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Sounds & Suds: Brewery jam sessions combine craft brews and community tunes
Bainbridge Island Brewing brewmaster and co-owner Russell Everett is very clear in his idea of what his brewery should be.
“I view it as the island’s living room,” Everett said.
So do most of the regular customers, who are all too happy to make themselves at home in the establishment and bring along their dogs, their food, their kids and their music.
It’s a unique and casual atmosphere, and along with the family friendly vibe and the potluck picnics, music is an integral part of the community experience at Bainbridge Island Brewing.
Along with a variety of special concert events throughout the year, the brewery hosts the free “Music To Our Beers” open jam session led by Ethan J. Perry & His Remedy Band from 7 to 9 p.m. every Wednesday.
“It’s really chill,” Everett said. “Everyone has a good time. It’s very relaxed.”
Though not a true open mic in the traditional sense, the brewery’s “open jam” is a sort of curated open mic with participating performers playing along with Perry and his band, by themselves, or with other guest musicians depending on any given night’s lineup.
Perry emcees the event, ensuring proper equipment settings, instrument tuning and performance rotation.
“We play for about a half an hour and then anything goes,” Perry said. “I’m looking for ways to offer something back to the community, and rehearse with my band. Bainbridge Island is a very supportive, very ‘think local’ place.”
The current lineup of the Remedy Band, though it continues to evolve and feature new musicians, is Cody Narte on bass and Matt Bellman on drums.
“This place has surprisingly good sound,” Bellman said of the brewery. “It always has a pretty good crowd, lots of regulars.”
The island’s sole craft brewery, Bainbridge Island Brewing has been open for nearly two years and brewmaster Everett is hard at work behind the scenes making sure that the popular brews keep flowing.
“It’s my job to keep beer flowing out of those taps,” he said.
Indeed every one of the brewery’s seasonal and staple brews are concocted by Everett, and they’re not ready until he says so.
“I think of it as a combination of art and science,” he said of making beer. “I find a lot of inspiration for brewing beer in cooking, [like] using layers and balancing flavors.”
The island brewery recently began to offer a special limited-quantity triple IPA, known as “Hoptopus Rex,” which Everett says, with 7.3 percent alcohol by volume and an extraordinary amount of hops, is definitely not for the amateur bitter beer enthusiast.
“We’ve never made a triple IPA before,” he laughed. “It was kind of a challenge with some brewers in Seattle, 14 local breweries made one in February.”
There are currently more than 250 breweries registered in Washington, said Everett. It’s a culture that continues to grow and shows no sign of lagging in popularity.
For more information about Bainbridge Island Brewing, visit www.bainbridgebeer.com.