Casey Williams and Trevor Nichol held their first annual home brewing contest during July, and competition was fierce. Titled the "Aroma of Tacoma Homebrew Championship," the duo invited home brewers from across the lands to brew beers using handcrafted products, containing ingredients available to the general public and made using private equipment. The competition had more in common with the Westminster dog show than it did a Betty Crocker pie-making competition. For a homebrew to rise to the top of the class, it had to match the style of one of the 23 categories recognized by the Beer Judge Certification Program guidelines. Winners in each category were then judged head-to-head to determine the "Best in Show," which was awarded to Dioni De Morena of Redmond. De Morena and the other home brewers received their awards the last Saturday morning in July in the Harmon Tap Room's beer garden. Beer was drank before 10 a.m. (natch).
Five beers from the competition were selected by local brewers to be brewed commercially, a Pro/Am selection, if you will:
Williams and Nichol have added a final piece to their Aroma - a pub crawl. Saturday, the Pro-Am beers will be poured at Sixth Avenue drinking establishments. At noon, those who shelled out $35 here (still time!), will gather at The Red Hot to toss back 10-ounces of Frommer's C.D. Saison. Then drinkers - some wearing their commemorative T-shirts and some not - will walk across the street to the Engine House No. 9 and tip all 10-ounces of Ochsner's Waimea Blood Orange Pale. The Aroma of Tacoma Pro-Am Pub Crawl will then head east along Sixth Avenue until Williams and Nichol steer drinkers into O'Malley's Irish Pub for 10-ounces of Breedlove's The Greek IPA. Next, it's short hop to Dirty Oscar's for the Hop Denim Double IPA invented by Walker and Anderson. At this point no one will complain about backtracking to the Crown Bar for 10-ounces of Best in Show winner De Morena's Die Wasp Kolsch.
The official crawl will end at 5 p.m. Some drinkers will walk away like pros, some like amateurs. It's safe to say most everyone will leave with smiles.
AROMA OF TACOMA PRO-AM PUB CRAWL, noon to 5 p.m., The Red Hot, 2914 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 435, AromaOfTacomaHBC.com
For so many South Sounders, autumn = race season, and that means on any weekend day, you're likely to be passed-on-the-left by hordes of runners in training.
But all that personal-best pressure can take the joy out of running. Festivals, Inc. wants to get back to the roots of the individual sport. Stein Dash is a German-themed 5K that focuses on the fun of running and, just as important, the fun of the after-race.
The race kicks off the third day of Festivals' Oktoberfest Northwest, the three-day Bavarian celebration at the Western Washington Fair and Events Center. Celebrating its 10th year at the fairgrounds, the huge Oktoberfest celebration kicks off at 6:15 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3 with the taping of the Oktoberfest Firkin. At 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 5, runners will run around the fairgrounds with a provided beer stein finishing at the Oktoberfest Northwest Festhalle Biergarten where those 21 and older may fill the steins with Warsteiner Dunkel, Warsteiner Oktoberfest, Hofbrau Oktoberfest, Trumer Pils, Hacker Pshor Weiss and Snoqualmie Harvest Moon, the featured beers of the festival. Washington Hills wine will be available for weirdos. Kids may fill up in the Root Beer Garden.
Race fees are $35 until Oct. 1 when online registration closes. You will pay $40 the day before at race packet pick-up. If your Hacker Pshor Weiss calorie intake the day before has you worried, show up with $45 Sunday morning. All 5K participants receive an authentic one of a kind logo'd 5k Beer Stein and allowed to party at Oktoberfest Northwest Sunday for no additional fee.
The German theme doesn't apply just to the beer. Tacoma European restaurants Bruno's and Café Europa will keep drinkers fed all three days with schweinebraten, pyzy, curry wurst, cabbage rous, kartoffelpuffer, bierocks, goulash soup, schnitzel sandwiches, to name a few dishes. Food trucks Zeiglers German Haus, Kaleenka piroshkies and Gutes Essen Haus will add more brats and schnitzels. Shishkaberry's will dip fruit in chocolate and stab it with a stick.
The Stein Dash is one of many kitschy events to keep you entertained throughout the weekend. The hilarious wiener dog races are back, including stupid wiener tricks. The Enzian Schuhplattler dancers will spin around a May Pole. Pumpkins can be decorated. The German Corner shopping mall will outfit you in lederhosen. Manuela Horn, aka Austrian Amazon, will yodel, dance, throw out one-liners and plant eyes in her cleavage Friday and Saturday night. Kids can pound nails with hammers all weekend. Ja, families are welcomed in the Festhalle Biergarten until 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and all-day Sunday. Teens might scoff at the oom-pah bands, which dominate the entertainment stages during family hours.
Oh, to be in that great mass of humanity, dancing to the throbbing polka beats, scarfing down sausage, kraut, and strudel, and most of all, imbibing from the holy grail ... er, stein. It can be yours Oct. 3-5 in Puyallup.
As always, you get bonus coolness points for going in costume, especially if you run with an empty stein.
OKTOBERFEST NORTHWEST, noon to midnight Friday, Oct. 3, 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday, Oct. 4, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5, Washington State Fair and Events Center, Ninth and Meridian, Puyallup, free admission noon to 3 p.m. Friday, $10 Friday after 3 p.m. and all-day Saturday, $5 Sunday, oktoberfestnw.com
Every week we swap out the Served banner art above, introducing you to the people who serve food and drinks in the South Sound. This week, meet Seth Roth.
Server Banner Boy, Sept. 22-28, 2014
Seth Roth has been singing since the age of 5. The Tacoma singer-songwriter grew up on Steve Perry and Lou Gramm, but has one solid foot in the Bob Dylan and Neil Young camp. Roth has been serving coffee at Harmon's Hop Coffee since the day it opened inside the Harmon Tap Room in Tacoma's Stadium District. Hop Coffee combines beans from Bluebeard Coffee Roasters with of sweetened coffee syrups developed by Melina Eshinski, pastry chef for Harmon Brewing Co. Drop by Hop Coffee and have a cup. Be sure to ask Roth about his 8 p.m. show at Cork! A Wine Bar Sept. 27.
Why do you serve?
"Because I like interaction with people. I am a people person. I like to be able to provide a genuine experience for any person that comes into an establishment that I am a part of."
"That's such a hard question. ... Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock."
What don't you serve?
What's on your radar at Hop Coffee?
"The biggest thing right now is our Amber Harvest latte. It's a great mix of the Harmon's Amber Expedition beer and our pumpkin spice flavor. And it will be a great drink for the quickly approaching fall."
Brewery soft openings are for practicing and thanking.
Operators invite friends and family, their various suppliers, distributors, investors and other associates, many of whom have a vested interest in the venue's success. These types of people tend to provide two types of positive feedback: (1) glowing validation and/or (2) helpful suggestions. It's a time for brewery operators to take a moment's breath, clink pint glasses in appreciation and show fellow brewers their operation.
The staff can run through pouring procedures, test the payment system and practice their ABV and IBUs.
Soft openings are not for media types to dissect.
During Pacific Brewery and Malting Company's soft opening last night I felt foolish snapping photos. Even with all the smiles, and many South Sound brewery owners and head brewers in the house offering congratulations and support, posing for photos or answering questions wasn't apropos.
The downtown Tacoma brewery opens today at 1 p.m. It's handsome. All five beers are dialed in, priced right and worthy of 9-ounce and 16-ounce pours.
Later, I'll dive into the beers, the beautiful wood and the pain-in-the-ass front driveway they were forced to build.
Congratulations founders Steve Navarro and Brent Hall.
It's been a long month - back to school, Washington State Fair zaniness, bears roaming the streets. Too long to make like a rabbit and nibble on some gross, shrivelled salad for dinner. How does, say, schnitzel beef sliders sound? What about some hearty beer braised pork shank, blaukraut and kartoffelpuffer? Dat's goot, goot! As goot as in Munich! That'll pair quite well with an Oktoberfest beer. Throw on some Lederhosen or a Dirndl and head to BITE in the Hotel Murano. Chef Matthew Stickle will present a five-course Bavarian fare dinner paired with Washington beers.
"There was A LOT of beer tasting," says Stickle. "Both of my sous chefs, Ethan and Seth, and I tried both local and German beers to go well with traditional German dishes."
Once the beers were picked, BITE's restaurant manager Richard was off and running, gathering the beers that paired well with the dishes the kitchen chose. "Some of the beers are used in the recipes such as beer braised kurobuta pork shank using an Oregon lager by Ninkasi Brewing that has an earthy, grasp hop flavor, or the wurst and pumpkin spaetzle paired with Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin that helps the spaetzle with its nutmeg and cinnamon flavors and cuts the fattiness of the bratwurst," explains Stickle. "This will be a fun event that has a great price of dinner paired with some really great beers."
Besides the mentions pork shank and wurst pairings, Stickle and crew are sprechen beer and cheese soup and pretzel crouton paired with Pyramid Oktoberfest; schnitzel beef sliders with pickled beets and a brioche bun paired with Dogfish Head Pumpkin Ale; and black forest cheesecake with a Red Hook Pumpkin Porter.
OK, it's not held in a rustic, Old World setting ripe with musty smells and beer-stained floors. A modern setting and a $30 price tag is nothing to get your knickers in a twist.
As far back as when Job Carr stirred wort alongside the banks of Commencement Bay, our city has had a love affair with beer. It is only natural that with a mix of working class Scandinavians, Austria/Hungarians and Germans that someone (if not everyone) would be mixing their own home brew.
In pre-prohibition Tacoma, the brewery district housed Heidelberg, Milwaukee and Pacific Brewing and Malting companies. Today, we have new local favorites such as Tacoma Brewing Company, Narrows Brewing and Wingman Brewers creating flavorful brews and bringing beer pride to the City of Destiny - and more are on the horizon.
Read the full story here, then go drink Pacific Brewing & Malting Company beers tomorrow, beginning at 1 p.m. That's right, after many months of delays due to permitting issues, Pacific Brewing and Malting will finally swing open its big doors, and serve beer as it did over a 100 years ago.
Last Saturday, Tacoma's Proctor District was humming. The "Green Day" edition of the Proctor Farmers Market blossomed with folks studying sustainability and deleting Gateway to India's dish options before the market closed. Fair schmair. People walked the streets with purchased goods, with a little skip in their step, as they held tight to the summer sun. Umpqua Bank even closed later than normal, although I might have had something to do with that. Sorry folks.
Even with the huge Moveable Feast food truck festival at Cheney Stadium, Metropolitan Market - the posh "oh-my-gosh it's changed again" grocery store that arguably anchors the Tacoma neighborhood - had a steady stream of folks in front of its food truck. Hold that image. ...
If there is one thing Met Market knows, and does well, it's cheese. The upscale grocery store knows it is a food that makes the world go round, whether you're savoring tasty brie from a blanket on Tacoma's Ruston Way or substituting Manchego for sex in your house ... or Ruston Way. Met Market houses one of the best cheese shops in all the land, with almost every variety invented and a separate budget for sample toothpicks. It comes as no shocker the store's prepared mac and cheese is to die for. At least five penne pasta tubes escape from the keepsake ceramic bowl every time I have a session with the buttermilk blue mac and cheese. So good.
Back to the food truck ... Met Market skips the buttermilk blue and hands a Mac & CheeZola through the truck window. The truck people follow company policy of overstuffing the mac and cheese container, which I am not filing any complaints. I say bring it on. The "CheeZola" is a fancy name for cheddar and Zola cheese. CheeZola hugs it out with Conchiglie, commonly known as "shells" or "seashells" pasta. Topped with Parmesan and breadcrumbs, this $4.99 delight scores high in cheese flavor and crunchy crumbs.
Grab a cup and show it Proctor.
P.S. Through Sept. 23, Met Market is slashing 25 percent off many specialty cheeses.
METROPOLITAN MARKET, food truck open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through mid-October, breakfast until 11 a.m., 2420 N. Proctor St., Tacoma, 253.761.3663
Given the Teutonic propensity with precision, you'd think the Germans would have at least gotten the name for Oktoberfest right. Why not call it "Septemberfest" or "Autumnfest," since the annual celebration takes place primarily during the month of September? Then again, Oktoberfest just has a nice ring to it, a yearly reminder that fall is once again with us, and that it's OK to eat hot bratwurst and drink cold beer in funny leather shorts. If historical precedence is your cup of tea, you'll be happy to know that the Germans have been indulging in Oktoberfest for more than 200 years now.
Actually, I can't really blame the Germans for mislabeling Oktoberfest, since they don't even call the event Oktoberfest. They prefer the term "Wies'n." Why Wies'n? Long before beer, bratwurst and lederhosen became Oktoberfest icons, Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. This was back in October 1810. Being a people person, Prince Ludwig (who would eventually become crazy King Ludwig I) invited the entire city of Munich to attend his nuptials, held on the lush fields in front of Munich's city gates. Following the happy affair, those fields were re-named "Theresienwiese (Theresa's fields), after the crown princess. In time though, the locals seemed to have forgotten Theresa and shortened the name of the fields where Oktoberfest is held simply to "Wies'n." And that's how the folks in Munich refer to their annual beer and brats bash.
This year marks the 181st Oktoberfest in Munich. And in case you're questioning my math, know that although the first Oktoberfest was held in 1810, the Germans were forced to cancel their annual beer fest many times due to war, cholera and once, inflation. But present-day Oktoberfest is alive and well. Indeed, it's the single largest festival in the world. Over the duration of the two-week celebration - which this year runs Sept. 20 through Oct. 5 - Munich's Oktoberfest will host some six million visitors. That's a lot of suds. But what really surprises me is that more than one million litres of non-alcoholic beer is consumed. This, apparently, by designated drivers. In addition, half a million pork sausages, half a million chickens and 59,000 pork knuckles were eaten at last year's Oktoberfest, not to mention 87 oxen.
Although the scale is a little less majestic than Munich's, you don't have to bolt to Bavaria to experience the spirit of Oktoberfest - you can enjoy our own subdued version of Wies'n right here in the South Sound. While Seattle's big Fremont Oktoberfest is this weekend, as is the big one in Monroe, and Bavarian village Leavenworth hosts its celebration the first three weekends in October, the South Sound has ample Oktoberfest celebrations on the docket. Let's take a look at one ...
I'm launching my Oktoberfest quest with the first annual boats, beers and bratwurst event, YachtoberFest. If you haven't seen the University of Puget Sound sorority sister holding a stein along the Thea Foss Waterway promotion, then by some miracle the Tacoma Waterfront Association has you on their 20th tier list. The 50 or so slated sisters in lederhosen earning their community service will be one of the many highlights of the one-day celebration combining yachts, beer and German-inspired food on the Historic Thea Foss waterway esplanade Saturday, Oct. 4. My guess, the sisters serving the bratwursts are the pledges.
"The whole idea was born with The Boat Guy," says Philip Panagos, owner of The Social Bar and Grill, and the man behind YachtoberFest's beer and food organization. "The Boat Guy is a web series by Sam Bisset that stars hydroplane champion Chip Hanauer promoting boating during the off-season, a time when Northwesterners have their boats in storage. They made a bunch of fun videos, building around the personality of Chip Hanauer, who, by the way, is a really cool, funny guy. Anyway, Sam and Chip hosted a February event in Poulsbo, and the folks at the Foss Harbor Marina where there, too. Realizing Tacoma could benefit from a similar event, they approached Hanauer. A couple meetings here at The Social and Oktoberfest was hatched from this group to be an Oktoberfest-style gathering at the Tacoma waterfront to benefit Tacoma Waterfront Association.
Since those early meetings, KOMO has picked up The Boat Guy, and the word is a national production company is looking at it, too. Hanauer and The Boat Guy machine will be a big part of YachtoberFest Oct. 4, leading the keg tap at 11:45 a.m.
Besides his connections in the food and beer industry, Panagos was a natural selection to head the food and drink since YachtoberFest will be held in front of his restaurant, next to the Museum of Glass.
"My two restaurants will be doing food," explains Panagos. "We'll serve three different bratwursts out of The Social, and a German-inspired pizza from Paesan Kitchen and Bar. Fleischkuechle, the German food truck, will be parked at the event. Hess Bavarian pretzels will make the drive from Lakewood. Choripan By Asado at the Museum of Glass will be open during the event, too.
Currently 15 breweries, three wineries and a couple cideries are on board. Panagos would like to have 20. A few he hoped would be there, such as Narrows Brewing and Pacific Brewery & Malting Company, had scheduling conflicts. The breweries who will be pouring their Oktoberfest beers, harvest ales, pumpkin stouts and other brews mostly reside in Washington state. Sierra Nevada will make the trip up from California. Seattle's Two Beers Brewing and its sister business Seattle Cider Co. will both pour at YachtoberFest. Other confirmed breweries throwing on the lederhosen include 7 Seas Brewing, Harmon Brewing Co., Wingman Brewers, Odd Otter Brewing Co., Mac & Jack's, Georgetown Brewing, Northwest Brewing, Snoqualmie Falls Brewing, Boundary Bay Brewery, Iron Horse Brewery, American Brewing and Full Sail. Several South Sound and Seattle breweries are still checking schedules.
Proceeds from YachtoberFest will benefit the Tacoma Waterfront Association, the Tacoma Youth Marine Foundation and Citizens for a Healthy Bay, all three non-profits have nothing but Tacoma's waterfront on the brain at all times. As of this writing, $4,000 in pre-sales has been collected and 40-50 boat slips have been sold (boaters are invited to a VIP party Oct. 3). The goal is to host 2,000 people drinking beer, eating German food and doing the schuhplattler dance in front of tropical rock musician Dave Calhoun, Rock n Roll Magic and Southern rockers from Puyallup, SweetKiss Momma.
"An Oktoberfest event makes sense," says Panagos. "The Tacoma Craft Beer Festival proved people would travel to this area to drink beer, Brew Five Three went well, farmers markets do well and there isn't a big, one-day Tacoma Oktoberfest celebration."
The event will be held from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, stretching along the esplanade from the Museum of Glass to the entry of the Foss Harbor Marina, rain or shine. It's a 21 and older only event with controlled exit and entry points. Tickets are $12 advance and $20 at the gate. Beverage tickets will be five for $10. Each ticket is worth a 5-ounce beer pour; two tickets will put a 12-ounce pour. Limited edition commemorative beer steins and apparel will be available for purchase.
Moorage will be available at Delin Docks, Dock Street Marina, Foss Harbor Marina and the Foss Waterway Seaport. Click here to secure moorage. Boat shuttles will run from Johnny's Dock and Rock The Dock Bar and Grill. A shuttle from the Tacoma Dome parking lot is in the works.
"Traditional Oktoberfest costumes are encouraged," says Panagos.
While Oktoberfest celebrations don't generally involve water, unless Matthew McConaughey surfaces in a German submarine, YachtoberFest should be a Hupen, or "hoot."
As the autumn leaves begin their annual shift from gold and green to deeper hues, so should your drink. Variety is the spice of life, so visit several South Sound breweries this week and fall in love with the autumn flavors of the changing seasons.
THURSDAY, SEPT. 18
Top Rung Brewing Co. will run its My Dog Scout Stout through a Randall loaded with coffee and cocoa nibs from 4-9 p.m. I can tell you first hand the flavor will blow you away.
208 Garfield offers another Beer & Bacon night beginning at 6 p.m. Hosted by beer geek Erick Swenson, you'll receive an assortment of beer and bacon to mix and match for $10.
Puyallup River Alehouse hosts Cockrell Hard Ciders' launch party at 6 p.m. Puyallup's First hard cidery will tap its four ciders: original, Dry, Dry Hopped and Valley red raspberry. Expect T-shirts and growler raffles as well as glassware giveaways.
FRIDAY, SEPT. 19
You have to drink beer on Friday. So, fill up the tank. The Odin Brewing Company and taproom has moved to 402 Baker Blvd. in Tukwila, about a half-block due east of the Southcenter shopping mall. The grand opening offers live music, raffles for Odin schwag and tasty bites from 5-7 p.m.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 20
Narrows Brewing Co. head brewer Joe Walts celebrates the release of his Oktoberfest beer with a party on the deck. That's right Hans, live music, food vendors and a German Marzenbier-ish beer with Munich and Vienna malts from 6-11 p.m. There's no cover during Oktoberfest, Franz.
Morso wine bar will pour seven beers from German brewery Ayinger, including its Oktoberfest, beginning at noon. Expect a brewplate special.
Wingman Brewers hosts Made In Tacoma, a Tacoma-based business veritable farmers market featuring 21 Cellars Winery, Bluebeard Coffee, Comeback Sports, Creative Colloquy, Dave's Meats, Ice Cream Social, Libertine Tacoma, Lifestyle Brewery Tours, Tacoma Tree Salvage and Wingman beers from 5-11 p.m.
Dick's Brewing Company hosts the 4th Annual Beer for a Cure, a fundraiser for the Lewis County Relay for Life event. Homebrewers will square off for a chance to have their beer brewed in the Dick's Brewing system. Also expect raffle prizes, food carts, live music and a silent auction from 2-8 p.m.
Celebrate the Hub at Gig Harbor's first year anniversary all day at its digs next to the Tacoma Narrows Airport (1208 26th Ave. NW). Expect food and drink specials, a raffle for a Fly and Dine package and live music.
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 24
Hold onto an anchor because 7 Seas Brewery is blowing into The Swiss Restaurant and Pub for a brewer's night featuring Cascadian Dark Ale, Ballz Deep Double IPA and Life Jacket Session IPA to name a few. Expect raffle prizes and beards from 6-8 p.m.
Served, a blog by the Weekly Volcano, is the region’s feedbag of fresh chow daily, local restaurant news, New Beer Column, bar and restaurant openings and closings, breaking culinary news and breaking culinary ground - all brought to the table with a dollop of Internet frivolity on top.