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NW breweries offer holiday cheer

Craft beer that's not afraid to put the holidays on the label

Harmon Brewery is offering their traditional Steep and Deep Winter Ale, available by the bottle and on top in their Tacoma taproom. Photo courtesy Harmon Brewery

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When it comes to craft breweries, the Puget Sound Region revels in an embarrassment of riches. From Olympia to Bellingham, from Gig Harbor to Kingston, dozens of boutique breweries dot the landscape. While all have their own unique signature offerings year-round, come Christmas, some brew up something special to celebrate the holiday season. Here is a sample of seasonal brews offered by local craftsmen.

Pacific Brewing and Malting Company, located on Pacific Avenue in Tacoma, pays homage to National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation with their seasonal Griswold's Winter Warmer, named for that champion of all things Christmas, Clark W. Griswold. This tasty winter ale features "rich caramel and nutty flavors with a big malty backbone." Available on Tap.

Pacific Brewing and Malting Company, 4-10 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday; noon to 10 p.m., Friday through Saturday; noon to 6 p.m., Sunday, 610 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.383.2337,

Available in their 19th Street Taproom, Narrows Brewing's Wenceslas Wheat Wine, named for that good king of old, is "deep gold in color with a wonderful fruity citrus aroma brought to you by Centennial and Citra hops.  The 50 percent wheat in the grist gives a clean, smooth malt flavor, balanced by Amarillo and Centennial hops in the boil." Perfect for cold winter evenings. Locally available wherever fine craft beers are sold.

Narrows Brewing, noon to 6 p.m., Sunday; 2-9 p.m., Monday through Thursday; noon to 11 p.m., Friday through Saturday, 9007 S. 19th St., Tacoma, 253.327.1400,

Once again, Harmon Brewery is offering their traditional Steep and Deep Winter Ale. This dark brown winter ale is redolent with cocoa, malt, citrus and a hint of mint, making it a tasty brew to enjoy while waiting for Santa to arrive or ringing in the New Year. Available by the bottle and on tap in their Tacoma taproom located at 204 St. Helens Avenue in Tacoma.

Harmon Brewing Company, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Friday through Saturday, 204 Saint Helens Ave., Tacoma, 253.212.2725,

Located in Poulsbo, Sound Brewery offers its Entendez Noel Belgian Quadrupel to ring in the holidays. According to its website, this special Belgian Quadrupel "is bursting with subtly complex flavors and fits no particular beer style. Its explosion of sensations comes from just Belgian Pilsner malt, cane sugar, Motueka hops, Trappist yeast, water and fermentation. Drink warm or cold in various glassware shapes and sizes to discover all its nuances. Entendez should age extremely well for years to come."

Sound Brewery is also brewing up Old Scoundrel Barleywine for the holidays. For the uninitiated, "barleywine" is a beverage brewed from grain, like beer, but with an alcohol content of eight to 12 percent, more like a wine. Old Scoundrel "is a delicious malt-balanced barleywine with enough Cascade hop to make it a great marriage of the Old and New Worlds." Sound Brewery beer can be found at BevMo and all Tacoma Boys stores, as well as other locations.

Sound Brewery Tasting Room, 2 to 9 p.m., Monday to Friday; noon to 9 p.m., Saturday; noon to 7 p.m., Sunday; 650 NW Bovela Ln., Ste. #3, Poulsbo, 360.930.8696,

Located in Olympia, Fish Brewing Company specializes in a wide variety of award-winning ales, including a full line of organic ales. This year's holiday offering, Fish Brewing Winterfish Ale, is "the full-bodied seasonal ale that brings meaning to ‘Winter Warmer,'" according to the website. "With a snappy hop character, this isn't just another brown beer masquerading as a seasonal. This is hearty fare brewed for the season of celebrations. Enjoyed at ease with friends and food, Winterfish will put a glow in the cheeks and warmth in the veins."

Fish Brewery and Fish Tale Brew Pub, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to midnight, Friday; 9 a.m. to midnight, Saturday; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday; 515 Jefferson St. SE, Olympia, 360.943.6480,

Maritime Pacific Brewery in Seattle rings in the holidays with its seasonal Jolly Roger Christmas Ale, described as, "a truly original holiday brew combining rich malt character with a blend of fresh Northwest Chinook and Cascade hops. Official insignia for this English Strong Ale style is a smiling skull-and-crossbones, reminder to all to enjoy their Jolly, but with discretion. Join Maritime's salute to the high seas renegade! ‘Yo-Ho-Ho!'"

Maritime Pacific Brewing Company and Jolly Roger Taproom; noon to 11 p.m., Monday to Thursday; noon to midnight, Friday and Saturday; noon to 9 p.m., Sunday; 1111 NW Ballard Way, Seattle, 206.782.6181,

Pyramid Snow Cap Ale from Pyramid Brewery, out of Seattle, is a perennial favorite with those who like seasonal brews. "A moving medley of hops that harmonizes together," Snow Cap Ale  "is an IPA bursting with rich citrus hop aromas and a balanced depth of flavor." Pyramid Snow Cap Ale can be found wherever locally-crafted beer is sold.

Pyramid Alehouse, Brewery & Restaurant; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday; 1201 First Ave. S., Seattle, 206.682.3377,

The Redhook breweries, from Portsmouth and Woodinville, are once again offering a bold, dark Winterhook Ale to help ring in the season. This year's Winterhook "offers a rich caramel body that balances a big malt backbone with the aggressively dry-hopped brew, making this year's winter ale slightly naughty and very nice." Like Pyramid Snow Cap Ale, Redhook's Winterhook Winter Ale is also available from local purveyors of boutique beer.

Redhook Brewery, Woodinville; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday to Monday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 14300 NE 145th St., Woodinville, 425.483.3232,

This year, Wobbly Hopps, located on the Kitsap Peninsula in the town of Bremerton, is offering a unique white stout with notes of white chocolate and peppermint.  This unlikely brew is called White Elephant, but don't worry, you won't be re-gifting this one. Sadly, White Elephant will only be available on tap at the Wobbly Hopps brewery, located at 260 4th St. in Bremerton. That might be a long way, but this brew is worth the drive!

Wobbly Hopps Brewery; 4-8 p.m., Wednesday to Thursday; 4-9 p.m., Friday; noon to 9 p.m., Saturday; noon to 4 p.m., Sunday; 260 4th St., Bremerton, 360.383.5580,

Described as "mahoghany colored and rich tasting, with an intriguing hop profile," Seattle's Hale's Ales seasonal, Wee Heavy Winter Ale, "is an award-winning strong ale that is a perfect match for the cold weather months." Wee Heavy Winter Ale can be found at most South Sound Fred Meyer's stores.

Hales Ales Brewery and Pub; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 4301 Leary Way NW, Seattle, 206.782.0737,

With a name like "Silver City," you know this craft brewery, located in the town of Silverdale on the Kitsap Peninsula, just has to have a special seasonal winter brew. And Silver City's Wonderland Winter Lager doesn't disappoint. Like its ad says,  "Frightful weather is no match for Wonderland. A blend of five different malts lend a deep, rich color and mild roast character ... "

Silver City has another seasonal to offer as well: Old Scrooge is bound to delight the palate with notes of apple, cherry and apricot. Drink this dark, malty ale now or put it away for next year. It's bound to only grow better with age. Silver City beer can be found at Fred Meyer, Safeway, Tacoma Boys and other stores around the South Sound.

Silver City Restaurant and Brewery; 11a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday; 2799 NW Myhre Rd., Silverdale, 360.698.5879,

Bainbridge Brewery on Bainbridge Island is offering a unique beer for the holiday season. This is a full-bodied ale, known as the Wing Point Winter Ale. It has "a malt complexity showing caramel, toffee, dried fruit and chocolate, with a hint of hopiness to remind you of the fir trees outside." A beer this good can't be confined to a bottle, so you'll find it on tap at the Bainbridge Island Brewery at 9415 Coppertop Loop on Bainbridge Island.

Bainbridge Island Brewing Tap Room; 2-9 p.m., Monday to Friday; noon to 9 p.m., Saturday; noon to 7 p.m., Sunday; 9415 Coppertop Loop, Bremerton, 206.451.4646,

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