Community centers embrace Northwest’s beer and brewing culture

Home brewing instructors Kate Broeking and Daniel Harris at Belltown Community Center


Kate Broeking and Daniel Harris moved to the Pacific Northwest for the same reasons most people do – its beautiful wilderness, plethora of outdoor activities and large art and music communities. But they also felt called to the Northwest’s huge beer and brewing culture.

The couple began teaching introduction to home brewing courses at Seattle Parks and Recreation’s community centers last year and will be teaching courses at three different centers this fall.

Participants learn the art of home brewing at Belltown Community Center

“If you’ve decided to start brewing, or you appreciate beer and think making some yourself might add to your experience, we offer an opportunity to learn the basics of home brewing,” Broeking said. “It’s our hope that knowledge can help more people to ignite their own passion for the craft.”

Home brewing has always been a part of Broeking’s life. Her father home brewed when she was a child, and Broeking would help him secure caps on the bottles. When she grew older, she moved to Colorado where her aunt and uncle worked in the brewing industry.

“I was able to see large-scale brewing firsthand and was blown away,” Broeking said. “Around that time, I was finally able to convince my father to part with some of his equipment so that I could get started myself.”

Harris had friends who were into home brewing in college and had the opportunity to learn about the process. When he and Broeking finally secured their own equipment four years ago, they enjoyed making their first batch so much that it became a serious pursuit.

The two don’t sell their brew, but say they love sharing it with friends and family.

“A six-pack of homebrew makes a great gift and our friends look forward to trying our newest batches,” Harris said. “We also enjoy having people over for brew day so that we can relax, talk and show folks the ropes while making great beer.”

The community centers’ home brewing classes are growing more popular which Broeking attributes to the accessibility of craft breweries in the area.

“People seem to have an ever-growing appreciation for beer in all its various forms,” Broeking said. “Home brewing has a lot to offer. It’s an opportunity to be creative and experiment with all kinds of new flavors and styles and to share them with people who can appreciate and improve them. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that it’s a lot of fun playing mad scientist in the kitchen.”

Introduction to home brewing courses will be taught at Bitter Lake, Ballard and Belltown community centers this fall. Participants must be at least 21 years old. The next class will be held from 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 8, at Bitter Lake Community Center.

To register for that class, or to view future times and locations, please visit and browse through the cooking classes in the Hobbies, Clubs and Lifestyles program section.

Belltown Community Center offers unconventional ways to get fit

Participants learn to connect with their tango partners during a H.U.M.P fitness event at Belltown Community Center.


As much as we’d like to deny it, the truth is that fall is just around the corner. When temperatures begin to drop and rain stakes its claim on the city once again, many people seek ways to bring their workouts indoors.

Participants in Belltown Community Center’s Introduction to Tango H.U.M.P fitness event.

Belltown Community Center introduced an indoor fitness series this year that features unique classes for people who find the treadmill monotonous. The series is called H.U.M.P, which stands for Healthy Urban Movement Parties. The H.U.M.P events appropriately take place on the second hump day of every month, Wednesday. Each month the event has a different theme. So far, events have featured Zumba, burlesque, hula hooping and more.

“The point is to change things up and give people fitness options during the winter months,” Belltown Community Center Recreation Attendant Masha Shtern said. “If we find a class gets really popular, we may introduce a new series entirely around that theme.”

First Hill resident Amy Saba has attended many of the H.U.M.P events. Saba used to be an avid runner and got her exercise training for half marathons. Recently she injured her leg and was advised to look for lower-impact fitness options.

“I was lost,” Saba said. “Running was my meditation. I started looking for other activities that could get me out of my head and tried a H.U.M.P event. I really liked the first one I tried, and it made me want to try other unconventional fitness activities.”

On Wednesday, Sept. 10, the H.U.M.P theme was tango. Instructor Gabriela Condrea has been teaching tango for four years and said she was excited to be part of the series.

“Tango isn’t high impact, so it’s an option for a wide variety of people,” she said. “Essentially, tango is just a fun way to walk, which unfortunately most of us don’t do enough of. Many of us sit at computers all day in our silos, and we need an opportunity to get out and move with other people.”

Condrea teaches people to develop connections with their partners rather than to focus on getting the steps just right.

“You can think of practicing tango like going to a group fitness class,” Condrea said. “When you’re practicing with other people, you feel like you’re part of a society and it motivates you to continue.”

The next H.U.M.P event will be held at Belltown Community Center on Wednesday, Oct. 8. No advance registration is necessary and the cost is $5. For information on the next event, please visit the community center’s Facebook page at

Belltown Community Center hosts Youth Pride Dance June 27

Seattle Pride celebrates the region’s LGBTQ rights movement and 2014 marks the festival’s 40th anniversary. So how does one celebrate such a landmark year? Hats – and the crazier the better.

The fourth annual Youth Pride Dance takes place Friday, June 27, 8 p.m., at Belltown Community Center (415 Bell Street). The dance provides the 21-and-under crowd the opportunity to participate in a celebration with their peers.

This year’s theme is crazy hats. Attendees can bring their own, borrow one at the event or join in a crazy hat-making party before the dance. Music will be played by DJ Puerto Roc and Regine Dynasty and Nubian Pride will serve as event emcees. There will be free portraits and dance photos taken on site and a makeup table by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

Doors open at 7 p.m. and the dance will take place from 8-11 p.m. Everyone 21 years old and younger is invited and the event is free.

Belltown Community Center has a capacity of 150 guests, so pre-register at or join the Facebook event here

This year’s event is sponsored by the Washington chapter of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, Nubian Pride, Seattle Parks and Recreation and Seattle Pride.

Email Christine Lyon at with questions.