Local Brewers You Need to Know

The brewers and brewmasters currently shaping the Northwest craft beer scene.
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Travis Guterson (left): Cofounding 7 Seas Brewing in Gig Harbor in 2008 at the ripe old age of 24, Guterson rocked the beer world when he broke with tradition and became the first Washington craft brewer to put his beer into aluminum cans. In fact, Guterson walks a fine line between tradition and innovation, creating English-style ales that are uniquely his own. His sensibilities lie somewhere between tweed jackets and body piercings, and if the name rings a bell, it could be because his father is David Guterson, the celebrated Bainbridge Island author of the best-seller Snow Falling on Cedars.

Robert “Beaux” Bowman: Walk to the front of the longest line at any brewfest and you might find Bowman there, serving up his cult-beloved Black Raven Brewing beers. His beers are not just big and uncommon; they are challenging, contemplative and sometimes even confusing. Some of Bowman’s most popular creations are aged to perfection in whiskey barrels. Grizzled brewmasters wonder how he is doing it; aspiring young brewers just want to be him.


Photographs by Daniel Carrillo

A visionary in the world of beer, Charles Finkel brought together a motley crew of young brewers in 1989 who would collectively change the world of brewing. In his miniscule brewery under Pike Place Market, Finkel’s artisan brewers experimented with new styles, yeasts and hops to produce a lineup of the best of traditional styles, such as Pike XXXXX Extra Stout as well as new favorites, such as Monk’s Uncle Tripel Ale. Along with his wife, Rose Anne, in the early days, Finkel employed a slew of brewers, many of whom have gone on to brew at other places. Most are shown here with the exception of brewer Fal Allen, now head brewer at Anderson Valley Brewing in Boonville, California.

Brewer Kevin Forhan is now head brewer at The Ram at Northgate.

Brewer Drew Cluley is now at Big Time in the University District.

Brewer Skip Madsen is now at American Brewing in Edmonds.

Bill Jenkins, brewer and “spiritual leader,” is now head brewer at Elliott Bay Brewing in Lake City; Dick Cantwell, also a brewer, started Elysian Brewery in 1996; Jason Parker (original head brewer), now working for the Gates Foundation and opening Derby’s distillery; dick cantwell also a brewer, started Elysian Brewery in 1996.