusion of a recent phone call, if the city could play host.

“I don’t think so,” she said.

But we discussed the very real possibility of Seattle hosting big sporting events like the Olympics. Bremerton would benefit economically, with its ferry link, she said. She also mentioned that the town ballooned during the 1962 World’s Fair.

“We would be well positioned,” for such an event, she added.

Not gonna happen, I’m afraid. STEVE JOHNSON / KITSAP SUN RENDERING

Just in: Bremerton’s Brewfest returns July 12


Downtown Bremerton will once again turn into a giant beer garden on July 12, with the return of the summer Brewfest. The details are still being ironed out, but I confirmed the date today with Washington Beer Commission Executive Director Eric Radovich.

The commission, a quasi-governmental board that promotes the state’s hops production (and therefore beer) has held the event in Bremerton for three years running. It drew more than 2,700 people here in 2013. It shuts down part of Pacific Avenue and part of Fourth Street for the revelry.

The beer commission had contemplated moving the event to Tacoma this year, but many of Kitsap County’s brewers and beer supporters journeyed to Shoreline for the commission’s meeting Tuesday night. Long story short, the festival is here to stay after some impassioned arguments from our West Sound brewery faithful.

The commission is made up of six brewers and one liaison with the state’s Department of Agriculture.

For the longer story, look to Thursday’s Kitsap Sun.