Menace Brewing, part of a Bellingham beer trifecta alongside The Local Public House and its neighboring Annex, has brought delicious and memorable beer to the Fountain neighborhood for officially over a year now. Before their brewery opened its doors, co-owner and brewer Ben Buccarelli made beer and perfected recipes for the other two locations, popularizing Menace favorites like the Chili Bravo and ESB since 2012.
After their first anniversary and the need to meet a higher demand than ever before, there is a new Menace in town. Last week, Steve DeMoney joined Menace Industries as the new head brewer.
You’ll likely see DeMoney around the brewery, and might wonder why he looks familiar. You probably recognize him from everywhere if you’ve been drinking beer in Bellingham at all over the last few years.
“I’ve been kicking around the Bellingham beer scene for a while,” DeMoney said. By that, he means bouncing around between beer-drinker and brewer favorites, like Elizabeth Station, Wander, North Corner Brewer Supply, and most recently, Chuckanut.
To say the least, DeMoney is a well-seasoned Bellingham beer guy. While Chuckanut was a blast, Buccarelli came to DeMoney with a really cool offer out of the blue, he said. According to Buccarelli, he has ideally wanted to have a partner in the brew process from the start of making Menace what it is today. Now, he is able to be a part of the brewing as well as tend to other commitments as a local business owner.
Now that Menace has been open for a year now and we have gotten to know and love their consistently tasty tap list, what can we expect from Menace: DeMoney Edition?
Don’t worry, there won’t be any drastic changes to the existing Menace lineup. Instead, we can expect to see some new additions from DeMoney, and tweaks to existing recipes. Coming from Chuckanut, DeMoney is more than experienced in making lagerbiers, but enjoys making just about everything.
“If I’m being honest, I can geek out making just about any kind of beer that’s focus is quality and consistency. On the back end of brewing, I love thinking about that. How can we be slightly better, and better, and better every single time?” DeMoney said.
In the first week of DeMoney’s time at Menace, he’s collaborated with Buccarelli on a new IPA and a new lager.
“These have helped me get a feel for the new system and where everything’s at. I felt like those were two styles I could pick apart and break down. Ben’s given me a lot of freedom to branch out.”
Though it’s the first week, it’s clear that DeMoney and Buccarelli are compatible brewers and longtime friends.
“A lot of it’s been Ben and I sharing the process and what our brewing philosophies are, which align pretty well,” DeMoney said. “The most important thing is making the best quality beer. If that means taking a little bit more time, whether that’s in your cleaning process or conditioning your beer a while longer, if it’s harder but better for the beer, then that’s what you should do. Every time.”
DeMoney, from Wyoming, describes himself then as “kinda into beer.” As far as making the decision to pursue beer, and the pivotal beers that inspired that transition, the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and working at the station helped accustom him into the world of craft brewing. At Elizabeth Station in fact, he just started going through the cases of the thousands of beers they offer, and trying everything with his co-workers.
Around 2013 after some time working at Elizabeth Station, DeMoney worked on 12 different collaboration beers with breweries throughout the state, giving him some traction in the brewing world of Bellingham, at the time much smaller than it is now.
To DeMoney, the local beer community has been ever-changing and growing in a positive way since 2012.
“The beer community, obviously is incredible. I can’t speak for any other brewer, but I feel a friendship with every brewery in town. I like hanging out with everyone on the weekend, or going to another brewery after work,” DeMoney said. “I get excited about sharing knowledge. There’s so many different ways to do beer. Even if you’re not going to brew a super bright, filtered lager like Chuckanut, you can still geek out on that process.”
Bellingham has been enjoying beer from DeMoney for years, and seeing him focus his efforts on a small and successful brewery is nothing but exciting for the local craft brewing community. Our worlds are colliding between breweries and brewing styles, so be sure to check out the cool new ideas he’s bringing to your Fountain district favorite.