Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

January 20, 2014 at 10:07am

Tacoma brewmasters collaborate on Black Belgian IPA at Narrows Brewery Company

Narrows Brewing Company brewmaster Joe Walts took questions Saturday during a local brewmasters collaboration of a Black Belgian IPA.

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Saturday, Jan. 18, Narrows Brewing Company gathered great minds in the Tacoma craft beer scene to commence a creative collaboration of brewmasters. Engine House No. 9, Pacific Brewing and Malting Co., Harmon Brewery, The Ram, Tacoma Brewing Company and Wingman Brewers connected at Narrows Brewing's waterfront plant to concoct a Black Belgian IPA. During the collaboration, beer enthusiasts were allowed in to grill brewmasters and guzzled beer.

I was one of those enthusiasts.

Upon entering Narrows Brewing close to Narrows Marina, I was greeted by the sounds of alternative rock, the bubbling and humming of a hoppy laboratory brewing up its delicious potion and Narrows Brewing brewmaster Joe Walts. A small group gathered to observe the brewing process, while Walts checked gauges and connected and disconnected hoses. Many of those in attendance, from what I could gather, were homebrewers, all being lovers of beer and eager to pick Walts' brain about the journey of craft beer. Walts, who has been in the business of brew since 2003, joined Narrows brewing as head brewmaster since July.

When I asked just what we could expect from the Black Belgian IPA Walts told me with a smile, "It's going to be insane.  Not a huge hop but some nice fruity tropical flavors." The batch is expected to yield about 20 kegs, which will be distributed to local bars, as well as local craft breweries. A portion of the profits from each keg sold will go to a local non-profit to be named later. Though Walts tells me the beer will be ready as soon as three weeks, he's expecting a release sometime in mid to late February or even early March.

Another project not associated with the brewers collaboration that's sure to be worth the wait is Narrows brewing's barrel-aged black saison. This delectable, deep and dark brew has been hanging out in rye whiskey oak barrels for 3 months.

Circulating through Narrows Brewery Saturday were whispers of a Tacoma Brewery Week later in the year. Could we be looking at an epic spring or summer time brew themed shindig?

Narrows Brewing is a taproom. There's a fabulous view of the water, trivia night, televisions and sometimes live music. However there isn't a kitchen; they do allow you to bring in your own food. Every so often Jay Dogs and Pampeana Empanadas drop by with their nibbles. Walts hosts a behind-the-scenes tour at 7 p.m. every Tuesday.

NARROWS BREWING COMPANY, 2-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, noon to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 9007 S. 19th St., Tacoma, 253.327.1400

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