by Grace Kim Robbings
(Co-Founder of Reuben’s Brews and Reuben’s Mama)
We started as the ugly duckling. One of only two homebrewers invited to the Phinney Neighborhood Association Beer Taste in November 2010 (Beer Trek), we sheepishly prepared our meager set up next to the likes of Sierra Nevada, Ninkasi, and many other breweries we’ve known and loved for years. As the doors opened the very eager beer lovers made the rounds to select which beers would merit their ten precious beer tickets… and when they asked where we were located, we had to work on a response that sounded better than “our garage.” We were a completely unknown brewery called Reuben’s Brews, named after our son. Despite their trepidation some surrendered a ticket, and more importantly they liked what they tasted, our Roasted Rye PA. Word spread, the tipping point was reached, and we left as swans that evening, the recipients of the People’s Choice Award.
Flash forward one year, and we felt a little akin to Cinderella, left behind as her stepsisters (neither ugly nor evil in this case) were whisked away to enjoy the ball. A change in the policy meant that homebrewers were no longer invited to pour at the PNA Beer Taste, so we were enjoying the event from the other side, as eager beer lovers. It was, as always, a magnificent event where beer enthusiasts—from the aficionados to the recreational lovers—are invited to sample a wide variety of the region’s best beers. Luckily our fairy godmother, Anacortes Brewery, helped us get to the ball. After we won Best of Show at the Skagit County Fair, Anacortes invited Adam to brew his recipe on their equipment, and the result was an American Brown Rye, a cousin of sorts to the Roasted Rye PA that Reuben’s Brews poured the year before. The rye adds a unique twist and crisp finish when combined with specialty British malts. It just so happened that the batch was ready in time for this year’s PNA Beer Taste, and what an amazing bonus that our recipe, the Anacortes Brewery’s America Brown Rye, won the People’s Choice Award! That makes the second year in a row that our beer won, a proper fairy tale ending for a magical night!
What started as a labour of love on a small system in our garage has burgeoned into an award-winning brewery. We always enjoyed the fruits of our own labour, and we never had trouble finding willing drinkers among our friends and family. Once we started receiving recognition at competitions, we decided to turn our obsession into our profession. We love crafting brilliantly tasty artisan ales, and as long as people love drinking them, we are committed to making them available. Look forward to a new Reuben’s Brews taproom—not in our garage—opening in summer 2012.
Read more about our brews and our story at www.reubensbrews.com .