Business

What’s Headless Mumby? A west Olympia brewery and taproom that loves lager beer

What’s Headless Mumby? Raise a glass of lager at this west Olympia brewery and find out

Headless Mumby co-owners, Alex Maffeo (left) and Keith Ciani, opened their west Olympia brewery in November 2018.
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Headless Mumby co-owners, Alex Maffeo (left) and Keith Ciani, opened their west Olympia brewery in November 2018.

In a very short period of time, Headless Mumby, a west Olympia brewery and taproom, has become an award-winning business.

Not only did it win gold for its Smoked Rye lager at the recent Washington Beer Awards, it also was named very small brewery of the year for 2019.

It’s quite an accomplishment for a brewery that opened in November, but beer, specifically lager beer, is not new to owners Alex Maffeo and Keith Ciani. Both had been dedicated home brewers — they both liked to make lagers — before they joined forces and went into business.

But not right away. Not wanting to overextend themselves and go into debt, they took their time acquiring the equipment needed for a brewery.

“We had more time than money,” Maffeo said.

Over a three-year period they acquired equipment from breweries either expanding or closing. And then the doors opened in 3,500 square feet at 232 Division St. NW. Most of that space is for production. About 1,000 square feet is for the taproom where they serve year-round lagers, seasonal beers, a collaborative beer, and some cider.

A taproom, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, serves beer but typically not food. Maffeo and Ciani encourage customers to bring their own food, or get it to go at Vic’s Pizzeria, which is across the street, or other nearby spots.

Headless has two flagship products: the award-winning Smoked Rye lager and the Local 66 American lager, which is named for the sheet metal union that Maffeo belongs to.

The rye lager uses smoked and rye malts; the Local 66, pilsner malts and flaked rice.

The Northwest is known for strong and hoppy IPAs, but there is room for lagers. “The consumer was ready for more choice,” Ciani said.

Where can you find the Headless Mumby product? At Old School Pizza, Vic’s Pizza, The Brotherhood, Oly Taproom and Iron Rabbit Restaurant & Bar.

But where did they get that name? The explanation hangs on the taproom wall and on its website.

Headless is a salute to the song “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner” by Warren Zevon. Ciani is a rabid fan.

Mumby is a reference to a defunct logging and shingle mill from the early 1900s which operated in the area where Maffeo now lives.

And there you have it. In the litigious world of business naming, they also realized that Headless Mumby would likely not result in a “cease and desist” lawsuit from another business.

Headless Mumby Brewing Co.

Owners: Alex Maffeo and Keith Ciani

Location: 232 Division St. NW, Olympia

Employees: One, but they are getting close to hiring a second, they said.

Taproom hours: 3:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays; 3:30 to 9 p.m. Fridays; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays. The taproom is family-friendly and includes a changing station for infants.

Cask releases: Every Friday the business releases a beer created with unique ingredients. On July 5, the release is Local 66 and the condiment sriracha; July 12, it’s the German pils with mango.

May Day: Celebrating workers and organized labor is important to the business owners. This past May Day they held an event that raised money to help women get into the trades.

Rolf has worked at The Olympian since August 2005. He covers breaking news, the city of Lacey and business for the paper. Rolf graduated from The Evergreen State College in 1990.
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