7 Seas Brewing celebrates one year

By Jennifer Johnson on July 28, 2010

"It's supposed to be through the parking lot and past the hotel," I remarked to my designated drinker and co-pilot Sarah M. She looked at me dubiously, probably thinking I was dragging her to another mystery spot the Weekly Volcano editors had added to my scavenger hunt of places to check out. We continued our journey. A water tower loomed through tree branches while passing The Inn at Gig Harbor, and then voila! This is where the Holy Grail of our trip to the Harbor laid.

Walking into the public portion of the 3,000-square-foot building that houses 7 Seas Brewing was a bit like arriving at a dorm room party where you knew only the host - who wasn't there. The cozy tap room has three stools sitting against a wall of merchandise, four in front of a large window overlooking huge, shiny silver vats and brewery with more lined up below an opposite window with a water tower parking lot view. The tap counter occupies the fourth end. That's where the liquid goodies are. For more seating, an outdoor beer garden on the property is in the works. Besides awesome brew served in half gallon glass growlers ($7), rosemary accented, glaze-covered, spicy nut mix (made by Tacoma's Pacific Grill restaurant) and Snickers paired with 7 Seas' stout are available. Nothing heartier to munch on is offered, though.

While 7 Seas Brewing has been in existence since 2008, a fire in January 2009 at the original downtown Gig Harbor address meant the two young beer brewing-lovers and co-owners, Travis Guterson and Mike Runion, had to relocate their up-and-coming operation. The first keg of beer from the current spot was sold in July last year, hence the upcoming anniversary party Saturday, July 31, which sounds like it'll be a fun one in the sun complete with all things that epitomize summer - barbecue, beer, music. From noon to 8 p.m., bands China Davis, Black Market Revue and Perry Acker will perform live. New catering company Provisions Catering will serve fish tacos, taco salad, stout ice cream, and hop lemonade.

"It's a pretty funky menu; we're doing some fun stuff," Runion says of the food.

Gig Harbor's own Grill Master Buc will barbecue hand-formed burger patties, brats, ribs, and Buc's Beans. I can hear the smile in Runion's voice as he talks. "Buc is an old friend of my dad's; he's an unreal star on the barbecue." Also in the spotlight are the four beers produced regularly by this green brewery:  British Pale Ale; Ballz Deep Double IPA; Northwest-style amber ale Cutt's Ale; and Port Royal Stout - a monster made with seven malts and hops from Mount Hood and Nugget. A fifth beer, the seasonal Rude Parrot IPA, has become quite popular due to its extreme drinkability in summer sunshine.  "We're throwing around the idea of keeping that one going; it will probably see the most action Saturday," Runion shares.

Guterson and Runion have set the goal of producing the ultimate proper pint with the environment in mind. That means cans instead of bottles, and despite popular belief, these days cans makes for a better beer. In April, 7 Seas began offering 16-ounce canned beer and became the first microbrewery in the state to do so. Skeptical? Try one July 31 or pick up a sixer at Tacoma Boys on Sixth Avenue or the Puyallup location, 99 Bottles in Federal Way, Gravity Beer Market in Olympia, and various King County locales. Want to try before you buy? Sample a cold one on the Tacoma side of the Narrows Bridge at The Red Hot, The Swiss, Rosewood Café, Pacific Grill, Parkway Tavern, or MSM Deli and, of course, many places in the Harbor.

Can't make it for the big party? Tap room hours are Thursday and Friday 3 p.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday noon-6 p.m. Tours can be arranged in advance by calling the brewery.

7 Seas Brewery One-Year Anniversary Party

July 31, noon-8 p.m., $3 entry fee, 21+. Parking and shuttle is two blocks away at old Ford dealership.
7 Seas Brewery, 3207 57th St. Ct. N.W., Gig Harbor
253.686.3707, www.7seasbrewing.com