Hilliard’s Beer opened in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle in October, 2011 with a focus on making great craft beer with the best available ingredients.
Ryan Hilliard had been homebrewing since he could legally drink and in 2009, his home brew pale ale made it through the local competitions all the way out to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. As one of only 75 homebrewer participants among the 450+ national breweries present, the experience was a much needed kick in the pants to bring his love of making beer from hobby to profession. Every Tuesday for the next year and a half, Ryan and Adam Merkl drank their way around Seattle figuring out how to take starting a brewery from a dream to a reality. Even before finding a location, Ryan picked up a copper-clad 15 bbl brewhouse along with four 15 bbl fermenters that just came up for sale from Sacramento Brewing. After an exhaustive hunt for a space the brewery could grow into over time, they landed on a former auto service garage built in 1947 which featured high ceilings and large, south facing windows. From there, they stripped out what wasn’t needed and upgraded what was to create a space that flows easily between production and taproom. It’s a comfortable place to work as well as a welcoming meet-up spot for families, friends, and strangers.