Taprooms are popping up from Greenwood to Hillman City (and they've pretty much taken over Ballard). So it's fitting that Pike Place Market finally get one as well. This Saturday, April 16, Old Stove Brewing Co. will open its doors at 1525 First Ave.
Old Stove has long beer hall–style tables of red oak, timber from co-owner Chris Moore's family woods in Michigan, and 16 taps dispensing a rotating cast of accessible beers—stouts, saisons, CDA, brown ale, and yes always an IPA. Moore and cofounder Brian Stan say the wheat beer has been well received thus far; they predict the pilsner will be a hit as summer approaches. The sidewalk seating out front and the wall of fold-up windows should also be a hit whenever warm weather rolls around.
To score a berth in Pike Place Market, a business must go through a lengthy approval process to ensure—among other things—that the owner is the one running the joint, it's a flagship and not a satellite location of an existing business, and it doesn't compete with other vendors in the market. The venerable Pike Brewing Company is apparently just outside the bounds of the Pike Place Market historic district. But between Pike, Old Stove, and newcomer Cloudburst down on Western, this prominent pocket of downtown is developing a nice little community of breweries.
Old Stove's taproom seats about 80 people; an enormous mural depicts a barroom scene circa 1907, when Pike Place Market opened (objects are hidden, Highlights-style, in the painting to give kids something to do while their parents drink). Moore has installed the namesake vintage cast-iron parlor stove, manufactured in 1905 by the Kalamazoo Stove Co., in a front corner, and taps handles are hardware from antique stoves. Stan has installed Scott Barron, a veteran of Fish, Ram, and the former Pacific Rim Brewing Co. as head brewer (he and Stan worked together at Pacific Rim years ago).
Beer lovers, longtime friends, and former coworkers, Moore and Stan have been watching the market for an available space for years. They originally kicked around the idea of a beer store, but the market is trying to bring in more vendors making their wares onsite, preferably where visitors can watch (see: Beecher's). Which is pretty much the ethos of a brewery and adjacent taproom. While it's not strictly adjacent, Old Stove has miraculously managed to wedge a working seven-barrel brewery downstairs, deep within the maze of the market in the former quarters of Milagros Mexican Folk Art (which moved to a bigger space). This is nothing short of a feat.
And some time in 2017, Stan, Moore, and their staff will move it all again; Old Stove will be the anchor tenant when the new MarketFront expansion opens on the other side of Western Avenue. The brewery will move to a space four times larger and expand Old Stove's bar snack food lineup of pretzels and meat and cheese plates into a full-on restaurant.
But until then, you can watch the brewing happen through a wall of windows right next to LoPriore Brothers and track all things Old Stove on the brewery's website and Facebook page. Visit on opening day, April 16, and $2 from every beer will go directly to the market's Pike Up! campaign.