It isn’t easy being a brewery in Bellingham, Washington. In a town with almost as many breweries as there are evergreen trees, it can be somewhat discouraging to get your brewing operation off the ground. But, this didn’t affect Tony Luciano and Jack Pflueger’s vision of producing quality craft brews in the city of subdued excitement when they opened Stones Throw Brewery in late 2015. It also helped that theirs is the only brewhouse located in Bellingham’s historic Fairhaven district.
Bellingham is home to more than 10 breweries, with a new one popping up every six months it seems. Majority of the breweries are concentrated within the downtown area of Bellingham and the northern city limits. Stones Throw has an advantageous location, being next to Bellingham Bay and a short bike ride away from the Chuckanut Mountain trailheads; the brewery is at an ideal location for adventurers and beer drinkers alike.
Both alumni of Western Washington University, the duo combined their different skill sets — Luciano with his brewing background and Pflueger with his business experience — in one of their favorite neighborhoods.
“When I was in college, Downtown Fairhaven was the spot to be at, I never understood why there wasn’t a brewery here,” Luciano says. “I’m glad we are able to be the first one.”
The best thing about Stones Throw is the homey feel it exhibits. The brewing area consists of two rooms, a room where the actual brewing takes place and a fermenting room above. The beer ferments in a cozy but not too small space next to the brewery’s rooftop seating. Luciano does majority of the brewing for the small barrel system, from beers to a house ginger ale, made with fresh ginger, lemon, orange and water.
Stones Throw is always mixing it up, and this isn’t just including the fact they make their own soda, it is almost a guarantee something new will be on the tap list every time you walk in. The brewery always has a new seasonal around the corner, but continues to pour a few staple brews at the new Bellingham establishment. The Flat Penny pale ale and Two-Dollah porter are examples of beer you can always find pouring at the brewery.
Whether it’s peeling citrus fruit for ginger ale or hopping the fermenter, Luciano reiterates one thing: “I just love brewing,” he says. Passion is evident in each move he makes, even when that move is eating one of the oranges he peeled to go into the ginger ale batch.
He recalls when he reconnected with Pflueger just a few years back — both miserable with their current jobs that took them elsewhere, answering the call of Bellingham with the foundations of a brewery on their minds.
“I knew I wanted to brew since college, even after I left Bellingham, it was always the plan to come back and make it a reality,” Luciano says. “I love the sense of community this town has to offer and am glad we are able to contribute to that.”