Most of us have been spending more time with family throughout the pandemic. John Spada, owner and head brewer of Spada’s Farmhouse Brewery, took that to the next level.
When the pandemic hit, Spada shut down his taproom on Union Avenue in downtown Snohomish to build a bar and restaurant on well-trod First Street. Helping him in that endeavor were his parents, Mark and Melissa Spada, and his uncle and cousin, Dan and Shae Parker.
Each day felt like deja vu: take care of wife and new baby at home, and then meet up with family to work in the brewery.
“I think with 2020 being such a chaotic year, it was important for our family to have this project,” Spada said. “Things were constantly changing with COVID and regulations, but the stabilizing force was that we all came to this building to work every day.
“It was helpful for us to have a goal to work toward, and we’re very excited and proud to share our new taproom with the Snohomish community.”
We first wrote about Spada’s project in May. Now, the family is nearly ready to show off the the new place — to takeout customers only, for the time being.
The renovated space formerly housed Stewart’s Place Tavern. The old brick building has large street-facing windows and stands alongside bakeries, antique shops and eateries.
Renovating the building was a monumental task. Years of dancing and drinking had left the place in rough shape. The Spadas had to install new flooring, overhaul the bathrooms and tear out rotted wood and outdated infrastructure.
“We wanted to take a historic Snohomish building and restore it to its natural glory,” Spada said. “I feel like we’ve done that.”
Mark and Melissa Spada purchased the building a year ago, and see helping their son reopen the brewery in a century-old building as a way to give back to a town they love.
“We have deep roots here,” Melissa Spada said. “This is our community. We grew up here and raised our kids here.”
They also have faith in what their son has built in the brewery that bears their family name.
“We believe in the talent and passion John has for the brewery and wanted to support that vision,” Melissa Spada said. “When the building came on the market, we jumped at it.”
Going from a simple taproom to a bar-restaurant is a huge jump for Spada. Part of that is understanding a changing customer base. Spada is known for sour beers that take patience and precision to produce, but realizes that not everyone is a fan of sour and barrel-aged beers.
“We will be widening our beer menu to have more approachable beers like IPAs and lagers on tap,” Spada said.
Unlike the old taproom, the new brewery is large enough at 3,300 square feet to house Spada’s brewing equipment. Spada’s award-winning barrel-aging program will continue to be housed on the Spada family farm outside of Snohomish.
Keeping it in the family, the bar top in the new space is made from wood from a tree felled on the family farmstead. Behind the bar, there will be 16 taps, made up mostly of Spada beer but with a guest tap, plus cider and root beer.
Spada’s renovation of Stewart’s anchors a rebirth of the uptown portion of First Street. New shops like Grain Artisan Bakery + Market, which sits next door to Spada, and Once Upon a Time, an antique shop up the street, are bringing more customers to that stretch of the street.
“We’ve received amazing support from people and the shops downtown,” said Melissa Spada, adding that they’re also excited about the renovation of the Carnegie Library Building and adjoining park across the street from the brewery.
For John Spada, the move is more than just an increase in size and responsibility. It’s also a sign that he’s on the right track.
“I figured out how to make a career out of making beer, and for me it was figuring out the next step,” he said. “I believe it’s this. I knew I needed to find something, and a building like this was the perfect opportunity.”
If you go
Spada Farmhouse Brewery, 709 First St., Snohomish, is hosting a grand opening Dec. 4. Takeout orders only. Spada bottles will also be for sale. The brewery is open noon to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday. Call 425-330-6938 or go to www.spadafarmhousebrewery.com.