Over the years, there have been a number of breweries that have opened in Redmond.
But before those businesses opened, the proprietors would brew their own beer at home.
“They had to start somewhere,” said Glenn Rollolazo.
And to brew at home, they had to have the right equipment.
In the last year, the Redmond resident opened Brewhouse Provisions (17725 N.E. 65th St., Suite 250 in Redmond), a homebrew shop that sells equipment and ingredients for small-batch brewing, ranging from one gallon to up to a 15-barrel commercial system. The store also carries the necessities for wine, cheese and soda making.
Brewhouse opened in fall 2015 and while the business is new to Redmond, Rollolazo, who grew up on Education Hill and graduated from Redmond High School in 1987, is not new to the business.
It all started while he was attending the University of Washington when an uncle introduced him to home brewing.
As someone who has always liked to cook, Rollolazo liked the creativity behind brewing. He said beer is made up of four basic ingredients: water, grain, yeast and hops. It is up to the brewer to be creative and find the right balance of flavors. People can also add fruits and other botanicals such as vanilla beans or cocoa nibs to enhance their beer, Rollolazo said.
After college, he took a hiatus from brewing when he joined the military. But when Rollolazo, who was living in California and just moved back to Redmond few years ago, returned to civilian life, he picked it back up as he said he needed a hobby. He was a regular home brewer but would have to drive anywhere from 20 minutes to upwards of an hour due to traffic to the nearest supply store. After constantly complaining so much, his wife suggested he open his own supply business closer to their home.
“It’s always been my dream to open my own business,” Rollolazo said.
That dream came true in 2010 when he opened South Bay Brewing Supply in Torrance, Calif. The city has since become a mecca for craft brewing in southern California, Rollolazo said.
Although Brewhouse has been open less than a year, Rollolazo said he already has regular customers. And because a number of them live in apartment buildings and are unable to brew at home, he has also opened his space to allow people to brew onsite.
Rollolazo also offers samples in his store every now and then to feature certain hops or other new products as well as demonstrations every second Saturday of the month at around 10:30 a.m.
While Brewhouse carries a wide variety of ingredients for beer brewing, one thing the store does not carry is beer-making kits. Rollolazo said this is because he likes to engage with his customers, talk to them about what they plan on brewing and help them if their results end up not tasting right.
The basics of brewing beer are fairly simple, but there are details in the process that people need to be aware of to get the right results and that is what Rollolazo helps with as a business owner.
“It’s like trying to learn Chinese,” said Bobby Wood, a regular at Brewhouse and taproom manager at the nearby Postdoc Brewing.
He said initially, people just need someone to help them and tell how to do things correctly.
Customers do not get this kind of personal service if they order products online, Rollolazo said.
For Rollolazo, being able to share his passion for brewing with others and introducing his hobby to people is the heart and soul of his business. He said it is more gratifying to share it with others.
As time goes on, Rollolazo said he would like to expand Brewhouse to include a small-batch brewery to sell his own beer and more.
“It’ll be community based,” he said about his future plans for his business.
And the immediate community is a good one as Brewhouse is in close proximity to many of the breweries in Redmond including Postdoc and Mac & Jack’s Brewery, which are in the same business park and across the street, respectively. In addition, Black Raven Brewing, Hi-Fi Brewing, Bushnell Craft Brewing Co. and Malt & Vine are only a few minutes away by car.
Rollolazo said he hopes to see more breweries open in Redmond, and the city become home to beer nerds just as it has been established as a home for tech nerds.
“If you’re a beer nerd, come on by,” he said.