Typically, the phrases “small-batch beers” and “top-producing brewery” are generally not associated together. The thought of producing specialty beers on a colossal scale seems very contradictory. However, Fremont Brewery has thrown all of that out the window and in an environmentally-friendly way.

Sara Nelson and Matt Lincecum founded Fremont Brewery in 2009. They wanted to make great beer, but they also “wanted to be good stewards of their community. And their planet.”  

Situated in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, an area once known to be very counterculture, the brewery strives to be independent in its products’ execution. Fremont is also an area full of beer lovers, so that helps too.

Lincecum, like many brewery founders, was a homebrewer before opening up Fremont Brewery. This desire to test and explore the world of craft beer is why the brewery has a four-person lab team that works daily to guarantee consistency in its final products. Because of that consistency, Fremont Brewery has seen tremendous growth in its 11 years as a business.  

Only four years after opening, Nelson and Lincecum already needed more space. In 2015, they secured an $8 million loan to convert an 80,000-square-foot print shop facility in the Ballard neighborhood into a production brewery. This move increased its production from 19,000 barrels in 2014 to 44,000 barrels in 2017. Also, in 2017, the brewery launched the Black Heron Project, which concentrates on barrel-aged and farmhouse beers.  

As of 2020, Fremont Brewery is anticipating to produce nearly 250,000 barrels annually, making it one of the country’s top-producing breweries. 

The popularity of its beers is well known in the craft beer community, especially their barrel-aged beers. One of those renowned beers is Brew 3000.

Created “to celebrate brewing our 3000th brew,” Brew 3000 is an English barleywine with a 13.2 percent ABV and an IBU rating of 19. It features Maris Otter Pale and Carafa 2 Special malts with white wheat, and Golding and Magium hops. The beer was aged for one year in barrels that previously held Heaven Hills bourbon and was released on March 2, 2019.

Poured from a waxed 22-ounce bottle, the appearance is very dark brown and nearly opaque. The head is low and thin, with an extremely light tan color. Carbonation is relatively low, which is accurate for the style. The beer is moderately aromatic with notes of maple, bourbon, dark fruits, and light alcohol.

With a satiny and smooth mouthfeel, Brew 3000 is full-bodied and exceedingly sweet for an English barleywine. Many of the aromatics are much more subtle in the flavor as the sweetness covers them up. I did not notice any dropping off of body or flavor even though this bottle is nearly two-years-old. Straight from the fridge, there is no booziness despite the aggressive ABV. 

The beer finishes sweet with a touch of maple. As it warms, apple and caramel notes come to life, taking over some of the sweetness and making it stickier and slightly less overpowering. However, the alcohol flavors become more robust, particularly in the aroma, leaning slightly towards a vodka aroma and astringency. 

Fremont Brew 3000
BREWERY: Fremont Brewing
LOCATION: Seattle, Wa.
STYLE: English Barleywine
ABV: 13.2 percent
IBU: 19
PRICE: $25.99
RELEASE DATE: Mar. 2, 2019
AVAILABLE IN: 22-Ounce Bottles
I found many aspects of this English barleywine to be excellent, such as its carbonation, mouthfeel, and dark fruit character. During my research, I discovered that this beer was brewed to have "high sweetness" in the flavor. This overabundance of sweetness takes away from the otherwise outstanding execution. That aspect also makes for a slightly challenging beer since it comes in such a large-format bottle. It was also practically opaque, which is not found in authentic English barleywines. I hoped to pick up the more traditional nutty and toast flavors found in darker versions of the style while still accounting for the standard malty sweetness.
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