Made in the Northwest: Millwood Brewing Company

MILLWOOD, Wash. – Chuck Watkins wanted to start a brewery. And he wanted his to feel like the pubs he’d visited in Ireland.

“We realized there was an affinity for local pubs that were in a community and a neighborhood,” explained Chuck, who co-owns Millwood Brewing Company with his wife, Shelley. “And oddly, it became the local place where the community would go to social.”

Chuck and Shelley just needed to find a place for the brewery.

“And then, all of a sudden, I thought of Millwood,” recalled Shelley. “It was kind of an underserved area. And I said, ‘What about Millwood?'”

They soon purchased an old photography studio right off of Argonne Rd. and spent over a year renovating and decorating the place to give it a 1920s industrial feel.

“I wanted to make it like a home setting. So when you come in, you’d feel like you were at home and you’d relax and sit by the fireplace and enjoy yourself,” said Shelley.

Its patio is quite popular in the warmer months and it even has an antique windmill they brought in from Oregon.

“Just all these little, intricate things that make this a very comfortable place for people to come and relax and enjoy family and friends,” said Chuck.

And then, there’s the beer. In its 10 barrel system, Millwood Brewing makes a number of different beers, but Chuck hinted they might be most proud of their 3/4 Ton Scotch Ale.

“It’s a very malty beer and it’s not something that people typically order. But when they do, they really enjoy it.”

Its Minor Threat Hazy IPA and Purple Yeti Huckleberry Blonde just won silver medals from the Brewski Awards this week. The Purple Yeti is a signature beer at Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park.

“You can only get it here or up there. And it was a fun beer to make and people love it,” said Chuck.

This month, Millwood Brewing is collaborating with Laughing Dog Brewery on an IPA that’s expected to be released Thanksgiving weekend. Its sales will benefit Ales for ALS.

When the pandemic shutdown happened in 2020, Chuck says Millwood Brewing stayed afloat by selling growlers and 32 oz. crowlers.

“We went through two pallents during the pandemic, which is a pretty healthy chunk.”

It then purchased a mini canning line, which allows it to do small runs of six-packs of its most popular beers.

“So it saved us. I’ll be honest with you,” said Chuck.

Chuck and Shelley are proud of the beer, but even more proud of creating a gathering place, and a sense of community, in a neighborhood they love.

“It’s really kind of letting people kind of bond in a unique way in a unique setting,” said Chuck. “And it’s been an incredible experience to witness.”

“It’s heartfelt,” added Shelley. “There’s meaning to it. A lot of meaning.”