PORT TOWNSEND — Propolis Brewing, a Port Townsend based company specializing in herbal ales, was featured in the September issue of Sunset magazine.
Propolis, described as one of the best places to get a drink this September, was the only business on the North Olympic Peninsula on a list full of Seattle favorites.
“It was a great nod to the industry we have here in Port Townsend,” said Piper Corbett, co-owner of Propolis Brewing at 2457 Jefferson St. “We’re all very locally oriented.”
The article highlighted Propolis’ new taproom, which opened in February, and encouraged readers to try some of their more exclusive brews.
“What we’re doing as far as brewing goes is unique,” Corbett said.
Propolis uses local herbs to brew nearly 40 seasonal and unique herbal ales.
Many of the brews are barrel-aged or contain barrel-aged ingredients.
According to co-owner Robert Horner, this means batches of their beer can take between six months to two years to craft.
That makes it more like a fine wine than the average beer, he said.
“We really focus on botanical and herbal beer, so what we’re doing isn’t necessarily new,” Horner said.
“People have been brewing like this for a long time. They brewed with what grew around them naturally, and a lot of it was antiseptic, antibiotic and antibacterial to preserve the beer.”
In fact, the company’s name, propolis, comes from the Greek words for “before” and “city” and is the name of a natural antiseptic created by bees.
“It’s a nod to the natural herbs we use and that we’re kind of harking back to an older time,” Horner said.
The local and seasonal model has gained the brewery plenty of awards as well as fans from across the country.
Horner said the business is now shipping beer as far as Oklahoma and Illinois and has had people come to Port Townsend from as far as New Hampshire just to try some of the beer.
“We want to keep those shipping options open, but we also want to maintain the taproom,” Horner said.
“We like to keep some of the more exclusive brews only at the taproom to encourage people to come out here and experience it.”
With fall quickly approaching in the Northwest, Propolis is preparing for a new batch of generally darker seasonal beers.
However, according to Corbett, the business also is preparing to crack open the casks of spring and summer berries that have been aging.
“A lot of barrel-aged beers come out through the fall and winter,” Horner said.
Plenty of beers with seasonal flavors like fennel, chamomile, sage and ceder are either on tap or on their way.
Currently on tap is Beltane as well as a nettle ale and two bourbon barrel-aged brews.
East Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5550, or at [email protected].