Garden Path Fermentation – taproom and brewery now open in Burlington

May 14, 2018 - garden totes


Garden Path Fermentation is bringing a wild, rustic, extemporaneous proceed to a Washington drink scene

Barrel, foudres and coolships, oh my!

Garden Path Fermentation recently non-stop a taproom and brewery in Burlington, Washington. For a moment, they are pouring guest beers though will shortly start portion their possess creations, that are now fermenting in foudres and barrels. Below, we share their story in their possess words, though here are some highlights. One thing is certain, Garden Path Brewing skeleton to do things a bit opposite than many any other brewery in a state.

The founders, Amber Watts and Ron Extract, come to Burlington by proceed of Austin, Texas where they both worked for Jester King Brewery. As many well-informed drink nerds are substantially aware, Jester King Brewery is widely famous for a wild, sour, mixed culture, and casually fermented beers. Expect something identical from Amber and Ron’s new venture.

Garden Path Fermentation will concentration on a less-common approach. For example, they will implement a coolship (koelschip in Flemish), that is a large, shallow, open-air vessel where a prohibited wort is cooled to a feverishness suitable for adding yeast. Most often, prohibited wort is run by a feverishness exchanger and is cooled roughly instantly. A coolship exposes a drink to a slower cooling routine and allows airborne microbes to change a beer’s character. The beers are afterwards fermented in foudres and barrels instead of immaculate steel tanks. Again, this adds singular impression to any batch.

Currently, Garden Path Fermentation is operative with Chuckanut Brewery, that is their nearest neighbor, to furnish wort (the pre-fermentation beer). The Garden Path group brews adult a wort nextdoor during Chuckanut Brewery and afterwards trucks a prohibited wort down a travel where it is eliminated to a coolship. Once it has cooled to a yeast-ready temperature, it is eliminated to a distillation vessel and a leavening is added.

Jason Hanson, a conduct fermentationist during Garden Path, spent a final year cultivating furious leavening from flowers, fruits and a atmosphere of a Skagit Valley. Before fasten a team, Hanson was conduct brewer during Sante Adairius Rustic Ales in Capitola, California.

Because of a inlet of this prolongation method, design any and any collection of drink to have it’s possess singular character. The fact that any drink will substantially be a mix of dual or some-more beers helps supplement singular impression to any product.

Below, we share a incomparable story in their possess words. No doubt, those of us who conclude these kinds rustic, furious beers should start removing excited.



Above – Garden Path Fermentation taproom.

Skagit Valley, Washington-based Garden Path Fermentation is now entirely operational, origination a possess products onsite and opening a boutique tasting room, bottle shop, and outside drink garden to a open on weekends. The tasting room facilities a delicately curated preference of guest beer, wine, and cider from their favorite independent, workman producers around a world. It includes not usually a far-reaching operation of mixed-fermentation and naturally conditioned cider and beer, though also an endless preference of healthy and minimal-intervention wines, many of that business would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere in a region.

The initial of Garden Path’s possess drink competence be accessible as shortly as subsequent month. Their product lineup will eventually embody beer, mead, cider, perry, other fruit wines, and presumably grape wine, all done from internal ingredients, regulating 100% naturally cultivated, internal Skagit Valley yeast.

Garden Path Fermentation is located at 11653 Higgins Airport Way, in Burlington, in what’s been deemed a Port of Skagit “Brewery Zone”, that also includes Chuckanut Brewery’s South Nut location, Skagit Valley Malting, Skagit Valley College’s Cardinal Craft Brewing Academy, and a Skagit Valley outpost of Oak Harbor based Flyers Brewhouse and Restaurant.

Garden Path Fermentation was combined by Amber Watts and Ron Extract, who came to Washington State from Austin, Texas, where both worked at Jester King Brewery before streamer northwest in August, 2016, to start their possess venture. They chose a Skagit Valley, nestled between a North Cascades and a Pacific Ocean, due to a fruitful soil, abounding healthy resources, and ascetic climate. Their idea was to start their plan in a place where distillation would need tiny feverishness involvement and most, if not all, mixture could be sourced hyperlocally. Resources like Skagit Valley Malting and countless generations-old family farms make it probable to emanate truly internal products with a graphic clarity of place.

From a time they set out to start their new project, Watts and Extract’s ultimate idea has been to build to a finish plantation brewery, cidery, meadery, winery, and someday, farm-to-table restaurant, where consumers can knowledge a whole prolongation routine from seed to glass. As shortly as they chose Washington as their new home, they began acid for a plcae where they could govern this vision, though a mixed of zoning and land use restrictions, H2O availability, wastewater management, and a accumulation of other factors done a suitable skill clearly unfit to find. Fortunately, the Port of Skagit, that serves as an mercantile growth engine for a county and had been a clever believer of Watts and Extract’s prophesy from a outset, was means to offer a site that would concede Garden Path to get started and settle itself, while stability to demeanour for a ideal plantation environment for a subsequent proviso of a development.

The Garden Path group spent a final several months renovating a stream space, underneath a instruction of in-house plan lead Jacob Grisham, a protected ubiquitous executive and former cook with an endless cidermaking background. The building, before to being used for annals storage by a Port of Skagit, was home to Coast Lumber, that supposing a internal Douglas fir that was used to make a bar, window counters, vast village tables, benches, and shelves in Garden Path’s tasting room.

Above – The GPF and Chuckanut teams on a initial Garden Path decoction day.

Garden Path’s brewing routine so distant has concerned their brewers operative with a brewers during Chuckanut, their next-door neighbors, to furnish wort with malted and tender pellet from their associate neighbors during Skagit Valley Malting, and Pacific Northwest hops. They supplement a wort to Garden Path’s internal leavening enlightenment in immaculate steel totes and ride it adult a highway to Garden Path for fermentation. With Chuckanut’s vicinity and additional ability on a wort-production side, and a rarely good-natured attribute between a dual companies, Garden Path was means to equivocate carrying to put in a possess brewhouse and to concentration a resources unconditionally on fermentation.

Above – Part of Garden Path Fermentation’s foudre collection

Garden Path’s prolongation space binds a accumulation of ash barrels and vats of opposite sizes, many of that are already full. To date, they have done 5 batches of wort during Chuckanut. However, since many of their routine involves dividing batches, regulating opposite vessels and techniques, and afterwards consistent from several sources to taste, this will expected outcome in a opposite series of variations of finished drink that don’t directly relate to batches brewed.

Lead Fermentationist Jason Hansen, who, before relocating to Skagit, served as Head Brewer during Capitola, CA based Sante Adairius Rustic Ales, spent a improved partial of a final year cultivating Garden Path’s internal leavening enlightenment from a flowers, fruits, and atmosphere in Skagit Valley. It started with a collection of mason jars, that he afterwards solemnly grew and blended to make 5-gallon exam batches. Those were afterwards blended and used to make dual initial 10-barrel (310 gallon) half-batches, before scaling adult to Chuckanut’s full 20-barrel collection size.


Above – Active tub fermentation

As a leavening is not a pure, isolated, laboratory strain, though rather a formidable village of many opposite organisms, changeable and elaborating over time, any collection is going to be rather opposite from a last, even if a same recipe, a same ingredients, and a same processes are used. While a required knowledge during many breweries is that this form of batch-to-batch movement is to be avoided, Garden Path embraces it, saying a display of their products as a form of live performance, where a singular interplay of all of a several elements concerned formula in a origination of something with sum and nuances that are unrepeatable and can usually be appreciated entirely in a moment. They see their purpose in a artistic routine not as sportive comprehensive control, though rather as formulating a best probable conditions for distillation and afterwards ensuring peculiarity by selection, blending, and curation of a finished products.


Above – Filling a Garden Path coolship

The individualized, performative inlet of Garden Path’s distillation routine comes into play even some-more by a technique where, rather than cooling a wort fast after prohibited and adding it to active yeast, they instead ride it from Chuckanut while still prohibited and leave it to cold overnight in a broad, shallow, open immaculate steel tank called a coolship. As it sits unprotected to a cold night air, it becomes inoculated with ambient, airborne microbes. In a morning, a naturally cooled and inoculated wort is eliminated to ash barrels, where it will perturbation really solemnly over a march of several years. During that time, it competence or competence not rise tart, formidable flavors that competence or competence not be enjoyable. Similar techniques are used by a tiny series of breweries around a world, many particularly in Belgium’s Zenne Valley for a form of drink called lambic (a tenure that should usually be used for drink done in this region). Those who have been doing it for mixed generations have been means to grasp a comparatively high rate of success, though even a best of them competence still finish adult carrying to dump about 10% or some-more of what they produce, in some cases after carrying aged it for several years. The year-round climatic conditions in Skagit are, during slightest on paper, scarcely ideal for origination this form of beer, that is partial of what led Garden Path to select this location. However, there are a lot of variables during play when embracing inlet in this way, and no proceed to know for sure, other by time and ongoing experimentation, accurately how those variables will play out.

As a drink they’ve brewed matures, a Garden Path group will weigh it ceaselessly to establish what any collection and any vessel needs. Some competence advantage from aging, blending, some-more aging, and some-more blending. Others competence be suitable to package only as they are, and still others competence never make a cut. At a time of this writing, dual 600-liter ash puncheons, pulled from a initial and second brews, are commencement to uncover promise, so there’s a probability that during slightest one of them will shortly be eliminated to bottles and/or kegs. Packaging will engage a further of internal honey, combined only before to kegging or bottling. The leavening will mangle down a sugar inside a sealed containers, trapping CO2 and naturally carbonating a finished product. Though this can occur in as tiny as a few days, a delegate distillation routine can also emanate some new, transitory flavors that competence take several some-more weeks or months to work through. If Garden Path decides to package a initial drink subsequent week and all goes well, that drink competence be prepared to offer someday subsequent month. Then again, it competence not be. The drink will be prepared when it tastes ready.

When Garden Path feels a initial of a products are prepared to serve, they will horde a recover jubilee and grand opening celebration. Look for sum of that destiny eventuality on a website at or on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @GardenPathWA.


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