A new brewery could open up shop by this summer if a Pe Ell couple manages to get their operation off the ground.
They’re planning to launch the operation with a unique twist. They hope to use hops grown on their farm in their brews.
Tim and Mirinda Moriarty moved to Lewis County from California in 2014 and fell in love with the area. They decided to start working toward opening Jones Creek Brewing.
The couple own a 10-acre farm across the street from Tim Moriarty’s sister’s land. He said they may work together to grow grain for the beers there, while he hopes to cultivate hops that grow in the area.
Both properties are around 1 mile east of Pe Ell.
While hops in Washington state are generally associated with the east side of the mountains, Tim Moriarty said there’s a certain variety that survived after the industry’s heyday in Lewis County. The best example is perhaps the Klaber operation, which once thrived as a major business in Lewis County.
“It’s a challenge, but there’s wild hops that have existed here since about the 1940s,” he said. “There’s a lot of hops here that have stood the test of time.”
In particular, he said the local hops are of German and English variety and have pepper, floral and earthy properties.
His goal is to commercially produce them and try to keep his brews as close to a farm-to-bottle system as he can.
For some of his pilot beers, he has picked wild blackberries to throw in the mix.
“Really focused on getting local fruit, hops and grain, we want to branch out to do that eventually,” he said.
Tim Moriarty handles the brewing side of the soon-to-be brewery and Mirinda handles the marketing and business side of the operation.
They hope to open by this summer in a 36-by-36-foot brewery and taphouse with a large porch. They’re currently in the process of obtaining permits and designing a well system and framing the tasting room.
The couple are also hoping to produce much of their own electricity by installing solar panels on the roof of the brewery, in line with their vision for a hands-on, self-sufficient operation.
“It’s kind of paying homage to the culture of what this place is about,” Tim Moriarty said.
Their goal for the brewery starting off is to have five casks of beer, including a blonde, a wild blonde with blackberries, an IPA and a barley wine that has been brewing since October 2015.
Mirinda Moriarty said she enjoyed the IPA in particular.
Tim Moriarty’s favorite is the blackberry beer, which he initially brewed and let sit for six months before adding 20 pounds of hand-picked blackberries and letting the beer sit for another two months.
His love of brewing began in 2011 when his family bought him a 5-gallon brew kit. While he always enjoyed more craft-oriented beers like Sierra Nevada, Tim Moriarty said once he started making his own, he was hooked.
“It was a snowball effect from that point on,” he said, eventually leading to upgrading to a 10-gallon system within four months.
Updates on the Jones Creek Brewing can be found on their Facebook page, and the couple said they would be happy to help other home-brewers along in their brewing journey.