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March 5, 2014 at 10:44am

Tacoma Beer Week: Wednesday, March 5 taps

It's kick-off time at the Puyallup River Brewing Alehouse.

As we mentioned Monday, Tacoma Beer Week is on, and ends Saturday with hoopla at the Parkway Tavern.

Have you tried the special Tacoma Brewers Collaboration Neo Noir Belgian Black IPA? I found one at The Red Hot and another at Narrows Brewing. Four hops varieties produced a fruitiness that melds well with the spiciness of a Belgian yeast strain. Caramel malt, de-husked black malt and Belgian candi syrup builds a rich body without being overly sweet. Nice.


March 3, 2014 at 9:47am

Tacoma Beer Week 2014 launches today

The Red Hot on Tacoma's Sixth Avenue tapped the Neo Noir Black Belgian IPA yesterday. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Tacoma Beer Week begins its run today.

Well, check that. It technically began yesterday when The Red Hot tapped the Neo Noir IPA, the Black Belgian IPA brewed earlier this year during a group hug by brewers from "Narrows Brewing Company, Engine House No. 9, Pacific Brewing and Malting Co., Harmon Brewing Company, Tacoma Brewing Co., the Ram Restaurant and Brewery and Wingman Brewers."

Well, check that. A chap from Engine House No. 9 says the historic brewhouse didn't really have anything to do with it.

Anyway, the Neo Noir was an inspiration behind Tacoma Beer Week, with a big push from Narrows Brewing Company & Taproom, the birthplace of the Neo Noir. Around 20 kegs have been produced of the collaboration brew. Tacoma drinks; which means the kegs most likely won't be around during the week's closing ceremonies - although one is being held back for Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. for the day it finally opens in downtown Tacoma.

I toured several Tacoma breweries and pubs yesterday to grab a handle of Tacoma Beer Week. The weeklong celebration is a modest affair with local taverns and bars tapping the Neo Noir IPA, hosting Tacoma brews and will include special beer releases by Tacoma breweries.

>>> Beer words of wisdom found yesterday at Narrows Brewing Company & Taproom.

The official kickoff will be held at 2 p.m. today inside the Narrows Brewing Company & Taproom at the historic Narrows Marina. The celebration will last until it closes for the day. All pints sold during today's kick-off event will be priced at $4, with $1 from each pint sold going to benefit the Emergency Food Network. Be sure to toss non-perishable food items in marked bins too.

What can you expect at the 2 p.m. opening ceremony? A local dark beer fest featuring Tacoma's Neo Noir, of course, but also Darc Marc (Cascadian dark ale from M.T. Head Brewing Co.), Cross Pollination (imperial coconut porter from Harmon Brewing Co.), XLVIII (Narrows' oatmeal stout tribute to the Super Bowl), Narrows' Black Saison and others.

You don't have to wait for 2 p.m. to get your Tacoma beer on. The Red Hot, Parkway Tavern and Doyle's Public House will tap the Neo Noir today. Maxwell's Speakeasy, The Swiss, Puget Sound Pizza, Meconi's Pub & Eatery and Pacific Grill had Neo kegs delivered too.

The Red Hot will take the Tacoma beer experience one step further today hosting one beer from all Tacoma breweries at the same time, beginning at 11 a.m.:

  • Tacoma Neo Noir Belgian Black IPA
  • Harmon Brewing Cross Pollination Honey Coconut Porter
  • E9 Brewery Belgian Pale
  • Wingman Brewers Miss B'Haven Triple
  • Narrows Brewing 48 Oatmeal Stout
  • Tacoma Brewing Co. Coffee Infused IPA aged on Sugar Maple
  • RAM Tacoma Apollo Double IPA
  • 7 Seas Depth Finder IRA
  • M.T. Head Mr. Gravity Barley Wine

For a schedule of Tacoma Beer Week events, check out Jackie Fender's preview story here.

See Also

Tacoma breweries collaborate on Black Belgian IPA at Narrows Brewing Company

February 26, 2014 at 10:10am

Seahawks inspired We Are The Champions IPA drops Friday

12th Man! Yea!

Puyallup River Brewing - still riding the high of the Hawks Super Bowl win - will release a new brew, We Are The Champions IPA Friday, Feb. 28. To pair perfectly with its new pint of hops, the brewery will host a taco night, beginning at 5 p.m. at its Puyallup River Alehouse. Thanks to a partnership with Sweet and Savory catering, the tacos will be amped with hand-fried corn tortillas and fresh ingredients. The We Are The Champions PIA taps release at 7:30 p.m.

Can't wait for Puyallup River Alehouse fun? Bear Republic Brewing Co. drops in at 6 p.m. tonight with beers, giveaways and raffle prizes.

PUYALLUP RIVER ALEHOUSE, 120 S. Meridian, Puyallup, 253.268.0955

February 22, 2014 at 12:00pm

Words & Photos: 2014 JBLM Brewfest Homebrew Competition crowns "Best of JBLM"

2014 JBLM Brewfest was an opportunity to learn about brewing as well as taste more than 160 beers. photo credit: Gary Lott

You may think you like beer, but have you spent hours on end discussing the qualities of hops while sampling more than 160 home and commercial microbrews? That's exactly what went down last night when the 2014 JBLM Brewfest consumed the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Club.


January 28, 2014 at 9:36am

Bleed for beer

Every year theCascade Regional Blood Services hosts a blood drive program titled "Give Blood Get Beer" - a program where if you donate a pint of blood you will receive a complimentary pint of beer.


Enter fast talking announcer guy:"Give Blood Get Beeris a theme for a series of Cascade Regional Services blood drives that enable local restaurants and pubs to support our community's blood supply in a unique and fun way. All registered blood donors will receive a T-shirt and pre-paid coupon for a pint of beer, redeemable beginning the day following the drive. Vampires may not participate in the program."

More details to follow, probably during the next full moon.

GIVE BLOOD GET BEER, 2-5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31, Adriatic Grill, 4201 S. Steele St., Tacoma, 877.24.BLOOD

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.

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

October 30, 2013 at 10:32am

Naked City: Plethora of activity brewing around downtown Olympia

Tallhouse Arts Consortium returns to The Brotherhood Lounge in downtown Olympia.

Olympia is gearing up for November, the month that averages nearly 9 inches of that wonderful wet stuff we call rain. But the downpours aren't going to dampen anyone's spirits; there is a plethora of activity brewing around town.

Downtown, Charlie's Bar and Grill will re-open after months of tarps and boarded up windows. The owners of the Brick Tavern in Tumwater purchased the business. Charlie's should reopen in mid November. While pull tabs, spirits and the name Charlie's will stay the same - the restaurant is expanding to include an all ages seating area and extended menu. 620 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia

Across the street at city hall, new councilmembers will soon be voted into office. The contenders for Position No. 4 are Darren Mills and Cheryl Selby, two powerful downtown business owners. And will it be Jim Cooper who makes it to Position No. 7 or Prophet Atlantis? Could Atlantis' super natural powers perhaps save Olympia? No matter who comes into council, let's hope Olympia is better for it.

Heading toward the water, Swing Wine Bar has swapped one fine bartender for another. Bradford Knutson, Olympia's renaissance man when it comes to libations, has left his long-time career of bartending to become an independent sales representative at Pilchuck Distributors. In his place, 20-year industry veteran Tom Perez will sling drinks at Swing, displaced from the recent closing of Ben Moore's, which, if you meander by, you can see is getting an extensive remodel itself. Will it be opening in the near future? 825 Columbia St. SW, Olympia

At The Brotherhood Lounge, aerialists are about to take flight again, after a summer-long hiatus (hot months = sweaty hands = not safe). The re-vamped team is ready to amaze audiences with its color brand of trapeze. Creativity never ceases and performances range from naughty to funny to just plain beautiful. The shows are free and tips are encouraged. New this year is a dance party to follow, with grooves by DJ Fir$t Lady. If you've ever been to one of the impromptu dances parties at past aerialist events, then you know about the twerking, pumping and shaking that goes on. The shows hit the Broho on the first Wednesday of the month, beginning at 8 p.m. Nov 6. Get there early for a good view. 119 Capitol Way, Olympia

Mama Mia! Vic's Pizzeria has been hard at work prepping its new location in the Wildwood building, next to the popular Oly Coffee Roasters and Spud's Produce. While the inside capacity is smaller than the original location on the Westside, there will be more beer and wine on tap and future plans include a large outdoor seating area. They hope to be open by Thanksgiving. Plenty of people will be giving thanks they can soon grab an Elvis Special or Double Crusted Big Vicin the South Capitol neighborhood. 2822 Capitol S. Blvd., Olympia

October 14, 2013 at 12:17pm

Words & Photos: Harmon Brewer's Dinner and 2015 U.S. Open update

The view from Chambers Bay Grill Friday, Oct. 11 / photo credit: Kim Thompson

You'd expect a brewer's dinner to be all about the beer, right? Well, the Harmon Brewer's Dinner at Chambers Bay Grill Friday, Oct. 11 did feature tasty beer (and it flowed beautifully), but this dinner was so much more, such as knock-your-socks-off food pairings, great guest speakers, lively conversation and the Holy Grail of sunsets, which punctuated the event.

The dinner was indeed a celebration of many things: the launch of Harmon Brewing's Fearless Exploration Imperial Rye IPA, a collaboration of the brewery with the Tacoma Regional Convention + Visitor Bureau (TRCVB); the culinary magic of Chamber's Bay Grill chef Joshua Corcoran; the magnificent Chambers Bay Golf Course and upcoming mega-watt golf championship, the 2015 U.S. Open; and finally, where we live is totally awesome and we know it.

Top things I learned:

I (HEART) the Harmon Brewery, and the Chambers Bay Grill is a foodie's dream.

Let's start with the menu:

First course: shrimp ceviche, cucumbers, lemon and avocado paired with Harmon T-Town Blonde - A Summer Shandy.


September 24, 2013 at 10:03am

Drinking beers with Tacoma's Yarn Bomber

The Yarn Bomber drinks and decorates at The Red Hot in Tacoma. photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Kassie Mitchell is the yarn bomber of Sixth Avenue in Tacoma.

But you probably knew that, right?

OK, so the delightfully mysterious "yarn bomber" isn't probably such a mystery anymore. For those not in the know (yet), the yarn bomber is responsible for crafting the colorful and whimsical crocheted "bike-rack sweaters" that have punctuated the business district since mid-August. Topped with funky and fresh embellishments like crocheted hot dogs and other nibbles, the bike-rack sweaters have captured the delight of many Tacomans. Mitchell's Facebook page has legions of fans, including the 6th Avenue Business District, which adores her work.

Naturally, one would suspect that the yarn bomber would be a rather unconventional sort of gal. You're right. But what is more interesting is how unconventional I became during a visit with the bomber over brews at The Red Hot. All of my journalistic conventions went flying out the window like a tossed ball of yarn.

It was good thing.

We started out talking about beer. Beer is a good thing, too.


September 23, 2013 at 10:05am

Words & Photos: 2013 Tacoma Pub Crawl

Bernie Lomax, the chap made famous in the film "Weekend at Bernie's, joined the Tacoma Pub Run Sept. 21. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Bars are magnetic. We flock to them for what they are and for what they are not. Cheers Bar & Grill on a Saturday night requires a pool stick and a push-up bra. The New Frontier Lounge means prize-worthy beards and flannel. Alfred's Café hosts blue-collar regulars and hipper-snappers. Wingman Brewers pours craft beers to the intellectually curious and happy-go-lucky 30-somethings.

Saturday night these four Tacoma Dome District watering holes served mostly one demographic: The red-shirted, prop-wearing, laughing Tacoma Pub Crawler.

Captain Planet and the Planeteers - a group of Tacomans who abide by the doctrine of the 1990-1992 animated environmentalist cartoon of the same name - hosted its third pub crawl in so many years. After spreading good cheer along Pacific Avenue and Sixth Avenue, the group and its many constituents tackled Tacoma's Dome District, specifically the aforementioned drink-sling establishments.

From 2 p.m. on, this group of around 50 or so had the most controlled fun I've witnessed in quite some time. Big props to the four venues for playing along and, in fact, adding to the fun.

The Planeteers add a charity element to their pub runs. The first two years they raised money for United Way and the Emergency Food Network. Saturday, the group gave Write@253 - a free community writing center - a check for $1,144.

Below are a few photos from the Tacoma Pub Run, as well as a link to a larger photo album.

Thanks for letting me tag along Ston, Stephanie and the Planeteers.

LINK: Tacoma Pub Run photos

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News and entertainment from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s most awesome weekly newspapers - The Ranger, Northwest Airlifter and Weekly Volcano.

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