Business

Brewery opens tap room to awaiting patrons

The lights came on, the doors were opened and the taps began to flow as the Snoqualmie Falls Brewery Co. opened its Snoqualmie Brewery and Taproom along Falls Avenue last Wednesday.

"We were feeling that the town and the Valley was ready and needed a place like this," said Taproom manager Tim Tooker. "This is where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do."

Founded by Pat Anderson, David McKibben, Dave Eiffert, LeRoy Gmazel and Tom Antone, the private Snoqualmie Falls Brewery has been in operation for eight years.

Tooker said that the idea for the Taproom had been tossed around for about five years.

Selling sometimes up to 2,000 bottles of beer a week at the side-door of the retail Brewery located along Falls Avenue, customers would consistently ask about drinking their beer in-house, Tooker said. That wasn't an option, though, because of regulations.

So, the owners began to think of ways to make that happen, and also offer up food and a family-friendly atmosphere, Tooker said. They decided on the neighboring location they used for storage and began building last November.

"What I want is a customer to come in and enjoy a beer," Tooker said. "We're tickled to death to be doing this."

The Taproom offers a menu of cold, toasted and baked sandwiches, soups, salads, nachos and more.

All ingredients are natural, Tooker said.

"We're trying to give people good food," he added, noting that the meals will not be skimpy servings.

The Taproom also serves as the retail space for those interested in purchasing the Snoqualmie Falls Brewing Co's. original beers, including its Copperhead Pale Ale, Steam Train Porter and seasonal beer such as the current selection, Spring Fever.

Additionally, the brewery's exclusive-to-the-Taproom Snoqualmie Hefeweizen is also available.

All beers are on tap and available as "taster sets."

Nonalcoholic beverages include Snoqualmie Draft Root Beer, Jones Sodas, teas and a special Snoqualmie Brewery and Taproom coffee blend.

The head brewer at the Taproom, Rande Reed, had a 12-year history of working with Hart Brewing, the company that makes the Thomas Kemper and Pyramid beverages, before joining the Snoqualmie Falls Brewery in 1998. There are five additional staff members, each with cross-training experience.

One of the goals of the Taproom is to give locals and tourists an experience.

"We want to introduce people here in Washington and tourists to what we have here in the Valley and give them something to remember," Tooker said. "We're trying to help put the Valley on the map."

Tooker, an Issaquah resident and a retired Army sergeant who served more than 17 years, first entered the brewery field in 1994 after his right leg was crushed by a drunk driver.

His involvement was a way for him to help control the way people drink and the amount of alcohol they consume.

One way he monitors that balance between people having a good time and recognizing when they have had too much to drink is to make all ordering happen at the counter.

"I want to see them get up from the table," he said, recommending that people consume only one to two alcoholic beverages an hour. "If they stagger, they're not getting another beer."

In the mid-1990s, he managed a "biker bar" in Milton for about three years, turning it into a "32-tap pub" with a better reputation.

The native Washingtonian found his way to California for brewery work, but decided to resign due to a recent knee injury.

As he was typing his letter of resignation this fall, he received a call inviting him to manage the Taproom.

He and his wife returned to the area in January of this year.

The Snoqualmie Brewery and Taproom is located at 8032 Falls Ave. S.E. in Snoqualmie.

Hours are Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturdays 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Happy hour is 6-7 p.m. daily. For more information, call (425) 831-2357 or visit www.fallsbrew.com.

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