Posts Tagged ‘Mark Leavens’

Today’s Special: Atlantic Crossing Pub, Seattle, WA

October 2, 2010 2 comments

Bless You! - Illustrations by Joe Meitl and Jonus Brown

**Today’s Special comes from our good friend at Odin Brewing, Mark Leavens. Mark’s great discussion with Joe Meitl, Kitchen Manager at Seattle’s iconic Atlantic Crossing Pub, is the basis for today’s article. You might have seen the AC on ESPN during the World Cup? Yeah, its a pretty big deal.***

What catches your eye in today’s fast-paced, materialistic, and consumer driven society?  Is it bright colors or catchy slogans?  What about somebody dressed up like a stupid fucking gorilla?  Yeah, maybe you look, but most likely you hate obnoxiously fake primates and get the hell out of there.

But once you’ve regained composure and a leisurely stroll down the sidewalk, you’ll then pass numerous sandwich boards featuring that establishment’s latest pitch to get you inside:  ‘Happy hour 4-6, trade your gold for cash, buy one foot get the second foot free pedicure.’

Boring!  I don’t read those and I can’t imagine many of you do either.  I’m American and I’m struggling with ADHD or just too damn busy to be bothered by a sandwich board!  But the other day I ran into a board that actually got me to stop, AND read, AND then enter the building!

Brilliant!  An astronaut floating in space and sneezing blood all over the galaxy after their mask implodes.  Now this is what it takes to get me to stop AND focus AND read the other side AND go inside.   I had to meet the creative genius behind the board and have a beer, of course.

Joe Meitl of the Atlantic Crossing Pub works as the Kitchen Manager and has a direct line of sight from the kitchen out to his eye-catching work of art:

“We originally got the board as a way of promoting our daily specials and events, and for a while we were using it for exactly that.  I used to get frustrated at how few people actually stopped to read it.

At first I started adding little notes to the bottom, just to see if anyone would catch it.  ‘Arm wrestle the bartender for a free glass of water’, or ‘Stripper Pole is getting installed this weekend!’ and still I heard few comments on it.

I was eventually convinced that no one was reading it, not even the bartenders.  That’s when I decided to start having fun with it.

Where's Your Button? - Illustrations by Joe Meitl and Jonus Brown

My sous chef (Jonus Brown) and I started drawing comics, writing song lyrics, and insults.  One of my favorite boards was a response to the sandwich board that the pet store just a few doors up from us, puts out everyday. They rarely change their board and I was tired of seeing, ‘Lots of Baby Budgies and Cockatiels for Sale,’ and so my next board’s response was, ‘Beer Battered Baby Budgies and Cockatiels for Sale.’  No one said anything about that one either.  At that point we had essentially stopped posting specials and were just having fun with it.

Since then, I have noticed more people stopping to read it, which feels good.  We get a lot of foot traffic on this street and if I can make a few people smile on their way to work then it is worth the time.

It does take time though, and a hell of a lot of creative energy.  I sometimes feel like I am simply building sand castles, because everything I create is either eaten instantly or erased within a week.  I’m lucky the owner, Gareth, has an open mind and a busy schedule, that the bartenders here have a good sense of humor, and of course my favorite amendment is the first one.  I’d like to think I’ve offended at least a few people, and of course I’ll keep trying.”

No Regrets? - Illustrations by Joe Meitl and Jonus Brown

Please do Joe, because if being people are being offended, they probably deserve it.  Plus, we all need to slow the hell down and laugh a little bit more.  So thank you for slowing me to a stop, and drawing me into the Atlantic Crossing Pub.

If you’ve never been to this Roosevelt neighborhood pub, you may have already seen a clip from the latest World Cup that was shown on ESPN and won an ESPY for best reaction shot.

I recommend checking this bar out and grabbing a bite to eat.  They serve the full menu until ONE A.M.!  And as Joe would say, “we have smoking hot bartenders!”

And at the very least, avoid the gorilla and check out Joe and Jonus’ sandwich board!  Who knows what they’ll come up with next?


The Brewers: Schools Out, Beers In for Schooner Exact

They've come a long way since Activ Space - Schooner Exact Brewing

***Today’s post comes to us from our good friend Mark Leavens, former brewer from the Gilligans Brewing outfit. Though Gilligans has shut down, Mark still home brews on a large scale and is planning some big things for the future. Mark has been invited to share beer stories on occasion at***

If you were listening closely enough on June 17th you would have heard Alice Cooper’s voice wailing, ‘Schoooooollls out for EVER’ at Schooner Exact Brewing Company.  Minus black eye liner, fake blood, and necks being constricted by boas, this marked the day Schooner Exact owners Heather and Matt McClung officially ended their teaching careers to focus solely on brewing beer to share with us thirsty folk.  But just because they are through with teaching, don’t expect Schooner Exact to stop schooling us with their beer!

After three and a half years of bouncing from an ActivSpace (f@#! them, see history of Gilligan’s Brew Co. and Two Beers Brew Co.) garage, to a shared warehouse space with Trade Route Brewing Co. in South Park, Schooner Exact has finally landed their own space in the SODO district of Seattle and upgraded to a 15 barrel brewing system!

A couple of friends and I had the opportunity to stop by their tap house/brewery the other day to congratulate Heather and Matt for quitting their day jobs.  I assure you though, the kids will be fine.  I’m a substitute teacher.

Located just south of the West Seattle Bridge/Spokane St. on 1st Ave. S., and just north of the bridge over the train tracks, Schooner Exact is admittedly not an easy place to reach for those of us living north of downtown.  However, with sandwich boards labeled ‘BEER!’ set up out front, we knew exactly where to steer our bikes.

A huge loading dock covered with picnic tables provided ample outdoor seating and an appropriate entryway to beer school.  With the 12’ tall loading door open, the brand new taproom seemed massive and yet very welcoming, especially with Heather at the helm behind the bar.

The tap list consisted of the Schooner Exact classics 3-Grid IPA, Regrade Pale Ale and Gallant Maiden Hefeweizen, which were accompanied by their Gateway Golden, King St. Brown, Seamstress Union Raspberry Wheat, and the infamous and award-winning Hoppy the Woodsman rounding out the lot.  Teacher approved, these tap handles formed a superb single file line down the hallway of awesomeness.

Not wanting to jump right into the 9.6% ABV bourbon barrel aged Woodsman, I decided to start light and crisp with the easy drinking Golden Ale.  If proposed with the proposition, I would have gladly consumed this pint of gold heaven all night long while partying at the moon tower, but there were more options to douse my taste buds that day, so it was time to move on to the malty rich Brown.  Comprised of a blend of chocolate and special Belgian malts, this silky smooth ale slithered down the pipe while leaving a satisfyingly sweet finish with the palate.

Speaking of pipes, apparently if one is adventurous enough or at least willing to try something once, Heather and Matt will gladly serve up the ‘Shocker.’  This concoction is two parts pink (Raspberry Wheat), one part Brown and will leave you all tingly inside.

I didn’t get shocked or do any shocking this particular day, but I probably wouldn’t tell you that much about my personal life anyhow, so I’m just going to change the subject and let you decide whether or not to pull out, or should I say, put in the ‘shocker.’  By the way, the raspberry wheat was as thick and delicious as a wheat beer should be and had a strong fruity aroma.

So anyway, to contrast the sweetness it was time to part the cheeks, er, I mean open the mouth and hop away.  3-Grid IPA.  Exceptional!  This well-balanced brew is one of my favorite IPA’s being brewed in Seattle right now.  It’s a must try for someone who prefers an IPA where the bitterness doesn’t destroy your sense of what anything else tastes like.

But for those hop heads out there, let it be known that Matt and his new brewing partner Dave ‘Hutch’inson (formerly of the Rogue Issaquah brewery and Georgetown Brewing) are putting out a series of experimental Imperial IPA’s, with the most recent one being called the ‘Virgil Gamachinator.’ Brewed with a ton of citrusy Amarillo hops, this behemoth rounds out at 87 IBU’s and 9% ABV!  Find it and drink it.

To remind us again that beer school was still in session, Matt brought out the bourbon barrel aged Hoppy the Woodsman.  Enter ‘giddy like a little school girl’ line.  First introduced to me at the 2008 Winter Beer Fest, this brew has won 1st and 3rd place in back-to-back years of pouring at Hale’s.  It has officially put the former high school chemistry teacher and Schooner Exact on the brewing podium while putting their beer on tap all over Seattle.

Go see and taste for yourself.  You WILL be schooled!

Gilligan’s Brewing Tops Out All About Beer’s Nanobrewing Article

February 12, 2010 3 comments

Oh how we miss you Gilligan's......nanobrewing at its best.

Local Seattlites Gilligan’s Brewing don the front page of All About Beer’s website today, as a part of the magazine’s article on Nanobrewing.

A sharp photo of Gilligan’s marketing genius Mark Leavens (and guest poster at appears on the front page and within the article, which focuses on the success of nanobrewers across the country. Brewers Barnyard Brewing, Worth Brewing, Energen Brewing Co., and Vine Park Brewing Co. (MN’s own), join Gilligan’s as the focus of the piece.

Author Amanda Baltazar is a local Northwesterner who was born and raised in the UK. Now a writer at All About Beer, Amanda took a liking to Gilligan’s Activspace brewspot on the Burke-Gilman trail.  Unfortunately, as we announced in a past article, Gilligan’s shut down operations and moved from the space. Plans are underway to reboot the company and focus on a brewpub business image.

But, we are starting to truly miss our wonderful Sundays down on the trail, drinking Imperial Chamomile Ale and one of the best Pale Ales we have ever had! Brewer Seth Gilligan does a wonderful job of managing malts, and his product was certainly worth the modest price tag.

Check out the article and remember to support your local NW nanobrewer. Believe me, they need a lot of help to keep their kettles boiling!