By Mitch Farley
Under the cover of its circus-style tent, Fairhaven’s Stones Throw Brewery hosted a block party to celebrate its third birthday and benefit a local community member.
On Saturday, March 30, the brewery offered partygoers a range of different ciders and beers, live music and food trucks. Jack Pflueger, the owner of Stones Throw Brewery, said the block party this year was hosted to benefit friends of Stones Throw and Bellingham locals Nancy LaHatt, who has been fighting cancer, and her husband Jim LaHatt.
“We’re going to raise money to help with their medical costs,” Pflueger said. “Both of them have helped out a lot and I’m looking forward to being able to give back.”
Tony Luciano, co-owner of Stones Throw Brewery, and Jack Pflueger are both Western alumni. Together they opened Stones Throw Brewery’s doors in April 2016.
Pflueger and Luciano said they first started throwing around the idea of opening a brewery when they were both students at Western. Pflueger said the two fell in love with Bellingham while attending the university.
“Tony and I had always talked about starting a brewery that’s close to the mountains, the ocean and outdoor activities,” Pflueger said.
Stones Throw Brewery is the only brewery in Fairhaven, something that Pflueger said was a big contributor to the location he and Luciano chose.
Beertender, tradesman and Fairhaven resident, Tim Crandall got involved with Stones Throw Brewery back in 2015 when it was being turned from a garage into the multifunctional space it is today. Crandall said he helped out with light construction like turning the iron bridge part into a functional bar.
“Jack and Tony were doing a lot of the work themselves. After I stopped by a few times offering to help they finally said, ‘Yes, please we need some help,’” Crandall said.
Crandall said their vision of providing a place for the community to gather has been fully realized.
“The space that Jack had envisioned has achieved the goals of being multiple different spaces: the deck up above, the fire pit, the indoor space or the tent… The different spaces appeal to a wide range of people,” Crandall said. “You can find whatever you want here.”
Crandall is not the only community member to lend a hand in the creation of Stones Throw Brewery. Beertender Holly England said much of the brewery was built by members of the community.
The apple tree table, at the entrance of the brewery, was made by one member of the community who had the lumber sitting around and wasn’t going to use it, Pflueger said.
Crandall said locals like him recognized the budding brewery and wanted to contribute.
“Other people recognized the place as being something special for Fairhaven and wanted to put their little mark on it,” Crandall said.
With four separate seating areas, Stones Throw Brewery offers a unique atmosphere and a large selection of beer. The brewery always has a range of beers on tap, from dark to light, hoppy to malty and often, a limited release beer. Stones Throw frequently does collaborations with local brewers or businesses for special release beers.
“Working with other local brewers is about staying connected with our roots as home brewers and community members,” Pflueger said. “We want to focus on the pillars of our community and find out how we can be the most effective with our organic outreach.”
The current release is a collaboration with the Pink Boots Society for International Women’s Day. The IPA was released on Friday, March 8.
Stones Throw Brewery has been the realization of Pflueger and Luciano’s vision, and in its third year of operation, has developed a reputation for itself. Crandall said the brewery feels more like being in a friend’s house.
Pflueger said the eventual goal is to stretch the brewery into a second location, although there are no concrete plans yet.
“The brewery is going to change to keep up with the growth that we’ve had,” Pflueger said. “We want to honor the atmosphere we’ve created here and try to keep refining that.”