Award-winning brewmaster Patrick Jansen — who helped lead Three Magnets Brewing Co. to prominence with the Helsing Junction Farmhouse Saison, Great American Beer Festival bronze medalist Old Skook In The Woods barleywine, Brotherhood Brown ale and many more craft beers — will open his own brewery this summer with Grant Bolt, a bartender at Three Magnets, as well as founder of WortWorks Soda Co., all natural soda sweetened by grain extract. Jansen and Bolt will launch Matchless Brewing Company in a temporary spot by the Olympia Regional Airport this summer, with the plan to eventually move into a new building built with the brewery in mind.
“You have to go big in Thurston County,” Jansen laughs, referring to his 3,700 square foot temporary location. “The original plan was to stockpile equipment in a small space while searching for a spot in Tumwater. But, we found a large space by the airport then same day we received a surprise call that our two foeders were being delivered. There you go. We’re in business. We had to move quickly. Our temporary location will be at Deschutes Landing on River Drive just off Old Highway 99.”
The construction company behind Deschutes Landing will build a new building close to Matchless Brewing’s temporary space, adjusting their plans to fit a 9,000 square foot brewery.
A homebrewer for years, Jansen met Nathan and Sara Reilly at the Helsing Junction Sleepover, a yearly indie rock festival/river campout/farmers market partnering purveyors of local, free-range, organic music (K Records), with purveyors of local organic sustenance (the Helsing Junction organic farm in Rochester). Jansen shared his beers with the couple, who happen to own the kitschy diner Darby’s Cafe in downtown Olympia, and were looking to open Three Magnets Brewing Co. a few blocks from the café. The Reillys knew they found their head brewer.
Jansen says he has the Reillys’ blessing.
“Nate and Sara have been very positive with the new brewery,” says Jansen. “Grant and I will actually contract brew some Three Magnets beers.”
Jansen says he sees the new opportunity as a chance to focus on his creative brewing impulses, leaving the hustle and bustle of the brewery’s popular restaurant side.
“We’re going to just do beer,” says Jansen. “I’m not a restaurant guy. We’re not going to do a restaurant. We’ll have a tasting room at the new building.”
Jansen will become part time at Three Magnets in June, overseeing their barrel program, helping out with grain orders and quality control, and working with his assistant brewer Jeff Stokes, who will become Three Magnets’ head brewer. Stokes excels at brewing creative beers. The plan is to move the IPAs to Matchless Brewing’s facility, freeing up tanks for Stokes to produce more creative, dark beers. Jansen expects to have a long relationship with the brewery that launched his professional career.
The Matchless Brewing partnership formation parallels Jansen and Bolt’s ideal brewing environment: an open brewing environment with a seamless extension to the taproom. The two were brewing and hanging out in the Three Mags’ taproom when the discussion of new breweries arose. Bolt spent time at Flathead Lake Brewing Co. in Montana, as well as helps out in the Three Magnets brewing room. He thrives in the brewery environment, spending most of his time serving the taproom. Come to find out each had the dream of owning their own brewery.
Jansen and Bolt are culturally different in many ways, which is the inspiration behind the brewery’s name. Matchless Brewing Co. isn’t intended to be cocky or imply there is no equal to their talents and beer. Rather, they believe when you bring two odds together, something awesome will result — much like estuaries, when freshwater rivers meet salty ocean tides, the result is the most productive ecosystems on Earth.
When the new building opens, hopefully around the first of the year, Jansen and Bolt plan to operate a 30-barrel production brewery with a 100-person tasting room. Thirty and 60-barrel tanks have been ordered. Matchless will launch with distribution in Washington and Oregon, with a close eye on the entire Northwest, including Canada.
“The joke in the beer community is, if you can afford it, do it,” laughs Jansen, referring to his large startup size. “You’ll be able to sell the beer. How long it will take to sell, and the quality of the beer, we’ll that’s up to you.”
Jansen sits on the national Brewers Association’s technical committee, adding his thoughts on quality control. It’s safe to assume Matchless Brewing will be a model for quality control. He’s going to build his dream lab, complete with unusual microscopings and meters.
Jansen is looking forward to fewer releases than the current 40 beers a year model at Three Magnets. He has his eye on IPAs, Brett IPAs, sours, lagers and true Belgian and British beers, such as British October countryside ales from the 1700s.
“We’ll have a very large wood program,” adds Jansen. “IPAs, imperial stouts, barleywines and such will be funky and weird.”
If all goes according to plan, you should see Matchless Brewing Co. kegs in August 2016. While the temporary space on River Drive won’t include a taproom, growlers will be available in a cooler.
Follow Matchless Brewing’s progress on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/matchlessbrewing.