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Brewers Spotlight: 5th Line Brewing

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Brewers Spotlight: 5th Line Brewing

Welcome to Yakima Valley Hop's Brewer's Spotlight!
A series from Yakima Valley Hops, featuring a new brewery monthly.

Our April Spotlight is with the owners and brewers of 5th Line Brewing! 

Kristina & Nate Coppock /Jessa & Chris Sutherland

By Karyna Foia, Social Media & Communications Coordinator at Yakima Valley Hops. 

Opening a new business can be very tricky, especially during hard times like a world wide pandemic, but 5th Line Brewing Co. did it. 

If you're not familiar with hockey, then you might not understand what 5th Line means. It's okay, I didn't either. In hockey there are 4 lines of players per team, 1st line typically has your best players, and 4th has the weakest. Being in the 5th line is basically a slang used in hockey for the dusters who aren't even on the team. This is for all the gals and guys who aren't the best, but love the game any way. The brewers / owners at 5th Line aren't your typical brewers. They don't have brewing school experience, just home-brewers who really lit the lamp

Chis Sutherland moved to the Yakima Valley in May of 2005 from Alberta, Canada. He has been playing hockey in the U.S. and Canada since around 1978. As for Nate Coppock, he started home-brewing down in Portland, OR while going to chiropractic school with his wife Kristina. As for them, they moved to Yakima in September of 2012.

These two brewers couldn't have done it without their apples, Kristina and Jessa. The ladies are both beauticians, helping with all the ins and outs of the brewery. If you go to 5th Line and wonder who's the guy behind the counter with the greatest lip sweater is, that would be Chris Sutherland. 

How would you describe your beer and brewing style?

Chris: Uhh Gongshow?? Because neither one of us necessary has a brewing background as far as education and work experience, our knowledge and thoughts on the process are more based on science or the baking aspect of it- creating recipes and going forward from there. Very much learning as you go, trying to avoid making mistakes when possible and learning from them when you do. Our beers are very much malt forward. The notion is to have something that is a good, thick, and enjoyable and use the hops to compliment the flavors that you're trying to excel with. 

What are your favorite hops to brew with? Bittering? Flavor? Aroma?

Nate: When we first started out Cascade was a go-to hop, and we still use quite a bit of Cascade. It's got nice aromatics, and depending on how you use it you can get some bitterness with it too.

Cascade, Citra, and Amarillo were a go-to for a long time! the last couple of years we've been playing a lot with the HBC ("Hop Breeding Company") varieties. The 586 has some nice aromatics, we really enjoy that one. 

What are your top 3 favorite hops and why? 

Chris: I don't know that I have favorites. We've survived on Cascade, Amarillo, and Citra for a long time. There's so much variety out there within the hop industry and what you're getting for flavors is so diverse, so I don't think I have a favorite. 

Nate: I honestly really enjoy being able to have the varieties as opposed to dialing into a specific hop. Last year one of our test batches we did a dry-hopped porter with a number of different hops from around the world, focusing on trying to get berry flavors out of the hops. That was a lot of fun being able to try new hops that we haven't played with before. 

It's only appropriate that they use twigs for tap handles!

What are some challenges you have faced or are currently facing as a brewery?

Chris: Well there is this thing on my face, making it hard to talk! We got really lucky. When we were doing construction, "The Business Times" asked to interview us. They and several other people asked "Why would you do this now?" Well this certainly wasn't part of the plan, this isn't a process that just starts on a whim one day, and next week you're building a brewery. This has taken several years. When COVID rolled around we were pretty much pot-committed to try and make this thing happen. If we tried to wait it out we were only going to be 2 or 3 years behind the curve again. It didn't make sense to at least try and make this happen.

The last 3 weeks before opening, if it was mechanical or refrigeration related and could break, it did. 

Nate: What hasn't broken around here already, and we've been open a month! It's one of those things-there are challenges every day and unfortunately, with us, we aren't made out of money. The stainless steel back there is our life savings! We've had to buy a new dishwasher, fix the compressor for the cold room. Our glass roll-up garage doors that were supposed to be here in January aren't here yet, it's a laundry list of things.

Chris: These things happen, you adapt and move forward. Life is a learning process. 

Where do you see the industry going in the next five years?

Nate: Hopefully somewhere that includes us! I'm less concerned about the direction and more concerned with being along for the ride. You know, honestly, the taste in beer has changed so vastly in the last number of years that I don't even know where it's going. There are tons to play with! The more people are coming to breweries to try things the better, hopefully we can enjoy some of that with them. 

Chris: I haven't got a clue what's going to be popular next week let alone 5 years from now. What I would feel comfortable in saying is there's always going to be a place in this market for good beer. You're always going to have somebody that you can appeal to with a new experiment, a new trial. We're very fortunate in this valley, the beer community seems to be very open, very committed to trying to help make everybody successful. As I've said from day one, I don't need to sell you every beer, I would just like to sell you 1 or 2 then have you go over to my neighbors place to have 1 or 2 of theirs. 

 ---

Welcome to the Valley, 5th Line Brewing. Thank you for being so raw and honest. Opening up a brewery is anything but easy, but you guys did it! Yakima Valley Hops congratulates you on your opening and wishes you nothing but the best! Ya'll rock!

Visit 5th Line Brewing in Yakima, WA for a pint of their Pine Rider and a homemade pizza! Cheers! 

*Hockey lingo dictionary*

Apple: an assist.

Beauticians: a player on the team that's talented both on the ice and off and loved by the rest of the team.

Duster: someone who is very bad at hockey.

Gongshow: term used to describe craziness. 

Light the Lamp: to score a goal.

Lip Sweater: the one with the sweat mustache. 

Twigs: hockey sticks. 

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  • Karyna Foia
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