In Mountlake Terrace there is a strip mall best described as a foodie’s paradise. There’s Snohomish Pie Company, Romio’s Pizza, Double DD Meats, and, in the corner, the Diamond Knot Brewpub@MLT, which opened in 2014 after the 9,800-square-foot retail location underwent extensive renovations. The Brewpub features a 10-barrel brewery, a timber bar top reclaimed from a shipwreck, and signature burgers and pizza.
Diamond Knot began in 1994 as a home brewing hobby for owners Bob Maphet and the late Brian Sollenberger, and has since grown to include two restaurants, a taproom, and three breweries, which brew more than 7,000 barrels a year. Diamond Knot uses mostly domestic malts and hops, with a few varieties coming from Canada, and now distributes its beer in 12 states, as well as Canada and Japan.
Sherry Jennings of Diamond Knot Brewery explained how Maphet and Sollenberger began their brewing journey, “People in the industry were just being naysayers,” she said. “You’re too small; this is too hoppy.” The too hoppy beer? IPA. It’s Diamond Knot’s signature brew to the point that Maphet and Sollenberger set the standard for Northwest IPAs. The naysayers? The brewers had an answer for them, too.
Diamond Knot is named for a sunken ship. In 1947 there was a world food shortage problem. Some entrepreneurial individuals realized they could ship canned Alaskan salmon down the West Coast to populated cities like Seattle. Seven million cans of salmon, one hundred thousand gallons of fish oil, and a car were loaded onto the Diamond Knot cargo ship and sent south toward Washington. Heavy fog cloaked visibility. Six miles west of Port Angeles, the freighter Fenn Victory t-boned the Diamond Knot, sinking cargo ship and more than $4 million worth of goods.
After the ship sunk with all its precious cargo on board, Firemen’s Fund Insurance Company looked to recover the critical food supply. Salvagers engineered a vacuum system that could suck up the canned goods. The hard-working crews worked around the clock for two months to bring up all the food from the Diamond Knot. The containers were then unpacked, inspected, and repackaged if deemed safe for consumption. It was slow but steady work with plenty of obstacles and doubters, but the salvage team succeeded.
Maphet and Sollenberger, who were both trained divers, took inspiration from the shipwreck’s salvaged goods and were committed to the same kind of slow and steady progress in their pursuit to brew outstanding beer and educate the public about craft brewing, thus Diamond Knot Brewery became the only appropriate name for their endeavor.
At the Brewpub@MLT you can expect to find a rotating brew menu, with a few exceptions. On tap, there is always a Flagship IPA and an Industrial IPA, which is an imperial beer that packs a heavier punch than a session IPA. You’ll also find a Brown, a Hefeweizen, and a Porter. Winter Seasonals right now are the Ho-Ho, an Industrial IPA, and the Storm Surge, a light-bodied dark ale. There are also two Nitro handles, and nonalcoholic options, including the DK Root Beer, a rich drink with hints of toasted caramel.
The food menu covers tasty all-American fare. Most dishes are ideal for sharing and all complement their brews. Looking for something to try? Go for anything off the Hot Rock. Diamond Knot’s specialty was born out of the alehouse’s tiny kitchen. The Hot Rock is a special rock heated to 752 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s brought tableside where guests can cook their own meals. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience that offers you the opportunity to grill your food just how you like it and offers a little extra crisp, if that’s what you’re after.
In addition to great beer and food, Diamond Knot strives to create a lively, beer-drinking experience. They believe education is one way for guests to fully appreciate the beer making process. You’ll find plenty of information on their website for home brewers and other local breweries. They try to support the entire industry by giving advice and pointing people in the right direction. Some people may be confused with the Diamond Knot’s promotion of other brewers, but Sherry explained it’s more of a friendly competition and large support network. She said, “If anything it pushes us to be more creative.”
If you’re looking to learn a thing or two about beer stop by on one of the Diamond Knot’s educational nights. They host a cask night where guests sample beers fermented in casks along with adjuncts, or flavorings. This was the traditional way of fermenting before CO2 tanks became popular. Cask beer tastes a bit different from CO2 fermented beer: it’s a truer beer flavor.
The WA Beer Night shines the spotlight on fellow brewers. It’s about sharing an enjoyment and passion for beer making at all levels. Sherry said “We think it’s fun to give a brewer another fan base.”
There’s also Trivia Night and Monday is Paint Night where an artist walks guests through painting a picture.
The Brewpub@MLT is really an ideal place for beer fans of all backgrounds to congregate, learn something, and have some fun with a beer in hand.
5602 232nd St. SW, Mountlake Terrace