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

Investor Sharks returns to Kirkland

The second annual event allowed local startups to pitch to angel investors.

Chainline was able to successfully crowdfund a full deck to accompany their tap room. The community-oriented business is open to all ages and pet-friendly. Kailan Manandic/staff Photo
Chainline Brewing Co. is Best of Kirkland

The brewery opened its doors in 2015 and has since been embedded as a community gathering place.

Katalyst Fitness opens in Kirkland

The new location has space to handle up to 700 electrical muscle stimulation sessions per week.

Pickles Playland barks into Kirkland

Small dogs daycare will full open on Oct. 20.

Bret Chatalas, co-owner of Cactus Restaurants, receives the EnviroStar certificate of recognition. Cactus’s six locations are all working toward following environmentally-friendly practices. Photo courtesy of Kirkland Conserves Facebook.
Kirkland businesses recognized in first year of Washington’s Green Business Program

Local businesses earn EnviroStars recognition by taking steps to green their facilities.

Core Hero hard cider sorbet takes off in Kirkland

A former Kirkland resident is making hard cider sorbet, which was picked up by Whole Foods and PCC.

Burger Addict opens in Kirkland

The restaurant is the second location for the local burger joint.

Office space is still tight on the Eastside

That hasn’t stopped Google and Facebook from looking to expand.

Whole Foods, Grocery Outlet now open in Kirkland

Two new grocers have opened in Kirkland in both the north and south ends of the city.

Select Gourmet Foods hopes to reopen by summer’s end

The butcher’s shop took damage from a fire last August but the owners are hoping to make a comeback.

Amanda and Kevin Kearney opened the Guest House Restaurant in Kenmore earlier this year. Aaron Kunkler/Staff photo
Guest House gives Kenmore locals another eatery option

The restaurant is located just north of St. Edward State Park in south Kenmore.