On tap

  • Shannon Sessions<br>Lynnwood / Mountlake Terrace Enterprise editor
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 6:39am

LYNNWOOD — There’s a not-so new beer in town.

Mountlake Terrace’s Rick Ellersick has a motto: “People work hard, and gas is so expensive right now — good beer shouldn’t be.”

After seven years of being licensed to make beer out of his longtime Mountlake Terrace garage, Ellersick has opened the first micro-brewery in Lynnwood, “Big E Great Beer.” The tasting room, at 5030 208th Street SW in Lynnwood, will open soon. In the meantime, they’re brewing and selling beer from there, like it’s going out of style, he said. He also builds and sells beer refrigerators.

Ellersick said his beer is good because he makes it like he likes to drink it.

“I don’t like it hoppy,” Ellersick said. “I like beer to be easy to drink, but still full of flavor. And I’ve found my friends like it that way too.”

Ellersick’s recipes are for blonde, copper and porter style beers. He also makes a flavored beer such as raspberry or blackberry and a seasonal flavor as well.

“I always try to do something off the beaten path,” he said.

Ellersick’s friends told their friends, and they told their friends, and so, and so on. Because of this word of mouth advertising, in just a few months, the Ellersicks have been able to take on the brewery as a full time gig.

Mountlake Terrace Mayor Jerry Smith and his wife Judy are fans of the Ellersicks and have been known to help out at the brewery once in awhile.

“It’s so clean and pristine, he’s put so much work into it,” said Judy Smith about the brewery. “It’s going to be fun and I think he’s a nice guy too.”

Jerry Smith, who is also a Shriner, said they are trying to work with Ellersick to have him make a special label for the Nile.

“I think it’s a great little brewery. He’s a hustler and a good worker — his whole family are good workers,” Jerry Smith said. “If anybody’s going to make it work, he will.”

Smith added, “But, I wish he was in Mountlake Terrace not Lynnwood.”

Ellersick, who has been involved as a volunteer with Mountlake Terrace Youth Athletic Association for years, said his beer-making days all started after he was having some parents over after a MTYAA football game for one of his four sons. The adults were in his garage drinking beer from his refrigerator when a friend suggested he should start making his own beer. So he gave it a try.

“And it was good, everybody loved it,” said Ellersick’s wife, Traci. “He also makes a mean root beer too.”

Ellersick said it didn’t take long and he was making beer for his friends’ parties and other events including making the beer for the annual Tour de Terrace Festival in its beer garden. They’ve also found ways through their brewing to give back to their community by organizing fund-raisers for non-profit groups such as MTYAA.

“I knew this was getting serious when my mechanics garage started turning into a brewing garage,” he said.

He said his beer is special because he takes his time and he’s very clean and sanitary.

“Also, I don’t drink while I brew and that makes a big difference,” Ellersick said. “So many people drink at the same time and that just makes the beer taste (bad).”

Ellersick’s wife, Traci, said she knows her husband is going to be successful at this.

“Because the beer is so good and he’s very likable – he makes everyone feel comfortable, like they’re his friend,” she said.

Ellersick couldn’t be happier. He grins from ear to ear as he gives a tour of his new custom-made brewery. He’s talks highly about his friends and his father (Rick Ellersick Sr.) who made it all possible.

“It’s such a passion and it’s such a different kind of business because your creating a product from your imagination,” he said.

Ellersick and his family and friends have literally taken an empty warehouse and turned it into a state-of-the-art brewery. They’re currently putting the finishing touches on the tasting and viewing room. Ellersick said that area should be open to the public by July.

“It’s been like an old-fashioned barn raising, except we’re building a brewery,” he said.

Ellersick, who has experience as a heavy-equipment mechanic and working with hydraulics, welding and as an electrician, did a lot of the work himself. He also used to help run his family’s store in Seattle, the “Market Time Meats &Deli” in Fremont. After that store ran its course, he said, they decided to jump onto the beer making band wagon.

Ellersick, who also loves to cook, said there is a big learning curve when it comes to making beer.

“I’ve had a lot of batches fail, but now we’ve weathered through the storm and we’re ready to open bigger. I think that this area is ready for it.”

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