This month we’re sitting down with Greg Krsak & Elise Mattson, owners and brewers of Scrappy Punk Brewing located in Snohomish, Washington. One of Washington State’s smallest commercial brewery, their space houses a 3 BBL brewery next to an intimate-yet-industrial taproom with a hand-poured concrete bar-top. It’s a local favorite spot to find a great brew, so make plans to stop by for their "Farewell" 4th Anniversary party on December 19th and 20th!
Question: What got you both into brewing beer?
Greg’s response: Not long after I got out of the Navy, I met a kid about my age— his name was Matt Snyder. He had homebrewed before and asked me to join him. The partnership stuck. I had grown up as an artist, and appreciated the creative outlet that brewing offered me. Even when I moved to the Bellevue, Washington area to work on video games for Disney, I was obsessed with homebrewing as a passion. I was brewing three times a week, even when I’d sometimes get home at 9pm and have to get up for work the next day at 6am. Once I realized I was at that point, I knew that I’d always regret it if I didn’t “go pro”. I remain genuine friends with Matt to this day, and I feel it honored our lifelong friendship when I started my own place. Without that friendship (he had to talk me into brewing!) none of this would have happened.
Elise’s response: As a lifelong artist and beer lover, I felt like a natural addition to the brewing team, and Greg agreed; in 2018, I became his business partner and brewer. I had never brewed a drop of beer in my life, but I was super-interested in learning, and Greg was confident that he could teach me. In the “real world”, I’m fairly established as a successful Creative Director, so it was quite interesting to be put in a situation where I was the student.
Question: What advice would you give to other brewers to help them during COVID-19?
Their response: Study the United States Constitution. Also, join your State’s Brewers Guild— the WA Brewers Guild works very hard for us and has constantly kept us up-to-date, at the state level. Without them, we’d be lost in the seas of regulations that are going on.
Question: What is your “go to” beer?
Their response: Greg enjoys a Hazy IPA or a cheap American Lager. Elise will typically go for a Pale Ale— but really my mood can change randomly (Greg laughed when I said that...I don’t know why), and I’ll find myself trying different styles all the time!
Question: What has been your biggest accomplishment in your brewing career?
Their response: Scoring the top token count (“People’s Choice”, if you will) at the Washington Brewers Festival in 2019. The WA Brewers Fest is a three-day “festival” of beer and cider, and it happens over the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of Father’s Day weekend, every year (except 2020). The way it works is this: You pay an entry fee, they check your ID, give you a souvenir glass and some wooden tokens, and then you browse around an enormous fairground of tents, with each tent being a different brewery where you might want to get a 4oz sample in exchange for a token. So...We were in the midst of 110 breweries and cideries, and out of all of them—even the big names!—our 720 square foot nanobrewery got the most tokens across all three days of the festival. More than anyone else in the state! And, on top of that, no other brewery received over 1,000 tokens on Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday— Each day, Scrappy Punk broke 1,000. Going into the festival, we had discussed amongst ourselves that a goal of being in the “Top 15” token count was ambitious, and we never even considered that we might get more tokens than any other brewery. One of our secrets was this: The entire festival we only served two beers: Our flagships, Mango Champagne IPA and Coconut Blonde Ale (which, by the way, both used syrup from Cascade Beer Candi Company!); this simplicity of options made turning a “customer” into a “repeat customer” at the festival easy— they only needed to come back once!
Question: What will be new and exciting on Scrappy Punk Brewing tap list for your fourth anniversary?
Their response: Rosemary Ginger Saison, Black Lemon Peel Kettle Sour and Chocolate Banana Porter. And, of course, all three of those beers will be rocking Cascade Beer Candi Company syrups!
Question: You are one of the state’s smallest production brewery, do you have plans to expand your taproom and brewery?
Their response: Unfortunately, we don't. After four very successful years, we've decided to close our doors, in the interest of spending time with our own families and young kids. It was a very tough choice, but our kids will only be young once, and the time we get with them while they’re young is very important to us. One of the reasons for this decision is that we didn’t expect to be as successful as we are, and that will always remain a fascinating and humbling oversight to us both.
Question: You use a lot of our Candi Syrups and sometimes are “guinea pigs” for testing new syrups. What do you like about our syrups, and how do you use them in beer formulas?
Their response: The flavors that Cascade Beer Candi Company offers are four things to us, in no particular order: 1. High quality, 2. Authentic, 3. Reasonably priced, and 4. Jim Ladd’s personal customer service is QUITE LITERALLY second-to-none (he even occasionally collaborates with us during the recipe development process!). We like the ease of use of the syrups and appreciate that, as long as we take proper care of them, they are aseptic enough to pour them straight into fermented beer without any additional steps. We love working with Jim and his family.
We have December brew news to share:
- RJ Whitlow of 5Rights Brewing will be using Dark and Blonde Candi Syrups in some of their Belgian inspired beers and will be tapping this year’s Kristi’s Fractured Winter Ale, as well as the bourbon barrel aged version which of course features Cascade Beer Candi Syrup! View the 5Rights Brewing Taplist.
- We invite you to check out Bitter Reality Brewing on YouTube. Mike is making a Belgium Raspberry using our Raspberry Candi Syrup. You can also find a past video of Mike using our Wit Candi Syrup in one of his brew sessions. Mike’s site is great to find many brewing techniques.
- Our friends at Hi-Wire Brewing (Asheville, NC) have crafted a 10W-40 stout variant called Blueberry Crumble using our Blueberry Candi Syrup. Keep an eye out for its scheduled release on 8-Jan-2021! You should also know that Peter and Luke at Hi Wire are experimenting with a custom blended Bananas Foster Candi Syrup for something special they are brewing.
- Lake Steven Brewing has released the Blueberry Wheat using our Blueberry Candi Syrup. Stop by for a pint of Brock’s fantastic beers and say Hello!