Scuttlebutt Brewing is one of the elder statesmen of Snohomish County breweries. Along with Diamond Knot, it has been around longer than anyone else, and it sells more beer than any other brewery on shelves from here to Europe and Asia.
But sometimes it’s tough getting old.
Since Scuttlebutt opened in 1996, the craft beer boom has created upstart breweries around the county. Young, nimble breweries pumping out wildly extravagant beers each week to rave reviews on beer rating websites get all the attention, while Scuttlebutt dutifully brews giant batches of old favorites to send to taps and shelves around the world. It’s like a bunch of rabbits running circles around the feet of a lumbering elephant.
Over the past few years, it’s created a stratum in the new world of craft breweries. And while both tiny nanobreweries and medium-sized craft breweries like Scuttlebutt are both independently creating good beer, there is a “cool” factor the smaller guys naturally receive. Think that small indie band you liked in college compared to U2.
But Scuttlebutt has been working lately to turn that around. Last year’s opening of its cozy taproom at its production facility was a start. While the restaurant on the waterfront caters to more family fare, the taproom pours one-off experimental and barrel-aged beers and hosts popular cornhole tournaments.
Scuttlebutt also partnered with Everett Music Initiative to host a number of indie music shows among the tanks in the brewery. The S.S. Scuttlebutt Series this summer drew thousands of people to the taproom to rock out and drink experimental sour beers. The scuttlebutt around the brewery had become distinctly non-Scuttlebutt.
That change has started to move over to the actual product. Many of those one-off beers are now being fast-tracked into production. Earlier this summer, Scuttlebutt released Pineapple Hefeweizen, a fruity hef that was first brewed as a one-off, in 12-ounce cans. They shipped out 1,300 cases and sold out in two months. It was a big hit, Scuttlebutt head brewer Eric Nord said.
Now comes Sundiver IPA. The newest addition to Scuttlebutt’s seasonal rotating can series is a tropical-yet-not-hazy IPA. Made with 4.5 pounds of hops per barrel, the beer has a tropical burst up front with a lingering bitterness on the back end. Nord used Columbus and Chinook hops for bittering and loads of El Dorado, Citra and Chinook for flavor. At 44 IBU, it’s a very drinkable IPA.
Like the Pineapple Hefeweizen, 1,300 cases of Sundiver cans will be released. After making its mark in bottles and 22-ounce bombers over the years, Scuttlebutt has made the transition to cans. The first was the Tripel 7 earlier this year and then the Pineapple Hefe. Sundiver is its third can release, with a fourth, a Mosaic Double Dry Hop Ale, to be released later this year. Each can is wrapped with a stylish design.
As can production increases, bottles decrease. Bombers are nearly extinct, now only available at Scuttlebutt’s locations and Total Wine & More. “The industry is moving to cans, and it’s obvious why,” Nord said. “They’re concert friendly, camping friendly and people prefer the flexibility.”
This weekend, Scuttlebutt is helping close out Everett Beer Week with its Summerzover concert Sept. 14 at the taproom. The event serves as the release party for its Sundiver IPA and the final show in the S.S. Scuttlebutt summer concert series. Bands playing include SISTERS, Kuinka and Fretland.
Scuttlebutt is partnering with Zeek’s Pizza to roll out its seasonal releases early. Visit any Zeek’s Pizza location to try the Mosaic Double Dry Hop.
In the Thick Of It, Middleton Brewing/Outlander Brewing: Raspberry mojito milkshake IPA is a collaboration with Seattle’s Outlander Brewing for Middelton’s five-year anniversary. Available on tap at the brewery.
Card Stunt, Foggy Noggin Brewing: Crisp and refreshing, this Scottish session ale is made with Scottish grown and floor-malted Maris Otter and Cluster hops. Available Saturday on tap at the brewery.
Pumpkin Ain’t Easy, Lake Stevens Brewing: Brewed with pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice, this beer has to be good with a name that awesome. Available on tap at the brewery.
Morello Sour, Spada Farmhouse Brewery: Golden sour base aged in Skip Rock bourbon barrels for 10 months and then racked onto Griotte Morello, dark sweet and pie cherries. Available on tap at the brewery and in bottles Saturday.
Saison D’Italia, Spada Farmhouse Brewery: Saison aged in red wine barrels with three Brettanomyces strains and Spada’s house saison yeast and then racked on three types of Italian blood oranges. Available on tap at the brewery.
Scuttlebutt Brewing, Everett
Stats: 6.2 percent ABV, 44 IBU
Available: On tap at the brewery and in 12-ounce cans at bottleshops and grocery stores
From the brewery: The newest release in Scuttlebutt’s seasonal can series, this tropical IPA is made with El Dorado, Citra, Chinook and Columbus hops.