52 Weeks: Airways Brewing, Kent, Washington
Week 19 of 52
6644 S. 196th St, #T-100
Kent, WA 98032
Type of Establishment: Brewery Taproom
BEERS ON TAP (at time of visit) —>
T-Tail Blonde Ale
Jet City ESB
First Class IPA
FOOD OPTIONS: I was very surprised to see anything other than a bowl of peanuts or hard pretzels, but they do offer landjager and soft pretzels.
BAR OPINION: Roughly 17 miles south of the Beer Blotter home base, in a beautiful (haha) business park in Kent, WA, lies a brewery that we have never before visited. On this day, we changed that.
South-Enders rejoice, there is a new brewery taproom in Kent, WA! And it doesn’t suck!
You must admit, Kent is a very strange place to be… for any reason. I would imagine that owners Alex (brewer as well) and Dione (taproom manager as well) Dittmar got a pretty good deal on the brewery/taproom space. Lucky for the Kent residents I guess (what are there, like 27 of you?). Well, at the time of my visit, it was packed, so either every single Kent resident was there or there were a few travelers, like myself. If they got the impression that I did, it was well worth the visit for all in attendance.
Once within the doors of Airways Brewing, the look and feel of the place bares a shocking resemblance to that of Black Raven Brewing’s taproom in Redmond, WA. The bar area is just slightly off to your left as you enter, with seating in an “L” shape, creating a square area against the left and rear walls for the bartenders to roam and serve. The merchandise, mostly t-shirts, are hanging on the far left wall. Then there is a fairly small open area opposite the bar, on your right as you enter, that contains a few tables. Then there is a bathroom and a backdoor leading to the brewery (or so I assume, I didn’t get a tour). With the exception of Airways small outdoor seating area, and the lack of a backroom (additional seating), the space is identical to BRB’s. Must be a fairly generic architectural schematic for the Seattle outskirt’s business parks, but that’s quite alright, the small space works just fine. In fact, it seems to lend itself to relatively large social gatherings at strange hours of the day.
I say this because my visits to both occurred in the early afternoon on a weekday. Both times, there was sizable attendance. Both times there was a great bit of socializing amongst bar-top strangers. Both times I had a blast and drank good beer with good people. Nigel at Black Raven and Greg at Airways are both great barkeeps, both with tangible abilities to include everyone at the small bar into one single conversation. It’s a microcosm of big city bars, in a microcosm of a big city, and it’s just right for me.
I had the distinct privileged of meeting and chatting with Dione. I just missed Alex. After questioning Dione about the size of their brewing system, I was answered with the stunning words, “1/2 barrel”. This means that they can brew one keg at a time. 15.5 gallons. My friends, that is the definition of nanobrewery. Nan-frickin-o!
My dismayed look prompted an explanation. Airways has a great deal of their production contract brewed by a local brewery with a 7 barrel system. Now that makes a lot more sense. I must say, I was relieved. I’d love to be able to get more of their beer without having to drive down to Kent.
This brings us to the beer. Airways’ four standard offerings are clearly English influenced. They are well constructed and easy to drink. I ended up ordering a full pint of the IPA after my sampler, but it wasn’t an easy choice. The blonde was a bit too subtle for me at the time, but each of the others could easily have been chosen. Everything was reasonably priced as well, which is always appreciated. Like I said before, they have t-shirts for sale, as well as pint glasses and growlers to go.
One of my favorite parts about Airways Brewing is the imagery that they use. It’s really simple, but it’s cleaver… and sleek. It reminds me of the mind-blowing opening credits to the movie Catch Me if You Can. I had to take a pint glass home with me.
Airways was at last weekend’s Washington Brewers Fest. They had a Triple Chocolate Stout that I was unfortunately unable to acquire. I did, however, get to meet Alex. These guys are really kind and we are proud to support them as one of the newest breweries on the block.
Take a trip down south of the city and take a gander, drink a beer, and enjoy.