SILVERDALE — When Sandy Kolbeins and Mike Hale decided to partner up to refresh Hale’s Alehouse in the Kitsap Mall, they saw it as just one friend helping out the other.
“We shook hands on [Mike’s] front porch and that was enough for me,” Kolbeins said. “It’s a merger of the two families.”
Hale’s Ales restaurant now has a fresher look. New art, of old photographs of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard hangs on the walls. The new menu features small plates for sharing, made with local produce.
Hale’s Ales was founded as a brewery in Colville in 1983. Mike Hale soon met his wife, Kathleen, and they moved to Bremerton where she grew up. Hale moved his brewery to Kirkland, and then to its current location — adding a pub restaurant — in Fremont in 1995. Hale’s Ales currently brews 11,000 barrels of beer a year.
Hale said he and his wife enjoyed the pub business and wanted to open another restaurant closer to home. They opened Hale’s Ales in the Kitsap Mall in 2010, but soon felt they wanted to add something different.
“We were established, but we’re kind of just another pub here,” Hale said. “We needed a whole new menu, a celebrity chef, something to differentiate us from the pack.”
Kolbeins said he met Hale more than 20 years ago and remembered his passion for craft brewing. They became friends over the last few years when both were running restaurants in Kitsap and participating in community events.
In the last few years, Hale wanted to spice up his pub and Kolbeins was looking for a new restaurant opportunity. Hale called it “serendipitous” when Kolbeins called him one day last summer.
“This whole thing came about from my wanting to expand in the idea of a new restaurant, a new challenge, and a new project,” Kolbeins said. His restaurant in Poulsbo, The Loft, is doing well, but Kolbeins thrives on the starting point of a restaurant — designing a menu, trying out new concepts, being creative.
Kolbeins and his wife, Angela, are partnering with the Hales at their Silverdale location.
“We’re running the business, being the people on front lines, [letting] them concentrate on the beer side of the business,” Kolbeins said. “They’re good with beer, we’re good at restaurants.”
Kolbeins brought his chef at The Loft, Michael Buholz, in as the executive chef for both restaurants. Buholz describes his cuisine as “Northwest fusion with Asian and Thai influence and spicing.”
“The food concept is all about small plates … enjoying the people across from you at the table,” Kolbeins said. The new menu will have locally sourced food, such as meat from Minder Meats in Bremerton.
The plates will also complement the bar’s 23 beer taps, 10 of which are guest taps.
“I know what small start-ups are up against, and I want to provide a place for them to get their beer exposed,” Hale said.
Like beer, Kolbeins said, their food is made from scratch and is “all about flavor.”
“There’s nothing else like it around,” Kolbeins said of Hale’s Alehouse. “Our menu, our plates, our feel. I think Silverdale is really corporate … We are sort of able to react on a dime.”
The new menu is out on Hale’s Alehouse tables now.