After eight years on Anthes Avenue, downtown Langley’s only microbrewery is expanding.
Last week, Double Bluff Brewing Co. quietly opened at its new location in the old Useless Bay Coffee Co. building, which has mostly been void of activity since the COVID-19 pandemic. Though owner Des Rock continued to roast coffee and prepare batches of food for charitable nonprofit organizations at the site, the business remained closed to the public. Eventually, he reached out to Daniel and Marissa Thomis, owners of Double Bluff Brewing Co., about taking over the space.
“We’re so excited that he picked us, and we feel really fortunate,” Marissa said.
In the past Double Bluff Brewing Co. and Useless Bay Coffee Co. have partnered on a coffee beer. Now, the brewery is releasing a series of “Useless Beers” in honor of the former coffee shop and roasting business, the first of which is the Useless Stout.
The couple plans to expand production at their original facility, where all brewing operations will take place.
“We’ve been growing out of the space for about six years,” Daniel said. “After two years or so down there, people said, ‘You need to find a bigger space.’ And we always asked people, ‘Where?’ We need a good location. It’s just hard to find a good location in South Whidbey, especially in downtown Langley.”
With an even bigger space to serve customers on Second Street, there will be wine, cider and nonalcoholic beer for sale, among many other beverages. But if there’s one drink that probably won’t be on the menu, it’s coffee, Daniel confirmed.
Ikaika Bistro, a restaurant dishing up Polynesian cuisine, is moving from the American Legion Post 141’s distinctive log cabin building off Highway 525 to a food truck behind the brewery. Owners Stephanie and Chris Balora re-opened for business this week.
“We go to a lot of breweries and we see that the popular model is to have a food truck,” Marissa said.
She explained that the two businesses have collaborated before on past Double Bluff Brewing Co. events, such as Oktoberfest and St. Patrick’s Day.
Ikaika Bistro will lease the kitchen on the premises. The hope is that people who come for the food will also come for the beer, and vice versa. The brewery and the food truck plan to keep the same hours.
“The last thing we wanted to do was deal with food ourselves … We just wanted to focus on the beer, all the drinks and events,” Marissa said.
Stephanie Balora said Ikaika Bistro’s menu will feature a lot of items from the restaurant’s original location, along with some items that will make great pub food. As seasons change, some tweaks to the menu will be made.
“We are extremely excited to be opening up with Double Bluff,” Stephanie said.
Those stepping inside the building for the first time in three and a half years may notice a few similar, nostalgic elements, like some of the same furniture the former coffee shop was known for.
“There’s a lot of little things that were original to Useless Bay that we just loved the look of,” Marissa said.
But there are changes as well. Daniel has built a new bar in the back room, which will also have space for musicians to play. In the front room, he’s brought the old bar from the brewery’s original location and expanded it to run the length of the room.
And of course out front, there’s a new sign and freshly painted blue doors.
When it opened in 2015, Double Bluff Brewing Co. was the only microbrewery in the Village by the Sea. Hopefully it stays that way, Daniel said with a laugh.
The couple already have a series of events planned for the new space. During DjangoFest this weekend, all-women band Cafe Impromptu will play Sept. 23. “Djammers” are invited to come play at Double Bluff Brewing Co. all weekend long.
And of course, Oktoberfest is coming up. This year it will be in conjunction with the brewery’s 8th anniversary.