Five years ago, Karin Paulsen and her partner Les McAuliffe took a chance and opened a local brewery in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Seattle. No one predicted a world-wide pandemic would leave restaurants on the brink of catastrophe, nevertheless, Perihelion Brewery quickly adapted to the current restrictive climate, and continues to provide safe and comfortable outdoor service and take-out orders to loyal customers and beer lovers.
“My partner, Les, was a home brewer for 25 years when we decided to start the business,” said Paulsen. “He was ready for a change, so I asked him what made him happy. He said beer, so we decided to open a brewery. At the time, there weren’t many places for people to go and just hang out, or spend time with friends. We felt that bringing a brewery to Beacon Hill would fill a need that wasn’t being met.”
The couple started Perihelion Brewery in a modest 1,300 square foot space and eventually grew into a wildly popular 3,000 square feet with a full brewery, kitchen and restaurant. The extra space is proving especially beneficial during COVID-19.
“Our location is special because we have three sides of a commercial block and are able to have sidewalk cafes outside,” said Paulsen. “We also have a takeout window and keep appropriate spacing between the customers and the staff. We limit party sizes to five, and ask everyone to stay home if they're sick.”
Perihelion Brewery ensures their staff understand the importance of monitoring their own health, and require employees to participate in health and temperature checks prior to each shift.
The staff also adhere to strict and frequent sanitizing protocols, and customers are required to stay seated while dining. When an asymptomatic employee tested positive in mid-December, they quickly shut down the entire operation to ensure all employees and vendors could quarantine, and be tested per CDC guidelines. Back open as of this posting, they continue to look for and implement ways to increase safety for their staff, and have a "renewed dedication to protecting our and your health to every extent we can". And being transparent all the while.
Perihelion is a term that refers to the closest point in an object's orbit around the sun. Paulsen and McAuliffe chose the unusual name because it was the name of one of the beers they previously brewed. They also felt connected to the astronomical sense of adventure and energy the name implies.
“We work hard to provide a space and offerings where people can come and feel comfortable,” said Paulsen. ‘We're really proud of our large selection of beers and we also have non-alcoholic beverages, so those who don’t drink can also feel comfortable and excited about coming here. We also offers super tasty, fresh food that pairs well with our beers, and includes vegetarian options, as well as fun specials to keep thing new and interesting.”
Some customer favorites are the Gochujang Wings, the Blue Cheese Truffle Burger, Beet Salad, and the tasty Beer Flight.
“We encourage people to come sit outside at one our firepits with family and friends,” said Paulsen. “We're also very dog-friendly; our staff love dogs. If customers prefer take-out, we have our friendly take-out window. We've worked hard to make the walk-up window a fun, welcoming place for people to come and have something from Perihelion.”
Perihelion is located at 2800 16th Ave South in Seattle. Check out their full menu at www.perihelion.beer