Photo by Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times Mitch Aparicio of Penn Cove Brewing stirs a mixture of grain and water during the process of making a new IPA at Bastion Brewing Company in Anacortes Feb. 1.

Penn Cove Taproom’s flagship beer a collaborative effort

The product of a joint effort between the owners of a Coupeville brew pub and an Anacortes craft brewery will be on tap at 6 p.m. March 1, just in time for Coupeville’s MusselFest.

Brothers Marc and Mitch Aparicio, owners of the Penn Cove Taproom and Penn Cove Brewing Co., did some “gypsy brewing” at the Bastion Brewing Co. earlier this month. The term refers to brewers who don’t have their own brewing facility but travel to other facilities to practice their craft.

The Aparicio brothers don’t plan on gypsy brewing for long, though. They hope to open their own brewery in their hometown of Coupeville next year.

“We grew up in Coupeville,” Marc Aparicio said. “Our goal, really, honestly, is to support the town.”

Gypsy brewing was a learning experience. The brothers traveled to the Bastion Brewing facility Feb. 1 to create their own IPA while also learning the finer details of brewing from Bastion co-owner Joe Behan and the head brewer, Evan Barnett.

The air was heavy with the smell of grain as they took turns stirring a mixture inside of one of several large stainless steel vats — this one is called a mash tun — that lined the room.

Hops — an essential ingredient in IPAs — will be added later when the liquid is moved to the next stage in the process. The hops will essentially be steeped in the boiling liquid like tea, Marc Aparicio explains. It will also be dry-hopped for good measure.

Behan said the resulting IPA will be on the “high end of hoppy,” with an IBU of 76 and alcohol content of 6 percent.

It’s named “Madrona Way IPA,” after the scenic road along which Marc Aparicio lives.

The Aparicios’ business is all about staying local, they say. They support craft breweries in the area, including Bastion Brewing, by having their beer on tap.

“You come to the Taprom and you’ll have beer you’ve never had before,” Marc Aparicio said.

The Taproom opened a year ago on South Main Street, and they say business is good. The room has 14 taps fed by the smaller “sixth barrel kegs,” which means they can rotate through different beer more quickly. In addition, the Taproom offers hard cider and mead.

The brothers’ plan is to find a space in Coupeville, perhaps even a barn, and set up their own brewery. They hope to use grain and hops grown locally.

“It’s kind of like farm to table,” Marc Aparicio said, “but it’s farm-to-glass.”

They hope to keep Madrona Way IPA on tap as the flagship beer, but also to distribute it and other beer throughout the island and beyond someday. The brothers hope to brew another style toward mid-summer.

“We’re taking baby steps to do it right,” he said.