Peter Charbonnier and Jiri Zatloukal (who own the brewery with their respective wives Amy Besunder and Judith Scarcia) live close to one another in Ballard, and have been geeking out about homebrewing together for the past four years. Charbonnier says, “I’m a software engineer by trade my eyes were starting to give out on me so I figured I’d do something that required less screen time.”
Populuxe’s 1.5-barrel system edges it into nanobrewery (as in, smaller than a microbrewery) territory. Charbonnier says he and and Zatloukal will do “modern, west coast, Northwest” beers, focusing on local ingredients, clean flavors, and plenty of hops. The brewery might sell the occasional keg to a nearby bar, but the owners envision the taproom being the focus of their business—a place where dogs and kids are welcome, and neighborhood dwellers hang out to enjoy a pint and watch a Sounders game. Approximately six Populuxe beers will be on tap at any given time, the lineup split between strong and session ales.
But wait—there’s more.
The taproom will also be home to a spacious patio and a cornhole court, and Charbonnier says the plans are being submitted to the totally-a-real-thing American Cornhole Association in hopes of holding sanctioned events in the future.
Also known as simply “bags,” cornhole is perhaps the best beer-adjacent game ever invented. Skill requirements are minimal, there are no sudden movements that might spill one’s drink, and unlike pool or Skee Ball, it’s tough to inflict too much damage with those little beanbags. This fine pastime is also relatively rare in the Pacific Northwest. Charbonnier got into the game through a friend who started making sets for all his friends.
“I don’t play pool,” says Charbonnier. "And you can’t just pack up ping pong and put it away.”
Populuxe plans to be operational this fall; you can follow its progress on the brewery’s blog.