For the last few months, the Sunnyland neighborhood has been home to a construction zone. Many might drive by and wonder what could be opening in their family-oriented neighborhood, and the answer is a little something for everyone. With an opening later this summer, Twin Sisters Brewing Company will check all the boxes Bellingham is looking for; family-friendly, dog-friendly, indoor and outdoor seating, food and most importantly, delicious craft beer.
What began as owner Loren J. DeMuth and wife Theresa Green’s idea for a beer garden doubling as a food truck rally, Twin Sisters has seen several stages of evolution. For new businesses in Bellingham, especially those in craft beer, setting yourself apart is key. Twin Sisters is doing just that by providing a social gathering place in the center of Bellingham.
The existing concept is all inclusive. Upon deciding that a food truck rally wasn’t the most convenient notion, considering the number of food trucks in Bellingham and their variety and availabilities, the decision was made to be a restaurant of their own to accompany the beer garden.
DeMuth had a family tie to local brewer Tom Eastwood. When Eastwood, who has been on the project for about a year beginning with equipment design, became available to brew, DeMuth decided to play with the idea of opening a brewery to accompany the outdoor beer garden and restaurant. Now officially the trifecta of ideas combined into one company, construction is nearing completion and staff is being hired.
Things are moving quickly for Twin Sisters, who’s namesake not only comes from the nearby pair of mountains east of Bellingham, but the fact that both DeMuth and Eastwood have twins. As construction and development fly by, the goal for Twin Sisters is to be a place where families, friends and coworkers alike can slow down and enjoy a pint in a Pacific Northwest inspired atmosphere.
Twin Sisters will be the brewery and tasting room occupying one building on the property and producing craft beer for Bellingham Beer Garden, which occupies the second large structure and is a full-service restaurant. Surrounding both spaces is a large outdoor beer garden and a patio, where beer drinkers can enjoy the sunshine as well as food from Bellingham Beer Garden’s restaurant.
“They are separate, have separate logos and separate websites,” DeMuth said of the uniquely full service business model. “But we decided to merge them together and market them collectively.”
In other words, the entity itself is Twin Sisters Brewing Company. Bellingham Beer Garden will be referred to as at Twin Sisters.
Originally, DeMuth bought the property where Twin Sisters is currently being constructed in order to have more industrial space close to his existing business, CDI Custom Design. Upon deciding to open a restaurant and beer garden, the property was perfect for two large warehouses and outdoor seating areas. All together, the two spaces and both outdoor seating areas accommodate over a 400 person capacity.
DeMuth is experienced in creating memorable experiences in the food and beverage industry, specializing in custom hospitality interiors for years. Eastwood has been brewing for ten years, his love for brewing taking him from North Corner Brewing Supply, to Boundary Bay, to Kulshan with other projects and brew jobs in between, including Trumer Brauerei in Berkeley, California. Now, eager to start his own project, Twin Sisters has become Eastwood’s baby.
“I’ve been brewing for ten years. I started like many brewers, began homebrewing and just couldn’t stop,” Eastwood said. As anxious as Bellingham is to try Eastwood’s beer, he is anxious to begin brewing it. The brewing system is nearly complete, but in the meantime, he has collaborated with Menace Brewing (a Belgian-style Tripel), Chuckanut Brewery (Northwest Special Bitter) and Aslan Brewing Company (Bavarian Pilsner).
With each of those being a hit at their respective counterpart breweries as well as a release event at Elizabeth Station, Eastwood has Bellingham beer drinkers itching to see what Twin Sisters’ first flagship brews will be.
“I’m partial to Belgians in particular, so we will play with some Brett and funkier things,” Eastwood said. “We’re going to play with a lot of different yeasts to start, hops as well. I don’t want to be tied to any one, like ‘this is the IPA’.”
Bellingham can expect a relatively even split between ales and lagers. Eastwood’s old brewing home, Trumer Brauerei makes one German lager. While this lager as well as other beers from Eastwood’s time at Kulshan may serve as inspiration, Eastwood is striving to make Twin Sisters’ beer a bit funkier and try new things with his new brewing platform.
To come for Eastwood is even more collaborations after getting Twin Sisters on its feet in the coming weeks. About a month from now, beer drinkers can look forward to a locally sourced Stinging Nettle Brett Saison, a collaboration with Eric Jorgensen from North Fork Brewery. In coming months, Eastwood would like to host the brewers he collaborated with pre-Twin Sisters, for collaboration brews at his own facility. In the future, Eastwood would like to collaborate with Seattle brewers he’s worked with in the past, as well as friends at Modern Times in San Diego.
One of the best parts about local beer drinking is the food you can pair with it, a focus for Bellingham Beer Garden. According to Wade Clark, General Manager of Bellingham Beer Garden at Twin Sisters, the restaurant will also offer something for everyone.
“We’re going to be very vegan and veggie-centric. We’re going to do our best to focus on what our audience is looking for and adjust as we go and get feedback from our guests,” Clark said. “Starting out, we are pubfare with a twist.”
For instance, a customer favorite may be their quinoa bowl with grilled veggies and the option to add grilled chicken or salmon.
The entire menu will be available on the entire property, meaning someone could be in the restaurant, beer garden, patio or tasting room and have access to anything the kitchen has to offer.
“We’re gonna come to town and bring something new and different that no one has seen so far,” Clark said.
Part of the benefit of loving beer and living in Bellingham is that every brewery has something different to offer, making competition friendly, almost non-existent in fact. For Twin Sisters, finding an edge will be the key to success.
“I think we’re really lucky to have a guy like Tom here, and the coolest thing about this project is that Loren has been rooted in this community for 29 years. We have a great feel about what people are looking for,” Clark said. “What we are looking for is to be the crown of the community. Large scale events, being the ‘Cheers’ for the locals, specifically the Sunnyland neighborhood. We want to be the focal point for people passing through, whether coming from the border or from Seattle.”
Striving to be a community gathering place, unique beer producer, community friendly restaurant and beer garden, and stop along the way for those just passing through, Twin Sisters will accommodate everything from large scale events to everyday regulars.
“This whole thing started as an idea for a park-like outside beer garden. I would sit at other breweries and see mothers with their children and their strollers and their dogs and the kids would be playing on the sidewalk of busy streets. We wanted to make it so you can bring the dogs, the kids, the whole family,” DeMuth said.
Opening just in time for the warmest months of the year in Bellingham, Twin Sisters will have something for everyone, ranging from a full bar with liquor and beer, indoor and outdoor seating, full service restaurant and a smaller tasting room.
“As I’ve become a part of the community and just watched, when the sun comes out people are out, too. We’re going to have a park-like setting no one has,” Clark said. “The ability to be family friendly, as well as pets, is going to be a big draw for us.”
Something that all Bellingham beer drinkers can typically agree with:
“People like drinking beer outside. Especially when the sun comes out,” DeMuth said.
Twin Sisters is located at 500 Carolina St. and is anticipated to be open by August of this summer.