Here Today Brewery & Kitchen is a “modern, tropical brewpub” that opened its doors along Seattle’s waterfront in October 2022—and has been a part of our Brewshed® from day 1. A long-time member of the local craft beer scene, founder and CEO Chris Elford, of No Anchor and Navy Strength acclaim, was no stranger to the WA Brewshed® and our mission to celebrate the vital connection between clean water and great-tasting beer. Regarding the vision for Here Today, Elford shared with Kendall Jones of the Washington Beer Blog, “I started Here Today as the culmination of a decades-long love affair with quality beer. After opening legendary beer bars in New York, Richmond VA, and Seattle, I set my sights on my final love letter to this ancient beverage: a waterfront brewery and kitchen. I wanted to create a memorable landmark with great food and high-quality beer.”
To make Here Today a reality Elford enlisted the help of Mario Cortes and Dave Riddile. Mario, Head Brewer, brings extensive brewing experience having worked for renowned breweries such as Harpoon Brewing in Boston, Karbach Brewing in Houston, and Woods Beer Co. in San Francisco. Dave, the Director of Marketing and Operations, hails from The Collective Brewing Project in Fort Worth, Texas.
WA Wild’s Conservation and Brewshed® Program Manager, Chris Chappell, recently sat down with Dave over a beer to dig deeper into Here Today’s commitment to helping WA Wild safeguard the forests and rivers that provide the crisp, clean water that sustains Washington’s thriving craft beer industry.
Are you from Washington?
No, I’m originally from Fort Worth, TX. And actually, I had never even been to Washington State before agreeing to move here for an opportunity to open my own brewery. In many ways, my move here was a leap into the unknown; but what I did know, was that the proximity to water (ocean, rivers, lakes) and to mountains, was right up my alley, and unlike anything I had access to in Texas. You see that cliche “the mountains are calling” around here a lot, but I’d say they definitely called me, and I fell over myself to answer.
What are your favorite activities to do in the wild places around Washington?
Camp, fish, and hike. The outdoors here are truly unmatched compared to anything I’ve previously experienced. Just to spend time existing in these magnificent spaces is a blessing beyond measure.
What does keeping a legacy of conservation in our state mean to you?
Washington is so unique compared to the rest of the country, and keeping a conservation legacy here is very important. To me, it means caring for the land and waters, and animals, so that we can leave a legacy of growth as opposed to a legacy of destruction for the generations to come. This involves having uncomfortable conversations surrounding the way of life we may have worked hard to have and become accustomed to. It also means approaching all conversations of change with an open mind and with the understanding that we’re all working towards the same goal of keeping our state the beautiful place it is.
What are some of your favorite wild places in Washington? How do those places make you feel?
Coal Lake in the Northern Cascades. Like many alpine lakes, it’s so pristine, but Coal Lake in particular gives me a deep feeling of connection and solitude.
Why do you feel people should support Washington Wild’s work? What about our work is important to you?
You should support the work of Washington Wild because they are a good-faith partner that sees the bigger picture and keeps their eye on the ultimate goal of conserving of our wild lands and waters. This mission is important to me on a personal and professional level as an outdoor enthusiast and as a brewery owner. I rely on a healthy, thriving agricultural industry and clean, crisp water to make good beer. If we don’t preserve the wild lands and waters we have that support both of those essential elements, we won’t have delicious, locally-made beer anymore, which would be almost as sad as watching our lush forests and rushing rivers dry up.