When Langley celebrates autumn with a Bavarian-style Oktoberfest this month, don’t be surprised that a one-time home brewer from Switzerland is hosting the whole shebang.
After 20 years perfecting his craft, brewmeister Daniel Thomis and his artist/business-whiz wife Marissa opened Double Bluff Brewing Company on Anthes Street exactly four years ago. Now, it’s time to celebrate on Oct. 11 and 12 with some house-crafted German beers, kielbasa, fresh-baked pretzels and live local music infused with traditional Bavarian tunes.
Like the original Oktoberfest in Munich, which dates back to 1810, the celebration at Double Bluff revolves around the beer – and rightly so. Having created at least 40 different recipes since opening in 2015, Daniel Thomis has tuned his craft to the local palette and made a major achievement this year: winning a gold medal in the Washington Beer Awards.
When speaking of the experimentation process and constantly creating new flavors and recipes, the enthusiasm never fades.
“I still love it,” Daniel said.
And it shows. He’s been known to forage the island to find special fresh ingredients, including a recent kiwi-tree picking from a local property and fresh hops from Anderson Farm.
The award-winning Anthesian IPA, named for Anthes Street and Langley founder Jacob Anthes, has become a standard pour at the intimate Double Bluff bar and patio. But German and Bavarian beers do a Tap Takeover for Oktoberfest weekend. Expect to see names such as Al Tbier, Vienna Lager, Munich Helles, Oktoberfest and the house-favorite Kolsch, all created on the premises.
It’s easy to imagine a rowdy beer-guzzling party, but assumptions definitely come up short for this one. As Marissa Thomis explained, Double Bluff is extremely family- and dog-friendly. All ages are welcome, both inside and outdoors, with youngsters even cozying up to the bar, awaiting the next batch of warm soft pretzels to arrive.
Pretzels are doled out by the dozens for Oktoberfest, but also play a daily part in the Double Bluff experience. They’re created especially for the brewery by the Bagel Factory in Clinton, substituting water with the brewery’s own beer and using spent grains from the brewing process.
The outdoor patio comes alive for the weekend celebration, led by local musicians, the Nathaniel Talbot Trio on Friday night and Wind & Rain on Saturday. Just steps away, tucked into the alley, chefs Joe and Steph from Big W food truck will be dishing out culinary creations with Bavarian flair. The menu hasn’t officially been revealed yet, but all bets are on favorites such as kielbasa, sauerkraut and Reuben sandwiches.
Bring your own stein if you’d like, which has become a bit of a tradition at Double Bluff as people show off their favorite beer vessel. And feel free to dress the part – lederhosen, suspenders, dirndls dresses or braids. Go all out, or just come as you are to enjoy the beer, music, food and fellowship.
Marissa Thomis, who is also a jewelry artist with creations available at the brewery and at local shops such as Whidbey Wonders, Wish by the Sea and Fair Trade, stresses the importance of close connections when living on Whidbey and when hosting island events.
“What’s really special about Oktoberfest as part of our anniversary celebration is that it’s all about community,” she said. “Local music that we love, food from people we believe in.”
The Oktoberfest and Double Bluff Brewing Co. anniversary celebration takes place 6-8 p.m., Oct. 11 at 112 Anthes Street, near the corner of Second Street. Just follow the music and look for the twinkling lights.