Although the beer is award-winning, tasty and refreshing, community is the prime focus of the only craft brewery in Long Beach, Washington. The combination of good brews and a welcoming atmosphere garnered North Jetty Brewing the honor of “Best Beer Bar of 2018 for Washington State” by Craftbeer.com reader polls.
Opened in 2014 by Erik and Michelle Svendsen, their involvement with the community encompasses their taproom, which Michelle describes as “kind of like Long Beach’s living room.” Outside of North Jetty the couple supports schools, the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, the Ocean Beach Education Foundation and many more local causes.
Prior to brewing for a living, Erik wore a certified public accountant (CPA) hat for 18 years and Michelle worked as an office manager. After moving from Vancouver, Washington, to the Long Beach Peninsula, Erik continued as a CPA in Astoria, Oregon, while Michelle opened a cleaning company for residential and vacation homes. When the brewery demanded both their full-time attention, they heeded the call.
Here, Michelle shares the why and how of the Svendsen’s successful journey into the world of beer.
1) Why did you open your brewery in Long Beach?
Our friends owned the Lost Roo restaurant [in town] and wanted their own beer on draft. Since Erik had homebrewed since college, they asked him to work with them on the brewing and creating recipes. This event and his love for the craft made this a great time to jump in plus we would be the only brewery on the Long Beach Peninsula. We went on tap at the Lost Roo in April of 2013 and opened the North Jetty Brewing taproom almost exactly a year later.
2) What can you tell us about your beer?
North Jetty’s Another F’ing Raspberry Hef won a gold medal at the 2017 Washing Beer Awards and a Bronze in 2018 for Fruit Wheat Beers. Yet our Leadbetter Red Scottish Style Ale is by far the most popular in the taproom and it’s only the second beer we’ve brewed. Over our five years of existence, we’ve made 58 different beers. At any one time 12-17 of our own brews are on tap. We also collaborate with other breweries in Southwest Washington and Northern Oregon.
3) What is the significance of the Yellow Boots kölsch?
I am a member of the Pink Boots Society, a worldwide organization for women in the beer industry. We network, continue our education and brew together. So why aren’t my boots pink?
We visited some friends in Walla Walla, Washington, right after I started brewing. I told them I needed to go boot shopping. They said they had a pair of boots, in my size, that their daughter didn’t wear. When I opened the box, I saw a bright yellow pair of boots and that brought a smile to my face. Whenever I put these yellow boots on, I still grin. Yellow Boots kölsch-style ale is named after my boots. It’s a German beer that has a delicate flavor balance with almost no bitterness and this was the first brew where I got to work on the recipe.
4) What does community mean to you?
We’ll be celebrating our fifth anniversary in April. If it weren’t for our patrons and friends that couldn’t happen. Because of the generosity of our community we want to give back as much as possible. North Jetty is going strong because of the love and support we receive.
That’s why we hold trivia nights as fundraisers — “Are you smarter than a sixth grader?” competitions — play Bunco and have had a “Giving Back” tap that we brewed with local teachers. During the holidays we collect toys, food and cash for families that need a little extra help.