Meet the Brewer-Naked City Brewery
Don Webb: Owner/Head Brewer at Naked City Brewery & Taphouse in Seattle, and Naked City Camano Island.
Hometown: Woodland, Washington
Favorite Beer: Yankee Drifter Summer Lager. The beer is a tribute to Don’s father, who passed away in 2005. He didn’t care much for those fancy "Microbrews," finding them "too bitter.” Don wanted to honor him by creating a beer that his father would enjoy. It is brewed once a year and released on Father’s Day weekend. Don’s father was a CB radio enthusiast and his CB handle was Yankee Drifter.
Beyond the Beer: Don is a big fan of classic films, particularly Film Noir. Over the years he has amassed a DVD collection of over 2,500 films. He and his wife Janet enjoy long road trips and traveling in general. Every year in October they head to Key Largo, Florida to attend the annual Humphrey Bogart Film Festival.
Brewing Pedigree: Don started homebrewing in 1991. Many years later, prior to opening Naked City in 2008, he did a couple part-time stints at local breweries: Lazy Boy Brewing in Everett and Stix Pizza and Brewery in Seattle (now closed).
His Story: Don says that he wasn’t much of a beer drinker when he was younger, having only been exposed to light, industrial American lagers. Even though he grew up in the greater Portland area, the microbrew scene just didn’t cross his radar. He would occasionally find himself at Bogart’s Joint or the Horsebrass Pub in Portland, where he gravitated towards imported beers.
“Not because I knew anything about them at the time, they just seemed more exotic," Don says. “And they tasted better than what I was used to.”
By the late 80s Don was living in San Diego. He took a trip to Europe (England and Germany), where he had a beer epiphany. “It was in England that I connected with my British heritage and discovered cask ale. When I returned to San Diego, I immediately sought out the Shakespeare Pub (a traditional, English-inspired pub) and that became my local.”
“In 1991, the company I was working for relocated to Bothell. When I arrived in Seattle, I asked my boss if there were any good British Pubs in town. He said ‘Do want English beer or just good beer?’"
His new boss took him to the Lake Washington Grillhouse & Taproom in Kenmore, where he ordered his first Northwest microbrew, Hale’s Pale Ale, served on Cask. He was instantly hooked.
One day while Don was checking out the Pike Brewing location, the old one down on Western Avenue (remember this was 1991), he wandered into the neighboring homebrew supply store: Liberty Malt Supply, which at the time was Seattle’s top homebrew shop. Looking at the equipment and supplies, he knew that he wanted to give home brewing a try. In December 1991 the first batch of Webb’s Heritage Brewing Christmas Ale was bottled. Two years later, he would start referring to his Homebrewery as Naked City Brewing. Naked City is a classic example of Film Noir, the kind of movie he loves.
Fast-forward to 2006, working with a couple of partners, the business plan for Naked City Brewery began to take shape. Don quit his day job at Vulcan, Inc. and completed an online brewing course offered by The Siebel Institute, and in order to get some commercial experience under his belt, he started working part-time at Lazy Boy Brewing in Everett and Stix Pizza and Brewery in South Lake Union.
Naked City Brewery and Taproom opened in October 2008, first as a taproom serving other breweries’ beers, but Don started brewing Naked City beers soon thereafter. The company opened its second location, Naked City Camano Island, in April of 2017. There’s no brewery at the new place, but plenty of Naked City beers.