Cody Morris is not exactly new to the local brewing scene. However, his brewery, Potlatch Brewing, is new to the beer scene, having recently opened in Hoodsport, Washington.
More than a decade ago Cody opened Epic Ales in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood, looking to create beers that pushed boundaries and stretched the imagination by using uncommon ingredients and methods. He quickly earned a reputation, especially among people who were searching for new, interesting flavors in their beers. Cody was making culinary-inspired beers before making culinary-inspired beers was cool.
That is the Cody Morris with which most local beer fans are familiar. Somewhere along the way, around 2015, Epic Ales and its Gastropod brewpub shut down as Cody took his skills to Dexter Brewhouse, which soon transitioned to Dexter Brewhouse, the home of Mollusk Brewing. It was a slick brewpub in Seattle’s then-booming South Lake Union neighborhood. Time moved on, stuff happened, Mollusk closed in 2019. That was probably the last time most local beer lovers heard anything about Cody Morris, save for a short-lived rumor/plan involving a new brewery in Shelton.
I am happy to report that Cody has opened a new brewery in Hoodsport, Washington, on the shores of Hood Canal. You can go there and drink his beer Thursday thru Sunday (more about that below). Currently, the taproom is still under construction, with a hopeful opening date later this summer (stay tuned). As of right now, they are pouring beer in a sort of pop-up beer garden behind the brewery.
Let’s talk about beer. Potlatch operates a 7-barrel brewhouse, which Cody happened to get, conveniently, from Mollusk after it closed. While some local beer fans may think of Cody as a wild and creative brewer, he recognizes his new audience.
Potlatch Brewing is deep in the heart of rural Mason County, where a beer made with Szechuan peppercorns and cinnamon, like Epic’s Terra Saurus, might not earn favor. It’s a nice part of the world, but probably not a place where too many locals crave a beer brewed with shitake mushrooms and sake yeast, like Epic’s Beatrice.
When I visited (June 19th) the beer lineup included: a Pale Ale described as American-style but fermented with Norwegian kveik yeast (4.4 %); a British and American influenced Dark and Toasty Ale (4.1 %); a light and refreshing straw-colored Summer Ale (4.2 %); a Northwest-style IPA called IPA #1 (6.0 %); an unfiltered lager called Landbier (4.0 %); and a Grisette (4.2 %).
If those ABV numbers seem lower than you’d expect, the reason is two-fold. First, Cody admits that there is a learning curve with the local water chemistry and his conversion rates did not turn out quite as penciled. That’s an easy adjustment. Second, he knows his audience and the modest ABVs are intentional.
Cody says that he looks forward to enjoying some room for creativity, but also knows that lighter, crushable, more accessible beers are appropriate for the locale.
Regardless of all that stuff, the beers are good. I was particularly fond of the Landbier, but I am a complete sucker for a well-executed beer of that style. Mrs. BeerBlog, aka @seattlekim, gravitated to the Summer Ale.
The beers are available on tap, with select beers also available in cans to go. Cody is currently running a one-man, one-can-at-a-time operation, but he’s getting it done.
As of posting time, Potlatch Brewing is serving beer Thursday through Sunday from 2:00 – 8:00, but it’s a moving target because they’re so new. I highly recommend you follow along on Facebook and Instagram to stay informed as the summer unfolds.