The folks at Scuttlebutt Brewing have been so busy over the past year that they had no time to celebrate the brewery’s 20th birthday in July.
Better late than never.
Much of the hard work is starting to calm down and Scuttlebutt owner Phil Bannan Sr., head brewer Matt Stromberg and others can don the party hats and blow out the candles. It’s time to party.
“We’ve had contractors under foot for the past year. It’s been stressful, but good,” Stromberg said. “That’s why you work so hard. This is what we’ve all been waiting for.”
Scuttlebutt is scheduled to open a speakeasy-style taproom in its production brewery on Cedar Street in industrial Everett soon, and four bottled versions of its anniversary beer, a Russian Imperial Stout, in a handcrafted wooden crate is also close to hitting shelves.
Oh, and they recently completed an expansion that tripled its production capabilities and got down with a bunch of their friends at the second annual Rock the Boat, a beer and music festival collaboration with the Everett Music Initiative.
The taproom could be considered the cherry on top of a year full of hard work transforming the Everett brewery’s production facility. Designed by Phil Bannan Jr. and his wife, Mindy, the taproom is a styled in a Prohibition-era speakeasy format, with dark interior and furniture, golden vintage Edison-style lightbulbs and a gorgeous Redwood bar.
“We want this to be a little secret spot,” Stromberg said of the taproom, which will have very limited hours.
As opposed to Scuttlebutt’s waterfront restaurant, the new taproom’s 10 taps will pour hard-to-find and specialty beers brewed by Stromberg and his crew.
“We’ll have beers rotating on and off very regularly,” Stromberg said. “This will be a place to showcase our barrel-aged stuff and other experimental beers.”
The new taproom, which is slated to open sometime in the next few weeks, is tucked in a corner of the new space in the production brewery. A pair of garage doors open directly into the large brewing floor and windows could eventually show the bottling line.
The highlight of the taproom is the shiny, L-shaped Redwood bar. Sourced from a tree that once towered over property owned by the grandfather of Phil Bannan Sr. along the Russian River in California, the new bar holds a special place in the heart of the Scuttlebutt family.
The bar will feature a Crowler machine, or a small-scale beer canning machine, and a cooler full of bottles, both Scuttlebut beers and possibly other rare beers from other breweries. Stromberg said Scuttlebutt used top-of-the-line equipment, including silicon hoses and seals that will last longer and soda hoses, which Stromberg said are better at not holding onto flavors.
A beer that will likely be pouring soon at the new taproom will be the Russian Imperial Stout, which Stromberg designed specifically for the brewery’s anniversary celebration. In September, Scuttlebutt plans to release a one-of-a-kind four pack that will include a “control” version of the stout and three other versions barrel-aged in Skip Rock Distilling rum barrels, Oola Distillery’s Scotch barrels and Woodinville Whiskey barrels. The beers will be housed in handmade wood crates emblazoned with Scuttlebutt’s “anchor” logo scheme, which, along with packaging that has Scuttlebutt’s iconic mermaid front and center, is also new in 2016.
“You don’t get to celebrate a 20th anniversary every day,” Stromberg said.
Scuttlebutt isn’t finished yet. Stromberg started reaching out to Snohomish County brewers earlier this year in hopes of bringing all of them together to work on a collaboration beer. He said it’s taken longer than he anticipated, but he’s hoping to bring them all together soon to start working on a recipe.
It’s been more than two decades since Phil Bannan Sr. and his wife, Cynthia, opened their brewery/restaurant on the docks of the Port of Everett. They now oversee an operation that pours beer in two of its own locations in Everett, sends its beer to far-flung locales in Asia and Europe and now has the production capabilities to possibly catapult into the top 5 in barrels produced in the state of Washington.
“It’s gone by in a flash in a lot of respects,” said Phil Bannan Sr. of the 20 years. “We were never guaranteed to last the first year. We were week-by-week.