Brewlab has an eight-barrel brewing system on site, where innovation brewer Nick Crandall will be testing a number of recipes.
Brewlab has an eight-barrel brewing system on site, where innovation brewer Nick Crandall will be testing a number of recipes.

Redhook Brewery showed off its Capitol Hill Brewlab on Thursday night, with tours of the eight-barrel brew system, bites from the kitchen and 16 small-batch collaboration beers.

Innovation brewer Nick Crandall was tasked with trekking the Puget Sound region for collaborators to create the beers customers will have available on tap during Brewlab’s grand opening on Thursday, Aug. 17, on the ground floor of the Pike Motorworks building, 714 E. Pike St. He went as far north as Bellingham, and then worked with some brewers in Portland, where parent company Craft Brew Alliance is headquartered.

“Some of them were like a half hour of talking. ‘Oh, this is what we’re going to do? Great,’” Crandall told CHT during Thursday’s preview night. “Some of it was, ‘Let’s meet over beer four times,’ which was torture — pure torture.”

Beers on tap include a Quinn-cidental Pale collaboration with 54°40' Brewing Company, Tandem Storyline lager with Chainline Brewing and a Hot Legs Scottish ale with Naked City Brewing.

“Most of the time the name is the hardest part,” Crandall said.

Redhook’s Washington Native IPA series will be in constant rotation on the menu.

Using a High Efficiency Brewing System, Crandall and his brewery friends have plans to produce more than 100 small-batch varieties each year. He started a few batches in mid-July. He’s hoping to have two new beers every week, and one collaboration out every two months.

“I’ve got most of my tanks full, right now,” he said.

Crandall is sharing aspects of Brewlab’s setup with Kona Brewing Company, another brewery under Craft Brew Alliance, so they can use it in their new brewing facility, he said.

Brewlab will fill growlers and 32-ounce cans, but the experimental brews will not be for mass distribution.

If Crandall produces a hit that tests well in Capitol Hill, the recipe could go down to the Redhook Brewery in Portland, said Brady Walen, senior director of brand marketing at Craft Brew Alliance.

In remarks to Thursday’s crowd, Walen noted Redhook’s journey from an old transmission shop in Ballard to an old trolley barn in Fremont, then to Woodinville — the brewing operation closed this year, but the pub is still running — and then to Capitol Hill.

“I think it’s so fitting that Redhook has ended up back in a garage,” said Jim Graham with Graham Baba Architects, which developed the space with Arup Engineering, “and that harkens back to its history in Seattle.”

Seattle restaurateurs James Weimann and Deming Maclise consulted on the interior design. Sub Pop Records art director Sasha Barr created a custom mural on the east wall, next to the front bar.

In the back is a 1930s bar salvaged from a Greyhound station in Soap Lake, which Weimann said is referred to as the “Brewer’s Guild.”

“As all of these pieces came together, our confidence really began to grow,” he said.

Executive chef Richard Adair is putting out fresh oysters, Penn Cove mussels, brick-oven pizzas and a number of bar snacks.

Rather than pumping in satellite radio, Crandall will be providing much of the musical accompaniment through his extensive vinyl record collection.

With two 16-tap bars at Brewlab, Walen said there is the possibility of having 32 rotations at one time in the future.

“For Nick, it’s like free reign.”

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