One of the state’s most influential new cidermakers teamed up with one of the best breweries in Eastern Washington to open a taproom in (where else?) Ballard.
Together, Yonder Cider and Bale Breaker Brewing Co. will pour 32 taps of their own beer and cider in the former home of Populuxe Brewing at 826 NW 49th St. A monthslong remodel turned the space into an urbane hangout with a mural by local artist Jennifer Ament. The aesthetic has evolved, but the enormous outdoor space remains, ready for dogs, kids, fires in the firepits, and a rotating cast of food trucks.
“I’ve always believed in taprooms that are shared,” says Yonder Cider founder Caitlin Braam. One small problem—doing so was previously illegal in Washington.
The state classifies cidermakers as wineries, which can’t share tasting quarters with a brewery. Last year, the state legislature passed a new law that allows these tasting rooms to coexist with that of a distillery. Thus, Yonder and Bale Breaker launched their own shared still, Wise Fool Spirits, igniting the green light for this new joint space. Each operation has its own small production area at the Ballard taproom.
That law felt especially ripe for change given all the crossover happening in the world of beverages, says Braam—breweries make seltzer; cidermakers collaborate with brewers or winemakers. “So much is happening; this blurring of lines is a beautiful thing.”
She originally reached out to Bale Breaker owners, siblings Meghann Quinn and Kevin Smith, and Kevin Quinn (also Meghann’s husband), because the two companies share Central Washington roots. Braam worked with Smith back at Two Beers in SoDo. Bale Breaker already has a handsome taproom in Yakima. Like the brewery, it’s surrounded by the family’s fourth-generation hop farm—much as a classic winery operates right next to its grapevines. But a Seattle satellite means easier access to Bale Breaker’s pitch-perfect IPA and other hoppy drafts. Not to mention a slew of small-batch creations and the company’s new line of Yoxi hard seltzer.
While Yonder made citywide headlines due to its tiny neighborhood garage bar last year, the company is barely a year old. “Getting more people in the door to even try cider is an amazing first step,” says Braam. Her half of those 32 taps will pour unique combos like a chai lemonade cider, plus some aged specialty creations.
The taproom debuts on Saturday, September 4; check the website for hours. And you best believe these two will be collaborating, both via their shared distillery and otherwise. Braam is particularly excited about the Hot Tub Lifeguard Kettle Sour. “You can’t tell if it’s beer or cider—which is why I love it so very much.”