Northwest Military Blogs: Served blog

March 11, 2015 at 11:27am

Beer Here: Breakside, Pelican, Spinnaker Bay, Hops of March IPA, St. Patrick's Day ...

The new 7 Seas Brewing growlers arrive this weekend. Photo courtesy of Facebook

Hello South Sound beer enthusiasts. Here is your workout leading up to St. Patrick's Day. ...

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11

From a three-barrel brewing system in Woodlawn, Oregon in 2010 to a 20,000 barrels per year in Milwaukie, just south of Portland, Breakside Brewing may hold the record for the highest number of different beers brewed in a year - 83 in 2012, 92 in 2011 and 100 in 2013. The Red Hot hosts the crew from Breakside for a few of their more unique and rare offerings, including the GABF-award-winning Wanderlust IPA, Liquid Sunshine Pilsner, Lunch Break ISA, Safe Word Triple IPA, Tropicalia Saison, New World Bruin, La Tormenta Sour, Salted Caramel Stout and Bourbon Barrel Aztec. Tapping begins at 5 p.m.

The Puyallup River Alehouse turns into a Raven's Nest when Black Raven Brewing Company out of Redmond, Washington, flies in at 6 p.m. Black Raven was opened in 2009 by Robert "Beaux" Bowman, who honed his brewing skills at Mac & Jack's Brewing, the now-defunct Far West Ireland Brewing and a few other local breweries. Cross your fingers for some Black Raven barrel-ages.

Thrill-seeking accountant Marcy Larson and chemical engineer Geoff Larson, both 28, founded Alaskan Brewing Co. in 1986 - Juneau, Alaska's first brewery since Prohibition. From the historically based Alaskan Amber recipe to alder-smoked malts and Sitka spruce tips, Alaskan beers reflect Juneau's local brewing history and innovation. Alaskan's rotating spring seasonal this year is the Big Mountain Pale Ale. Made with a variety of hops, its flavors range from tropical fruit to resinous pine. Six Alaskan beers will be served at Pint & Quarts Lacey beginning at 6 p.m. Go drink a Sitka spruce.

If you're thinking cider, then head to Pint Defiance from 5-7 p.m. and hang out with No. 6 Cider Company out of Seattle. Named after the hand-dug railway tunnel that lead to the expansion in the Pacific Northwest, No. 6 created hand-crafted ciders such as Honey Ginger Cider, Pomegranate Cider and others next to the railway.

THURSDAY, MARCH 12

Beachfront Pelican Pub & Brewery sits just off the dunes in the resort town of Pacific City, Oregon. Pelican's magnificent view beats the view out of The Copper Door in Tacoma's Stadium District, but it's all good through the bottom of a pint of Red Lantern IPA, Silverspot IPA, Stormwatcher's Winterfest and other Pelican brews, which will stick their beaks into Copper Door from 6-9 p.m.

FRIDAY, MARCH 13

Do you purposefully walk under every ladder? Seek out black cats? Open umbrellas inside all the time? Then why not toast your affinity - or respect - for superstition with some Hopworks Urban Brewery beers at Gravity Beer Market in Olympia. The Portland, Oregon brewery will pour Galactic Imperial Red Ale, Motherland Russian Imperial Stout, Nonstop Hef Hop, Survival stout and Rise Up Red Ale from 5-7 p.m.

Loosen up your drinking arms and test-run your offensive-to-the-Irish-community T-shirt at the St. Patrick's Day Pre-funk & Release Party at Puyallup River Alehouse. Puyallup River Brewing will be unleashing their springtime seasonals - St. Paddy's Day stout, Springtime Brown Ale and Green Cream Ale - beginning at 6 p.m. They'll also be tapping a keg of Cockrell Hard Ciders' Green Apple Cider. How do like them apples?

Narrows Brewing in Tacoma will release an ESB Friday in their taproom. It's the first Narrows brewing beer released by new head brewer Mike Davis.


SATURDAY, MARCH 14

Lucky Eagle Casino and Hotel is dealing themselves in the beer festival game hosting their first annual Beer and Wine Festival from 1-5 p.m. For $20 advance (1.800.720.1788) or $25 at the door, you will receive a commemorative pint or wine glass, eight drink tickets and a straight line to Dick's Brewing Co., Hi-Fi Brewery, Mt. St. Helens Cellars and others.

When you think of a brewmaster, you probably envision a bearded fellow in a trucker hat. But not at Spinnaker Bay Brewery in the Hillamn City neighborhood in Seattle. The woman-founded, -owned, and -run brewery and taproom brews some damn strong, tasty beer without beards. Founded in 2012 by Janet Spindler and Elissa Pryor, Spinnaker creates "big flavorful beers with attitude," and those beers are boss this Saturday when they take over the taps at Morso Wine Bar in Gig Harbor from noon to 3 p.m.

Northwest Brewing Co. just outside of Sumner hosts a party with green beer and Dan Benz & Friendz on stage.

The new 7 Seas Brewing growlers will arrive in their taproom (3006 Judson St., Gig Harbor) Saturday at 11 a.m. This year's edition, once again, features imported glass from Germany and is decorated by Gig Harbor's Fresh Northwest Design. The growlers are $75, with a coupon for $2 off your next growler fill. For those who have last year's edition, grab your growler and drop in Friday to grab your same number (1-500).

SUNDAY, MARCH 15

It's March ... meaning Madness is in the air. Sixty-four well-oiled competitors (for the most part) will tip off and do battle - working their way through the tediously-constructed bracket and toward ultimate supremacy. We speak, of course, of the Weekly Volcano's Tournament of Mac and Cheese, which begins March 19 on our ServedintheSouthSound.com blog. Apparently, a college basketball tournament is also slated to go down this month. The NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament selection announcement hits the tube Sunday, and the Harmon Tap Room in Tacoma will broadcast it beginning at 3 p.m. Ridding the wave of enthusiasm for our Tournament of Mac and Cheese, or more likely the hoops tourney, Harmon brewmasters Jeff Carlson has, once again, released his Hops of March IPA. Every March, Harmon releases this hoppy IPA, but rotates the hops. This year, the hops varieties of Magnum, Amarillo, Rainier, Cascade and Horizon - M.A.R.C.H. - were brewed with five malted barleys to give this medium- to full-bodied IPA (6.8 percent ABV, 90 IBUs) a brown color similar to a basketball. Nothing but the bottom of the pint, baby! Drink it up at one of Harmon's four houses of beer, including the Harmon Tap Room.

TUESDAY, MARCH 17

Your last name may not be O'Neil or McCarthy, but in the South Sound, we all have a little bit of Irish in us. Irish and Scotch-Irish served as crew aboard Spanish, English and U.S. vessels that explored the Puget Sound during the second half of the 18th century. They participated in land-based explorations as well. And now, here we are in this hodgepodge of a region. We're hardworking, tax-paying citizens (most of us any way), and we deserve the right to wear our finest green attire and down a pint at nine in the morning every bit as much as anyone who's authentically Irish. Fish Brewing Company will release this year's Over & Oat Oatmeal Stout and Hodgon's Double IPA at 5 p.m. in their Fish Tale Brewpub (515 Jefferson St. SE, Olympia). Westside Pints & Quarts (625 Black Lake Blvd. SW, Olympia) will pour Tullamores, Iron Horse Irish Death and Guinness. O'Blarney's Irish Pub (4411 Martin Way E., Olympia) will offer an outdoors Guinness VIP beer garden. The Forum (208 S. Meridian, Puyallup) will fire up the black and tans. Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. (610 Pacific Ave., Tacoma) will host a St. Patrick's Day party featuring new releases Belgian Golden Ale and Galaxy Session IPA. The Hub (1208 26th Ave. NW, Gig Harbor) will pour Green Pale Ale and Jameson Oak Soaked Stryker Stout during its St. Paddy's Day celebration.

March 11, 2015 at 9:38am

Eat This Now: Warm Goat Cheese Dip

Creamy, warm, cheesy goodness awaits at Art House Cafe in Tacoma's Stadium District. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

Things need not always be complicated to be decadent and delicious - often quite the contrary. Stadium District's Art House Café's Warm Goat Cheese Dip ($13) is a remarkable example. This appetizer is very simple and exquisitely executed with tart, creamy goat cheese delivered lightly browned and sizzling, then topped with a tomato, chive and caper salad and freshly sliced baguette.

That's it, and it's exactly right. The creamy, warm, cheesy goodness spreads with ease onto the untoasted baguette slices while the chopped tomatoes, chives and capers add pops of flavor and color simultaneously.

Under twinkling lights along the ethereal blue booths, maybe perfectly lit through the many street side windows that open to the patio this is the perfect starter to your Art House Café dining experience.

ART HOUSE CAFÉ, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 111 N. Tacoma Ave., Tacoma, 253.212.2011

Filed under: Eat This Now, Tacoma,

March 10, 2015 at 11:18am

Odd Otter Brewing new releases, new hours and new science

The bigger the difference in original vs. final gravity (density of the wort compared to water), the stronger the beer. Experience high and low gravity at Odd Otter Brewing Co.

It's easy to let brewery operations big and small grab your attention. Here in the South Sound, we have a lot of that going on. But when Odd Otter Brewing Company co-founder John Hotchkiss told me their new "big system" is pumping out seven times the amount of beer as before, I had to ask him twice. Yes, indeed, seven times.

"What that functionally means is that we can distribute beer to other businesses - Pint Defiance, The Red Hot, Copper Door, etc. - and that we can sell kegs to go to individuals for parties and the like," explains Hotchkiss.

I dropped by Odd Otter for a few pints Sunday. The taproom was lively, with folks playing games and Hotchkiss milling about in his black work galoshes. Their Screeching Otter Imperial IPA, my fav, and its 151-plus IBUs erased hours of yard work.

The Otter big system is a busy beaver, with several beers on the docket. Head Brewer Owen McGrane will release a gluten-free Appleweizen any day now. In late March, he'll also be releasing a Scotch ale, and by mid-April, a Doppelbock will drop.

"We also will be releasing a dark, strong Belgian beer designed for Adam Boyd and his Why Adam? Show events that will be held in early April at a variety of local bars," says Hotchkiss. "The events will help to raise funding and awareness for Adam's local science-focused educational projects and initiatives."

Odd Odder will open its taproom at 8 a.m. Saturday to inspire St. Paddy's Day Run participants, since the half-marathon, 10K and 5K races start and end outside their front door. Finishers may celebrate with an Odd beer until 2 a.m.

"On St. Patrick's Day Tuesday, we'll also have some drink specials - two-for-one Luck O'the Otter Pints," says Hotchkiss. Tuesday also marks their new tasting room hours - Tuesday through Sunday, with Ottering hours running 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

ODD OTTER BREWING COMPANY, 716 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.209.1064

Filed under: New Beer Column, Tacoma,

March 9, 2015 at 9:57am

Aficionado Cigar Lounge in Tacoma expands service

Brian Larson enjoys a cigar, one of over 100 brands sold at the Aficionado Cigar Lounge in Tacoma. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

The Aficionado Cigar Lounge serves as a refuge for those seeking a spot to smoke a fine cigar.

"This is a great place to come and enjoy one," commented Brian Larson as he relaxed next to Mr. Punch, the wooden statue just inside the front door that greets customers.

Mr. Punch, an historical figure from the mid-1800s who wears an unmistakably sly smile and always holds a Cuban cigar in his hand, is symbolic of the fine cigars sold at the lounge.

"Nothing but the best cigars and pipe tobaccos are sold here," adds Larson.

Selling the best in tobacco products has led to the expansion of the lounge.

"We're excited about this," said Kevin Michael, the lounge's manager, during a telephone interview.

"Expanding our business to better serve our customers is always to be desired."

With an approximate 800 square foot expansion, the lounge will offer customers more seating space with television, a new bar and more humidors from which to select their favorite cigars and tobaccos.

"Seating will double, and we've also added a ramp for our disabled customers to enjoy our products," added Myriah Akin, a long time employee. "We've been a favorite spot for cigar lovers to visit, and we are making it even better."

The expansion will include a new bar serving beer, wine and cocktails. The previous bar area will be converted into an event space.

The Aficionado Cigar Lounge is at 7121 Waller Road E. in Tacoma. For more information, call 253.531.8814.

Filed under: Open and Shut Cases, Tacoma,

March 5, 2015 at 4:07pm

Still time to grab a chair for the Deschutes Brewers Dinner at The Swiss Restaurant and Pub

Deschutes Brewery is headed back to The Swiss, March 11. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Yesterday, beer dinners were nonexistent. Today they're ever-present.

When I was running around Tacoma wearing flannel and Docs, there weren't any South Sound breweries until Fish Brewing fired up in 1993, followed by Engine House No. 9, The RAM and Harmon Brewing. Fast forward 20+ years and the South Sound sports numerous craft breweries, brewpubs and dozens of craft beer-centric bars and bottle shops, with more to come.

Right around the time Fish Brewing starting pumping out beers in Olympia, former Engine House No. 9 worker bees Jack McQuade and Bob Hill, along with foodie Gayl Bertagni, opened The Swiss in downtown Tacoma. Instantly, downtown denizens (read: those living in the neighboring defunct Heidelberg Brewery) didn't need to journey across town to drink craft beer, and by craft beer I mean North Coast Brewing Co., Rogue Brewery, Goose Island Beer Co., McMenamins, Red Hook and, of course, Gary Fish's little brewery in Bend, Oregon, Deschutes Brewery - and one of the original Deschutes beers, Black Butte Porter.

Before you could say Dogfish Head, Deschutes Brewery would become the sixth largest craft brewery in the country and Black Butte Porter would become the number one craft porter in the country.

Wednesday, March 11, The Swiss will host another craft beer pairing dinners, this time welcoming one of the first craft breweries the downtown Tacoma pub had on tap - Deschutes.

"I'm looking forward to celebrating Deschutes with Jack and the crew," says Norm Cartwright, Deschutes sales representative.

Glassware full of Black Butte Porter will be served at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 11 at The Swiss, followed by four courses paired with Deschutes beers. The Deschutes Brewers Dinner will officially end when Not the Stoic Belgian Quad lands in front of each beer dinner participant. There are seven spots left as of this posting. It just sold out!

The cost is $40 per person. Drop by The Swiss - 1904 Jefferson Ave. in downtown Tacoma - and purchase your ticket. If you're not convinced, then check this out. ...

Filed under: New Beer Column, Tacoma,

March 3, 2015 at 12:10pm

Pulling Nails at Harmon Tap Room: Roll IN the Barrels

Harmon Brewing Co. will soon have around 90 barrels aging their beers at the downtown Tacoma brewery AND Harmon Tap Room. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Two minutes after I enter the Harmon Tap Room back in October 2014, Jesse Holder embraced me with a warm hug in the form of a barrel-aged strong ale - a generous pour of Olde John Barrel Blend, which touched two barrels - one whiskey barrel and one wine barrel - then blended.

Sure, it was just beer, but no ordinary ale; more of an evolution into a higher form in memory of someone in a higher place.

The Olde John Barrel Blend, Harmon Brewing Co. head brewer Jeff Carlson's baby, hit the barrels last May, with bottles on shelves the following December. The strong ale pays homage to former Parkway Tavern manager John O'Gara who passed last March. "John loved the Harmon NW Biennial Brew strong ale," explains Holder, director of brewery operations at the Harmon Brewing Co. "A single release, John called it one of his favorite Harmon beers. When he passed, Jeff wanted to pay tribute to him. All the proceeds from the first keg at the Parkway went to his family." The Dry Fly Distilling barrels were acquired the day before the Olde John went in, so it drew plenty of whiskey.

The Olde John kegs sold out in two hours, through Tavour craft beer delivery service.

A true test of willpower: waiting months, years, to drink a beer. But some suds benefit from a little aging. They're like the Mathew McConaughey of beer, evolving and maturing in flavor intensities and taste complexities.

Over the past decade or so, the conditioning of beer in barrels recycled from distilleries and wineries has become a significant trend among craft breweries ... and beer geeks can't seem to get enough of these boozed-up or sour gems. Your typical candidate for barrel aging is found in the strong, age-able beer (imperial stouts, barleywines, old ales, wild ales, Belgian strong ales, etc.). While oak barrels were once the normal container used for aging and shipping beer, nowadays craft brewers use them to impart certain flavors and depth to their beer. And then there are sour beers, which seem to be everywhere lately, popping up on the menus of hip restaurants and piquing the interest of beer geeks and casual drinkers alike. And while these brews might taste weird to the novice palate, they have staying power.

Experimenting with sours is not just something a brewer can tinker with casually - it requires a big investment of time and money, not to mention praying to the beer gods. Sours usually achieve their flavor using bacteria such as lactobacillus and special yeasts - including wild yeasts and the hardy, ravenous brettanomyces, aka Brett - which can easily cross-contaminate a brewery's other recipes. Meticulous cleaning, or sometimes a whole different set of equipment, is required to ensure sour-making doesn't ruin other batches of beer.  After fermentation, which can take months, a sour typically ages for up to a few years, often in oak barrels that formerly house bourbon, whiskey and wine. At the end of this multi-year investment, sours can still come out tasting off and ultimately unsellable.

South Sound brewers are diving into the Brave Barrel World. Three Magnets Brewing Co. head brewer Pat Jansen lives and breathes fermentation. Engine House No. 9 head brewer Shane Johns excels at sour beers, and his bosses are building him a new barrelhouse in Tacoma's Stadium District that will increase his barrelage 10-fold.

And then there's Harmon Brewing Co. The brewing company's barrel program was in the works for a year and a half before it officially launched December 2013. Initially, it was a three-barrel system with a straight-to-keg carbonation. Of course, end result was a mystery - some of the early barrel beers were over-carbonated; some under-carbonated. Today, Harmon's barrel beers hit the carbonation tanks before the kegs.

Holder is having more fun than a barrel of monkeys with his barrel program. And he has only begun to scrap the barrel.

In the mid-'00s, Holder was a host and busser at the downtown Tacoma Harmon Brewery & Eatery before his mother, Carole Ford, partnered with owner Pat Nagle. After a run with real estate and a stint in China teaching in schools, he came back to Harmon, eventually commanding its beer program. At the time, head brewer Jeff Carlson and production manager Bill Lundeen were experimenting with a few barrels.

"Jeff has an amazing ability to create recipes, and Bill is a walking encyclopedia of barrel knowledge," says Holder. "Together, it's a barrelhouse dream."

Barrel tasting isn't easy at the Harmon Tap Room. Last October, when Holder and I pulled nails and sampled barrel goods, we had to squeeze past piping, hoses, tanks, fermenters and spouting beer, dodge busy brewers, slide under barrels - half of them jammed into crevices. As we pulled barrel nails above our empty tulip glasses, Lundeen was adding pumpkin to mash for another round of their Fall Ball Imperial Harvest Ale, laughing at what must have looked like a game of Twister. I tasted a dozen or so barrel-aged beer offerings inside 30 minutes.

I had to use all my muscles again in two subsequent visits to the Harmon barrels. As you can guess by the brewery room's configuration, flagship beers and seasonals dominate the Harmon production. That's about to change; I'll tap that in a moment. ...

October barrel samples included a cherry sour aged in Tacoma winery 21 Cellars barrels, an apricot tart and Caspar Ghost Pepper Peach Sour, which was part of the Harmon's daily 12 Beers of Christmas last December. The Steep and Deep Winter Ale aged in a third-use Dry Fly whiskey barrel was released in January 2014.

The Barrel/Tap Room Reserve Series Super Samurai Barley Wine had a limited bottle release in spring 2014. It was a single hop barleywine with zesty citrus flavors before it hit the wood. It mellowed out after six months in the Pinot Noir barrels. Chocolate and caramel notes drew applause. I imagined myself walking into a small cabin warmed by a wood stove from an all-consuming blizzard and cracking open a bottle of this warming as hell brew. It's simply comforting and absolutely fantastic. There's ample Super Samurai still in barrels.

Their Tap Room Reserve Series Barrel Aged Saison - Harmon Mt. Takhoma Blonde fermented and aged in red wine barrels with two different strains of saison yeast, was released in July. While fermenting in the barrel, Carlson also added some candied ginger and three different tea blends from Ubi's tea, herb and spice shop on Sixth Avenue.

We pulled the nail on their Drink This White IPA, which was fermenting with pineapple. The medium-bodied IPA with three different malted barleys was brewed for the Tacoma Art Museum's "Ink This! Contemporary Print Arts in the Northwest" exhibit. It was heavy on the pineapple and needed more time. We laughed at naming it Rethink This.

Down on all fours with one leg extended, we sampled a nameless pale wort fermenting with berry tea from Ubi's. It carried a lovely light sour pale ale taste. Naming Harmon beers is a group process.

Shoved in a corner, the Raspberry Blonde was too tart. It has a dandelion taste, which means the bacteria had their work hats on.

After the October barrel-aged beer tasting, Holder, Lundeen and I leaned against the Tap Room's outside fence; their faces beaming with hope. The duo dreamed of turning the back area of the Tap Room into a barrel-aged beer bar with leather couches, 10 ounce pours of their barrel beers plus a few guest barrel-aged beers.

Thursday, I discovered their dream is damn near a reality. Standing in the middle of the Tap Room's back room, Holder points where the 55 barrels will stack. The room will take on a cellar feel, but the games will remain on the big screen.

He beamed as he told me his barrelhouse program is a go.

Then, he pointed through the wall toward the Harmon downtown, announcing 35 barrels will be rolled into the original brewing room on Pacific Avenue, where he hopes to fill four barrels a month until reaching the capacity number, letting them age as he adds. A Harmon's Hop Coffee shop will also be erected in the downtown barrelhouse, where you can hang with the barrels as you sip a blend of Bluebeard coffee and Harmon beer reductions.

Holder has another 20 or so barrels floating in his head looking for a home.

The barrel program will be separate from the other Harmon products - restaurants, flagship beers, seasonals and Hop Coffee. The barrel program won't grow until it can finance the next step ... but the next step is now.

The Saison will remain in constant production, with 10-ounce pours and no growler fills.

The Shinto Sour Cherry is Carlson's recipe, aging Harmon's Amber Ale with cherries. He's a huge amber fan. The Shinto will be released this month in 375ml bottles.

The White IPA I tasted in October? Meet Kamehameha's Crown - a blend of the Drink This White IPA aged with pineapple and the Harmon Point Defiance IPA. It's a delicious wine-y IPA. "Our beers blend well because they are so well-balanced," boasts Holder. "We can go in any direction we want." Kamehameha's Crown is also earmarked for a March release, also in 375ml bottles.

The Raspberry Blonde's dandelion funk from October has faded. With some carbonation, it should pop. Lundeen created the blonde raspberry 26 pounds per red wine barrel. "We'll add another ten or fifteen pounds of raspberries during the kegging to freshen it up," says Lundeen. "You never know what's going on with the souring in the barrel. Some of the barrels we'll inoculate with specific cultures, others we rely on the barrel and whatever happens happens." It will leave the barrelhouse sometime between May and July.

"We don't want to flood the market. We'll release the ‘5 Liter Farmhand' saison (farmhands were paid five liters of saison in Belgium back in the day) on a continual basis," says Holder, revealing the name of the saison. "We'll unleash the Shinto and Kamehameha this month, followed by the Raspberry Blonde.

In a year, Ivan will be released - a Russian Imperial Stout aged in red wine barrels, although it's named after the famed B&I Shopping Center resident gorilla. "It's ready, but it's only going to get better with some sour characteristics," adds Holder.

Although it's growing, Holder still considers Harmon's barrel program in the experimental stage. He'll soon add white wine barrels to the mix of whiskey and red wine barrels. Lundeen is anxious to move on to Belgians.

It would be very easy for the microbreweries to be suspicious of each other as they all fight over such a small piece of the pie. But for the most part, there's a convivial attitude that a rising tide lifts all craft breweries. Most of them are friendly, realizing that their competition is the multinational conglomerates, not each other. The news Engine House No. 9 will build a barrelhouse a football field away from his Tap Room barrelhouse doesn't concern Holder. It actually excites him. "The more the merrier, I say," he remarks. "Let's put Tacoma's barrels on the map."

Patience is a virtue, at least when you're aging beer.

HARMON TAP ROOM, 204 St Helens Ave., Tacoma, 253.212.2725

HARMON BREWERY & EATERY, 1938 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.383.2739

Filed under: New Beer Column, Tacoma,

March 3, 2015 at 10:35am

Served Blog Banner Girl: Q&A with bartender Erin Perteet of Doyle's Public House and The Valley

I snapped a shot of Erin Perteet at The Valley while 52 rugby players surrounded me, chugging beer and belting out drinking songs. Of course my photo is blurry.

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 Erin Perteet.

Server Banner Girl, March 2-8, 2015

Erin Perteet

Erin Perteet is the definition of a service industry professional. She's been serving Western Washington for 17 years. Bella Nina's on Tacoma's Sixth Avenue introduced her to the service industry at age 17. "This industry stole my heart and still has it," Perteet says. When she turned 21, she bartended at Luciano's Casino on the Ruston Way waterfront.

"Over the last 13 years I have worked in some of the most amazing bars and restaurants," she says. "Family in this industry is everything - from Seattle to Tacoma - Bluwater Bistro, Dukes Chowder House, Stanley & Seafort's, Masa, Peso's, Reds Wine Bar, The Ballard Annex, The Valley and Doyle's."

Perteet was the traveling bar manager for Duke's Chowder House - Alki, Green Lake, Kent and Tacoma - before helping X Group Restaurants open Masa on Tacoma's Sixth Avenue. She was the face of the club scene for many years at Masa. After a few years in Seattle, she "came back home" to Tacoma, where she now tends bar at Doyle's Public House and The Valley.

Perteet keeps it cool, professional and prompt. She takes her work seriously, unless you have a good story, then bring it.

Why do you serve?

"I love the people. I love the people I work with to all the guests that sit at the bar. Everybody's got a different story. It's a lot of fun to get to meet people you'd probably never meet in a lifetime over food and drinks."

Who is your favorite server in the South Puget Sound?

"I'd have to say Meg from Asado. I love going to see her in the bar usually at least once a week. She's always pouring me delicious wine and I love her for that!"

What are you most proud to serve?

"Tequila! I love tequila and I love educating people on it. Having worked in Mexican style restaurants for 7 years, I developed the love for the juice. Most people are very afraid of the name. It brings back a bad night along with a bad hangover from ... let's say a bottle of Cuervo or something. Tequila is much more complex than that. First, a bottle needs to say 100 percent agave. From there, I can give you a pretty killer tequila tasting that will have you looking at tequila in a different light. I Promise that."

What's your current drink of choice?

"I am a shot of Jameson and a Rainier tall can kinda girl, Classy, I know! But, if I feel like having a cocktail I would say my favorite is the Harkonen from Hilltop Kitchen. It's just simply delicious."

Favorite movie?

"Super Troopers is definitely an all time favorite. A knee-slapper comedy always wins in my book."

What don't you serve?

"Blended drinks. I feel as though most bars have weaned away from them. To be honest, this makes most bartenders very happy. The sound of an obnoxious blender can kinda ear piercing."

What's on your radar at Doyle's Public House and The Valley?

"At Doyles - St. Paddy's day! Doyle's always puts on an amazing day/weekend of entertainment for the holiday. Jameson and Guinness with good live entertainment = FUN. The Valley ... well for starters, we launched a new menu this month. So new menu items to tease your taste buds with. Also, we have a ton of shows being booked through the month of March. Come and check out the music scene this month. Should not disappoint."

DOYLE'S PUBLIC HOUSE, 208 St Helens Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.7468

THE VALLEY, 1206 Puyallup Ave., Tacoma, 253.248.4265

LINK: Meet other South Sound servers

Filed under: Served Banner Models, Tacoma,

March 2, 2015 at 12:15pm

Girl Scout cookies culinary genius or madness? Y/N?

Girl School Samoas with peanut butter and bacon ... condemn or allow?

It's that wonderful time of year where lovely little cookie sprites tempt us with colorful boxes of indulge-worthy and addictive cookie magic.

Hello, Girl Scouts and hello cookie joy!

And as we all pick up our favorites from our friendly local girl scouts, the boxes are torn open with one's teeth while driving away and partially or completely (depending on mood, but typically the latter) devoured. By the time one hits ones driveway, the box carcasses litter the backseat and crumbs imbed themselves in ones skin.

Well, that's how I roll anyway.

And while most of us eat their favorites just straight up, Tacoman Dave Lepore has other ideas.

A self-described newbie to the Girl Scout cookies craze (he only started buying them five years ago), he fell hard like most. And like many of us, he definitely has his favorites: Samoas® are number one (crisp cookies coated in caramel topped with toasted coconut and dark chocolate drizzle) and Lemonades® come in at number two (shortbread cookies with lemon icing).

But unlike most of us, Lepore takes the cookies to the next level, particularly his beloved Samoas®.

"A few years ago I was eating Samoas® and thought they would be great with peanut butter," says Lepore. "(I) topped one with peanut butter and it was good. Tossed another Samoas® on top of that, making a Samoas® peanut butter cookie sandwich thing and it was perfect."

He didn't stop there.

"I moved on to creating a home version of (Dairy Queen) Blizzards®, using Girl Scout cookies," explains Lepore. "My favorite Blizzard® creation is two Samoas® crushed, vanilla ice cream from Ice Cream Social, a scoop of peanut butter powder, PB2, and drizzle in a little chocolate syrup. I mix that in a small blender and it's perfect."

So, how the hell do you improve on perfection?

Enter Girl Scout cookies season 2015.

Lepore just unveiled his latest creation on social media.

"Last night, I decided that the Samoas® with peanut butter was missing something. Bacon," grins Lepore. "On a whim, I decided to top the Samoas® with peanut butter and bacon. It is amazing. It's a great mix of sweet, peanut buttery goodness with the salty crunch of bacon. My mother makes an apple pie with a bacon topped crust. Similar results.

"And no I am not pregnant. I know it looks like pregnant food."

Besides having to assure friends and family that he wasn't indeed with child, what was the reaction?

When Lepore uploaded the photo of his experiment on his Facebook page and Imgur, the responses flew fast and furious:

"Stoner cooking at its best",

"I hate you so bad",

"After eating that, I'd definitely want samoa".

He's not done either. He's got another experiment planned with the Lemonades®, but no solid plans.

Yet.

March 2, 2015 at 10:26am

Eat This Now: Special Vietnamese Curry with Sweet Potato

Eat the Special Vietnamese Curry with Sweet Potato at the Long Beach Café in Lakewood now.

I admittedly don't dine in Lakewood nearly enough. It's not an area I'm opposed to visiting but I find myself always in a rush when in that city. My hairdresser happens to be in Lakewood, but those rare times I whisk myself away for some primping and pampering, the primping is the only time I'm able to sneak away from my domestic duties. Lunch is never on the agenda.

Last week was an exception. I found myself beautified and ready for some dinner but was at a loss for what I was really hankering for. My lovely hairdresser recommended Long Beach Café for Vietnamese and Thai cuisine. Jackie's Words Of Advice: one, always listen to your hairdresser; two, eat the Special Vietnamese Curry with Sweet Potato ($10.25-$11.25) at the Long Beach Café.

Aromatic ingredients including lemongrass, onion, cilantro and garlic are all sautéed and swimming in a savory coconut milk yellow curry sauce. Add generous portions of tender chunks of sweet potato and your choice of marinated chicken, beef, pork, tofu or prawns, specify your preferred spice level, top that all with roasted peanuts and you're in heaven.

The matrimony of flavors is divine and if you're anything like me eating the entire dish regardless of how full you've already become halfway through will be the best course of action.

LONG BEACH CAFÉ, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, 10114 Bridgeport Way SW, Lakewood, 253.565.3269

Filed under: Eat This Now, Lakewood,

February 26, 2015 at 1:11pm

Top Fun: Hudson and Goose

A night with Goose Island Beer Co. at Maxwell's Speakeasy and Lounge in Tacoma, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015.

Top Fun: Hudson and Goose

Chef Hudson Slater stands in the kitchen at Maxwell's Speakeasy and Lounge on ready alert, staring at his stovetop. Hudson draws a breath, then forces himself to grab the saute pan off the heat. The flames shoot into the air. Suddenly, the kale breaks apart. The purple leaves break in every direction as he BLASTS through their formation. Something comes up through the flames. A sous chef darts by. The line cook drops in and locks onto him.

"Talk to me, Goose," pleads Hudson as he turns toward Goose.

The clanking of cookware drown out the roar of the flames.

"Critical point," Hudson quips to Goose.

Hudson takes a 180 turn and presses both hands on his Tom Douglas cookbook sitting on the counter, the inspiration for his career. ...

He stares at the cover as if he can read page 59.

He twists back around.    

"I'm gonna go! THREE ... TWO ... ONE. ..."

Hudson engages his cutlery and cookware as if in a dogfight. Blades twirling, ingredients airborne, liquids falling like Niagara Falls. His kitchen companions gaze in disbelief. A fusion with steamed edamame sprinkled with black-olive powder, garnished with shiso leaves and surrounded by dots of black-olive-and-citron crème, morphs into a curried green-coconut-milk soup with tiny clams, scallops, flying fish eggs and garnished with flash-fried whitebait turns into grilled sardine brushed with jalapeño juice. He dumps each dish into the trash. Hudson gives a nod to Goose, and with adrenaline pumping as a charging bull, a rabbit mignon in a syrupy caramel of Iberian-ham drippings with a smoked-eel petit four suddenly appears, as if it was pulled from a hat.

The twirling stops like Dorothy's house in Oz. Panting, Hudson takes a swig of Goose, dumps the rabbit down the hole and dives back in. Gaining speed, he plunges toward the dessert. His Marzipan spacers and zester become one with his hands; a slow-motion blur that would draw a smile from Morpheus.

The music builds. The action increases. As the scene fades to black, you can make out a smile as Hudson asks permission for a fly-by from Maxwell's owner Steve Anderson.

Judging from the frequency of high (and low) fives, Chef Hudson Slater and Goose Island Beer Company do it all well, and they prefer to do it together. In a kitchen full of barely contained roars and lots of nutty oak, dark dried fruit, molasses, vanilla, bourbon, bittersweet chocolate and burnt raisin, Hudson and Goose have the real bromance. They're on top of their game and they're always there for each other with a commendable loyalty.

>>> Chef Hudson Slater

When he's not posting exquisite cuisine art on his Instagram, brewing craft beer with bacon, sharing recipes for published cookbooks or pushing the envelope in Maxwell's Kitchen, Chef Hudson Slater is winning chef competitions - almost every one he enters. The young family man from University Place cuts his teeth at Gordon and Steve Naccarato's The Beach House at Purdy before rising from cook to executive chef at the stylish fine-dining restaurant he clocks in today.

>>> Derek Wieting, sales representative, Goose Island Beer Co., Anheuser-Busch

In the late '80s, traveling salesman John Hall turned his passion into a career when he introduced his craft beer brewing Goose Island Brewpub to the macrobeer chugging city of Chicago. In 1992, Goose Island gave the beer industry a new reason to belly up to the bar: bourbon-aged beer. Then in 2004, America had a new tradition - the annual post-Thanksgiving release of Goose Island's Bourbon County Brand Stout, one of the most important beers in the history of American brewing. Heavily charred barrels from bourbon distilleries give way to roasty cocoa flavors with traces of caramelized wood sugars and vanillin compounds.

Last night, 20 people floated like gods, above Maxwell's dining tables, above the dinnerware, looking down at what one of the top bromances on the planet can create in the kitchen. With inspiration from his co-pilot Goose, Chef Hudson presented his five final dishes for a beer-pairing dinner.

SORTIE ONE: SPICE WITH A SESSIONABLE WINGMAN

"I strived to awaken your palate with this first dish," announces Chef Hudson. "The green curry edamame puree and japaleno bring a little heat; also on the plate are shiitake mushrooms from across the Purdy Bridge, a poached quail egg - so pop it open - plus pickled mustard seed and fennel."

Derek Wieting, the Washington, Oregon and Idaho sales representative for Goose Island Beer Co. - and all the Anheuser-Busch InBev products - as well as a Seattle Queen Anne Hill neighborhood resident, praised Chef Hudson for choosing the Goose Island India Pale Ale with his spicy dish. Wieting proudly announced the IPA is made with hops (Pilgrim, Styrian Golding Celeia, Cascade, Centennial) from Elk Mountain Farm, Goose Island's own hop farm in the Idaho panhandle, so it has Northwest roots. The multiple award-winning IPA has 55 IBUs, "making it really sessionable," he says. "This beer pairs really well with food, especially the dish in front of you. It's not a typical Northwest IPA, and shouldn't destroy your palate." 

SORTIE TWO: PASTA DOG WITH NORTHWEST WINGMAN

"Since Goose Island is from Chicago, this next dish is my tribute to the city. I created a Chicago Hot Dog - kind of," says Chef Hudson. " I call it "Chicago Dog Ravioli," with all the elements of a hot dog - beef sausage, braised tomato, onion, sport pepper, dill pickle relish and a mustard sauce, plus a poppy seed aioli."

Wieting chimes in, "Our Goose Island Ten Hills Pale Ale has its roots firmly planted in the Northwest. All the hops come out of our hop farm in northern Idaho." Wieting went on to explain a dedicated Goose Island hop farm is one of the advantages of A-B purchasing Goose Island four years ago. The Goose Island brewers spent quality time on the farm and the community surrounding Elk Mountain Farm, forging a relationship between farmer and brewer to a point in which Elk Mountain Farms now grows more than 100 acres of hops for Goose Island annually. "We have access to hops that aren't readily available to a lot of other breweries," says Wieting. The Goose brewers picked the hops (Perle, Cascade and Saaz) on site for the Ten Hills Pale Ale. The apricot and tangerine aroma, with sweet honey and toasted flavors paired well with Chef Hudson's pasta dog. It's more floral than the IPA.

SORTIE THREE: MUSSEL WITH MATILDA WINGMAN

Touting the Goose Island Matilda Belgian Style Pale Ale as his favorite beer of the night, Chef Hudson wanted to complement the beer's spicy yeast flavor, so he choose a smoked mussel aioli as well as a single smoked mussel on the plate. He added a poached halibut seared in nutty brown butter with butter lettuce, puffed quinoa and roasted shallot.

Wieting explained the legend of Matilda of Tuscany, who lost her wedding ring in a lake. A fish appeared clutching the ring in its mouth. Overwhelmed with joy, Matilda funded the neighboring monastery and its brewing operation.

Inspired by great Trappist ales, this complex Belgian Style Pale Ale is fermented with the wild yeast Brettanomyces. The Goose brewers claim its has a farmhouse funk taste, "with lots of dried fruit and clove aromas," adds Wieting. On the tongue, thickness from sweet malts coat the tongue followed by flavors of earthy mushroom, orange peel and heavy yeast. The clove and peach preserves are present, with hay - mingling on the tongue while spiciness pushes out from the finish.

Wieting says the Matilda is aged in wine barrels, not so much for the flavor but rather as a second fermentation. The pale ale is part of the brewery's Vintage Series where they blend beers aged in wine barrels for different lengths to bring out complex wine-like notes paired with evolving tart or fruity qualities.

With the wild yeast slightly altering the taste every year, a five-year vertical flight can be a fun, tasty experiment. He added with the A-B buyout, Goose's Barrel House went from 30,000 barrels to 130,000 barrels.

SORTIE FOUR: BRAISED BEEF WITH A FAMOUS WINGMAN

"I love Bourbon County so I went with clean flavors for its pairing - braised beef short rib, celery root and parsnip puree, roasted Brussels sprouts and stout demi glace," explains Chef Hudson.  "It's not overpowering."

Wieting introduced Bourbon County Brand Stout saying, "I commend Chef Hudson for pairing the Bourbon County Aged Stout with a main dish and not dessert. Typically, chefs save this beer for the end of the meal. I applaud Chef Hudson's innovation."

Bromance!

Wieting paused. ... "There are a lot of bourbon-barrel aged beers now - Goose was the first." Goose Island was indeed there first - in 1992, long before anyone in the Idaho hop field had anything to do with the brewery. The Goose brewers age the beer in a warehouse that has no temperature controls for nine months to a year. The result is a rich, complex SMOOTH blend of bourbon, chocolate, cherry, leather and many more layered flavors at 12 to 13 percent alcohol by volume. "By the way," Wieting adds, "if you get a hold of our Bourbon County Coffee, please let me know and I'll buy it off you. It's ranked number two in the world."

SORTIE FIVE: NILLA WITH SOFIE WINGMAN

"This is by far my most favorite beer in the Goose portfolio," says Wieting. "Named after Goose founder's granddaughter Sofie, we age the Sofie Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale for nine months in wine barrels with an abundance of oranges fresh from our fields - bacteria, dirt and all. I'm talking fifty pounds of oranges per barrel. It's bubbly with almost a champagne-like effervesce. I love this beer in the summer - light, refreshing with a creamy vanilla finish."

Chef Hudson created an upscale take on the banana cream pie to pair with Sofie's citrus notes. He offered a beautiful play of roasted bananas cream panna cotta, Nilla Wafer, strawberry mousse "macaron" with whipped cream, Nilla Wafer brittle and meringue. He added a dehydrated candy strawberry that's not on the menu.

"I feel the need ... the need for more beer," Chef Hudson didn't say as he bought the room another round of Bourbon County Aged Stout, as well as poured his personal bottles of Matilda and Goose black saison Pepe Nero.

You can be my wingman anytime Chef Hudson!

About this blog

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.

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