Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

4 reasons to love Three Magnets Brewing

Ron Swarner

Three Magnets Brewing head brewer Pat Jansen caught in the act of brewing. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner
Three Magnets Brewing’s head brewer Pat Jansen checks his Strawberry Saison. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

There are plenty of reasons to be excited about Three Magnets Brewing Co., which opened in early November last year. It’s located at the corner of Legion and Franklin streets in downtown Olympia, a stone’s throw (granted, a rather muscular one) from Darby’s Café, which Three Magnets co-owners Nathan and Sara Reilly also own. Head brewer Patrick Jansen is sour-obsessed; too, ensuring Olympia will no longer lack tart, funky ales. Perhaps best of all, he wants his beers, which include a few Saisons, a seasonal IPA series, and myriad future barrel-aged goodies, to be good, not necessarily consistent batch to batch. Jansen and crew won a bronze medal for their Barley Wine at the Washington Beers Awards June 20.

I’ll drink to that.


I peer up from my 10 Minute Pale Ale to see Nathan Reilly smile as he passes the clatter coming from his brewing room, which located in the center of his large, multi-room brewery.

Then I see bar manager and assistant brewer Jeff Stokes pop a smile after he hears a BANG before showing me Three Magnets’ new menu.

After the last KLANG, I peaked into Three Magnets’ brewing room to match the sounds with a visual. Jansen was filling kegs with their 3Mag Sun IPA. Filling kegs trails experimenting with yeast, creating beer recipes, brewing his beers and drinking his beers on his farm with friends on his enthusiasm meter.

And his enthusiasm is front and center when he offers early barrel tastes.

I scored a taste of his Secret Sour a few days before he unleashed the beer on the hordes at the Washington Brewers Festival last weekend. WOW.

“The sour beer is a Berliner/Gose, inspired beer,” explained Jansen. “It’s made with barley and wheat malt, a tiny bit of hops on the mash and fermented with lacto and Brett, no sac. The goal is for a sour, fruity, quenching beer that we can turnaround a little quicker than the barrel aged beers.”

According to Stokes, it’s a game changer for Three Magnets.

“We have the capacity to release a high quality sour without the ‘sour price,’ which usually accompanies beers in the style, said Stokes. “We don’t kettle sour, so this is not a ‘quick sour,’ but the process used by our head brewer creates great complexity with a six week turnaround time, as opposed to classic barrel aged sours which can take up to or over a year.”

Within the first two weeks of primary fermentation being 100 percent lactobacillus, Jansen and Stokes had a tart beer. But, to add nuances and complexity, during the final four weeks in fermentation they inoculated the sour with Brettanomyces, which cleans up the beer and adds depth. It clocks in at 4.9 percent ABV — a perfect summer sipper.

“I look forward to concocting numerous beer blends on the bar with our new sour,” adds Stokes.

Before disappearing into the brewing room to make keg commotion, Jansen unwrapped one of two wine barrels for a sniff of his strawberry Saison. The strawberries were grown at Helsing Junction Farm with 100 pounds per barrel, which is 2 pounds of strawberries per gallon of beer. The goal is to pour the tart strawberry Saison around Labor Day Weekend.

I moseyed out to Three Magnets new sexy outdoor seating space, thanks to Kelly Rigg and Big Hammer Technology. The delicious limburger is on the new menu, as well as a smoked salmon, lettuce and tomato sandwich; Go Home Chicken, You’re Drunk sandwich, pork confit poutine, onion stack burger, Aquavit glazed wild pacific salmon and a mushroom barley risotto, just to name a few.

Half-hour later, Jansen was back with a snifter full of his new Little Juice IPA with pale malt and heavily hopped with Mosaic, Citra and Topaz. Consider Little Juice the son of Big Juice Double IPA, and equally pleasing.

There you go; four reasons to drop by Three Magnets today: a new menu, a kick ass patio and two summer sippers on tap.


THREE MAGNETS BREWING CO., 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, 600 Franklin St. SE, Olympia, 360.972.2481