–by Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog–
For many years Jeff Thompson drove past the old building at the corner of Highway 3 and Grove Street in Shelton, WA. For some reason, the neglected structure seemed to call out to him. Originally a Pontiac dealership, the eye-catching curved glass-block wall and the rest of the building’s bones intrigued him. Thompson was unsure where the relationship was leading, but he knew something was supposed to happen between him and that old building.
In 2009, when Thompson decided that Shelton needed a brew pub, he knew exactly where to build it.
The Grove Street Brewhouse opened for business in the fall of 2009 and quickly became a hit with the people of Shelton. Because the business plan didn’t include distributing beer outside of the pub’s four walls, one-and-a-half years later Grove Street Brewhouse remains a bit of a mystery to us out-of-towners. We recently learned that the brewery will participate in the Washington Brewers Festival at Saint Edward State Park (June 17-19, 2011), giving many Seattle-area beer lovers their first taste of Grove Street beers.
Grove Street made a rare appearance outside of Shelton when it participated in a Seattle Beer Week 2011 event at Naked City Brewery and Taphouse. In the Seattle beer market, you most easily attract attention with a big, hoppy IPA. The Grove Street IPAcolypse did not disappoint and caused many people to raise an eyebrow and nod in approval. Grove Street’s Kolsch received even higher praise.
At the brewpub in Shelton you will find a lineup that includes six regulars: Kolsch, Bavarian Hefe, ESB, IPA, Porter, and Ol’ Pinchfister (a winter warmer that was so popular Grove Street decided to brew it year round). Along with the mainstays, you will also find a couple of seasonal or specialty brews. Of the nine beers on tap when I visited Grove Street Brewhouse, my favorite was the ESB. I found it to be exceptionally well balanced and very true to style
Behind the Brews
For you serious brewery geeks, the actual brewhouse at Grove Street is a seven-barrel steam-fired brewhouse made by Pub Brewing Co. They have four seven-barrel unitank fermenters and seven seven-barrel single wall serving tanks. Grove Street does not filter its beers.
The man behind Grove Street’s beers is Adam Orrick. Tasting the beer, you would not guess that this is his first gig as a professional brewer. His beers are rock solid. Not too surprising, really, when you learn that he is a graduate of the World Brewing Academy in Chicago, as well as Doemens Academy in Munich.
“Before I headed to Munich, I was able to work with Shawn Loring at Lazy Boy Brewing in Everett, just to make sure that working in a brewery was what I wanted to do,” Adam says. “He let me hang around, wash kegs and stuff, and basically see what it was like to work in a professional brewery.”
Despite his training, Adam knew there would be a sizable learning curve. Brewing is, after all, as much art as it is science. “It was a bit daunting, stepping in as a brewmaster right off the bat,” he says. “There’s a lot to learn, but I’m happy with the way things have been worked out. A bit amazed, actually.”
Grove Street owner, Jeff Thompson, tells us that he really didn’t have reservations when he hired a young and relatively inexperienced brewer. “It’s nice having someone young come in here to work with me instead of having someone come in and tell me what beer they are going to make,” he says. “I’m actually able to have some say in the direction we go.”
Beyond the Brews
Grove Street Brewhouse is family-friendly and open for both lunch and dinner. The pub sometimes hosts live music. For the most current information, friend them on Facebook.
To accompany the beer, you will find a menu featuring pizzas and sandwiches, soups and salads, along with an impressive array of appetizers and desserts. What’s more, for the non-beer drinker Grove Street provides a huge selection of exceptional teas. You won’t find anything from Lipton or Celestial Seasonings, only the highest quality teas from around the world.
The Grove Street Brewhouse is very much worth selecting “Choose Alternate Route” on your GPS the next time you take a trip out to the Washington coast. If you’re a serious beer enthusiast, make a special trip to Shelton. And if your plans don’t take you anywhere near Shelton, look for Grove Street Brewhouse at the Washington Brewers Festival.
Grove Street Brewhouse
233 South 1st Street
Shelton, WA 98584
Open at 11:00 a.m. everyday