After watching breweries and taprooms pop up all over the Valley the past few years, Selah will soon have its very own craft-brewing establishment.
And while the beer-making side of the business will take a little longer to get off the ground, Selah Springs still plans to be serving pints of local beer this summer at 310 S. First St., across from Magic’s Pizza Shack.
“We’re set up well to move right into brewing as soon as we get the fermenters,” said co-owner Chris Swedin, who is working with his wife, Julie, and friends A.J. and Becky Keagle to get Selah Springs up and running. “But, for now, we’re going to start with a family-friendly restaurant and taproom.”
As soon as the business gets approval from the Department of Health — hopefully within the next few weeks — the two couples and their small staff will begin serving local and Northwest beers, along with an exclusive food menu created by Katherine Platt, the former Nana Kate’s owner who closed earlier this year.
Among the highlights are homestyle favorites like Swedish meatballs and mac-and-cheese, plus charcuterie trays, a variety of gourmet bratwursts and a selection of homemade puffed pastries.
“She designed a menu especially for us so she could continue showcasing her expertise in the community,” Julie Swedin said. “A lot of people are excited for her to start making food again.”
As many as five mobile food vendors will rotate through the parking lot this summer, providing customers with even more variety. There will also be plenty of beers to choose from, with numerous Yakima breweries stepping in to develop exclusive brews for Selah Springs and their clientele.
It pays to have connections.
“We’re friends with all of the local brewers, so we will always have a variety of flavors going on at one time,” said A.J. Keagle, who worked alongside Chris Swedin at Yakima Craft Brewing before they both left in 2017 to pursue their own venture. “The benefit of knowing people in the industry is you can get some fun, one-off beers that you can’t find at a regular bar. We’re hoping that helps bring people in.”
If there’s any downside, it’s that Selah Springs may not have enough taps to feature all of their friends’ beers from places like Single Hill, Valley Brewing and Wandering Hop.
“We will probably have to rotate some taps in and out just so we can accommodate everyone,” Keagle added.
It won’t be long before Swedin and Keagle can start brewing their own beer again, but they understand it will take time to save up for the costly fermenting equipment.
Swedin, who started his brewing career at the legendary Bert Grant’s in the early 1990s, explained that it could take about a year to secure the funding needed to purchase the fermenters. But with the original Grant’s brewing system already in place, they are halfway home.
“I learned how to brew on that system, but it has been put away for a while,” he said. “We’re looking forward to getting it fired up again.”
In the meantime, the two families will focus on building up the indoor/outdoor restaurant and hangout. The longtime local residents know from experience just how much the town has been missing something like Selah Springs.
“This business is all about Chris and A.J.’s passion for craft beer, and us wanting to share it with the Selah community,” Julie Swedin said. “We have needed something like this for a really long time, so it’s going to be pretty exciting.”