Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Big E: big plans in Lynnwood

I stopped by Big E Ales, hard by I-5 where Mountlake Terrace fades into Lynnwood, a few miles north of Seattle.  The operation sits at the end of a little commercial strip, shared with a variety of small businesses. 
I got to chat a bit with founder Rick Ellersick, who took out a brewery license for his garage homebrewing setup fifteen years ago (1997), when it was not a common happening the way it is today.  Rick is proud that his kids are involved in the business, too, with one son doing most of the day to day brewing and others marketing, cooking, serving, etc.  The WA Beer Commission has posted Kendall Jones' piece on Big E in its brewery profiles series and a lot of the story can be found there.
The news, in late November, is that Big E is ready to join the canning ranks.  They have 40,000 empty 16-oz cans and a portable can filler that can be wheeled onto the brewery floor.  All they need is beer enough and time.  The 15-barrel brewing system and 30-barrel fermenters have been running full tilt just to keep up with demand in the pub and in the retail draft accounts. 
Big E makes ten regular beers and one seasonal: this season it has been Oompah, an Octoberfest special Rick was very proud of. "We used lager yeast and lagered it for two and a half months," he said. "Supposed to come out 8.5% abv; this year it ran a little over nine."  It was the popular favorite in voting at the Anacortes Beer Festival this fall.  He gave me a taste and the malty richness had that tongue-coating quality you have to love.
(Visited 11/20/12)

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