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Q&A: Morgan Alexander, founder of Tacoma Brewing Co.

Craft brewing consumes the Amocat Cafe

Morgan Alexander / Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

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Everybody loves a comeback. We all cheered when Rocky returned to the ring (except that last time) and the world of funk was creaming its leather chinos when James Brown got out of jail. Well, one of Tacoma's coffee houses is on the verge of grabbing the comeback of the year award. Amocat Cafe, which opened three years ago in the St. Helens neighborhood, no longer will be a coffee house. Backed by a successful Kickstarter, owner Morgan Alexander will convert the space into the temporary permanent home of his second love, the Tacoma Brewing Company. What were a couple nights of pouring his delicious craft beer under the Amocat sign will be replaced with several more nights of beer drinking under the TBC sign.

But first, an Amocat Café Grand Closing Event will go down 5-9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11 featuring, well, yes beer. It will be the last time the Valhalla custom roasted Amocat espresso blend will be served. In addition, Alexander made an amber wheat beer called Backwards Tacoma Ale that will be unveiled Friday night. I caught up with Alexander during the transition.

WEEKLY VOLCANO: Tell us a bit about how you got into the beer business.

MORGAN ALEXANDER: I love the process of creating beer. I enjoy coming up with new concepts and flavor combinations. And I like beer people. Beer people are the best!

VOLCANO: What should people know about your brewery?

ALEXANDER: People should know that I love hops and I love experimenting with stretching what beer is. For instance, I just did a Pineapple Rum Stout but I fermented the pineapple so there is very little sweetness. I also make, as far as I can tell, the only line of authentic ginger ales in the country. There is no grain used, so it fits in with "gluten-free" diets.

VOLCANO: If people only try one of your beers, which should it be?

ALEXANDER: My favorite is the Penalty Kick Triple IPA - It's so juicy. But I think people should try a hard ginger ale too as it's pretty unique.

VOLCANO: Other than your own, what is your favorite beer?

ALEXANDER: I'm a huge Boneyard Brewing fan. I love their RPM IPA.

VOLCANO: When you hear the following words what do you think of?

Amocat Cafe: "Backwards Tacoma"

Tacoma Craft Beer Festival: "Fun in the sun"

Streetcars: "Very slow to come to Tacoma"

VOLCANO: What are your favorite places for a drink in the South Sound?

ALEXANDER: I love the Parkway for beer, Tacoma Cabana for a rum-filled tropical getaway and Hilltop Kitchen for craft cocktails and giant hand-cut ice cubes.

VOLCANO: What are your hopes and plans for the future of Tacoma Brewing Company?

ALEXANDER: I would love to see it get as big as Heidelberg used to be, while maintaining the ability to do experimental one-offs. More immediately, I hope to start bottling and getting wider distribution.

VOLCANO: Are there any specials Friday night?

ALEXANDER: Yes, but you need to know the secret password.

TACOMA BREWING CO., 5-9 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 3-9 p.m. Saturday, 625 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, 253.242.3370

See Also

Q&A with Tanya Chapman, bartender at Engine House No. 9

Q&A with Jason Alexander, co-owner of Tacoma Cabana

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