The first thing I noticed when I started talking to Tony Thomas about Farnam House Brewing Company is that he had a look on his face that I recognize. It’s the same face artists make when they create something they’re insanely proud of. It’s the face I make when my kids do something clever, and I decide they’re clever because I made them that way. It’s what my brother jokingly refers to as a “smug smirk of satisfaction,” or “ssmos” for short.

You see, Tony’s been at this whole idea of opening a brewery for quite some time. He didn’t just one day lean over to his friend Phil Doerr and in a drunken stupor slur, “We should totally open a brewery.” No, Tony’s dream of opening a brewery has been swirling around in his head for quite some time. In fact, the business plan for a brewery was his marketing thesis back in 1998.

Respect the beer

When I sat down with Tony I issued him a challenge. I don’t really like beer, I told him. I have yet to find a beer that doesn’t make me remember my days in the military where we drank pitchers of whatever beer was cheapest and then had obnoxious burping contests. What kind of beer would Tony serve someone who didn’t know much about good beer at all?

Without skipping a beat, Tony started asking me questions. What tastes do I like? Do I like smoky flavors? How about fruity flavors? As I responded to his questions, I could sense the wheels in his head turning as he considered some beers while eliminating others.

He wound up bringing me a Taft American Stout, which features hints of roasted coffee and dark chocolate. Not surprisingly, I found it to be tasty and smooth. The flavors were complex and easily washed away my distant memories of the cheap beers of my youth. This is a beer I would drink slowly, enjoying the flavors and feeling sophisticated.

When I told Tony that I liked the beer, his facial expression told me, “Of course you like the beer. I picked it for you and I know what I’m doing.” I imagine that Tony would not be the best poker player because his facial expressions say a lot, but that’s OK because you don’t have to worry about a poker career when you’re a damn good brewer.

Good food, too      

I ordered a Confit Turkey Club and fries for my lunch. I was pretty confident that the food would be good, considering it’s locally sourced and I figured that any place where one of the owners has so much pride in what he does wouldn’t serve mediocre food.

I was right. The sandwich was delicious, with fresh ingredients and ample portions. The fries were crispy but not too crispy, with a good flavoring that pushed them beyond the typical French fries. If I had room in my stomach I would have tried one of their handmade desserts, but between my lunch and the beer I just couldn’t manage another bite.

Head to Farnam House Brewing Company if you like good food and good beer. If you don’t like beer, try one of the other drinks they serve including mead from Bellevue’s Moonstruck Meadery, or just have a talk with Tony – he’ll figure out what type of beer you will actually like.

Farnam House Brewing Company

3652 Farnam Street

Monday-Thursday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm

Friday-Saturday 11:00 am – 12:00 am

Closed Sundays

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