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The brew crew in front of the soon-to-be Unified Brewing Company. (From left to right): Kevin Watson and his unmistakable beard, Ian Roberts, Mike Baker, Dean Hudgins, and Larry Solomon (plus Mike's son in front and the landlord's wife , too).

When Big Al Brewing closed up shop this January, it left a mash tank–sized hole in its wake. The space is practically hallowed ground for beer making: Before Big Al Brewing's eight-year run, Pacific Rim Brewing started bringing pale ales and porters to White Center in 1998.

Now, the hoppy tradition continues thanks to Unified Brewing Company. Unified seems like an apt name, considering the major collaboration at work here. Kevin Watson—and his unmistakable beard—was most recently the lead innovation brewer at Capitol Hill's Elysian Brewing; he joins forces with Mike Baker, former founder of South Park's Baron Brewing Company, Dean Hudgins and Ian Roberts, owners of the Pine Box and custodians of Seattle Beer Week, and Larry Solomon, the business brains behind this whole operation. It takes a village to raise a beer, as the age-old saying goes.

Beyond tradition, the Unified Brewing crew are happy to be in the neighborhood. Watson, who grew up in White Center, will be making beer just down the street from where he first started experimenting with homebrewing at his parent's house. Another good, if less nostalgic, reason: "White Center is not Ballard," says Roberts of the admittedly brewery-heavy 'hood to the north.

At Unified, expect a wide range of beer styles, oh yes, barrel-aged ones too. It will be very interesting to see what magical things happen when a crew with a ton of beer cred and exacting beer knowledge open a brewery together. Most likely: really quality, consistent, and tasty results. Just a guess.

"I'm just excited to have great beer and a great space," says Roberts. Indeed, that space will be a "nice, family friendly hub," he says, but we'll have to wait until 2018, its slated opening.

And lest you forget so easily, the Unified Brewing Company will be located at 9832 14th Ave Southwest. Stay tuned for more beer buzz here on Nosh Pit, where we'll share updates as we have them.

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