Made There: Silver City Brewery builds community through craft beer

Over more than two decades, the Bremerton brewhouse has perfected the blend of flavor, creativity and kindness.

It’s been more than 25 years since brothers Scott and Steve Houmes founded Silver City Brewery. Originally a pub offering food and tap brews, the brothers realized they needed to shift brewing to a dedicated location. Their taproom in Bremerton is home to Silver City Brewery operations as well as a cozy, post-work watering hole for locals.

Marketing manager and graphic designer Dan Frantz has nothing but love for Silver City’s hometown.

“It's almost like stepping back into a previous decade in a good way,” Dan says. “You're free of a lot of the distractions of the vibrant city. It's a very strong sense of community around here. We've got a lot of small local businesses. Everybody is really kind around here, and you’ve just got this great atmosphere of camaraderie.”

This video is part of our “Made There” series about local artisans. View more videos from Seasons 1 and 2

This strong sense of community led the brewery to begin a limited series of brews called The Silver Linings Series. The brewery partners with an organization to create a small-batch beer that represents their mission. Past creations have benefited salmon protection, wilderness protection for Washington state, local food banks and social programs aiming to get more women involved in brewing. 

“You know, it's really a privilege to be able to work in the beer industry and [work] for a small local company,” Dan says. “I mean, work dominates so much of your time and your life. If you're going to do it, it's best to work with people that you love, people that you know are out to benefit the community and where you actually feel like you're making an impact with your hours.”

In addition to helping organizations through the Silver Linings Series, or engaging one on one with people in the taproom, Dan enjoys connecting with people through the visual components of the product. Silver City has bright, eye-catching designs that are in lockstep with the big flavors of the beer itself. But it’s more than personality at play here. As the lead designer, Dan brings a bit of empathy to his process, engaging bright, bold colors to combat the notorious gloom of the Pacific Northwest. 

And while the packaging colors may be contrary to the natural landscape, the flavors found within often represent the best of what the region has to offer. Understanding these flavor profiles can help you, as Dan likes to say, truly celebrate what’s in front of you.

Decoding Tasting Notes 

Knowing a few key ingredients of craft beers can help you find a great pairing with whatever is on your plate or a flavor profile that meets your palate.

Let’s talk hops. A few common hops Dan mentions are Strata, Sterling, Saaz and Cascade.

  • Strata hops deliver more of a tropical vibe, with notes of pineapple, mango and, apparently for some people, bubble gum. Beers with Strata hops often pair well with similar tropical vibes, like coconut shrimp or grilled honey lime chicken.
  • Sterling and Saaz hops are in the same family and are often used in more German-style beers or lagers. These hops pair well with American-style barbecue foods like burgers, sausages or BBQ grilled chicken.
  • Cascade hops are popular in craft beer, notably IPA’s, and deliver floral, pine and citrus flavors. Beers with Cascade hops pair well with tacos and other boldly flavored bites.

Another key ingredient to check out is the malt. Malts are responsible for colors, as well as certain flavor characteristics. What makes a malt shine is the way in which it’s roasted.

  • Lightly roasted malts provide a pale, bread-y character, as in, for example, a pale ale or a lager.
  • Medium-roasted malts deliver caramel, nutty aromas and flavors often found in ambers.
  • Darker-roasted malts offer chocolate, coffee or smoky flavors, and give structure to beers like porters and stouts.

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