Well, you drive north out of downtown Enumclaw on Cole Street. Cross Battersby and continue on Cole for a couple blocks until you come to that “mini-industrial park” on your right. Turn in there, drive past Plateau Diesel Performance, Kam Manufacturing, Dp West, and the rest of those heavy-duty operations, until you reach the end of the block. That’s where you’ll find the really important enterprise: The Cole Street Brewery.
Owner and brew-master, Sean McDonald, met me at the entrance. He’s a local fellow, raised on a family farm and a graduate of Enumclaw High School, class of ‘98. He’s single, has no children that he knows of, and is a very friendly, warm, and sociable dude with a quick, subtle humor and first-class, entrepreneur instincts.
Sean opened his business five years ago with a pocket full of loose change, some dreams, and one or two freshly brewed beers on tap. Today, he offers eight taps and has rented the vacant space next door, thereby nearly doubling the size of his bar.
In order to write this column, it was, of course, absolutely necessary to taste some of the brews, so he sat me at the counter and offered a sample of Cappuccine Stout, a light beer which, he said boasts a hint of chocolate. (I couldn’t detect that flavor, but still enjoyed its surprisingly unfamiliar taste.) Next there was the Imperial Red, which has a higher alcohol content. (His taps run from 5.8 proof up to 9.4.) After that, there was the Blonde and then the Porter. Alas, in the course of the interview, more flavors washed about my taste buds than during any other 20 minutes of my entire life.
He tries to have at least one new brew every week and sometimes two or three. Next one coming up will be a rhubarb concoction, followed throughout the summer with lemon, grapefruit, pear, and apple. (As old Mrs. Konicks used to say: “You can make beer outta cow poop if ya know how!”) In the course of any given year, Sean will offer around a hundred different types of beer.
Just in case the beer, pleasant company, and Sean’s hospitality isn’t enough to get customers off their iPhones, the first Wednesday of each month features comedians out of various Seattle clubs and, on the last Thursday of each month, a dramatic murder mystery is staged with prizes if you correctly guess who the killer is. There are also a few board games and a couple decks of cards.
If you’d like to buy a beer for a friend who isn’t with you, you can do so and add his name to a register (blackboard). Then, when your fiend does come in, he has a free brew waiting for him. That’s a nice touch.
In the summer, the front wall is rolled up and customers can sit outside in the sunlight. It’s a beer garden in the parking lot with a splendid view of Mount Rainier.
Sean is open seven days a week, from 2 p.m. until he closes.
Even if you aren’t much of a beer drinker, you might give the Cole Street Brewery a shot. As Sly used to say: “It’ll do you no harm.”