FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Penn Cove Brewing Company, Whidbey Island’s largest craft brewer and current member of the Coupeville and Oak Harbor business communities, will be opening their third location in Freeland, Washington this May. Renovations on the space began in 2019 and have progressed steadily despite the economic hardships brought about by Covid-19. Situated on a pastoral 5-acre parcel in an old barn atop a hill overlooking Holmes Harbor, Penn Cove’s newest property will feature twenty taps, a small experimental brewery, an indoor dining area and several stages for concerts and events. Those who enjoy fresh air with their fresh craft beer will delight in the property’s large beer garden, patio, and rooftop deck, complete with a stunning view of the Olympic Range to the West and Holmes Harbor to the Northeast. Staying true to their guiding principles of Craft, Community and Collaboration, Penn Cove turned to Freeland’s own Chef Gordon Stewart of Gordon’s on Blueberry Hill to tackle food service via his new food truck, “Reasonably Gordon’s’’ which will call the property home six days a week.
“Our business plan has always been to expand all over Whidbey Island. The three locations were chosen strategically to capture different demographics of the island. We also try to promote collaboration and community with other Island businesses, without impacting but hopefully improving, combined growth,” says co-founder Marc Aparicio.
Together with his brother, Mitch, the two opened Penn Cove Brewing Co.’s first taproom in Coupeville in 2016, featuring selections from craft breweries throughout the PNW. Pouring beer was just the first step however, brewing being the end goal, and in 2019, with the acquisition of a 10bbl system and 80 bbls of fermentation space, installed just across the parking lot from the taproom, Penn Cove Brewing Co. stepped into their name. The brewery started brewing beer June of 2020. A second taproom in Oak Harbor opened, also in 2019, and as of 2021 Penn Cove Brewing Company’s beer can be found on tap throughout Island, Skagit and Snohomish Counties.
The new brewery in Freeland will run on a smaller, 1 bbl system and focus primarily on performing “experimental brews” utilizing niche and locally sourced ingredients to craft unique small batch offerings. The impact of his own home brewing experience on the Penn Cove story as a whole is not lost on Marc, and in an effort to pay it forward, the brothers intend on making the space available to local home brewers for collaboration and training, and possibly to test their recipes on a larger system.
“Our thoughts on the brew lab in Freeland were first to support experimental batches and yeast cultivation for the brewery—seeking sustainability opportunities and cost savings while maintaining and increasing our efficiency and quality. Secondly, however, we intend to reach out to the craft beer industry and local homebrewers to assist in craft beer/brewery operations research and experiments involving local farms, other businesses and possibly working with local colleges and universities— Go Dawgs!”
Reasonably Gordon’s menu will feature a variety of small to full size offerings and was designed specifically to pair with Penn Cove Brewing Co. beer. Highlighting local ingredients whenever possible, Gordon has gone a step further by incorporating Penn Cove beer into many of his dishes, also using spent grain from the brewery to bolster his pretzels, buns and other baked goods.
“When we tell people we’re doing a food truck, they think tacos. I want to have fun, tasty pub food, but kind of out-of the box. Not just any other food truck,” said Gordon Stewart, chef and owner of Gordon’s on Blueberry Hill in Freeland. What might that look like? How about some Fried Chicken & Waffle skewers with Cherry Hill Chocolate Stout Maple Syrup, a Beer Braised Pork Pupusa, or a freshly pressed Cubano with Porter’ed Pork?
The collaboration doesn’t stop in the kitchen, and can indeed be observed property wide via the custom light fixtures, signage and other installations by longtime friend, artist, and Penn Cove Brew Club Lifetime Member, Mark Wacker of Coupeville. Sourcing barn wood, scrap metal, and corrugated tin from the original structures on property, Mark created a number of amazing pieces that will no doubt imbue each and every trip to Freeland with a sense of discovery and wonder.
With ample outdoor seating and large bay doors allowing for maximum ventilation of interior spaces, the new Freeland location will be able to safely host guests in accordance with Washington State Covid-19 restrictions. Once restrictions are lifted, the brothers visualize the property as being a great option for weddings, corporate gatherings, concerts, festivals, etc.
“We tried to create local spots and gathering spaces where, like Cheers, everyone knows your name. Every location is unique. What we offer is a gathering space for locals and tourists alike that offers a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere with a friendly staff that is knowledgeable in craft beer and the surrounding community,” says Mitch Aparicio.
Penn Cove Co. Brewery & Taproom in Freeland is located at 5488 S Freeland Ave and open Sunday to Thursday from 11:00am to 10:00pm and Friday and Saturday from 11:00am to 11:00pm.