An Historic Day in Seattle Beer History
August 11, 2015 - 2:53 PM- by Kendall Jones -
Craft beer is still a relatively new thing. We don’t have a lot of history. Luckily we live in Seattle, one of the places where American craft beer was born. Last year we celebrated Pike Brewing’s 25th Anniversary. Next Saturday, Maritime Pacific celebrates the same. But that’s about as old as we go. Almost.
Respect where it’s due, right? Wednesday, August 11, 1982 was a monumental day in Seattle beer history. That’s when Redhook tapped its first keg and sold its first pint. Around Seattle we take craft beer for granted, but 33 years ago there was nothing. In 1982, nobody had any idea if this whole “microbrew” thing would actually work. Hell, the overwhelming majority of beer drinkers had no clue that the beer world was on the brink of revolution.
(above - first keg delivered to FX McRory's)
At that time, Redhook was one of a very small handful of microbreweries in the nation. There were two in Washington. (The other was Yakima Brewing & Malting Co, also known as Grant’s Brewery Pub, in Yakima.) Today, Washington has 250 breweries and there are over 3,500 breweries across the nation. Suffice it to say, Redhook was on to something.
(above - one of Redhook's founders, Gordon Bowker)
A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. I know that many of today’s beer nerds find Redhook to be irrelevant. I know that many people misunderstand the company’s relationship with Anheuser-Busch and cannot forgive them for making a deal with the devil. I get it. I know.
Still, respect where it’s due.
I can’t imagine what those first customers thought of the old “banana beer” back in 1982. It must have completely freaked them out. It was a far cry from Rainier and Oly, which was pretty much the only thing you could find on tap around Seattle back then.
(above - Hanging the sign on the original brewery at the corner of Leary Way NW and NW 47th Street)
All pictured courtesy of Redhook.
NOTE – I verified the date of August 11th 1982 with two sources. Encyclopedia.com and a person who was actually there on that day and drank some of that beer.