The Spring District now home to Bellevue’s First Locally Owned Brewpub
The growing craft beer industry has a long history in the Pacific Northwest, an area known for pioneering breweries and producing more than half of the nation’s hops since the 1960s. While major Washington cities like Seattle saw a rise in brewpubs, Bellevue’s craft beer scene didn’t take off until Bellevue Brewing Company made history by opening the city’s first-ever locally owned brewery in 2012. Today, almost 10 years after their first opening, they’ve officially expanded to a second location in The Spring District.
Started by John Roberston and Scott Hansen, Bellevue Brewing Company has grown into Eastside’s favorite brewery – serving skillfully crafted beers, local ciders, delicious northwest wines, and ambrosial food in a comforting atmosphere. Current owners Angela Robertson and James Whittaker plan to continue the brewery’s legacy while evolving the business through innovative ways. While their new location is gaining attention, their partnership with local eatery Cascadia Pizza Co. at their first taproom is yet another triumphant moment for the business this year.
Originally started as a food truck, the pizzeria has now grown to three locations, including Bellevue Brewing Company’s original spot. They’re known for their high-quality ingredients, delicious in-house dough, and excellent customer service. Cascadia Pizza Co.’s owners Thomas Reinhard, Christian Buck, and Calvin Freatman said they’re excited to continue serving the brewery’s fine beers while dishing out Neapolitan-inspired, wood fire pizza.
“Our end objective is to serve the best pizza in the state. Getting to work with Bellevue Brewing Company – who has that same mentality towards their beer – is extremely rewarding,” Cascadia Pizza Co. said. “We believe what’s born out of this great partnership is that our customer base ultimately wins because nothing brings a community together more than good beer and pizza in one space.”
Whittaker said he’s excited to see them succeed at the original location while he focuses on the new spot at The Spring District. We had a chance to sit down with him to discuss why he chose to expand, what makes Bellevue Brewing Company’s beer so unique and what he hopes the establishment will become in the future.
Why did Bellevue Brewing Company choose The Spring District as their location?
The problem with many of eastside’s breweries is their industrial locations. We saw the need for an urban drinking spot where large numbers of customers can walk and use mass transit. The idea is to take excellent craft beer out of the industrial habitat and put them where the people are. The Spring District is incredibly walkable, has ample public transportation and a new rail station coming next year, and people feel comfortable here. It’s the ideal spot.
Any new menu items at The Spring District location?
The new Bellevue Brewing Company’s location has an expanded kitchen, meaning we’re able to do more. We didn’t have fryers, griddles, or many other appliances at our old location. People can expect many of their old favorites plus new food, especially fries everyone asked for. You’ll also see more vegan and vegetarian options so that we can cater to as many people as possible. We hope to one day bring in guest chefs to continue evolving the menu to exceed our customer’s expectations on an ongoing basis. There will always be new and innovative food.
What do you believe has made Bellevue Brewing Company’s beer so successful?
We have always had a good following for our beer. We have one of the largest mug clubs and win lots of awards, but at The Spring District, we’re upping our game by serving beer from 1000L copper serving tanks— equivalent to about 20 keg – suspended above our bar. You’ll not taste fresher beer anywhere, and it’s a much greener alternative since the beer is dispensed using air pressure, not CO2.
Why is Washington one of the best places to brew beer?
Anyplace is a good place to brew beer, what sets Washington apart is all the great local ingredients available. Some of our beers are made entirely with local products, and others we source internationally to match the styles of the great beer-producing nations: the Czech Republic, Germany, the United Kingdom and Belgium. Beer is genuinely an international beverage.
What do you hope Bellevue Brewing Company will become in the future?
We were the first local brewery in the city and want to continue being a Bellevue institution. We aim to continue growing this brand and serve the community as best we can. We want to be a place for people to gather downtown and continue serving great beer and great food in a vibrant atmosphere.
We look forward to welcoming a new set of customers who never managed to find our old industrial location.
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Bellevue Brewing Company 12190 NE District Way Bellevue, WA 98005