Business has never been better for Dennis Gallagher, who founded Gallaghers’ Where U Brew on Dec. 1, 1995. It was iffy during the first few years at the Dayton and Fifth location, though.
“We were the only building in that location for three years,” said Gallagher, who named the brewery after himself and his business partner and co-owner, Fanny. “We increased sales every year, but just barely. Life started coming back to the building, and we survived.”
After 15 years, the Gallaghers’ lease was up. Negotiations weren’t pretty, and Dennis Gallagher said the renegotiation offer was “rude.” In hindsight, he’s glad the lease didn’t work out and thanks the corporate office for being “such a–holes.”
Now entrenched in Harbor Square since Jan. 28, 2010, Gallagher said his customers all followed the business down Dayton to what he calls “a way nicer location.” His Mug Club boasts about 200 members.
But all good things end. Don’t get alarmed, but Gallagher, who is 61, says he sees retirement around the corner. Whoever takes over the business, he adds, would be a fool to change anything.
What Gallaghers’ offers is tasty brew that comes with a sense of satisfaction. Customers spend about two hours choosing a brew among the 50 different recipes, from wheat to pale ale, to amber, stouts and much more. Once the beer is concocted in a steam-fired kettle with hops, grains and other goodies, it’s transferred to a specialized fermenter. You pick up your beer two weeks later, spending about an hour sterilizing bottles, bottling and capping your masterpiece.
A full batch makes about 138 12-ounce bottles, with the cost between $150 and $185, not including the bottles. Half batches are also available. After that, your beer will stay fresh for 3-6 months, so drink up.
Gallaghers’ also lets you brew your own wine (using the WineExpert kit), hard cider (kits of seasonal varieties) and root beer, the latter using Hires concentrate, five gallons of water, sugar and a carbonator.
Not ready to brew your own beer? Step inside Gallaghers’ and order a pint for $4.50. Or you can take a growler home with you.
Next year with be Gallaghers’ 20th year. Gallagher says it’s been a great but demanding job (he’s there seven days a week). He opened the business after being laid off as a towboat cook for Chevron, traveling from Point Wells to Anacortes and dishing up breakfast, lunch, and dinner. “It was the best job a guy could have. No responsibilities, decent money, time off, vacation.”
Gallagher also worked for Crawley Marine Services. “I got in with the captain pretty good,” he said. “He left me alone.”
Gallagher wasn’t sure what he’d do next. One day, he and Fanny saw a CNBC program spotlight a you-brew in Pennsylvania. “I didn’t want to open a restaurant, and it sounded like this thing was going to explode.”
Today, in addition to Gallaghers’ establishment, in Edmonds you can drink (but not make) beer at two other breweries, American Brewing Co. and the new Salish Sea Brewing Co. Gallagher has no problem with that. Edmonds is a small town, and he knows Skip Madsen at American and Jeff Barnett at Salish. “We do different things,” Gallagher said. “I usually go in the back door at American. I’m more interested in what Skip’s doing. We try each other’s beer. It he need two pounds of something instead of 200, I’m happy to give it to him.”
Does Dennis Gallagher himself drink beer? “A fair amount,” he said. And you can bet it tastes good.
Gallaghers’ Where U Brew is at 180 W. Dayton St., Suite 105, in Harbor Square. Go to www.whereubrew.com for more information or call 425-776-4209.
Generous support: Edmonds City Council president Strom Peterson, who owns The Cheesemonger’s Table, and his wife, Maria Montalvo, were honored recently at Edmonds Community College. They are among the major donors for the college’s Boots to Books and Beyond campaign to benefit student veterans.
New website: Check out Bar Dojo’s new website at www.bardojo.com. It’s intuitive and very pleasing to the eye. Plus there’s a great picture of Andrew Leckie and Shubert Ho, the co-founders. Oh, and starting this week on Tapas Sundays, Andrew and Shubert will be featuring their homemade pork dumplings. Ingredients include Carlton Farms All-Natural Pork and handmade dumpling skins. Available Sundays only.
Torte with Theo’s Chocolate: Epulo Bistro has a new fair trade, organic dark chocolate and cocoa nibs torte made with Theo’s Chocolate. Oh boy. Add a glass of Tawny Porto, Epulo says, and you’re set. For what is up to you.
New restaurant: Just opened in Edmonds is Dumpling Generation, a Chinese restaurant specializing in Cantonese cuisine, at 23830 Highway 99, No. 115. It’s open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The shrimp fried rice on the website looks delicious. Dine in or take out. Have you been or plan to? Let us know what you think.
Beach Café celebration: Anthony’s Beach Café is celebrating its 22nd anniversary with a two-for-one dinner special. Sundays through Thursdays after 4 p.m. Look for the coupon in your mailbox.
Taki Tiki: DJ Manny is at Taki Tiki Saturday playing all your favorites. It’s always a party with Manny in the house. There will be dancing, late-night happy hour, and lots of birthday parties.
Restaurant owners: Got a new menu? Plan a remodel? Doing something good in the community? Any news, thoughts, or tips on the restaurant scene in Edmonds, from restaurateurs and eaters alike, are appreciated. Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.