When Nathan Sherfey, the grandson of Gary Remlinger, was fresh off finishing his MBA at Willamette University and taking over as general manager of the family business at Remlinger Farms, it provided a serendipitous timing.
“Coming from a college-aged kid who likes beer, we thought it would be a good time to get into the beer business,” he said.
For the last five months, Sherfey has been heading the nearly 60-year-old farm’s newest project: a full-service, onsite brewery that sits in a small room right next to its famous market.
The brewery was planned to open last summer, but faced pandemic-related supply chain delays. However, since a soft opening this spring and an official opening this June, the new venture has gone off without a hitch, Sherfey said.
“We brought in the brewery to make it so you can always come to Remlinger Farms. There’s always something here for you,” he said.
Although the farm is well known for its kid-friendly fun park featuring 25 rides and attractions, it did not have many attractions for adults, Sherfey said. The idea behind the brewery was to provide a space that would bring in those without kids.
That decision has paid off so far, Sherfey said. He estimated that about 70% adults who eat at their restaurant are now getting one of the brewery’s 20 different beers alongside their meals.
“It’s worked out great,” he said. “We’ve even seen a lot of people come back in the evening without their kids.”
Sherfey, who grew up in Chehalis, but spent his summers in Carnation working at Remlinger, said they haven’t narrowed down a signature set of beers and are turning out a different beer almost weekly, occasionally mixing in fruits that are grown onsite. His favorites include their hazy beer and cider.
Everything contributing to the beer that’s not grown onsite is local to Washington state, Sherfey said, including hops grown in Yakima. Leftover product from the production is also donated as cow feed to farms in the area.
“It’s a cool little piece of environmentalism and sustainability,” he said.
For Sherfey, perhaps the best part is that the brewery is tied in with family lore. Remlinger, who is of German ancestry, has had family in Carnation for over a century, and had a great-grandfather who used to homebrew beer for people in the Valley. That was something Sherfey said he wanted to bring back.
“I didn’t know he was a beer guy until he came here,” Sherfey said. “It’s not even just drinking it. He walks in here, sometimes we have meetings in here. He just likes to be in here.
“It’s been fun watching him and how mesmerized he is by the whole process.”
The brewery is open 12 to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday at 32510 N.E. 32nd Street in Carnation.