New taphouse to open at Mill Plain & Chkalov

Mike Bolt and Kimberly Johnson’s Final Draft Taphouse will offer 30 taps for beer, wine & cider

Mike Bolt - Kimberly Johnson - Final Draft Taphouse
Courtesy of Final Draft Taphouse

The dust has finally started to settle at Vancouver’s newest craft beer destination, Final Draft Taphouse, which is scheduled to open at the end of the month.

And, no, the dust we’re talking isn’t from the unique piece of deodar cedar wood that will serve as the bar top for the Taphouse.

The Taphouse (finaldrafttaphouse.com) – owned and operated by Vancouver’s “craft beer couple” Mike Bolt and Kimberly Johnson – has evolved from first a vision to now a gathering place on the precipice of opening its doors.

“We’re writing our own final draft,” Bolt said recently.

The ending of this draft figures to be sweet, as the Taphouse, a shade over 2,100 square feet, is located at 11504 SE Mill Plain Blvd., off one of Vancouver’s busiest intersections. The Taphouse will offer 30 taps for beer, wine and cider.

In terms of the beer list, Bolt and Johnson, both Vancouver xthan just pay homage to the local beer scene, one that has grown to 12 breweries.

Final Draft sign“We want to showcase Vancouver beers first,” Johnson said. “We want this to be known as the Vancouver craft beer place.”

Bolt and Johnson met in 2015 over craft beer, as Johnson was working at Ex Novo Brewing in Portland. It was at Thanksgiving later that year when they hatched the plan to open their own Taphouse.

“It was part of every conversation from the beginning: What is your dream, what do you want to do? We wanted to do this,” Johnson said. “But how do you fund it, how do you get it started?”

Finally, they did something about it.

“Let’s stop talking about it and just do it,” Bolt said.

After searching for over a year for a location, Bolt and Johnson found their perfect spot, two units that have now become one. A small kitchen was installed where Bolt says there will be Panini sandwiches and small plates. There’s a space in the back that can be used for rentals as well.

Future plans include a craft beer education program, philanthropic endeavors as well as special events at the Taphouse, as Bolt and Johnson want not only to deliver beer in a welcoming environment, but do so with a storytelling bent – every beer has a story, every person has a story.

“I want to bring people together in a community-oriented place, which is what we hope our place will be,” Johnson said, who worked the corporate world before moving to the Northwest four years ago to find her true calling.

“While I loved the work I did, I wasn’t happy,” Johnson said. “I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I decided I needed to change my life, I need to go after my dream.”

Johnson is well known in the local beer scene, not just from her time at Ex Novo, but for her beer blogging, most recently at ABVGirl.com. Bolt has a background in the local beer industry, most recently at Oregon City Brewery and Vancouver’s Fortside.

When they’re not working feverishly to get the Taphouse ready for its summer opening, Bolt and Johnson can be found at any of the local breweries in Vancouver. These visits only provided affirmation that opening a taphouse was the right call.

“Beer brings people together. Look at what beer has done to the community in Vancouver. It’s so cool to see the growth, we’ve noticed in the last year how it’s much tighter the community is now,” Bolt said.

And soon enough, that community will grow with the opening of the Taphouse.

“Beer to me is an adventure,” Johnson said. “I can’t wait to start pouring people beer.”

Check out Final Draft Taphouse online at www.finaldrafttaphouse.com.

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