Penn Cove Brewing Co. has expanded its operations to a 5-acre farm in Freeland.
Owners Marc and Mitch Aparicio opened a taproom at The Barn on S. Freeland Avenue over Memorial Day weekend — the newest destination taproom in the area.
The brothers founded Penn Cove Brewing in 2015 with the goal of owning and operating Whidbey Island’s largest brewery. Over the years, they’ve built their flagship taproom in Coupeville, added a 10-barrel brewhouse to that location, and opened another taproom in Oak Harbor.
With their third taproom, the Aparicios have embraced the idyllic farmhouse setting. In addition to the taproom, on the property they have a green space featuring a giant oak tree and rooftop seating with views of Holmes Harbor and the Olympic Mountains.
“We think that The Barn will draw people to the island,” Marc Aparicio said. “It’s a chance for them to see what we have to offer. We know that we can create that experience that will allow us to grow simply by word of mouth.”
Penn Cove Brewing has grow exponentially over the past few years. The pandemic slowed the pace, but it didn’t stop the brewery’s progress.
“During COVID, we stayed the course,” Mitch Aparicio said. “We were really determined to make it happen.”
The Barn in Freeland is a mix of Old World and New World aesthetics. Designed and built by Cascade Custom, the taproom incorporates the barn from the farm into the construction.
“We really wanted to keep the vibe of the farm and that barn feel,” said Randy Urquhart, who runs marketing and promotion for Penn Cove Brewing.
In a fun twist of fate, Urquhart was looking at the same property as the Aparicio brothers at the same time so he could open his own brewery. When they realized they shared a passion for beer and Whidbey Island, Urquhart decided to join forces with Penn Cove.
The barn will house an experimental, small-batch brew system. There are also plans to build a yeast lab so Penn Cove can grow its own. Mike Aparicio oversees Penn Cove’s Coupeville 10-barrel brewhouse; one of Penn Cove’s three brewers, Erick Adam, plans to move to Freeland to oversee the experimental pilot system.
“The pilot system will allow us to try different things and get them on tap in smaller quantities,” Adam said. “If beers are successful, we might be able to scale them up to our larger system.”
The old barn and new taproom overlook an expansive field that Penn Cove Brewing plans to turn into an entertainment venue. They’re hoping for live music, beer festivals, car shows and more.
Both Coupeville High School graduates, Marc and Mitch are pouring much of their time and effort into building up the local island’s food and beer community. The Aparicio brothers are looking to partner with Whidbey Island businesses as they do it.
“We want to collaborate with local producers as much as possible and bring Whidbey Island together,” Marc Aparicio said. “That means working with other breweries, wineries, cideries, restaurants, farms — you name it. We want to be known as a Whidbey-grown products.”
One of those collaborations is with Gordon Stewart, head chef of Gordon’s on Blueberry Hill. Stewart operates Reasonably Gordon’s, a food truck specializing in pub grub at the Freeland taproom.
When finding reclaimed wood and stressed metal to go with the aesthetic at The Barn, the Aparicios turned, once again, to local artist Mark Wacker. Wacker’s artwork adorns the other two Penn Cove Brewing locations. His project for the Freeland location? The sign for the new Penn Cove Brewing taproom.