Contrary to its name, Humble Abode Brewing will open Thursday at one of Spokane’s most recognizable structures – the historic Chronicle Building in downtown Spokane.
More fitting, the brewery’s first location was opened five years ago in a commercial garage in north Spokane, far from the city center and blocks away from a major arterial.
The new location is a significant departure, something on which co-owners Courtney and Matt Gilbreath did not plan.
“We just wanted a hole-in-the-wall spot downtown where we could expand people’s exposure to us,” Matt Gilbreath said.
But when they were offered the storefront and the brewing equipment it already contained, he and his wife could not turn it down.
“Courtney just looked at me and said, ‘We would be dumb not to go for it,’ ” Matt said. “So we did.”
With marble floors, carved wooden doors, intricately designed stained glass windows and Victorian lighting, the two did not originally intend on purchasing such an illustrious space, but they hope to honor its distinct atmosphere.
Other than resurfacing the floors, painting and outfitting the interior with new furniture, alterations were minimal.
“The space is amazing, so we are not going to ruin it by throwing up neon signs or anything like that,” he said.
Since 2019, the space hosted two other beer businesses. River Rock Taphouse opened in June 2019 and featured live music, local craft beer, kombucha, wine, appetizers, salads and main dishes.
It shuttered during the pandemic.
Most recently, Common Language Brewing Company opened in April 2022. It featured six house taps, six rotating guest taps, wine, ciders and tea.
It partnered with a local woodfire pizza restaurant to offer free delivery via QR code that patrons scanned at their tables.
It ceased operations earlier this year.
The building was originally constructed to house the Spokane Daily Chronicle offices, its printing presses and linotype machines. After the newspaper ceased operations in 1992, it has seen much remodeling.
Erected in 1928, the building is now largely residential space since a 2017 renovation turned its upper floors into apartments.
Its first floor, which used to house the presses, and the adjacent courtyard on Sprague Avenue was renovated in 2015 to host Nodland Cellars, a winery and jazz club.
The winery occupied a portion of the first floor of the building from 2016 to 2017. Its equipment and fixtures were then sold to the owners of Terra Blanca winery, which has remained in operation since.
Gilbreath, whose space is directly across the hallway, said he has developed plans with the winery’s owners to cross-promote and feature each other’s product.
This allows customers to purchase beer products at the winery and enjoy the outdoor courtyard. Since the winery will close earlier, patrons can walk across the hallway and continue to enjoy wine at the brewery.
Rita Koefod, senior director of marketing for Cowles Real Estate Co., a subsidiary of Cowles Co., which owns the property, said she is excited to see the two establishments collaborating.
“They both understand the history of the building and it has been wonderful to bring them downtown,” Koefod said.
“The new ideas and synergy they bring will be an amenity to patrons of the theater and entertainment establishments nearby.”
In addition to white and red wine, Humble Abode will feature brewed root beer, hop water and 10 draft beer options consisting largely of American and German styles, but with periodically new styles for everyone, Gilbreath said.
The company’s flagship beverages are its Peanut Butter American porter and Dirty Sunshine Hazy Indian pale ale.
Without a conventional kitchen at either of its locations, the brewery will offer a limited menu of German sausages, beer brats and chips and salsa.
Gilbreath said the addition of food was a response to coronavirus-era guidelines put in place by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board that permitted indoor seating at alcohol establishments if they served at least three food items.
More than three years later, the items remain with potential for expansion.
“It’s all very easy to prepare and people love them, but be want to step up our dog game,” Gilbreath said. “We will try to get nice pretzel buns with beer cheese or mustard, eventually, we’ll probably do chili dogs or a beer cheese dog.”
In addition to a growing menu, the company’s workforce has doubled since signing the lease in May.
Further, its total brewing capacity will more than double.
Initially, beer will be brewed at the garage location and brought downtown in kegs to be served to customers. Beginning in about three weeks. Gilbreath and his head brewer, Sterling Jahn, will brew at the Chronicle.
The Gilbreaths do not intend on pursuing a grandiose marketing campaign or impressive signage.
They are going to slap their company’s logo sticker on the windows and call it good.
“In our business up north, we’re tucked away in a garage, but we’re busy everyday,” he said. “The crowds we’re looking for know good beer and they’re going to find it. They’ll know we’re here.”