It's taken husband-and-wife team Gay Gilmore and Troy Hakala almost two years to build out the 1920s-era car dealership building at Broadway and Union on Capitol Hill. The couple took care to preserve the building's character and bring it up to code, and they're now ready to open Optimism Brewing. Their official grand opening will be held Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Nosh food truck will be parked in the courtyard starting at 5 p.m.
The sprawling space includes plenty of seating and standing areas for enjoying your beer, along with a courtyard that will host food trucks regularly. In warmer months, there will be outdoor seating, too. The brewery doesn't serve any food, but it welcomes you bringing your own or ordering in for delivery.
Optimism is serving its beer on tap only, and only at the brewery for now, and is launching with seven options covering a range of styles. The 20-barrel brewery will eventually make more than this initial run, but is hoping to ramp up at a controlled, manageable pace. For now, there are some really fantastic offerings of beer that is incredibly drinkable, each style with a clean finish and nice depth without blowing out your palate.
Optimism is eschewing listing the styles of its beers in an effort to make them more approachable, and to hopefully introduce people to new styles they may not have considered because of preconceived notions on how they taste. As such, there's some helpful tasting notes displayed on monitors above the taps that give you a preview of what to expect for each beer.
The brewery has some other cool twists: It takes only plastic, no cash, and there's no tipping at all. There a long hallway of unisex bathrooms that look more like dressing rooms, and a communal hand washing station to peer-pressure everyone into washing up. The beers are poured in true pints, not the fake pints so many bars use to save money by surreptitiously pouring less beer. And all of the servers are Cicerone Certified Beer Servers, so they know plenty about what they're pouring.
Optimism's hours for now will be 3 to 10 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The brewery will eventually add more hours once it gets settled.