Scott and Loni Wetzel were ready to throw in the towel.
For more than two years, the Snohomish couple worked to raise money and prepare a space downtown for their nonprofit pub, Center Public House. But things were starting to fall apart. Donations had dwindled and their hold on the location had timed out.
“There was just nothing happening,” said Scott Wetzel recently over a pint at Fred’s Rivertown Alehouse in downtown Snohomish. “We had a dream that started to get legs and it became a vision. Then folks got behind it and it became kind of a movement. Then it just started to fizzle.”
They’d had no movement on a GoFundMe campaign, and the money from donations wasn’t enough to convince landlords downtown to take a chance on a nonprofit pub.
“We felt strongly about staying in the community that we have here in Snohomish,” Scott said. “There’s something about this town that’s different.”
After facing more rejection, a call came from out of the blue. A couple from their church, Clearview Foursquare, wanted to know if they could back the project. They offered $12,500 and an opportunity to double it if they couldn’t raise enough to lock down a lease.
“They said, ‘We believe in the project,’” said Scott. “I was like, ‘Are you sure?’”
They still needed a building. A friend tipped them off to a restaurant for sale downtown. Scarlett’s Hideway had the perfect size and location, and all the equipment they’d need, save a tap system. But the owner was selling for a bit more than they could afford.
The Wetzels talked over possiblities with their board, then approached Scarlett’s owner with a counter-offer and not much hope. Surprisingly, she made them a deal: if they could put a certain amount down, she’d carry a side contract with a small interest rate. They had just enough and figured they could raise a little more to install the tap system.
This past week, the Wetzels, who credit their faith for perseverance through the odyssey, finalized the purchase of the restaurant and its equipment, and signed a lease on the space. Center Public House will be a reality.
“We can’t be more thrilled,” Scott said. “Our goal is to bring people together, and we feel this space is perfect for that.”
The pub will be located at 115 Ave. A in Snohomish, and Scott said the goal is to be open by mid-May. They plan to have eight beers on tap at first and a tapas and dessert menu. What makes the pub special is all profits will be donated back into the community.
It was a real turning point last week when the board started taking donation considerations for local charities.
For more information or to donate, visit www.centerpublichouse.com.
Also on this week’s taster tray:
Takk Skal Du Ha, Naked City Brewing/Lazy Boy Brewing: This is the third beer in Naked City’s Decima Series that is celebrating its 10th anniversary all year. The beer is a Nordic-inspired lager made with pilsner and flaked oats, white wheat, rye malt and hopped with Nelson Sauvin, Citra and Sorachi Ace. Available on tap at both breweries.
Offer I Can’t Refuse, At Large Brewing: Four hop blend and 2-row malt and oats makes this hazy IPA a beer you can’t not drink. Available on tap at the brewery.
Vic Secret IPA, Scrappy Punk Brewing: Single-hop IPA brewed with Australian Vic Secret hops, giving it notes of tropical fruit and pine. Available on tap at the brewery.
Eighty Sixed, Justice Brewing/SnoTown Brewing: This collaboration beers is hazy white IPA hopped with Amarillo and Jarrylo. Available in 12-ounce cans at Toggles Bottleshop, Sno-Isle Coop, The Beer Junction and The Hop and Hound.
Helter Spelter/Holy Trinity, Skookum Brewery: Two hazy IPAs, Helter Spelter is brewed with a large amount of spelt and hopped with Citra, El Dorado, Denali and Eureka; Holy Trinity is brewed with kamut and hopped with Citra, Amarillo and Simcoe. Available on tap at the brewery.
Cervoise de Sarah/Schilpario Saison
Spada Farmhouse Brewery, Snohomish
Style: Golden sour/Barrel-aged saison
Stats: 5.8 percent/6 percent ABV
Available: On tap at the brewery/750-ml bottles at the brewery
From the brewery: One of Wetzel’s favorite Snohomish breweries is releasing two special beers this weekend. First, Cervoise de Sarah, the second in the Spada’s Family Oak series, is a barrel-aged golden sour ale with blueberries made in honor of owner John Spada’s sister. Next, bottles of Schilpario Saison, a saison with cherries and raspberries aged in apple-brandy barrels, also has a family connection.
“Located in the mountains of Northern Italy, Schilpario is where the Spada family is originally from,” Spada said. “This beer is an homage to my relatives, and specifically my great grandpa who made it possible for our brewery to exist today.”