Rogue Ales has always tried to inject a little fun into its beer making. The Newport, Ore.-based brewery dedicates its beers to well-known...

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Rogue Ales has always tried to inject a little fun into its beer making.

The Newport, Ore.-based brewery dedicates its beers to well-known rogues like Albert Einstein, gives its beers tongue-in-check names like Half-e-Weizen and Dead Guy Ale, and invites people to become citizens of Rogue Nation.

Now it’s making rum. The brewery started distilling dark and white rum in its brewhouse a year ago for fun and eventually ran out of room.

Last month, Rogue opened a distillery in its Issaquah brewery and plans a third in Newport.

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“This is something that keeps our brewers fresh and gives them something new and different to do,” said Jack Joyce, owner and president of Rogue Ales.

Rogue carved out 500 square feet of space next to its Issaquah brewery and expects it to become popular with visitors. While customers will be able to sample Rogue’s rum at the brewery, they won’t be able to buy it there because in Washington hard alcohol can be sold only at state-owned stores. Rogue plans to sell its rum in state liquor stores soon and is waiting for approval from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to do so.

Making rum isn’t that far removed from making beer. Rum uses some of the same ingredients (sugar, molasses and yeast) and techniques, including boiling and fermenting.

Other breweries are branching out beyond beer and toying with premium spirits and malt beverages.

Anchor Brewing in San Francisco started making rye whiskey nine years ago and later added gin and single-malt whiskey. Pyramid Breweries will make contract malt beverages at its Seattle alehouse once it moves most of its brewing to Portland.

Rogue isn’t done experimenting. The brewery recently started baking bread with its spent-grain and hazelnut brown ale, provides porter and stout to Rogue Creamery to make cheese, and might start making vodka.

“For us, it’s important to become among the first who are [making premium spirits] legally,” Joyce said.

“Put a fork in us”

Schnitzer Northwest pulled out of plans to build a hotel next to Bellevue’s Meydenbauer Center last fall, but the developer still plans to put up office towers and a shopping mall there next year.

The first phase of the project would begin construction early next year and include more than 850,000 square feet of office and retail space. The second phase would have 900,000 square feet of office and retail space. The buildings could be topped with either 220 boutique hotel rooms or 148 apartments or condominiums.

The Bellevue developer canceled its hotel plans after the city refused to back the hotel’s construction financially. At the time, the developer said it couldn’t wait any longer to build because demand for office and retail space had picked up.

“Put a fork in us,” said Dan Ivanoff, Schnitzer’s managing investment partner. “We’re done with public-private partnerships.”

The taste of Little Italy

A fifth Italian restaurant is coming this fall to the Corners, the intersection of Bellevue Way Northeast and Northeast Eighth Street in downtown Bellevue.

Maggiano’s Little Italy, a chain of Southern Italian restaurants, will open its 34th location in November at Lincoln Square when the two-tower condo, hotel, retail and office development opens

The intersection already has Cucina! Cucina! Italian Cafe in Bellevue Place, Sans Souci in the Wintergarden atrium next to Bellevue Place, and Pagliacci Pizza and Pallino Pastaria in Bellevue Square.

Kemper Freeman Jr., Lincoln Square’s developer, is determined to bring more restaurants and nightlife to downtown Bellevue. He already has signed two restaurants to come to Lincoln Square: the Parlor Billiards & Spirits and McCormick & Schmick’s seafood restaurant.

Swerve

The Driver Training Group, a Redmond company that teaches professional and everyday drivers, has opened a driving school for young adults.

Swerve Driver Training, which opened earlier this month at 4080 148th Ave. N.E., Building M, Unit G in Redmond, pairs driving labs, behind-the-wheels sessions and training to avoid collisions.

Swerve’s program takes eight weeks to complete. For more information, visit www.goswerve.com online.

Eastside Business Notes appears every Wednesday in the Eastside edition of the Seattle Times. Kristina Shevory: 206-464-2039 or kshevory@seattletimes.com