The 2.5-acre property that Evan Watts’ parents own in unincorporated Snohomish County near Bothell has been a haven for bees for the past half century.
Last year, though, Watts decided to add an “r” to the mix.
As in beer.
Having been an accomplished homebrewer for three years, Watts jumped at his parents’ idea to build a small-barrel brewing system in an unused outbuilding on their land. Now, nearly two years later, Watts is brewing on a 1-barrel system, more than six times larger than the 5-gallon system he brewed on as an amateur. He also has dialed in his recipes — after a number of taste-tests with friends, of course.
“Being able to share this adventure with friends, designing the system and testing batches, has been a lot of fun,” Watts said.
Watts will be unveiling his beers to the public for the first time Saturday at The Hop and Hound in Bothell. Three Watts Brewing beers, Leafcutter Kolsch, Blue Orchard Bitter and Apian IPA, will be pouring during the event.
“It’s awesome to finally be here,” said Watts of finally launching the brewery to the public. “There have been so many milestones that have come together to get us here. It’s such a relief to be here at the last major milestone.”
Watts was first introduced to craft beer by his friend Stephen Parry, who brought back craft IPAs from Ohio to their school at Pomona College outside of Los Angeles.
“He was the first to turn 21,” Watts said of Parry, who now helps Watts in the brewery a few days a week.
Watts’ brewing style could be characterized as taking classic world styles of beer and putting an American spin on it. He often pairs American ingredients with styles like Kolsch or an English bitter.
Watts said he’s learned a lot from his experience helping his parents and grandparents raise bees. The family’s business, which can be found at rentmasonbees.com, rents and sells solitary bees, the kind that don’t sting and don’t make hives, for the purpose of pollination services.
“The skills do crossover. The biological process is very similar to the brewing process. Controlling the temperature for bees during their hatching to maximize life expectancy is a lot similar to controlling the temperature of the boil to control yeast fermentation.
Watts, whose day job is a software consultant for Satori Software in downtown Seattle, puts in 40 hours per week into the brewery. He said he hopes to open a small taproom on the property in the future, much like Jim Jamison at Foggy Noggin Brewing just down the road.
“Jim really showed me that you could own a small-barrel system and make the beer you want to make,” Watts said. “That was huge.”
Watts Brewing launch
Bothell’s The Hop and Hound bottleshop hosts Watts Brewing Company’s official launch party from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3. Meet brewer and owner Evan Watts and try all three of Watts Brewing’s offerings, including The Leafcutter, a Kolsch-style ale, Blue Orchard Bitter, a malty pale ale, and Apian IPA, a West Coast IPA.