Three years ago the Snohomish beer scene exploded. Seven breweries opened in the span of a year and the small tourist town went from brewery starved to packed with craft beer watering holes.
Since that time, some breweries — Prison Break and Lost Canoe — have closed, one changed ownership — the owners of Lost Canoe bought Sound to Summit — and most have grown by leaps and bounds.
For the first time since the beer scene took off, the five breweries that operate independent taprooms in Snohomish have gotten together to brew one beer with five different hops to celebrate Washington Beer Open House. The 10th annual Washington Beer Open House is Feb. 29 and it gives breweries across the state a day to welcome craft beer lovers in for tours, special beer releases and other fun events.
Snohomish breweries SnoTown, Spada Farmhouse, Sound to Summit, Scrappy Punk and Haywire have all brewed a SMASH beer, or a single malt/single hop IPA, and dry hopped with a specific hop of their choosing. The brewers got together recently at Sound to Summit to brew the Smash & Dash base beer with donated Fritz Pale Malt from Skagit Valley Malting.
“We’re at the point where we all know each other really well — good and bad,” said Scrappy Punk owner and head brewer Greg Krsak, with a laugh. “It was great to get everyone together, and I’m glad we were able to make it happen this year.”
Brewers got their allotment of the base beer and took it back to their own brewery to dry hop it with their selected hop.
“We each made an effort to use a variety of hop we haven’t used before,” said John Spada, who used Vic Secret hops in Spada’s version of the Smash & Dash beer, “bearing in mind that we want to produce a product that represents an IPA that is new and delicious for our customers.”
Sound to Summit head brewer Adam Frantz, who was a late-comer to the Snohomish beer scene after S2S brought him on board after changing ownership, has really felt welcomed by the Snohomish beer scene.
“It’s a tight knit community,” said Frantz, who is using Samba hops in his Smash & Dash beer. “When I showed up, I’d see guys around town and they’d introduce themselves and offer up any help I needed. Coming from Seattle it was a stark difference. It really has that small-town mentality.”
For many independent breweries, the three-year mark can be a breaking point. But the Snohomish breweries involved in the Smash & Dash event are all trending upward. Sound to Summit just posted its highest production numbers they’ve ever had, Spada is purchasing a building to allow for expansion, SnoTown recently installed a new brewing system, Haywire won a gold medal for its ESB at the Best of Craft Beer Awards, and Scrappy Punk is coming off a year in which it took home the most tokens at the state’s largest beer festival.
“We are very excited about the growth it has brought to Snohomish and all of the great friendships that have evolved in our community of small business ownership along the way,” said Bryant Castle, who is using experimental hop HBC-586 in Haywire’s beer. “This is why the Smash & Dash exists.”
Washington Beer Open House
The 10th annual Washington Beer Open House is Feb. 29. Breweries across the state will welcome craft beer lovers with new releases, giveaways, tours and more. Below is a list of some local breweries participating. For a full list of participating breweries, visit www.washingtonbeer.com.
South Everett Pub Crawl: South Everett breweries Lazy Boy Brewing, Crucible Brewing and Middleton Brewing, along with Soundbite Cidery, are hosting South Everett Pub Crawl on Feb. 29. They will all be pouring a special collaboration beer and collect stamps at all three breweries to be entered to win prizes.
5 Rights Brewing: R.J. Whitlow, owner and brewer of Marysville’s 5 Rights Brewing, will be on site to share his vision and history of the project … oh, and pour pints of his beer!
Foggy Noggin Brewing: The Bothell brewery will be releasing its season Diablo del Sol, an English pale ale, in draft and cask form.
Hemlock State Brewing: The Mountlake Terrace’s head brewers will be on hand to talk beer, homebrewing, recipe building and more.
ITS Brewing: The Arlington brewery will be open and offering specials on flights and merchandise.
Lake Stevens Brewing: The Lake Stevens brewery will be pairing Girl Scout cookies with beer. Purchase a flight of four beers with four cookies. There will also be milk and cookies for kids.
Smash & Dash: The Smash & Dash IPA is a collaboration with five of the Snohomish breweries for Washington Beer Open House on Feb. 29. Each beer will be released at the respective breweries. Customers can pick up punch cards and get three punches to be entered to win a prize.