Longtime Seattle brewer heads up new brewery in Bothell

Drew Cluley’s brewing career seems to be stuck in reverse.

Cluley, the head brewer at the recently opened Beardslee Public House in Bothell, started his career on the 50-barrel system at Seattle’s Pyramid Brewing in 1995. Since then, he’s led brewing operations at Pike Brewing (25-barrel system), Big Time Brewing (15-barrel) and now at Beardslee, which is operating a 10-barrel system.

“I’ll be brewing a 2-barrel system in my garage soon,” Cluley joked.

Seattle restaurateur John Howie brought Cluley on to be head brewer at his new operation in Bothell. It’s been an inspired choice. Cluley may be working on smaller and smaller systems, but the quality of beer he’s making is only getting better. He’s got the beautiful 10-barrel system humming in the bowels of the Beardslee Public House.

That was evident at a recent beer tasting at Beardslee. Cluley is using his brewing expertise to not only make good beer, but he’s already got a wide-ranging 12 beers currently on tap, despite only having had access to his new system for a few months.

As he waited for construction to be completed, Cluley brewed batches at Everett’s Lazy Boy Brewing. He said he was thankful for the opportunity to brew with Lazy Boy’s Shawn Loring and get his recipes dialed in.

Just a few days ago, Beardslee tapped its newest beer, Patch Cut Pumpkin Ale, to go with 11 other beers, including three IPAs (Cluley is very much aware of his Northwest roots).

Beers I tasted on Tuesday included Greenleaf IPA, Knotted Porter, Beaver Bait Blonde, Widow Maker Wit, Four Ginger IPA, Bastard Grain Pale Ale, Bad Axe Double IPA, Yellowbelly Wheat, Knuckle Boom ESB, Sidewinder Stout and Sasquatch CDA.

The standouts for me were the CDA, which was nice and roasty with a solid hoppy finish, and the ESB. I rarely reach for an ESB, but Beardslee’s was very well balanced with a nice rye bitterness on the back end. Very sessionable beer.

As for the IPAs, my favorite was the Greenleaf IPA. Cluley uses a technique called hop bursting, which involves introduction of a large amount of hops late in the boil, to give it a nice rounded bitterness. The Greenleaf has 60 IBU, but the hoppiness is subtle and smooth.

Paige Zahnle is not only the assistant brewer to Cluley but also a certified cicerone, or a sommelier for beer. Zahnle has helped choose the best beer to go with Beardslee’s food as well as assisted executive chef Jed Laprade decide which beers to use in the food, including Greenleaf IPA-jalapeno hummus and stout-infused deviled eggs.

Cluley said that he’s hoping to get some kegs of Beardslee beer out to places like Brouwer’s and The Pine Box. Beardslee will also be pouring its beers at the upcoming Bothell Beer Fest.

Aaron Swaney: 425-339-3430; aswaney@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @swaney_aaron79. Follow the Hops and Sips blog at www.heraldnet.com/hopsandsips.

Beardslee Public House

19116 Beardslee Boulevard, Bothell, 425-286-1001, www.beardsleeph.com

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday; Bar is open until 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, midnight Friday and Saturday. Happy Hour is 3 to 6 p.m. every day

Alcohol: Full bar, including 12 beers on tap (see Page 8)

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