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Flyers first pints take flight

It’s here. The beer is here.

Thursday evening Flyers Restaurant and Brewery officially launched production of three aces in its brewing squadron.

Yes, there was beer before. Brewer and co-owner Tony Savoy brewed batches of blonde and amber beers off-site at Druid’s Brewing Co. in Covington for Flyers’ opening in November, but that was just to give customers a taste of things to come. And that taste went quickly.

“We went through that in weeks, but we had to at least have some for the opening,” Savoy said.

Co-owners Jason Tritt, his parents Rosa and Greg Tritt and Savoy took over the building at the corner of Ernst Street and Highway 20 in April and spent the next seven months performing extensive renovations. The town’s anticipation of the aviation theme eatery and brewery wasn’t squelched until Nov. 18.

“We got in here and there was more to the building than expected, more work to do to bring it up to the standard we wanted to establish,” Rosa Tritt said. “We really wanted to do this right.”

The delay allowed the installation of the Flyers brewery, which wasn’t planned to be done for a year after opening.

The beer launch Thursday debuted three of Flyers’ beers — Humble’s Blonde, First Flight Amber and Pacemaker Porter — that will be regulars at the restaurant’s tap eventually hosting six to eight beers of its own in addition to numerous guest beers.

Flyers’ seven barrel system can produce 14 kegs of beer at a time. Each batch of beer will take two weeks to create. This adds up to 500 barrels or 1,000 kegs per year.

Jason Tritt said that keg requests and other to-go beer options will be available in the future, but not immediately, as he and Savoy want to ensure supply for the restaurant.

Savoy brings 10 years of brewery experience, having spent almost the last five years at the Snipes Mountain Brewing Co. in Sunnyside, Wash., where he left as head brewer and manager. The brewer’s specialties are his porters and best bitters, both of which have garnered brewing awards. Among his honors are nods at the North American Brewers’ Awards and the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup. He looks to send five beers under the Flyers label to this year’s Beer Cup, which will be held in Seattle.

“Brewing here on site will be great, because I can really oversee the quality and handling of the beer,” Savoy said. “I enjoy being able to walk around the restaurant, sit down with customers and get feedback on all your hard days’ work.”

While beer may be a staple at Flyers, Jason Tritt wants people to know that Flyers is an ace pilot when it comes to more than brew. The restaurant has a full bar that boasts top quality drinks, including several signatures such as its scratch margarita. Flyers also has a wine list filled with a roster of Washington vintages.

After two months of serving customers, Tritt said that opening months have exceeded his expectations.

“The response has been outstanding,” Tritt said. “We’ve really connected with a lot of people here on the island and even have people coming up from the south end to see us.”

But even after the mysteries of the opening delay have disappeared, there’s one rumor remaining around town that Tritt wants out of the flight pattern.

“People are still wondering if we’re family friendly, and we absolutely are,” Tritt said.

Already the restaurant’s fish and chips, prime rib dip sandwich and barbecue salmon have become customer favorites. Savoy will work closely with head chef Scott Whealington to incorporate the use of Flyers’ own beer into the restaurant’s recipes, many of which already use beer to spice up its flavors.

The beer launch is only the beginning of Flyers’ increased flight schedule. There’s still more menu items to unveil, and a regular happy hour schedule that will begin soon. Live entertainment is expected to debut in the late spring and summer.

Planned are regular brewers’ nights where Flyers invites the public to come in and try their beers, but also meet and try beers and meet brewers of other Puget Sound and Northwest breweries. On these nights the menu will be coursed will different palate pleasing beers. Also expect brewology to be a nightly occurrence at Flyers.

“We’re not just about our own beers, but also about educating people’s palate to other beers and breweries,” Savoy said. “There are too many good brews between Bellingham and Everett alone, add in Washington and the Pacific Northwest and it’d be a shame to not offer our customers the experience of tasting some of them.”

You can reach Cynthia Woolbright at cwoolbright@whidbeynewstimes.com or 675-6611.

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