Scott and Katherine Vanderheiden pose in their new business, Maelstrom Brewing Company, which just opened up this past weekend in Kirkland. Photo courtesy of Scott and Katherine Vanderheiden

New Kirkland brewery a lifelong dream for owners

Beer aficionados in Kirkland can rejoice; a new addition has moved to town.

Maelstrom Brewing Company officially opened to the public on July 13 in Totem Lake, bringing a 10-barrel brewhouse to 120th Avenue Northeast.

For owners Scott and Katherine Vanderheiden, Maelstrom represents a dream many years in the making. Twenty years ago while studying mechanical engineering at the University of Washington, Scott took up brewing as a hobby, making beers in his garage.

“Scott has always been exploring craft beer,” Katherine observed. She laughed that when she and Scott first got together, she wasn’t as big of a beer fan, and “thought (she) would convert him away from beer.”

However, it was Scott who converted Katherine — and Scott’s hobby showed no signs of disappearing.

“The hobby just got bigger and bigger and bigger…I started dreaming about going professional,” he said. “That dream got more and more serious.”

Scott explained that a few years ago, at the time they began seriously considering opening a brewery, there “weren’t any breweries in Kirkland at the time.”

Eventually, Scott sought formal brewing education at the American Brewers Guild — not an easy feat for someone who works full-time as a radiologist. Thanks to the digital age, Scott was able to do most of the six-month course remotely, finishing up with some hands-on training onsite in Vermont.

In addition to brewing all of Maelstrom’s beers themselves and working at the brewery during its opening hours Thursday through Sunday, both Scott and Katherine still work full-time at their other jobs (Katherine writes educational apps). They are also bringing up 9-year-old twin daughters.

Despite the challenges, the Vanderheidens wouldn’t trade their new business for the world. Beer holds a very special place in the hearts of Scott and Katherine. They noted that when they travel around the world, the memories that stand out the most in their minds are the wonderful beers that they experienced in different locations.

“Most of our trips, when we come back…the landmarks are all associated with a specific beer,” Katherine said.

And this heartfelt, personal attachment to beer is evident even in the names of Maelstrom’s beers. Scott explained that Maelstrom’s Kölsch, brewed in the style of the Kölsch beer of Cologne, Germany, is named Petra, in honor of a German exchange student from Cologne who had once lived with Scott and his family.

The name of the brewery also has a unique story. A maelstrom is an old Dutch word meaning “a storm at sea,” such as a whirlpool.

“I was standing over the brew kettle, looking…at the spiral, thinking, ‘It’s (got) the look of a maelstrom,’” Scott explained.

In addition, he said, the name provides a pun when one thinks of how, in days past, people might have stood along a coastline and said, “there is a maelstrom brewing.”

With a 10-barrel brewhouse, Maelstrom Brewing Company offers beers for tasting, for purchase in growlers and for sale to select bars and restaurants. The brewing company makes use of every bit of its 1,700 square-foot space; with three 10-barrel fermenters and one 20-barrel fermenter, Maelstrom has the capacity for 1,500 gallons of beer to ferment at one time.

Katherine explained that there are currently five beers on tap — a Kölsch, a Pale Ale, a Belgian Witbier, and IPA and a Porter. This will soon increase, as there is room for 17 taps in the tasting room. A sixth beer, a Blonde Ale, is fermenting right now and is due to be released next week.

In the tasting room, customers can try pints and four-beer flights and will also be able to purchase growlers. Thirty-two people can sit inside the indoor space and there is additional seating outdoors on the seasonal patio for those warm days when there’s nothing like a cold beer.

Families are welcome in the tasting room, as non-alcoholic beverages and packaged snacks will be sold. A free video game table “that kids have just been loving,” according to Scott, allows young visitors hours of entertainment with classic games such as PAC-MAN and Donkey Kong.

Customers are also welcome to bring outside food. Maelstrom hopes to soon have food trucks available every day.

“We are really excited and thrilled with how our opening weekend went,” Katherine said. She explained that quite a few families had come out to try Maelstrom, as well as people enjoying the nearby recreational bike trails.

“That’s really what we want to be — the neighborhood brewery,” Katherine said.

To learn more about Maelstrom Brewing, visit www.maelstrombrewing.com, or head on over to the brewery for a pint at 11014 120th Ave. NE, Kirkland.

More in Business

Eastside Swim School is located at the Willows Preparatory School at 12280 Redmond-Woodinville Rd NE. Photo Courtesy of Lisa Worthington.
Eastside Swim School opens location in Redmond

Swim school offers programs for all ages.

A comparison of how many life science companies are on the Eastside and in other Washington cities. Kailan Manandic
Life science hits its stride on the Eastside

Life science has strong roots in Washington, contributing economically and scientifically.

OfferUp founder Nick Huzar makes customer safety a core pillar

Bellevue-based CEO wanted a simpler solution to his own problems

More than 1000 people attended the second annual Women in Cloud Summit which featured Sen. Patty Kuderer among numerous other women leaders. Courtesy of Vincent Konkel/Women in Cloud
Women in Cloud celebrates second summit in Redmond

The Women in Cloud initiative hosted Sen. Patty Kuderer at it’s second annual summit on Jan. 26.

Tech set to continue driving Seattle-area housing market in 2019

A look at what’s the real estate market in the coming year.

Pedego Redmond owners Dick Nelson and Mike and Holly Nelson accept 2018 Rookie of the Year Award from Pedego CFO Terry Sherry and CEO Don DiCostanzo. Courtesy of Pedego Electric Bikes.
Pedego Redmond named company’s Rookie of the Year

Pedego Electric Bikes honors owners for going the extra mile with expectational customer service.

Hopelink volunteers host a cooking demonstration in the Redmond food bank on Aug. 3. The organization recently received a $822,500 grant from Premera. Katie Metzger/staff photo
Premera awards $3.3 million in community grants focusing on behavioral health

Several Eastside organizations will benefit from the funding.

Wag N’ Wash Redmond hosts Santa Paws photo event

Santa will visit the Redmond Ridge pet store again on Dec. 22.

Business owner, Sean Miller opened Origins Roastery in May. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo.
Redmond’s Origins Roastery brewing organic drinks

The organic roastery uses cannabis-free beans.

Google, Facebook to pay more than $400,000 to Washington state in campaign finance cases

Both are in the top 10 largest campaign finance recoveries in Washington state history.

Minuteman Press of Redmond lands major design and print awards

The business was recognized by the Printing Industries of America for the third consecutive year.

The Microsoft sign outside of the company’s main campus in Redmond. Photo courtesy of David Ryder/Bloomberg
Microsoft competes with Apple, Amazon in stock market

Microsoft surpassed Apple as the world’s most valuable company based on market capitalization last week.