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CASTLE MALTING NEWS in partnership with www.e-malt.com Dutch
06 August, 2020

Brewing news USA, WA: Beach Cat Brewing to open its doors on Thursday, August 6

Whatcom County’s newest brewery, Beach Cat Brewing in Birch Bay, will open its doors and start serving craft beer this Thursday, August 6, according to a post on the company’s Facebook page.

It’s a long time coming for Darin Hamm and Jake Gobeille, who plan to serve unique beers brewed on a small scale.

Hamm, president of the Bellingham Homebrewers Guild, has been home brewing for 20 years while Gobeille picked up the hobby four years ago. Gobeille previously worked in mental health, but quit his job to pursue a brewing career. Soon after, he was diagnosed with cancer and after chemotherapy treatments he went into remission and began working at Illuminati Brewing Company, in Bellingham. It was there he met Hamm and the two, both with dreams of owning their own small brewery, partnered to start Beach Cat Brewing earlier this year.

Beach Cat Brewing is located at 101-7876 Birch Bay Drive, just south of CJ’s Beach House. Gobeille said it is the perfect location for a brewery called Beach Cat, a name that is dear to his heart.

Growing up, Gobeille and his high school friends would call each other “beach cats.” “It was our little club,” he said. When Gobeille started home brewing, he named his hobby Beach Cat Brewing and the name stuck. Around the same time, a friend drew the artwork that would become Beach Cat’s logo today.

Beach Cat will be the smallest brewery with the smallest brew system in the county, a “nano brewery,” according to Hamm. The brewery will serve craft beer, which Gobeille defines as any beer brewed at a facility that produces no more than 60,000 barrels a year. With a one-barrel system, Beach Cat will only produce 12-14 barrels each month.

“Sometimes people will see the new breweries come in and think it’s going to be bigger and shinier than the last one. This is sort of a different approach from what I think people are used to,” Hamm said.

The owners believe brewing at such a small scale will allow them to experiment with unique flavors in their beer. Gobeille said he is most excited about a summer ale named “Mr. and Mrs.” which is made with honey and lavender. It is special to him, he said, because the first batch was brewed with lavender from bouquets used at his wedding. Hamm is also working on a unique beer; a stout infused with Reese’s Puffs breakfast cereal. Along with these two, Beach Cat Brewing will also produce light beers, IPAs, porters and reds.

“One of the best things about craft beer is that there’s so much variety,” Gobeille said. “There’s a beer for everybody out there.”

Both Gobeille and Hamm agree that Beach Cat Brewing will be more than just a bar, but a place for community members to meet and learn about craft brewing. All the brewing equipment will be near the taproom, visible to Beach Cat patrons.

“We really want to educate people on what beer is and how it’s made. It doesn’t just come in a bottle where the mountains turn blue,” Hamm said.

Construction on the inside of Beach Cat’s building began in March, but starting a business during a pandemic came with its challenges. During phase one of the state’s phased re-opening plan, Gobeille said they were unable to hire anyone to help with construction. The two owners did 90 percent of the work inside the building, Hamm said. They also lost a bank loan, making their budget very tight, Gobeille said.

At Beach Cat Brewing, community members can expect a family-friendly atmosphere with a variety of beers, as well as beverages for all ages, and a scenic view.

“At the end of the day, Darin and I are both just waiting to see what people think of everything that we’ve done and the beer we’re able to create in this space,” Gobeille said.

Beach Cat Brewing will be open Thursday through Sunday from noon to 9 p.m.


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