After a year’s absence, Big E Ales is back hosting the Tour de Terrace Beer Garden this weekend.
A dispute over the festival’s special occasions license and not-for-profit paperwork led Big E Ales’ owner Rick Ellersick to back out of last year’s beer garden. But with all paperwork in order and no investigation by the State Liquor Control Board this year, Ellersick and his crew will be back pouring the beers at the event.
“We’re happy to be back,” said Ellersick, a 28-year resident of Mountlake Terrace. “It’s all about community, and it’s a lot of fun for us.”
And it’s a lot of work for Ellersick and his army of volunteers. His serving staff and security personnel all donate their time during the weekend event, with all proceeds from beer sales going back to Tour de Terrace to help stage the festival. The Big E Ales’ crews begin Thursday evening and go non-stop until the teardown and clean-up is finished on Monday.
Big E Ales brings 60 kegs of their local brews, including Blackberry Ale and draft root beer, along with some Bud Light, Mike’s Hard Lemonade and Bacardi wine coolers, to Tour de Terrace. They also haul in 7,000 cups for serving all those beers and drinks.
Ellersick devised a method of storing all the ales in the delivery truck and running a hose from them into the beer garden. “The hose contains six lines and refrigeration to keep the beers cold,” he explained. The system also leaves more room for festival attendees to congregate in the garden.
Ellersick has been brewing beer under the name Big E Ales for almost 13 years, starting out in his garage then moving to their present location in 2005. The pub, located just north of the Mountlake Terrace city limits at 5030-208th St. S.W., boosts large windows looking into the brewery, a full-service kitchen and a beer garden.
Big E Ales is truly a family business as Ellersick’s four sons all work in the operation; Rick’s wife handles the bookkeeping and his dad occasionally assists in the kitchen. Ellersick contributes to the community beyond Big E’s involvement at Tour de Terrace. He’s been a sponsor of MYTAA sports’ teams, the Easter Egg Hunt and local Young Life.
The Tour de Terrace Beer Garden is a cash-only operation and will open on Friday at 5 p.m., closing at 11 p.m. Saturday beer garden hours are 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday hours are 11 a.m.-6 p.m.