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On Tap: A Monroe Brewery Tour

If you’re a beer lover, you’ll love Monroe. The city boasts a young, vibrant craft-brewing scene and a fine selection of atmospheres to sample its frothy beverages.

In addition to several taprooms offering a rich variety of local beers, the city houses four breweries that craft their own specialties: Bugu, Crooked Label, Dreadnought, and Good Brewing Company. 

Since each nascent brewery is less than four years old, the Monroe Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring an informal tour of these establishments to encourage residents to check them out. Just stop by one of the breweries, enjoy a refreshment (or not), and pick up a stamp card. Once you have stamps from all four breweries, bring your card to the Chamber for a free plastic souvenir cup. Ready? Let’s get started!

Bugu Brewing Company
14751 North Kelsey Street, Ste. 107,

Proceeding in alphabetical order, we begin at Bugu, named after a scale to measure the bitterness of individual beers. It’s tucked in a strip mall between an Army recruiting center and a health-supplement store.

Owner Kipp Strong, a retired Seattle Police sergeant, founded Bugu in 2021 after friends praised the beer he was producing from home brewing kits. His youngest son, Bradley, who has a craft brewing certificate from Skagit Valley College, flavors the beverages. His oldest son, Ian, is a graphic designer whose artwork covers the walls of the small brewery. Strong and wife Deb cashier, serve, and do a little of everything.

Bugu keeps two regular beers on tap – an American IPA and a hazy IPA – while rotating six others, a mix of ales, stouts, and porters. Friday nights feature a four-pack special: $20 for four 16-ounce cans. The brewery does not serve food but encourages customers to bring in outside meals.

The Strongs are huge baseball fans, and sports-themed art adorns the walls (including Ian’s custom-designed baseball cards). Two large screens broadcast games; there are drink discounts for Mariners’ home runs, Kraken goals, and Seahawks’ forced turnovers. Not into sports? A variety of classic table games are available to play. Bugu also hosts regular “Paint Your Pet” nights, where an artist turns Fido’s photo into a painting while you wait.

“This has always been kind of a dream of mine,” says Strong, who had been home brewing for 15 years. “We’re just enjoying the ride right now. We’re building a customer base. We know their names, they know our names, we know their stories. People are still discovering there’s a brewery in a strip mall in Monroe.”


Crooked Label Brewing Company

773 Village Way,
Crooked Label Brewing Company | Monroe WA | Facebook

The next stop on the tour takes us to Crooked Label, housed in a former boat repair shop near the Monroe Senior Center, Library, and Sky River Park. If it’s Saturday night there will be live music, often open mic. If the weather’s nice outdoor seating will be open. The whole family is welcome, pets included.

A long wood table in the middle of the room fosters a welcoming atmosphere, with strangers seated side-by-side. Owner Dan Haff says business deals have been struck here, and romantic relationships have been started.

“I work hard to introduce people to each other and to make connections,” Haff says. “We are all striving to find a place of acceptance and love. Crooked Label Brewing Company provides this daily.”

Four beers are always on tap – a blonde ale, a red ale, an IPA, and a stout – and four rotate depending on the season. Inside, a TV broadcasts sports events, and artwork from local creators is displayed on the walls. The only food is bar snacks, but outside fare is welcome.

Haff learned brewing from his friend Adam Hoffman, once an owner of Adam’s Bistro and Three Pines Brewery in Monroe. He had some free time and asked Hoffman if he could watch and learn how beer is made. Within a few years he was head brewer at Three Pines.

When Hoffman sold the businesses, Haff accepted two customers’ offer to use roughly 1,000 square feet of their boat repair shop to start Crooked Label. He commutes from his North Seattle home to run the business but says he will soon find a place in Monroe.

One customer compared Crooked Label to “Cheers,” the bar in the 1990s TV sitcom “where everybody knows your name.” The idea is that you come in as a stranger and leave as a friend. “We strive very, very hard to do that,” says Haff.


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Dreadnaught Brewing

16726 146th Street SE, Ste. 153, www.dreadnaughtbrewing.com

We scoot now to Dreadnaught. Set in a block of nondescript warehouses not far from Lake Tye, it is recognizable by the fenced beer garden outside its front door.

Inside, the brewery divides into two separate spaces. The front is bright and cheerful, with tables, three TV screens, a bar, stage for live music, and a throwback Galaga pinball machine. Following a short corridor, the back of the establishment is less well-lit, with a table set among storage supplies next to two big brewing tanks.

There are 15 beers on tap, and more are coming soon – in addition to wine and root beer. “We look to have an option for everyone in the family,” owner Jake Hoveland says. Its top sellers at the moment are a pair of IPAs, New Day Hazy and Free Bird.

Also on the way: a huge projector for sporting events and movie nights, water misters for the beer garden, and hopefully a kitchen by mid-summer. Until then, rotating food trucks serve Dreadnaught from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Wednesdays, when there is also open mic live music beginning at 6:30 p.m.

“We are excited to be coming into the summer season and to have one of the sunniest patios in Monroe,” Hoveland says. “We are located right near Lake Tye, which makes Dreadnought a perfect stop after a nice walk with the dog and family.”

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Good Brewing Company

107 West Main Street, www.goodbrewingco.com

Our tour winds up at Good Brewing, which is also a full-service restaurant in the former home of the Main Street Café. It’s the newest of five locations that Woodinville native Kevin King has opened since 2017.

Brewing the 16 varieties of beer on tap at its Bothell barrel house, the brewery distributes to itself. It also has wine, cider, hard liquor, burgers, soups and salads, appetizers, and entrees such as Chicken Cordon Blue and seared blackened Ahi. “The food is consistently awesome,” King says. “People come for wings and a beer.”

Like most brewers, King got his start with a home brewing kit. His first batch was awful, but it inspired him to read hundreds of books and watch countless videos on the craft. He uses purified water and re-mineralizes it for each beer style.

King did the woodworking and construction for most of the brightly lit interior space. There are carved wooden tables, historical murals, and a couple of TV screens for games and events. A large bank of windows faces Main Street, offering a prime location for people watching.

With locations in Bothell, Monroe, Sultan, and Woodinville, Good Brewing is growing fast. King says his dream is to open a full brewhouse and production brewery that serves the community, “whether that is providing space for non-profits or community events free of charge, hosting fundraisers, or giving a portion of our revenue to support a community cause that is in need of help.”

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That concludes our 2023 Monroe Brewery Tour. Only one stop remains: the Monroe Chamber of Commerce, located at 125 South Lewis Street, to pick up our plastic souvenir cup. It’s not much, as prizes go, but the container symbolizes the aspirations of the tight-knit brewing community. “We want to make Monroe to beer, what Woodinville is to wine,” Crooked Label’s Dan Haff says. “We want to do a festival pretty soon.”

Images in this article come courtesy of (in descending order): 

Unsplash, Nichole Gaertner Photography, Dan Evans and Jake Campbell


There's so much more to sip and taste in our neck of the woods.

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Contributing writer
Adam Worcester

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