Osbaldo Hernandez describes El Sueñito Brewing as an intentional enterprise. Thought-through, earnestly considered, and intentional decisions drive El Sueñito Brewing to do that which is best for its own business as well as the community and our human society. It’s the same at Frelard Tamales in Seattle, the other business in which Osbaldo is a partner. (Above – Dennis Ramey and Osbaldo Hernandez. All images from Instagram.)
The brewery and taproom buildout is underway at the location in Bellingham’s Sunnyland neighborhood, with a hopeful opening date of May 2022, but El Sueñito Brewing will deliver more than beer to the people of Bellingham.
The brewery that Osbaldo and his husband, Dennis, are opening did not land in Bellingham by accident. The couple has enjoyed a long-term love affair with Whatcom County, but that’s not the only reason for picking the location. Beyond the natural splendor of the place, and its proximity to so many outdoor opportunities, Bellingham is the kind of community that will welcome a business owned by a married, gay, Latino couple. That was an important consideration.
“We are a new business to the city but we are not new to Bellingham,” said Osbaldo. “Both my husband and I have been hanging out and staying with friends and family in Bellingham since 2008. I have been enjoying delicious brunches and beers in Bellingham for years. We have been hiking the Whatcom trials and mountains since high school. We are both very familiar with Bellingham and we are excited to call it our city.”
More Than Beer
More than beer, El Sueñito Brewing is bringing diversity to the Bellingham beer scene. In fact, that’s part of what Osbaldo and Dennis bring to the regional and national craft brewing industry–an industry that advocates for inclusivity but looks at itself and sees a glaring lack of diversity.
As far as the brewery’s name is concerned, the word sueñito translates to little dream. It is no accident that Osbaldo and Dennis landed on this name.
Osbaldo Hernandez was born in Mexico and moved to the U.S. when he was 11 years old. He is a former high school social studies teacher whose experience includes working with at-risk students and unhoused families. Also, he worked for Senator Patty Murray’s office and the City of Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods. Osbaldo was an undocumented resident for over 9 years before becoming a legal, permanent resident and eventually a U.S. citizen. In a personal, real sense, the name El Sueñito Brewing has meaning.
The “more than beer” part of the story does not end there. El Sueñito Brewing will bring tamales to Bellingham. Real, authentic tamales like those made at Seattle’s wildly popular Frelard Tamales, the other business in which Osbaldo and Dennis are partners. Bellingham’s Frelard Tamales shop will be attached to El Sueñito Brewing, offering a new kind of brewpub experience.
Frelard Tamales, which is largely family-run, uses Osbaldo’s family recipe and fresh, natural ingredients to create handmade tamales from scratch. The recipe has been handed down from one generation to the next. Osbaldo’s mother, Eva, is the one described as the badass in the kitchen, devising the recipes that are key to the company’s success.
About the Beer
El Sueñito Brewing is currently in the build-out phase, making some final decisions about its brewing system. Without getting into too many geeky details, it sounds like Dennis has determined to go with a 10-barrel brewhouse.
Dennis Ramey is the one who will handle the beer end of the business. An experienced and educated brewer, he currently stirs the mash at Seattle’s Hellbent Brewing. He was born and raised in Seattle, graduated from the University of Washington, worked for Seattle Children’s Hospital as a pediatric cancer research scientist for seven years, and eventually found his way to professional brewing after attending the Master Brewers program at UC Davis.
In addition to brewing beer, Dennis is a skier who is no stranger to the slopes at Mount Baker. He’s also a hiker and a backpacker. Hopefully, he can adjust to life in Bellingham. (That was a joke, btw.)
While Mexican heritage is an unmistakable part of El Sueñito Brewing, you can expect more than Mexican-style beers. Although they will likely dabble in those styles, Bellingham’s beer lovers should look forward to a rotation of familiar craft beer styles — IPAs, etc.
Collaboration and Community
El Sueñito Brewing hopes to open in the spring of 2022. The location is in the Sunnyland neighborhood, somewhere between Wander Brewing and Otherlands Brewing. Other nearby breweries include Kulshan Brewing, Twin Sisters Brewing, and Stemma Brewing.
Osbaldo says that collaboration will be an important part of El Sueñito Brewing’s operation. Not just collaboration with other breweries, but collaboration with the community in which the brewery exists. Civic partnerships, outreach, and collaboration are things for which Frelard Tamales is recognized in Seattle. Of course, the fabulous tamales, too.
They’ll bring the same kind of ideals and energy to Bellingham. El Sueñito Brewing considers itself an intentional business, one that wants to create its own flavors, but also contribute to the color, texture, and fabric of life in Bellingham.
You can follow El Sueñito Brewing on its social media channels for regular updates.
El Sueñito Brewing on Instagram.