Island brewer plans to open tasting room, pub this spring

A fourth eatery has joined the list of food facilities coming soon to Vashon. Islander Cliff Goodman, known for his line of brews that carry the moniker Cliff’s Beer, is beginning work on a tasting room and pub he hopes to open at Vashon Village in March.

The Vashon Brewing Community Pub will offer not only Goodman’s own beers, but other local drinks, including wine, cider and kombucha. He is in talks with an existing island restaurant to provide the food, though he wouldn’t identify the restaurant Thursday and said an official agreement is not yet in place.

“We will be partnering with a local restaurant. They will be the commissary,” he said. “We don’t have to build a full commercial kitchen, and we can let them explore a different model. I’m thinking small plates.”

He said he wants to tap into the community and the existing talent here, which is why he is calling it a community pub.

“Anywhere I can plug in with the community, I want to do that,” he said. “I want to celebrate the bounty and artistry of the community.”

Aside from offering other local libations and using an island chef, he said he is sourcing his barley from Nathan Green, a Vashon farmer, and will bring in islander Claudia Hernandez as a baker who will handle the pub’s desserts. Goodman says she has already made a caramel sauce and chocolate cake using his beers.

Goodman has been brewing Cliff’s Beer for six years and said the idea for the pub started as a desire for a tasting room in town. But as he started looking into the laws and regulations about a tasting room separate from a brewery, he realized he had two options: create a tavern for customers ages 21 and older, or open a restaurant. He went with the latter, minus the commercial kitchen. That choice, he said, also allowed the water district to sign off on the plans, as restaurants are high-water-use undertakings.

“With the commissary off-site, we fixed a lot of water issues,” he said.

As for the decision to open a restaurant at a time when the island is seeing an influx of gastronomic choices — The Ruby Brink is set to open in the Vashon Landing building in the fall and Caffe Vita’s Michael McConnell is working on two eateries — he said he is aiming for a “very different experience” than what is currently offered on Vashon.

“The niche that’s not filled is a tasting room,” he said. “During my experiences in Europe, I loved just hanging out and not feeling the pressure of having to sit down, eat, pay and leave and be the ‘next one up.’”

He said the pub will offer counter service and people can order, or not, at their leisure. The space should accommodate 50 people with a bar, small food preparation area, and two bathrooms.

“People are looking for that local experience. They want something different, something local. That’s the niche I’m looking for,” he said.

The Vashon Brewing Community Pub will be located in the former Brown Agency building at the eastern end of Vashon Village, 17205 Vashon Highway.

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