Northwest Military Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

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August 20, 2014 at 7:35am

Wednesday Morning Joe: Israelis hit Palestinians, neo-Islam campaign, sequester fears return, Army rival gun, SEALs sub, best albums of decade ...

The 545th Military Police Company, of Pawleys Island, S.C., throws a practice coffee pot at Kraft Coffee Pot Range on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. Original photo by Justin Connaher

GRAB A COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 8.20.14 >>>

Islamic State militants posted a video on Tuesday that purported to show the beheading of American journalist James Foley in revenge for U.S. air strikes against the insurgents in Iraq.

Lawmakers mourned the death of freelance journalist James Foley after video purporting to show his beheading at the hands of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. 

Israeli air strikes killed 11 Palestinians in Gaza, including the wife and infant son of Hamas' military leader, after a ceasefire collapsed. 

The mission for U.S. troops in Iraq to help Kurdish and Iraqi security forces in their fight against Islamic militants remains limited for now, but may expand after Iraqi leaders form a new government.

After a long slumber spent in denial, the UN Security Council has decided to do "something" about the forces of neo-Islam now on the rampage in more than a dozen countries across the globe.

The U.N. refugee agency begins a massive four-day airlift today into Irbil in northern Iraq. It's one of the largest humanitarian aid push the agency has ever undertaken. And it's much needed. Half a million refugees have been displaced as ISIS militants have advanced.

Afghan special forces brace for exit of elite U.S. troops.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has the authority to suspend a program that sends surplus military equipment to local law enforcement agencies.

After month on back burner, sequester fears return.

Federal regulators on Tuesday outlined interim rules for streamlined firing of Veterans Affairs Department senior executives, a new authority backed by Congress in an effort to clean up cultural problems at the embattled department.

In its latest personal attack on a prominent official from a rival country, North Korea called U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry a wolf with a "hideous lantern jaw."

A competing rifle outperformed the Army's favored M4A1 carbine in key firings during a competition last year before the service abruptly called off the tests and stuck with its gun, according to a new confidential report.

The U.S. Navy is hard at work developing new underwater transports for its elite commandos. The SEALs expect the new craft - and improvements to large submarine "motherships" that will carry them - to be ready by the end of the decade.

A squirrel's gonna do what a squirrel's gotta do: Until he's up against a pole greased with Vaseline

Big couch, small car: Add someone who's really bad at physics, and you get this

When koala bears argue: It's adorable.

If there is such thing as a perfect motorcycle accident, this might be it.

Pitchfork names the "100 Best Albums of the Decade So Far."

Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul go into business together and this time it's legal ... barely.

Here's a schedule of when every Simpsons episode will air on FXX, starting tomorrow.

Dave Letterman's tribute to Robin Williams will bring tears to your eyes.

First a couple exercises before we begin the day ...

LINK: Original photo by Justin Connaher

June 13, 2014 at 7:09am

Friday Morning Joe: New Iraq War, NORAD scrambles jets, Bergdahl in US, Amazon streams music ...

Ensign David Gayle fires a coffee from a M203 launcher while Chief Master-at-Arms Lawrence Klein supervises on the fantail aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) during a small coffee qualification. Original photo by Mass Communication Spe

GRAB A CUP AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 6.13.14 >>>

NORAD scrambled two F-22 Raptor and two F-15 Eagle fighters against a fleet of Russian bombers.

Al-Qaida-inspired militants who seized large swaths of Iraq's Sunni heartland this week have pushed into an ethnically mixed province northeast of Baghdad, capturing two towns there.

The Iraq government reportedly requested U.S. air strikes to target some regions housing extremists last month, but the Obama administration has so far declined.

Welcome to the New Iraq War: A few good options for the US.

The Big Burn: The Sunni-Shiite conflict explodes in Iraq.

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl touched down in the United States this morning in San Antonio, Texas, five years after being captured by Taliban forces. 

From Afghan sell-off to Pacific build-up: The strategy of logistics.

A new bill has been introduced in Congress that aims to offer relief to veterans that have had to pay for emergency health services.

Should the GOP win control of the US Senate, a window will open for lawmakers and the Obama White House to take one more shot at a sequester-killing fiscal deal.

The real five best fighter aircraft of all time.

The 600,000 asteroids we've discovered so far in one scary view.

Scientists have discovered evidence that all Earth may be hiding huge amounts of water - three times the volume of all our oceans combined.

In very bad news, a superbug resistant to last-resort antibiotics was found in imported squid.

Amazon has launched a streaming music service.

Harrison Ford was injured on the set of Star Wars.

Watch the trailer for the new Seth Rogen/James Franco movie, The Interview.

Really? A Cameron Crowe TV series?

Genius!

LINK: Original photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Billy Ho

May 17, 2014 at 1:39pm

Beer Here: New Tacoma Brew is on tap at Engine House No. 9

Engine House No. 9 bartender Todd McLaughlin took me serious when I said need the new Tacoma Brew pronto. Thanks Todd!

What's old is new again.

In March, I mentioned Engine House No. 9 was in the process of changing its historical Tacoma Brew formula back to the original recipe created in 1888 by the Puget Sound Brewing and Malting Co. in Tacoma.

After Dusty Trail, the man, converted the landmark Engine House No. 9 into Tacoma's first brewpub in 1995, he and Douglas McDonnell brewed the Tacoma Brew, a salute to the original Puget Sound Brewing beer. Trail and McDonnell researched, tinkered and trademarked the beer, producing apparently a more pale ale version of the original recipe. Dick Dickens bought E-9 in 2002 and resident head brewer Doug Tiede used two hops in the Tacoma Brew formula: Czech Saaz hops, the variety used in the original pilsener, and Hallertau, found in Bavarian-style lagers. In 2011, X group (Asado, Masa) purchased E-9, with Shane Johns running the kettles. For several years Johns asked ownership to steer away from the current ale yeast and convert Tacoma Brew to the pilsener recipe of Tacoma's past.

At noon today, Johns' dream came true. The new Tacoma Brew is on tap at E-9, as a Bohemian-style Pilsener.

"We're happy with this first batch," said E-9 bartender Todd McLaughlin, who knows his beer. "It's a bit too sweet for our liking. We'll have it dialed in by the second batch."

Tacoma Brew is now crisp and bitter, with a dry to medium-dry finish and yes, a Pils malt sweetness. It's also bubbly in the back of the mouth.

It's perfect for warm days on E-9's front porch.

May 15, 2014 at 11:58am

Harmon Brewing wins Iron Brewer Competition during Seattle Beer Week

Harmon Brewing Co. is the first brewery to bring the Iron Brewer Pro-Am Award south of Seattle, and have done it twice in a row. Courtesy photo

No, I'm not on Harmon Brewing Co.'s payroll. The Tacoma brewery is making news left and right.

I reported its Harmon Tap Room is integrating with its neighboring Hub restaurant.

Then, I mention the Harmon Brewery & Eatery was part of the Tacoma Brewery Walk.

Yesterday, I announced Harmon has, once again, teamed up with the Tacoma Art Museum on a new beer.

Well, Harmon is freakin' in the news, again.

As part of Seattle Beer Week, the Beveridge Place Pub held its annual Iron Brewer Competition May 11. Like television's Iron Chef, brewers are challenged to create something tasty using a set group of ingredients. Then, the resulting beers go head-to-head in a blind tasting.

Yes, Harmon won. In fact, it's Harmon's second Iron Brewer Competition win.

"We won our first championship last November by beating Odin Brewing who was a two-time champion at the time. We won that round with rosemary and yams combined with our Steep and Deep Winter Ale," says Harmon Brewing Co. co-owner Pat Nagle via email.

Sunday, Harmon grabbed the Iron Brewer first place award with required ingredients sloe berries and savory spice.

"We ordered the sloe berries from Lithuania and Poland; the savory spice was sourced locally in Tacoma," explains Nagle. "We made a tea with the sloe berries and summer savory and then blended that in with our Mt. Takhoma Blonde creating the Mi Slo Savory Blonde. This combination proved to be the winning one besting Triple Horn Brewing of Woodinville for the win."

Congratulations Harmon.

>>> Jesse Holder, director of Harmon’s brewery operations, poses with the Beveridge Place Pub crew. Courtesy photo

May 14, 2014 at 2:41pm

Harmon Brewing teams up with Tacoma Art Museum on drINK THIS IPA

The Tacoma Art Museum - specifically Pei Pei Sung - designed the label for Harmon's drINK THIS IPA. Photo courtesy of the Tacoma Art Museum

Letterpress and craft beer. These two artistries are at the forefront of the South Sound's creative scene. Over the last decade, the area has become a magnet for creative types of every stripe - especially letterpress artists and craft brewers. Chandler O'Leary, Jessica Spring, Chris Sharp, Beautiful Angle's Tom Llewellyn and Lance Kagey, J Hukee and othershave been fighting against the Kindle tide with small presses and handmade fonts, displaying their work in dentists' offices, bars, street corners and large shows, such as Wayzgoose. The other set of bib-wearing craftsmen put just as much time, energy, thought and humor into designs that help brand their beer and distinguish their products. Beginning in the '90s, a firehouse, an electrical station, a Ram and a Fish inspired the new talent in 7 Seas Brewing, Wingman Brewers, Narrows Brewing, Tacoma Brewing Co. and others, landing them with their own taprooms, spots a notable festivals and space in grocery stores.

Then, there's Harmon Brewing Co. Tacoma's first craft microbrewery cares as much about art and image as it does producing award-winning beers. Co-owners Pat Nagle and Carole Ford will tell you they're restaurateurs first, but crafting quality beer and presenting it in creative ways is always on their minds. They've paired their beers and one-off brews with the bicycling community, snow and sun celebrations, music festivals, airplane rides, holidays, bridge re-opening celebrations, city celebrations, and one of their favorite partnerships, art exhibits at the Tacoma Art Museum. Harmon has created seasonal beers in conjunction with huge exhibits at TAM dating back to 1998, including the Hop Art Ale, a season IPA in celebration of "Andy Warhol's Flowers For Tacoma."

"We really enjoy the collaboration, the community and city government involvement in creating the Art Museum beers. We met with the Tacoma Art Museum folks, examined the Warhol exhibit, knocked around ideas and walked away with flowers on the brain. We incorporated four flowers in the Hop Art Ale - lavender, rose hips, hibiscus and chamomile. The Art Museum designed the label and coasters. They sold the beer in their store. We put it on draft in our restaurants, with coasters everywhere. Everyone's talking about the show, the museum and Tacoma craft beer - I love that," says Nagle, with enthusiasm.

Harmon Brewing Co. will once again team up with the Tacoma Art Museum, this time crafting beer around a Northwest print art show opening June 7.

Ah, all my babbling comes to a point.

"Ink This! Contemporary Print Arts in the Northwest" will shine a light on raised metal letters inked and pressed into heavy paper by notable Northwest artists over the years. The exhibit will hang through Nov. 9, 2014. Naturally, over the course of the exhibit, TAM will host many lectures, workshops and events centered on contemporary print arts in the Northwest.

What pairs well with lectures, workshops and events?

Beer.

The Tacoma Art Museum asked Harmon to brew a beer for "Ink This!".

Harmon came back with ... drINK THIS!  

"drINK THIS WHITE IPA is a medium-bodied IPA brewed with three different malted barleys that make up just over 60 percent of the grain bill," says Nagle. "White wheat makes up the other almost 40 percent, with five different hop varieties - Simcoe, Centennial, Cascade, Amarillo and Citra - used in the kettle."

Nagle says it was then dry hopped with a sixth variety of hop, Sorachi Ace, which was chosen for its tropical fruit and lemon aroma flavors.

"Bold flavors of orange, lemon and melon give away to a crisp, clean and smooth finish," he adds.

drINK THIS dials in with a 7.6 percent ABV and 65 IBUs.

The beer will make the same rounds as its other arty predecessors. It will be sold in TAM's store and be available at special Museum events. The Harmon will have it on tap at its four restaurants: Harmon Brewery & Eatery, Harmon Tap Room and The Hub in Tacoma and Gig Harbor.

While the exhibit doesn't open until June 7, drINK THIS will sneak into a couple earlier events. It's scheduled to be a part of the Walk Tacoma UWT/Brewery Walk after party at the Harmon Brewery & Eatery Wednesday, May 21. Click here for details.  

Others will have the opportunity of snatching drINK THIS even earlier. The national American Alliance of Museums organization will hold its Annual Meeting & Museum Expo in Seattle May 18-20, with a couple busloads of museum directors, curators and educators traveling south to visit the Tacoma museums. During an evening gathering at the Tacoma Art Museum May 19, the group will score a taste of Tacoma - drINK THIS.

"We're going to have drINK THIS coasters in all our locations, with the Art Museum on one side and the other side blank. We're going to come up with fun stamps so you can personalize your coasters and take them with you," says Nagle. "Hopefully, it will entice people to visit the exhibit."

Crafty.

INK THIS! CONTEMPORARY PRINT ARTS IN THE NORTHWEST, June 7-Nov. 9, 2014, Tacoma Art Museum, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday-Sundays, 1701 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, $8-$10, 253.272.4258

May 13, 2014 at 11:52am

Beer Here: Walk Tacoma's Brewery District (and drink), Dick's Midnight Ride, beer events ...

Tacoma's former Heidelberg Brewing Co. will be discussed during the Walk Tacoma UWT/Brewery Walk, May 21. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Columbia Brewing Co. first occupied the building along the 2100 block of South C Street in 1900. Beer made at the facility gained national attention for its flavor and smooth aftertaste in the early 1920s, prompting the brewery to double in size and increase capacity by the mid-1930s.

Success at the plant received the attention of another brewery, Heidelberg Brewing Co., which purchased the Columbia plant in 1949 and set out for another round of remodeling. The facility was bought yet again a decade later by Carling Brewery, making it the only West Coast holding of the otherwise East Coast beer company.

Fickle beer drinkers began to snub Tacoma's home brew, and the plant closed in 1979. There have been efforts to revive the brewery in the passing years, but the natural spring that bubbles water to the surface on that end of town isn't as mountain pure as it once was.

That's just a snippet of what you'll most likely hear when University of Washington-Tacoma Art and Architecture Professor Julie Nicoletta leads a tour through Tacoma's Brewery District from 5:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 21. Sponsored by Downtown On the Go, the 1.5-mile Walk Tacoma UWT/Brewery Walk will start at the base of the UWT stairs at South 19th and Pacific Avenue and end at the Harmon Brewery and Eatery for light appetizers and a beer tasting. Then at 8, stop by the corner of South 19th and Jefferson Street as I will lead my own tour talk called, "Bushes I Fell In Between the Heidelberg and The Swiss During the 1990s." OK, I'm kidding about my tour (kind of), but the part about the Brewery Walk is absolutely true.

Nicoletta's tour will highlight the historic Brewery and Warehouse Districts, including locations of old breweries, the Swiss Building, the Streets and Grounds Maintenance Division's Barn, and the development of the Prairie Line Trail along the old Prairie Rail Line. There is no need to pre-register for the event, simply join Downtown On the Go at the meeting spot. 

The Harmon has its T-town Blonde, Chambers Bay Scottish Ale and the new drINK THIS IPA lined up for the tasting.

BEER NEWS

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Dick's Brewing Company will release a special 20th anniversary beer, Dick's Midnight Ride, July 18. Dick's Midnight Ride is a trip to the dark side. The robust, Northwest-style CDA will burst with Cascade and Centennial hops, perfectly balanced with a rich dark malt profile. Think rich, dark and malty like a porter but with a hop IPA profile. Dick's will throw a 20th anniversary bash at its Centralia home Saturday, Oct. 25.

BEER HERE

Tuesday, May 13-18

American Craft Beer Week - May 12-18 - is more of a Midwest thing. All the Northwest craft breweries are hip wader deep into Seattle Beer Week. Ninkasi Brewing Company, for instance, has 13 events lined up for the 11-day Seattle Beer Week, which ends May 18. A few South Sound beer-centric entities are celebrating the Emerald City beer bath, such as Pint Defiance taproom and beer store with its 26-beer Northwest beer punch card. The RAM Big Horn Brewery is waving the American Craft Beer Week flag, highlighting one of its gold medal winning beers a day, offering an 18-ounce pour for $3.25. The Big Red IPA is on the pedestal today. Tomorrow, its Washington Blonde receives the spotlight, followed by the Disorder Porter and a Hefeweizen salute Friday.

Wednesday, May 14

The ladies of Pike Brewing have developed a beer with some of the proceeds going to Planned Parenthood. Kris Blondin, owner of STINK Cheese and Meat and neighboring STINK Tank wine bar, holds the Pike Brewing crew in high regard. STINK will pour samples of Pike's seasonal Morning After Pale Ale from 5-8 p.m. For every pint sold, Blondin will donate a dollar to Planned Parenthood.

The 10 Barrel Brewing Co. is on the move. The Bend, Ore., brewery is opening a third brewpub in Portland's Pearl District this summer - the other two are in Bend and Boise. The Portland site will include a pub and a brewhouse, which will brew small batch and one-off beers. Speaking of 10 Barrel small batch beers, several will be available May 14 when 10 Barrel visits the Puyallup River Alehouse. The downtown Puyallup house of beers will serve hot dogs, tacos, giveaway prizes and pour a bunch of 10 Barrel beers.

Saturday, May 17

The Bacon and Beer Classic will consume Safeco Field in Seattle May 17. The traveling greasy, hoppy fiesta visits baseball fields around the country, drawing thousands of attendees to sample craft beer and bacon-based dishes from regional restaurants. Adding to that already winning combination will be performances from local bands and cooking demonstrations. Chef Hudson Slater of Maxwell's Restaurant teamed up with the mad scientists at Wingman Brewers to create a Tacoma bacon beer for the Seattle festival - Gratzilla Bacon Smoked Wheat Beer. It's a light, sessionable and smoky wheat beer - and on tap at Wingman, too. By the way, Wingman is now open 2-9 p.m. every Sunday.

Top Rung Brewing Company in Lacey gives nod to the American Craft Beer Week with a tour of its brewery beginning at 3 p.m.

St. Patrick's Day celebrations aren't easy. You must practice to prepare yourself for the zaniness that goes down every March 17. Doyle's Public House knows this. That's why they host monthly St. Practice Day parties, of which happens Saturday. The party begins with Doyle's Guinness Club toast at 5:17 p.m. All the members gather before Grand Poobah Russ Heaton, who recognizes members who have hit milestones, such as 500 pints of Guinness, while the other members tear up. After the announcement, Heaton raises a glass of the Irish Mother's Milk and toasts the members. At 5:25 p.m., some will board a bus for the Sounders game. Those who stay behind will work on their membership goals, until funky Afrobeat band Rippin Chicken bumps them silly at 9:30 p.m.

>>> Doyle's Public House lines them up Saturday at 5:17 p.m.

May 12, 2014 at 10:16am

Words & Photos: Gig Harbor Beer Festival

Peace, indeed. The third annual Gig Harbor Beer Festival was a righteous, fun day of beer drinking. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

They called out to ye faithful, and all ye faithful answered. Saturday, at the third annual Gig Harbor Beer Festival, I watched the gigantic beer garden in the middle of the posh Uptown Gig Harbor retail hub slowly but surely fill up with the most faithful of beer-goers. Let me assure you, shelling out $25 for a six-hour session of beer sampling was absolutely worth it, especially when many of these beers had been just released, or were limited-edition, or were 9 percent ABV and up.

Around 20 breweries made an appearance at the Fest, manning tables in a giant circle around the perimeter. Tastes ranged from a piney Cascadian Dark Ale from 7 Seas Brewery, to a big hop bomb Belgian IPA from Dick's Brewing, a citrusy Flying Monkey Dogfight Pale Ale from American Brewing, German-style Kolsch Ale from Bainbridge Island Brewing and a refreshing Zythos Single Hop from Wingman Brewers, which was perfect beneath the warm sun.

There were also things such as the RAM Big Horn Brewery's Maibock, which brewmaster Bethany Carlsen trumpeted as "a beer that will sneak up on you." It was indeed rich, with a big kick and altogether delicious.

Another big beer was the Damnedeleven from Slippery Pig Brewery out of Poulsbo. Ringing in at 11 percent ABV, this tasty, imperial brew was loaded with 30 pounds of dandelion.

A steady stream lined up before Northwest Brewing's Mango Weizen - and with good reason. This cheery American/Bavarian Hef had the perfect amount of fruit.

The capacity crowd voted for its favorite beer at the Gig Harbor Beer Festival. Silverdale's Rainy Daze Brewing Co.'s Mind Funk walked away with the award. The roasted aroma Oatmeal Pale Stout had a subtle layer of coffee from Sunrise Coffee in Port Townsend. Worthy.

Festival producer John Fosberg can chalk up another success. Thanks to a sunny day, awesome music by Aisle of View and Perry Acker, delicious beer and a very happy, fun crowd, the fourth annual Gig Harbor Beer Festival will be a no-brainer.

LINK: More photos from the third annual Gig Harbor Beer Festival

May 8, 2014 at 8:23am

The Harmon's Next Generation: Harmon Tap Room and The Hub to integrate

The Harmon Tap Room in Tacoma is being remodeled, including an integration with its sister restaurant, The Hub. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Whatever you do, don't call the Harmon Brewing Company's Stadium District restaurants "McMenamins."

I made the mistake of dropping that term during a conversation with co-owner Pat Nagle about his remodel plans to make the Harmon Tap Room and The Hub more of a destination. "It's not McMenamins," he shot back. "We're not adding a hotel or movie theater."

I've known Nagle for some time. I've never met someone more passionate about the restaurant and brewery business. If he says his new plan doesn't mimic McMenamins then, hey, I'm not calling it either (although I did notice a slight smile on the man's face).

Nagle, and his business partner, Carole Ford, are transforming the Harmon Tap Room, and in a way The Hub above it, into one single destination for families. Phase one is nearly complete. The Tap Room's outdoor beer garden has been remodeled, complete with new tables and concrete walkways. If you're thinking dirndl-wearing beer maids bearing big tankards of frothy lager, think again. You need to think families - dining outdoors, under Tivoli lights, next to a fancy new fence, with giant Jenga games and music on the way, only to be interrupted by the brewmasters wheeling kegs toward the cold storage. The keg highway through the beer garden, or Harmon Garden as it now is known, will disappear in June.

The Harmon, like many other breweries across the nation, is aspiring to be more than just a place where patrons drop in for a mug or a quick bite on the way to somewhere else.

"We have two restaurants and the huge all-ages outdoor Harmon Garden, a private events space, the brewery behind glass - it's more of a destination," says Nagle, nibbling on a Tap Room street taco, while pointing to each subject's location - including The Hub straight above. The Tap Room turned family-friendly this year, but the outdoor beer garden was a 21 and older hangout. If you take your beer out to one of the Garden's long, wood tables today, don't be surprised when two fifth-grade St. Pat's students slam down their root beers on the same table and high-five because their teacher, Mr. Moore, is "rockin' cool."

Over the next four to six weeks, Nagle and Ford will remodel the stairway between the two restaurants, allowing an easy flow.

"The only outdoor seating at The Hub is in the bar. If a family wants pizza or a pulled pork grinder in the sunshine, down the stairs they can descend and out to the Harmon Garden," explains Nagle. "It's that easy."

Other changes include a freshening of the Tap Room's facade. In June, expect to see window dressings and awnings. Wood fencing has replaced the chain fence around the Garden.

As I mention, the keg route to cold storage is changing.

"The area off the Tap Room's back room will be remodeled, insulated and fitted to be a bottling and keg-filling center, opening up the brewing room for more tanks," says Nagle. This will eliminate having to cart the kegs through the Harmon Garden. The kegs will soon only travel several feet into cold storage. Gone will be the crowded bottling situation in the brewing room, and awkward flow through the Garden."

Also on the way are menu changes, seasonal specials and holiday dinners.

The Hub and Harmon Tap Room should be integrated by mid-June, just in time for graduations.

Now, if there was a hotel on top of The Hub. ... Just kidding Pat!

HARMON TAP ROOM, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, all ages until 9 p.m., 204 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, 253.212.2725

BEER HERE

THURSDAY, MAY 8

Now in its sixth year, Seattle Beer Week is more than 100 beery events from May 8 through 18. Who cares? Pint Defiance does. The beer store/taproom on the edge of Fircrest will celebrate the Seattle event by tapping 26 Washington beers, in intervals, during the duration. Pint Defiance will issue a special punch card. Drink all 26 and earn a limited edition shirt as proof of your status as a veteran beer marathoner. Start stretching and stay hydrated with your favorite electrolyte-enhanced beverage, because you won't want to hit the wall during this once-a-year-event. Check out its Facebook page for more details: facebook.com/PintDefiance.

SATURDAY, MAY 10

The third annual Gig Harbor Beer Festival will host 21 craft brewers, Gig Harbor's Heritage Distillery and a bigger music venue at the Gig Harbor Uptown Pavilion Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. In terms of music, Perry Acker returns for the band's second year and takes the stage at 3 p.m. Aisle of View, a reggae band currently touring the country, opens at 1 p.m. Tickets are $25, and are available at gigharborbeerfestival.com. Admission includes a commemorative taster cup and eight taster tokens. Depending on availability, you may also purchase tickets the day of the event for $25. Additional taster tokens will be on sale during the event. The Uptown Pavilion is at 4701 Point Fosdick Dr. NW.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 14

The 10 Barrel Brewing Co. is on the move. The Bend, Ore., brewery is opening a third brewpub in Portland's Pearl District this summer - the other two are in Bend and Boise. The Portland site will include a pub and a brewhouse, which will brew small batch and one-off beers. Speaking of 10 Barrel small batch beers, several will be available May 14 when 10 Barrel visits the Puyallup River Alehouse. The downtown Puyallup house of beers will serve hot dogs, tacos, giveaway prizes and pour a bunch of 10 Barrel beers.

May 6, 2014 at 12:22pm

Beer Here: RAM's Maibock, Pint Defiance double shot and upcoming beer events ...

Butt heads with a RAM Maibock.

The arrival of spring at the RAM Restaurant and Brewery marks the return of its 2010 Great American Beer Festival bronze medal winner, Maibock. "The RAM's traditional Heller Bock combines toasty malt richness and a refreshing hop character to deliver a bold kick," says Dave Leonard, director of Brewery Operations for the RAM in a news release.

In Germany, Maibocks are the first bock biers released each year, which makes this medal-winning brew perfect to toast longer days. The RAM's version is an easy drink, smooth with notes of citrus, floral and caramel.

The RAM's Maibock will be on tap for a limited time at all RAM locations.

Wednesday, May 7

I'm transforming my Ford Fusion into a funky vehicle perfect for peeling through the years via one of those freaky traversable wormholes. I still need a collider, an imploding device, a differentiator - you know, your basic road trip stuff. My target? Shea Stadium, 1986, Game 6 of the World Series to make damn sure that Beantown's first baseman bends lower. 

Some would rather go back further, mid-1800s, to see how our state rocked the world back then. If you are having differentiator problems, check out Fort Nisqually Living History Museum at Point Defiance Park. Established in 1833 by the Hudson Bay Company and moved to Tacoma's peninsula in 1933, the fort acts as a repository of living history, and their camps and classes - run by Mike McGuire (a.k.a. Fort Mike) - continue to educate kids about the rich history of the South Puget Sound.

Pint Defiance - the beer store/taproom so in love with Point Defiance Park it incorporated the Tacoma icon into its name - will host a fundraiser with Ninkasi Brewing Company for Fort Nisqually 5-7 p.m. Wednesday.For every pint sold, Ninkasi will donate $1 to the Fort Nisqually Foundation to keep the camps and classes coming. In fact, $2 will be donated for every growler filled. With Ninkasi's Total Domination IPA, Prismatic Series Lux Helles Lager and Multihead Single-Hop Pale Ale on tap, McGuire should be a happy man.As a bonus, Pint Defiance is putting a bounty on the draft beers by donating $50 to the Fort for every keg emptied that night. Nice. Expect Ninkasi schwag and both free and donation-based raffles.

Thursday, May 8

Now in its sixth year, Seattle Beer Week is more than 100 beery events May 8 through 18. Who cares? Pint Defiance does. It will celebrate the Seattle event by tapping 26 Washington beers, in intervals, during the duration. Pint Defiance will issue a special punch card. Drink all 26 and earn a limited edition shirt as proof of your status as a veteran beer marathoner. Start stretching and stay hydrated with your favorite electrolyte-enhanced beverage, because you won't want to hit the wall during this once-a-year-event. Check out its Facebook page for more details: facebook.com/PintDefiance.

Saturday, May 10

The third annual Gig Harbor Beer Festival will host 21 craft brewers, Gig Harbor's Heritage Distillery and a bigger music venue at the Gig Harbor Uptown Pavilion Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. In terms of music, Perry Acker returns for the band's second year and takes the stage at 3 p.m. Aisle of View, a reggae band currently touring the country, opens at 1 p.m. Tickets are $25, and are available at gigharborbeerfestival.com. Admission includes a commemorative taster cup and eight taster tokens. Depending on availability, you may also purchase tickets the day of the event for $25. Additional taster tokens will be on sale during the event. The Uptown Pavilion is at 4701 Point Fosdick Dr. NW.

Wednesday, May 14

The 10 Barrel Brewing Co. is on the move. The Bend, Ore., brewery is opening a third brewpub in Portland's Pearl District this summer - the other two are in Bend and Boise. The Portland site will include a pub and a brewhouse, which will brew small batch and one-off beers. Speaking of 10 Barrel small batch beers, several will be available May 14 when 10 Barrel visits the Puyallup River Alehouse. The downtown Puyallup house of beers will serve hot dogs, tacos, giveaway prizes and pour a bunch of 10 Barrel beers.

May 1, 2014 at 9:35am

Cinco de Crafto: My search for Mexican craft beer in Tacoma

Connecticut-based Drinks Americas imports Cerveceria Minerva's Day of the Dead beer to a couple local beer stores.

"Cinco de Mayo," Spanish for "the sink is full of mayonnaise." OK, not really. I made that up, which is only fitting, because the idea that May 5 is a big holiday celebrated throughout Mexico is also made up. This yarn was spun by some PR hack for Corona beer back in the '80s, when the company was looking for a way to get Americans to drink more beer.

Since this is not an especially hard task, they didn't work especially hard on the idea, not even hard enough to note that Mexico's real Day of Independence is Sept. 16. Cinco de Mayo commemorates The Battle of Puebla, where Mexicans defeated the French army, and in Mexico is mostly a regional holiday. Ordinarily, Americans don't cotton to anyone except Oliver Stone replacing facts with fabrications, but in this case, with beer consumption at stake, we were more than willing to overlook a little lie.

So here we are, decades later, stuffing our faces with nachos (another American invention) and toasting each other with mugs of Corona as we celebrate the truly American tradition of making up holidays to boost sales.

Holy mole! Why celebrate the fake holiday by drinking tasteless beer? It's the perfect opportunity to celebrate Mexican culture and drink Mexican craft beer.  Mexico's beer market is the 5th largest in the world by volume: 1.77 billion gallons per year to be exact. Certainly beer-loving Tacoma has a few Mexican craft beer bottles ready for Monday's holiday.

OK, a little research proves grabbing a craft beer created South of the Border might be a challenge. Apparently, of those billions of gallons that are exported - 58 percent of it is Anheuser Busch (Modelo, Corona, Dos Equis) and 41 percent of it is Heineken (Tecate, Sol) - (divide number x by number y, then multiply by 100) that leaves a mere one percent for other Mexican brewers, fighting for space on shelves and taps.

I'm still up for the challenge.

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