AN AWARD-WINNING BREWERY
IN NORTHEAST SEATTLE!
At Burke-Gilman, our mission is to make a great place to sit down and share a pint. If we get that right, it gives us the freedom to experiment with styles, emphasize quality, not chase trends, and explore beer history.
So, we brew many styles, but we love all our children. Sometimes we’re in the mood for hops, sometimes we’re in the mood for lager, sometimes a giant stout. But we’re always in the mood to learn about our craft and put care back into the beer.
We strive to put the best possible beer in front of the best neighbors in the world.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
We’ve known each other since before high school, and eventually found our way from Spokane to Seattle. Years go by, turns out we all enjoy craft beer, but nobody had an interest in running a beer factory in an industrial district somewhere, or a restaurant with a small brewery attached. But, not long ago, the industry changed. The laws changed, allowing something like a brewery taproom to exist. We went to a few of these, noticed the equipment on display, tried tons of beer styles, reflecting the experimental spirit of these entrepreneurs. And we thought, wait, you can have a brewery in a neighborhood, and people just come by to drink it there, and they bring in their own food? Where has this business model been? Let’s try doing that!
A million spreadsheets and small batches of homebrew later… here we are!
THE BEER IS REALLY GOOD. DON’T TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT.
Our beer has won a variety of medals, starting with our first WABA competition, less than a year after opening - we took several silvers and several bronzes in 2019. After that, we won WABA gold in 2019 for a fresh hop hazy.
In 2020, Phil convinced us to enter the Alpha King competition, which is a very prestigious award, but little-known outside the industry. It’s awarded each year to the best hoppy beer in the nation, and looking at the list of past winners is eye-opening. Beers that are legendary.
And... then we won! Phil is the 2020 Alpha King! He submitted a fresh hop version of our Hopotheosis, having included a financially irresponsible amount of hops.
While we were incredibly happy for him, we were thinking that it was almost a shame to win an award that is, frankly, not well-known. We had also made sure to enter beers in the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), which the general public has heard of.
Fortunately, two hours later, we won GABF Gold for a completely different beer! An Imperial Hazy IPA called The Hopsplainer.
Two of the biggest awards in beer in two hours. It was an exciting afternoon.
HOW DO YOU MAKE THE BEER?
Well, when some malt and some hops love each other very much…
We source malted barley from all kinds of places, some of it grown locally in WA. The malting process converts starch in the grain to sugars that yeast can eat! Alcohol and interesting flavors are side products of the yeast’s life cycle.
For hops - we’re very lucky in Washington, which is the source of about 75% of the nation’s hop harvest. So, sourcing super high quality hops is not hard for us. We even get to take road trips every fall to pick up loads of fresh hops, right off the bine. The hops are used to add a level of bitterness appropriate to the style (ranging from “not bitter at all” to “wow, that’s super bitter”) and they also add fascinating flavors and aromas to the final product.
The yeast is perhaps the heart of the beer, though. Different strains of yeast, sourced from yeast labs all over the country (and yeast propagation traditions all over the world), add flavor and texture as they eat most of the sugars in the beer. We always pitch fresh and healthy yeast, and use the right strain for the style. This can be super expressive of flavors, like in a Belgian abbey style, or it can be very clean and neutral, so as to put the focus on the other ingredients.
Kenneth Trease has been homebrewing since 1995. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry from the University of Washington, and is fascinated by the way yeast makes beer a living product. He also spent 10 years as a water quality chemist at a local water utility. It was while working as an analytical chemist that he first got interested in brewing on his own beer. The first all-grain beer he made was a cranberry pale ale, using cranberries from the Bandon, OR cranberry bog a friend grew up on (he still wants to repeat this beer on the big system). He likes hops as much as anyone, but some days he kinda wishes we were actually an all-saison brewery. He has three elementary school aged kids, who are fond of talking dad into walking over to the brewery “just to check on things”, so they can see everyone’s dogs and get some pretzels. He loves digging up obscure or historical beer styles and making Phil make them.
Corey Ovendale brings 20 years of managerial and customer service experience running a University of Washington print plant. Before his work at the University he helped run a small printing business, working in production and outside print sales. Corey has had a long standing interest in the beer industry - primarily on the consumption end, and wanted to use his business experience in the service of this interest.
Ty Ovendale has 10 years of homebrewing experience, working on his 1/6 barrel home-built system. He has won awards in a number of different regional homebrewing competitions, and has experience as a beer judge as well. He has visited over 100 different breweries in Washington, and nearly 200 in total around the US and Canada. In the daytime, he is a software engineer.
Eric Lundquist has a degree in business administration from the Foster School of Business and has over a decade of experience as a competition beer judge. He bicycle commutes all seasons on the Burke-Gilman trail, and had long wished there was a brewery on the section of trail in northeast Seattle. His two kids graduated from Roosevelt High, and he has lived in NE Seattle for the past 30 years.
Bridget Lundquist is Eric’s better half, and didn’t even like beer when we started this. She runs the taproom most days, and can be found pouring beer many nights. She has planned several Pink Boots Brews, helping Phil design the recipe and corralling all the women of BGBC for the brew session. When she says “last call”, she means it.
Phil Pesheck has been brewing professionally for 15 years. He worked at various production breweries in the region, but always wanted the chance to be more creative. When he saw the ad BGBC placed looking for a head brewer, he jumped at the chance. Years of reading and experimenting have paid off, with BGBC emerging as a well respected brewer of hop-forward beers (which he knew we could do) and lagers (which was brand new to him!) He can often be found sitting at the bar, nose buried in a book on brewing process, his dog Lily at his feet.
(photos on this page: Mollie Kimberling)