Dick’s Brewing Company – A Legacy Continues : Dick’s Beer


Beer is one of the oldest and most popular alcoholic beverages in the world. It is easily one of the most common drinks—after water and tea. Beer is a part of our culture and is associated with many social traditions, such as sporting events, festivals and celebrations.


With thousands of different brands and types of beer in the world, what is the recipe for success in this industry?


One Thurston County home brewer probably never imagined he had all the right ingredients. In 1984, Dick Young started brewing out of his garage as a hobby. He experimented often, letting friends and family taste his creations. Not long after, people were wanting and requesting his beers. His small, garage brewery eventually evolved into so much more.


By 1994, Young moved the operation out of his garage and opened his own brewery in Centralia located behind Northwest Sausage & Deli, a small sausage and sandwich house he owned. His popular recipes quickly took hold in the beer market, and Dick’s Brewing Company made a name for itself. In 2007, after years of working in tight spaces, the brewery expanded into its current location, a large warehouse on Galvin Road in Centralia.


Sadly, in 2009, the visionary behind the beer passed away. His legend is living on in his daughter Julie Young, who manages the deli and brewery, and the current brewers, who have both been there since before his passing.


“He built a good foundation for us to be able to continue it. I’m proud of what my dad built,” Julie says of the brewery. “I’m thankful that my dad was a hard worker and was able to do something so great that I can continue. “


Dick’s “Brew Crew,” Dave Pendleton, head brewer, and Parker Penley, brewer, are both just as passionate about brewing as Young was. Making beer is not just a job, not just a hobby—it’s a craft.


Penley has long been passionate about beer and brewing. It’s what he loves to do and it’s something he’s done at home for years, he said. From Olympia, Penley drove down to Centralia on a whim looking to work with Young. He expressed his love for the craft, and was at the right place at the right time: Dick’s Brewing Company was looking to hire. Almost three years later, he’s happier than ever to be there.


“One of the reasons that I’m so passionate about this brewery is that we’re in the threshold of this craft renaissance, and we are the true epiphany of a craft brewery,” Penley said. “Every day, Dave and I go and personally stir the mash, and move the valves, and everything is very hands-on, very hand-crafted. There’s a lot of pride in that, especially in this industry. I think that’s a good thing, to have profitability and marketability, but still maintaining that creativity and that craft throughout growth.”


Likewise, Pendleton’s love for the craft goes beyond just his job at Dick’s brewery. Pendleton also owns a homebrew supply store in Olympia, Rocky Top Homebrew. There, he is able to help others discover and master the art of brewing.


Pendleton’s devotion to Young’s vision and company is evident in his work and attitude.


“We have 23 different beers—that sets us apart from a lot of breweries. The amount of styles we make, we have other brewers who are dumbfounded,” Pendleton said. “If it were up to me, we’d have 20 more beers—because I love creating new beers and I know Parker does too.”


Most breweries will make 7-10 varieties of ale, with a few different seasonal ales, Pendleton said. Dick’s Brewing Company brews all 23 of its ales almost year-round. It’s clear that Young loved creating new beers, too—since most of the 23 recipes were originally made by him.


“Dick always wanted to brew beer that he liked. He would do a lot of experimenting. He would try something out to see if it was a hit or miss. It just went from there,” Pendleton said.


The full-bodied ales are popular amongst beer fans. The company sells a wide variety, including Belgians, Stouts, IPAs and more. The brewery’s flagship, and Young’s favorite beer, is Dick’s Danger Ale, made with all dark malt and hops—a recipe that hasn’t changed since the second batch.


Dick’s Beer is sold all over Washington State, with a large amount of its customer base in Thurston County. It is sold in all of the Pints & Quarts bars, Brewery City Pizza restaurants, Top Foods, Fred Meyers, convenient stores, Thriftways and more restaurants and stores across the county. Dick’s Beer can also be found in Alaska, Oregon, Montana, Idaho and New York.


While a large focus of their business is on the regional and national levels, Dick’s Brewing Company is devoted to the local businesses and communities, both in Thurston County and Lewis County.


Dick’s Brewing Company partners with local coffee roaster Santa Lucia Coffee Roasters, creating an espresso stout using their coffee.  It’s a mutually beneficial relationship: the stout is infused with their espresso, and, in return, they sell Dicks’ beer. It is relationships such as these that are rewarding to the Brew Crew.


“We’re huge in the community, we’re huge about giving back too,” said Penley.


In August, Dick’s Brewing Company is putting on a benefit contest called “Beer for a Cure.” It is a homebrew competition and all of the proceeds will be donated to the American Cancer Society. They also put on a bowling and barbeque memorial for Young, with proceeds benefiting Pope’s Kids Place, a nonprofit in Centralia that provides services and assistance to ‘medically fragile’ children.


Dick’s Brewing Company is not your typical brewery. Dick’s is also a small business, a local landmark and one of the Pacific Northwest’s premier craft brewers—all names that would make Dick Young one proud brewmaster.


Join the Brew Crew every Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. to tour the brewery and enjoy the beer on tap. Check out the Dick’s Brewing Company website, friend them on Facebook or stop by their retail store, Northwest Sausage and Deli!


Dicks Brewing Company

3516 Galvin Rd.
Centralia, WA 98531



Northwest Sausage & Deli

5945 Prather Road

Centralia, WA 98531


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