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Brandi and Mike Varnell incorporated as much of the Sky Valley as they could into Timber Monster Brewing Company, which celebrated its grand opening on Main Street in Sultan last week.

The mantle above Timber Monster Brewing Company's fireplace was crafted with Old Growth Western Red Cedar from the bottom of Spada Lake. Sky Valley Timber Products contractor Julian Iacobazzi also produced the tables and bar tops that patrons of Sultan’s new combined coffee shop and craft brewery dine on using second-growth Douglas Fir from an Oso tree farm. The fireplace itself was purchased from Monroe Fireplace. Josh Grigg, who was coached as a kid by one of the owners, installed the stonework cladding above the mantle, as well as the wood-fired pizza oven in the kitchen.

The Gold Bar couple was intentional about the details. They wanted to represent and simultaneously support their community, Mike Varnell said.

He said Timber Monster Brewing Compandoesn’t provide customers with WiFi, instead encouraging them to chat with the people at their tables. No one is looking at their screens, Mike Varnell said, and some are even turning around and talking to the people at the next table.

The couple left the panes out of the gaping window that opens into the brewing area, so they can also stay involved.

“We like to BS with people while we make the beer,” he said.

Mike and Brandi Varnell began converting the old Bank of America building last July, and welcomed their first customers in April.

Sultan Mayor John Seehuus came out for the grand opening last Wednesday, joined by neighbors and Sky Valley Chamber of Commerce and Sultan city staff. A handful of pint glasses were already filled by the time the crowd formed at 11 a.m.

Seehuus said he was thrilled to see the brewery move in. A marijuana business owner was eyeing the site more than a year ago, and had pushed for the Sultan City Council to legalize retailers in town. He said the group was not on board.

The Varnells’ work to serve the whole community, and their entire setup reflects a commitment to the city and the craft, Seehuus said.

The couple was already known for another drink before revealing Mike and his son’s brewing skills on a large scale. They ran the Timber Monster coffee stand on Croft Avenue in Gold Bar for years. Mike said his wife had made the small business profitable within three months.

The signature roast is made by Honeymoon Bay Coffee Roasters in Oak Harbor, Mike Varnell said.

Their partner has been great to work with, he said.

When they were ready to expand, Mike Varnell said they found few other similar business models to look to. He tracked down a handful of other breweries in the country that couple their menu with coffee.

The company name comes from a love of Bigfoot lore, Brandi said. Their daughter, Kaydrianna, designed the logo. She and a few of her siblings are also employees at the restaurant.

Brandi and Mike have six children — they both had three kids before they married. They have been in Gold Bar for almost two decades, where they are closely involved with the Sultan School District.

Brandi works as the Sultan High School sports medicine program director, and Mike is on the Sultan School Board.

Their bar features their own ales, as well as specials from other regional nanobreweries.

A few favorites like the Blood Orange Blonde, the drink Mike first made to get Brandi on board with beer, are likely to keep a permanent place on the drinks list. Brandi said she is now a big fan of her husband’s IPAs, his dark beers and blondes.

Visitors can request a tour of the facility. Brandi led one following last Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. She pointed out the two wall displays that pay tribute to her father and stepfather, ironwork detailing created by local artist Lem Bartley, and the concrete counters crafted by Billy Losleben.   

The couple plans to remain a big community supporter and Monster Brewing a hub. Mike Varnell has promised a specialty beer for the annual Sultan Shindig. Brandi said they will continue to source their products locally as often as they can.