Award winning home brewer risks all, secures brewery site, installs kit, jumps through bureaucratic hoops; and eventually delivers wonderful beery creations. Sounds familiar? It was a common scenario during our time in Seattle but since our arrival in the UK three years ago we have not seen a home brewer go pro in our neck of the woods—thankfully that’s about to change…
Between 2008 and 2012 Mr & Mrs Fueled by Beer had the great privilege and pleasure of documenting (and tasting) at least 20 home-brewer-turned-pro startups in the greater Seattle area. The following, all still thriving today, are but a representative sample of what makes Washington State such an amazing craft beer destination:
- Joel VandenBrink, Two Beers Brewing, Seattle (founded 2008).
- Alejandro Brown, Big Al Brewing, Seattle (founded 2008).
- Matt Lincecum, Fremont Brewing, Seattle (founded 2009).
- Beaux Bowman, Black Raven Brewing, Redmond (founded 2009).
- Jeff Holcomb, Valhöll Brewery, Poulsbo (founded 2010).
- Alex Dittmar, Airways Brewing, Kent (founded 2010).
- Ken Thoburn, Wingman Brewers, Tacoma (founded 2011).
- Ryan Hilliard, Hilliard’s Beer, Seattle (founded 2011).
- Brad Ginn, Sound Brewery, Poulsbo (founded 2011).
- Steve Acord, Dirty Bucket Brewing, Woodinville (founded 2012).
- Russell Everett, Bainbridge Island Brewing, Winslow (founded 2012).
- Adam Robbings, Reubens Brews, Seattle (founded 2012).
Fast forward to 2016; at last we can add a UK home brewer to the list. Andy Parker should be firing up his 5 BBL kit any day now at his Elusive Brewing venture located in Finchampstead’s Hogwood Industrial Estate; the same estate that Siren Craft Brew calls home. Now that’s what I call an inspirational neighbor if ever there was one (map).
In 2014 Andy won The Craft Beer Co’s National Home Brewer award and has since been creating waves of anticipation as his creations increasingly appear on a commercial scale. Besides winning a cash prize of £5000, which helped set up Elusive Brewing, Andy won the chance to brew commercially at Dark Star Brewing. This introduced his award winning Level Up American Red to a wider audience and attracted further collaborative ventures with several other breweries:
- Lord Nelson at Weird Beard (based on Andy’s Nelson Saison)
- Collaboration Tawny Ale at Hog’s Back (brewed for GBBF 2014)
- Dinner for One at Siren Craft (first of ten “Dinner at…” collaborations)
- Black Crossroads Sorachi Stout at Cheshire Brewhouse
- Elusive Pig Black IPA at Pig & Porter
- Lemon Head at Wild Weather
Andy is very active on social media and his blog has several articles that beautifully describe the journey that has led him to Elusive Brewing and the trials and tribulations of starting a brewery. Mr & Mrs Fueled by Beer have nothing but admiration and look forward to imbibing the fruits of Andy’s labors in the not too distant future.