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Beer brewers find a home in downtown Oak Harbor

By NATHAN WHALEN Whidbey News-Times Staff reporter
October 7, 2012 · Updated 4:14 PM
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Whidbey Island Home Brew Supply owners Jeremy Allison, Robby Skillin and Terry Boese are looking to serve the needs of Whidbey’s beer brewing community. / Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

Beer aficionados on Whidbey Island have a local place to support and diversify their passion for brewing suds.

Whidbey Island Home Brew Supply opened recently on Fidalgo Avenue in Oak Harbor and provides all of the equipment and ingredients to brew the alcoholic concoction people have been enjoying for thousands of years.

“There’s a big contingency of home brewers on the island and it’s time we had our own brew supply,” said Jeremy Allison, one of three owners of the brewing supply store.

Whidbey Island is apparently home to a significant community of beer brewers. A contingent of home brewers was on display last August during the Fidalgo Avenue Block Party and Pig Roast. Approximately 50 people competed in the first home brewing competition held at the popular summer picnic. There’s also a group, the Whidbey Island Zymurgy Association, that is active in the area.

Allison, who brewed his first beer in 1996, is operating the store with Robby Skillin and Terry Boese.

Located on Fidalgo Avenue in downtown Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island Home Brew Supply provides a one-stop-shop for the home brewer, offering the supplies and ingredients needed to start brewing.

The supply store has around 60 varieties of grain and malt on hand along with the selection of yeasts and hops that provide the backbone of brewing.

“We have one of the best selection of base grains in the state,” Boese said.

Allison added that the store also receives its supply of yeast from White Labs and from WYeast, both of which produce yeasts that competition beer brewers use.

With all of the ingredients available, a home brewer can make everything from stouts to IPAs.

The supply store also offers kits to get people started in brewing. Allison said the store is going to offer starter kits during the holiday season which will allow people to brew up to a 12-pack of beer. The store offers every piece of equipment for everyone from neophytes to the “10th-level beer nerd,” Allison said.

In addition to the supply store, Whidbey Beer Works is located across Fidalgo Avenue. The popular shop sells specialty beers from around the world.

Allison said the store isn’t just selling brewing supplies either. The shop is expanding into selling ingredients for mead, wine and kombucha, which is a fermented tea. He added the store will also delve into cheese making too.

Whidbey Home Brew Supply is offering classes. Allison mentioned a mead-making class was recently held.

 


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