Schooner Exact’s tasting room in SoDo has a comfortable seating area, an outdoor patio, plenty of parking, and taps dispensing IPAs, pale ale, porters and some barrel-aged rarities. It’s the sort of place where you could pull up a chair and stay a while—if only you had something to eat.
“If you want people to stick around, you need food,” says Matt McClung, who founded the brewery with his wife Heather in 2007. Hence Schooner’s plan to add a small brewpub onto its existing taproom space. Heading up the kitchen will be Warren Peterson, best known as the beer czar of Tom Douglas Restaurants, who recently left his post in the Brave Horse Tavern kitchen for a short stint at Elliott Bay Brewing’s new Lake City pub.
However don’t go expecting gastropub food here, says McClung. The kitchen will be a simple affair—no fryer, no grill, no hood—and he wants the food to be reasonably healthy, at least in the beer-adjacent sense of the word. The menu will largely consist of sandwiches and platters, made with high-quality meats and cheeses. With several great bakeries within a one-mile radius, McClung says quality bread is a safe bet as well.
This winter, the brewery took over a neighboring space in its industrial park digs; construction should start by the end of June, so expect Schooner’s brewpub to arrive later this year. McClung says the finished space will look out onto stacks of barrels, inside which beers will be aging away for future enjoyment. If you absolutely can’t wait to pair Schooner’s King Street brown, Gateway golden, or Seamstresses Union raspberry wheat with food, the brewery is headed to Serious Pie’s original location May 22 for the restaurant’s first-ever beer dinner.