Northwest Military Blogs: Served blog

February 9, 2015 at 10:00am

Served Blog Banner Girl: Q&A with bartender Emily Myers of ParkWay Tavern

This month, Emily Myers will shift from weekend days to Friday and Saturday nights at the Parkway Tavern. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Being a great bartender is about far more than mixing magic - although that element is certainly important. But a bartender's role behind the stick is also about spending time with those bellied up to the bar, whether they're high rollers or gravediggers. And Emily Myers, who has been pouring beer at the ParkWay Tavern since May 2013, deserves heroine worship for the way she straddles the line between professional and perky. She's engaging, exuberant, genuine and knowledgeable but never snooty. And she adores the ParkWay and its staff. A patron before an employee, it was the staff that drew her into the beer business. When she's not pouring, she's peddling. Myers other passion is bicycling, and she's thrilled 2015 is "Year of the Bike" in Tacoma.

Why do you serve?

"I truly like getting to know my fellow Tacomans. Without bartending, I would miss out on hearing all the rad stories and experiences of my regulars."

Who is your favorite server?

"Kendra Varadi is part of why I fell in love with the ParkWay. She's knowledgeable, genuine and always knows my current beer craving."

What are you most proud to serve?

"Any local beers I can get my hands on. When in doubt, go local. I'm so proud of our city's growth in the brewery and craft beer scene."

What is your current drink of choice?

"One of my current drink obsessions is cider, specifically gin-infused ciders like Seattle Cider's Gin Botanical. Really anything with an interesting flavor profile."

What is your favorite movie?

"Die Hard. It also doubles nicely as a favorite Christmas movie."

What don't you serve?

"Booze or assholes."

What's on your radar at the ParkWay?

"The Stone Brewery's tap takeover is Feb. 21, the Barleywine Festival will be March 28 and this July will be our 80th anniversary."

PARKWAY TAVERN, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, 313 N. I St., Tacoma, 253.383.8748

LINK: Meet other South Sound servers

February 6, 2015 at 10:13am

Mac and Cheese Madness: Marrow Kitchen and Bar

Marrow Kitchen and Bar in Tacoma serves fancy mac and cheese in a pot. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Macaroni and cheese - once a comfort-food staple of every Wednesday night dinner while your dad works through the night publishing a newspaper with hot type press - isn't what it used to be. And thanks to Marrow Kitchen and Bar, which makes no apologies for food steeped in indulgence, squiggles of meaty, housemade daily cavatelliare enmeshed in a Mornay sauce and delivered in a cast iron pot for an elegance of the re-imagined comfort food crafted like no other.

The immodestly rich recipe is completely hedonistic. Every chef, every cook, every kid and every home-kitchen tongs-twirler has his or her own version of macaroni and cheese, but Marrow's orchestration - with a $2 option for bits of salty, delightful pork belly nubbins - is so sensual - so wonderfully immoral - that it makes my heart race just thinking about it.

Each pasta piece is perfectly cooked al dente. Creamy, cheesy béchamel sauce with just the right amount of salt, this is what lovers of noodles and cheese sauce rhapsodize about. The baking pot arrives hot, the top layer of pasta burnished and browned. It's already awesome thanks to the Mornay sauce ($17), but the option to add the pork belly or truffle mushrooms ($2) should be all but mandatory.

An order of this love in a pot doesn't come with a hammock, as it's serving size leaves room for deviled eggs ($8) or mussels with bacon lardons and bone marrow Hollandaise ($10) and, of course, two nationally-recognized craft cocktails. Oh, I have 3,000 words ready to burst out on Marrow's steelhead gnocchi ($24), but that's for another day.

MARROW KITCHEN AND BAR, 3 p.m. to midnight, Tuesday-Saturday, 2717 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.267.5299

LINK: More mac and cheese dishes in the South Sound

LINK: The answer to why this mac and cheese column exists

February 3, 2015 at 3:01pm

Catch a beer flight in the South Sound

Grab a 7 Seas Brewing beer flight and land on their front patio. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Beer festivals are an excellent way to sample a wide range of craft breweries and styles. But if the festival scene doesn't sound appealing, beer fans can create their own diverse festival at their own pace on almost any day of the week - while also getting the most bang for your buck and more beer for your belly. The answer: flights.

Fortunately for those fickle souls among us, most South Sound breweries and a few bars and restaurants offer beer flights. If you can't decide what beer to taste on a night out, taste as many as possible with these various flights put together by beer aficionados. Some establishments, such as Narrows Brewing Company, remove the burden of choice by offering a curated flight - often featuring their most recent brewed beers.

Of course, many places offer build-your-own flights, which opens a door to endless possibilities (and hours of waffling back and forth). If you can't make up your mind or have no idea where to even start when picking the beers yourself, ask your server; he or she should be happy to help fill out your flight or offer suggestions to get you started.

Either way, beer flights can widen your beer knowledge or help a friend broaden a narrowly focused viewpoint, as well as be a cost-effective way to train your palate to recognize the differences between similar brews.

Vertical flights demonstrate the way a specific beer can change when properly cellared, but they are more rare and usually reserved for special events. Finding several beers from a single brewery on tap is more common, providing a feel for a brewery's character. If you're in a restaurant or bar, multiple breweries most likely will be offered in a single flight.

Typically, flights land on a paddle or tray, six to eight small glasses full of beer, for a single price. Sometimes, the beers are priced a la carte.

My South Sound travels revealed most flights land with beers lightest to darkest. Generally, the lightest beers have a gentler character, lower ABV and lower hop bitterness than darker beers. If a dark beer is sampled before a light beer, it is likely that much of its character will be lost behind the forward charisma of the dark one.

Travis Guterson, head brewer at 7 Seas Brewing, suggests arranging his beers according to their hops content.

"Think about what's going to wreak the most havoc on your palate," says Guterson. "The rule of thumb is starting with the flavors that are going to be the more mellow, subtle, and move toward the more bold, hoppy flavors. Hops, in particular, tend to have a numbing effect on your senses. They can burn your taste buds out. We suggest not arranging by mellow to bold, but rather least hoppy to most hoppy. I'll put our Rotating Imperial Stout before our IPA, Ballz Deep Double IPA and Cascadian Dark Ale. Starting with our Belgian Style Blonde Ale is a good bet, then on to the Cutt's Amber, the 253 Pilsner, then the Stout, CDA and last, the IPAs. Of course, this is a bit beer geeky; the main goal is to taste several beers and have fun with friends."

My originally scheduled beer column for this week (different subject matter) was postponed due to technical difficulties. Since I logged some beer flight miles (didn't open the bag in the seat pocket once), I thought I'd post my beer flight column early (I had planned to visit many other establishments). Please check the reader board for how this affects your connecting flights.

7 Seas Brewing

The Gig Harbor brewery allows drinkers to mix and match any of their beers on tap. Each deep, handsome long-wooden crate comes with four ($5), six ($8) or eight ($10) 5-ounce glasses filled with whatever your heart desires. If you're one of those people who loathes making important decisions like what to drink on Friday night, you could just drink seasonals or IPAs. You could also drink single 5-ounce pours for $1.50. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday-Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 3006 Judson St., Gig Harbor, 253.514.8129

Narrows Brewing Company

The waterfront brewery is the perfect place to while away sunny days sipping on Joe Walts' handiwork while watching boats float along the Narrows waterway. To try more beer for less money, order a flight of six 5.5- to 6-ounce pours for $10.50. Bartenders Mary and Taylor pick the beers, which typically are the most recently brewed beers. 2-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, noon to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, 9007 S. 19th St., Tacoma, 253.327.1400

Odd Otter Brewing Company

You can mix and match or go with a server's recommendation based upon your preferences, but you can't really go wrong with the beer available at Odd Otter Brewing Company in downtown Tacoma. Known for their unique flavors - Ottermelon Hefeweizen, Cozy Camper Amber, Momma Otter's Pancake Porter and on and on - Odd Otter serves their beer flights in a la carte 5-ounce tasters for $2 an Otter - which are discounted during happy hour. Their beer paddle holds six, but more can certainly ride shotgun. Warning: The beer slots on the paddle are very shallow so find a spot and stay put.11-2 a.m. Thursday-Sunday, 716 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.209.7064

Pacific Brewing & Malting Co.

Down the street from Odd Otter, historic Pacific Brewing only drilled five holes in the old logs they used to carry their flights. Don't cry South Sound, the pours are 7-ounces for $14, and you can pick the beers. You know how Pacific Brewing is: Go big or go home. Their Moon Yard Strong Ale (7.3% ABV/89 IBU) with strong hop flavor and bitterness (named after a neighboring railway yard) and Dirty Skoog IPA (8.1% ABV/73 IBU) double IPA (named after a rumored speakeasy in Old Tacoma during Prohibition) is how they think. 4-10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, 610 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.383.BEER

Pint Defiance

The specialty beer store and taproom on the edge of Fircrest doesn't offer beer flights, but rather a "Sunday Beer Sampler" from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Assistant Manager R.J. Adler runs the Sampler, typically choosing four 3- to 4-ounce pours from bottles out of the cooler, centered around a theme - a specific brewery, certain beer style, holidays, topical event or, if he can, his favorite sours. "It's a way to try a unique bottled beer without drinking all 22-ounces," says Adler. The price runs $4 to $5.50. Bonus: Pint Defiance's third annual Valentine's Day Chocolate & Beer Event will feature special draft releases paired with artisanal chocolate from local Cocoa Tantily Feb. 13 and 14. 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2049 Mildred St. W., Tacoma, 253.302.4240

The Red Hot

The Tacoma Sixth Avenue craft beer and hot dog joint will pour you 5-ounce tasters of any of the 24 beers on tap for $2 less than the posted price. No paddles ... unless you're a jerk. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday, 2914 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.779.0229

Wingman Brewers

The Tacoma Dome District brewery serves a minimum of six 5.5-ounce pours for $12. According to head brewer Ken Thoburn, patrons will receive one of everything on tap that he has brewed. 2-9 p.m. Thursday, 2-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2-9 p.m. Sunday, 509 ½ Puyallup Ave., Tacoma, 253.256.5240

February 3, 2015 at 11:00am

Eat This Now: Sea Groove

Is The Rock's Sea Groove sandwich named after the song by Big Boss Man or Nickelback? Photo credit: Jackie Fender

This week was a superb excuse to go on a lady date with my oldest, which is a rare treat. Usually we are wrangling my youngest ones and noshing on drive-thru fare because we are on our way to an appointment or errand of some kind. Instead, the husband held down the homestead and we headed out on a dining adventure. Where to go?!

Prerequisite menu item to be considered when dining with my daughter is hot wings. We both love them, so it's only natural we would gravitate toward an establishment that serves good wings. The Rock Wood Fired Kitchen has a generous, heaping serving of hot wings and good tunes, so off we went.

Though The Rock is best known for its bucket cocktails (damn tasty and super dangerous) and their pizza pies featuring quirky toppings and fun monikers named after albums and classic rock songs, my Eat This Now recommendation is the Sea Groove ($13). This sandwich is for the seafood lovers featuring a generous portion of Cajun seasoned yellowfin tuna grilled through while maintaining juiciness and loads of peppery flavor. It's topped with baby arugula that has been tossed in lemon and olive oil and garnished further with a housemade roasted red pepper, artichoke and olive mayo. Served on a brioche bun, it almost feels like something you'd expect to nibble on while dining along Ruston Way.

It's satisfying with pops of pepper and zings of lemon. It's a clear winner with the addition of beer battered fries.

You'll be happily and passionately lip syncing to Bon Jovi's "Blaze of Glory" between bites. Not that I have personal experience with that. ...

THE ROCK WOOD FIRED KITCHEN, 11:30 a.m. to midnight, 1920 Jefferson Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.1221

Filed under: Eat This Now, Tacoma,

February 2, 2015 at 12:00pm

Served Blog Banner Girl: Q&A with bartender Brie Schafer of 7 Seas Brewing

A veteran of the restaurant industry, Brie Schafer is the newest bartender at 7 Seas Brewing in Gig Harbor. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

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 Brie Schafer.

Server Banner Girl, Feb. 2-8, 2015

Brie Schafer

After many years at The Ram Restaurant & Brewery on South Hill Puyallup, several years at Marrow on Tacoma's Sixth Avenue and a short stint at Brix 25 in Gig Harbor, Brie Schafer has fully come into her own behind the taps at 7 Seas Brewing in Gig Harbor. She knows how to warm a room - even if the room is a huge taproom.

Why do you serve?

"I started in the industry when I was 15 - as a busser. It seemed like a fun first job. Quickly I fell in love with the family and friendships that come from working so close. I have stayed in the industry for 20 years now because I love people. I am a natural caretaker. I love to host and make people feel full, satisfied and buzzed. It just fits; I get to do what I love. I get to take care of people."

Who is your favorite server in the South Sound?

"Jacob O'neill at Marrow. When I first met Jacob he was still new in the industry. It has been a pleasure to watch him quickly became a true professional and craftsman."

What are you most proud to serve?

"Currently our Belgium style Blonde. It is delicious! All the beer in the taproom is made with much care and love. Mike, Travis and all the brewers have such a passion to make craft beer. It is easy to sell good product made by good people."

What's you current drink of choice?

"I know I should say beer, but ... Tits & Bouch! A shot of Titos and a glass of Kombucha is all this girl needs. I like fancy food and simple drinks."

What's your favorite movie?

"Goonies. It still makes me unreasonably happy. Goonies never die!!!"

What don't you serve?

"Bullshit. You get what you see with me! I am in a place in my life where I am able to be genuine and in a place in my career where I don't have to serve mass produced crap made by people who don't care."

What's on your radar at 7 Seas Brewing?

"7 Seas is constantly going out to the community doing fun things - bringing our tasty beer to all your pretty faces. We are constantly keeping it fresh with rotating seasonals too. Personally, I am looking forward to finding my place in this family of rad people."

7 SEAS BREWING, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday-Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 3006 Judson St., Gig Harbor, 253.514.8129

LINK: Meet other South Sound servers

January 31, 2015 at 12:41pm

Head brewer Mike Davis returns to Tacoma

The view from Narrows Brewing Company's taproom is stunning. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

You can't be Mike Davis and just have a beer.

The University of California - Santa Barbara Aquatic Biology graduate became a home brewer while watching sea life on the Big Island of Hawaii. After a stint at the American Brewers Guild at Davis, California, Engine House No. 9 in Tacoma hired him as an assistant brewer. Then, the brewpubs came a calling, including the Monte Carlo Casino Brewery in Las Vegas where Davis lead the brewing crew. Back in Tacoma, the following 15 years is where Davis really made his mark in the brewing industry. He grabbed numerous Great American Beer Festival medals and multiple North American Brewers Association medals as head brewer at Harmon Brewing Co. Then, the breweries came a calling. Davis help launch Hi-Fi Brewing in Redmond as head brewer followed by a stint at Elliott Bay Brewing in Burien and, most recently, Twelve Rounds Brewing in Sacramento, California.

Still calling Steilacoom home, several weeks ago Davis and his wife dropped by Narrows Brewing Company in Tacoma for a beer.

Like I said, you can't be Mike Davis and just have a beer.

Narrows Brewing hired him on the spot to be their head brewer, replacing Joe Walts who is headed back home to Madison Wisconsin and his old job as quality control manager at Ale Asylum Brewery. Davis puts on the Narrows head brewer apron Feb. 16, four days before a big send-off party for Walts.

"Many things went into the decision, but coming back made life much simpler as my wife and puppies were still in Steilacoom," says Davis. "Twelve Rounds was struggling to get things moving, but for some reason the owners of Narrows really wanted me. That commitment is hard to refuse."

It wasn't a no-brainer from Davis as he respects and likes the Twelve Rounds ownership. He also enjoys working in sunny California. But, being close to home, and opportunity to help shape Narrows and make it a fun place to hang out was too good to pass up.

"One of the focuses will be to make the Narrows taproom THE "Other Place," meaning folks have Home, Work and the Other Place, where they can gather, relax and have fun," says Davis. "We want to be the Other Place."

He also has his eyes on the U.S. Open and the opportunities the national golf tournament will bring.

Davis mentions the beers as another reason why Narrows Brewing makes sense for him.

"Joe has done a great job; the beers are very good and consistent," Davis says. "The owners and I, with input from the distributors, will figure out IF anything should evolve. Of course, I would like to eventually put my influence of some of the beers, but the bottom line is to be successful."

The ownership would be wise to listen to Davis. Not only has he had 17 years working in the brewpub side of the business, but also he has bigger production experience, too.

"HI-FI was a good first start," he explains. "The owners are great and it was a nice challenge to help start a production facility. I also learned a lot of different approaches to brewing and running a brewery from Doug at Elliot Bay. I still love the brewpub scene, but feel more comfortable in the production side now."

Since Narrows Brewing sits on pilings above the water, just south of the Narrows Bridge, sharing space next to Narrows Marina, will Davis put his degree to good use?

"There was no mention of cleaning piers or boat hulls as part of my responsibilities," he replies, "though I have done that in a past life. Plus, I left my wet suit in California."

NARROWS BREWING COMPANY, 2-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, noon to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 9007 S. 19th St., Tacoma, 253.327.1400

Filed under: New Beer Column, Tacoma,

January 30, 2015 at 11:12am

Mac and Cheese Madness: Westside Tavern

Westside Tavern serves a thick, bacon jalapeno mac and cheese. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Of course Westside Tavern's mac and cheese pops.

The energy inside the attractive Westside Olympia restaurant and bar swells on a nightly basis. Bankers and bikers share fries. Hipsters and hillbillies hug. There's a book club chatting in that corner. There's a website brainstorm happening in the other corner. Craft beer and cocktails dot the landscape. If a juggler or someone dressed at Batman popped in at any part of the night, that catalyst would ignite the room into a frenzy - the bankers and hipsters would hug, the bikers and hillbillies would dance and a book club website would be born. Mass hysteria.

It's only naturally the Westside Tavern's mac and cheese consists of a "secret family recipe."  I did discover they blend four cheeses, elbow macaroni, jalapeños and house made bits of bacon topped with crispy bread crumbs with fresh jalapeño corn bread with housemade red pepper jelly. It's a rib sticker that pops with jalapeno spice. It could help sustain a sudden party situation. It could help keep the drive alive.

The Westside Tavern knows there are two guiding principles behind terrific mac and cheese: a combination of cheeses, never just one, and a high proportion of cheese to everything else. Velveeta, cheddar and heavy cream makes the creaminest, cheesiest mac and cheese. They also know ridged elbow macaroni helps the sauce cling to the noodles. And, homemade breadcrumbs and shaved cheddar on top is just badass.

Pop into the Westside Tavern, grab the huge portion of mac and cheese, and wait for Batman.

WESTSIDE TAVERN, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday-Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday-Saturday, 1815 Harrison Ave. NW, Olympia, 360.915.7839

LINK: More mac and cheese dishes in the South Sound

LINK: The answer to why this mac and cheese column exists

LINK: Westside Tavern won the Tournament of Burgers

January 29, 2015 at 9:54am

Photos: Gigantic night at Pint Defiance in Tacoma

Humans and dogs enjoyed Gigantic Brewing Company Night at Pint Defiance in Tacoma Jan. 28. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Years and years and years from now, when people from the future or aliens or whatever are sifting through the artifacts of our culture, will they ever, ever find anything as cool as this: A Gigantic brewery. OK, it's actually called Gigantic Brewing Company, and, well, gigantic is the opposite  of what founders Ben Love and Van Havig have in mind for the Portland, Oregon brewery. The vow to stay small, focus on brewing exceptional beer rather than mass produce. Veterans of the Oregon brewing community (Love has brewed for 10 years, Havig for 20), the two concentrate on two things: a really freakin delicious IPA and three-month run seasonals, including their Saboteur Baltic Porter, Ginormous Imperial IPA and 2014 MASSIVE! BarleyWine. The Porter is exceptional, with a rich chocolate and roasted taste finishing with a smooth alcoholic warmth. Heavily hopped, the delicious MASSIVE! uses only British Halcyon pale malt, which is boiled for eight hours, giving the beer a deep ruby color and rich malt flavor.

Today, Gigantic Brewing releases its Catch 23 Experimental Pale Ale made with the experimental 527 hop. You'll catch tropical mango hoppiness with every sip. Mick Wilcox, brand manager with Click Wholesale Distributing, says the Catch 23 is the best pale ale he's tasted in a long time.

Ben Love went big last night at Pint Defiance Specialty Beers and Taproom, pouring his beers and chatting up his principles. The night was so huge my neck hurts today. ...

January 28, 2015 at 10:48am

Beer Here: Gigantic Brewing, Avery Brewing, Hop Valley, Tides' Tapmaster line-up ...

Tides Tavern in Gig Harbor kicks off its Tapmaster program - 16 beers in the 28 days - Super Bowl Sunday.

As Super Bowl Sunday approaches, I'm thinking about beer. Who wants to be sipping wine or cocktails? Sudsy brews are de rigueur. Here are a few South Sound craft beer events to hit before the big game. Maybe you'll walk away with your Super Bowl beers.

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 28

Last week Double Mountain Brewing out of Hood River, Oregon, released their My Little Runaway-Belgian Style Cherry Ale. Like all beers at Double Mountain, the My Little Runaway is unfiltered for the purpose of preserving freshness and flavor. This cherry ale contains a small amount of natural fruit and yeast sediment that forms on the bottom of the bottle. No word if the beer will make an appearance at the Double Mountain Brewer's Night at Puyallup River Alehouse from 6-9 p.m.

Last month, Gigantic Brewing released its 2013 Massive! Barleywine. The aptly named barleywine always features one malt boiled for at least nine hours in the direct fire kettle, resulting in toffee and caramelized sugar malt flavors and evaporation over the long boil results in higher finished alcohol - 13.5 percent. Gigantic! Conquer this beer and meet its founder, Ben Love, when Pint Defiance hosts the Gigantic Brewing Company Brewer's Night from 5-7 p.m. The Portland brewery, which opened in 2011, will also tap its Gigantic IPA, Ginourmous IPA and Saboteur Baltic Porter. Go big!

In 1991, Homebrewer Jeff Lebesch opened New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colorado. The brewing company has ridden its Fat Tire amber ale across the country - most recently building huge plants in North Carolina, especially Asheville. There are other reasons they have become so big and successful. Le Terroir, La Folie and Tart Lychee are three of those reasons, but there are dozens more. Chat up and drink New Belgium beers at The Swiss Restaurant and Pub, beginning at 6 p.m.

THURSDAY, JAN. 29

Hey kids! Want to black out before the Super Bowl? Then you're in luck, cause Avery Brewing is bringing its demonically strong Mephistopheles Stout to The Copper Door beer store and taproom. First brewed in 2005 as the third installment in Avery's "Demons of Ale" series, it measures in at 14.5 percent alcohol. That's evil. Take note Uber drivers: The Stadium District beer store will also pour Avery's Tweak, Lilikoi Kepolo, Ellie's Brown Ale, India Pale Ale and White Rascal. Of note is the White Rascal, which was brewed at New Belgium last year while Avery built a 96,000-square-foot facility in the Gunbarrel area of Boulder - so it can push out around half a million barrels of beer annually. The new plant opens Feb. 16. The Avery Brewing Night at The Copper Door runs 6-9 p.m. Thursday.

FRIDAY, JAN. 30

How did Dick's Brewing raise more than $5,700 for American Cancer Society's Relay for Life of Lewis County this past September? It held a home brew contest and invited folks to celebrate the winners with beer drinking, auctions and raffles. The winner for the 4th Annual Beer for a Cure was Tom Rzadzki and his Black Rye IPA. Friday, Dick's Brewing will host a release party for Tom's beer from 3-7:30 p.m., as well as and having Black Rye IPA on tap at the brewery tasting room and neighboring NW Sausage & Deli.

SATURDAY, JAN. 31

Eugene native and brewmaster Trevor Howard opened Hop Valley Brewing Friday, Feb. 13, 2009. Indeed, he and his father, Ron Howard, Jonas Kungys and Chuck Hare chose Friday the 13th. Good luck has only come their way, as Hop Valley has undergone incredible growth. Drop by the Pig Bar inside South Bay Dickerson's BBQ and get an early start on the brewery's six-year anniversary by sipping a healthy Hop Valley line-up, win prizes and get in on some tasty ribs from 6-9 p.m.

SUNDAY, FEB. 1

These days, South Sound pubs offer more activities than a cruise ship. Tides Tavern wants to make it crystal clear its 12th Annual Tapmaster program isn't about chugging yards of beer then taking a flying leap off the dock into the harbor. Instead, the popular watering hole in Gig Harbor wants you to enjoy its 16 taps through the month of February. Get to know each beer. Ask the beers questions. Ask the bartenders questions. If by happenstance you drink all 16 beers in the 28 days, the Tides will give you a nifty T-shirt and add your name to the wall of fame. Here is the 2015 Tapmaster beer (and cider) list: Fremont Pale Ale, Mac N Jacks IBIS IPA, Tides Tavern Long Ass Day X2IPA, American Brewing Blonde, Alaskan Amber, Tides Tavern Anniversary IPA, Manny's Pale Ale, Hilliard's Saison, Pacific Brewing Porter, Backyard Brewing Winchester Brown, Silver City Cold One Pilsner, Seattle Cider Company's Cider, Elysian Mens Room Red, Iron Horse Irish Death, 7 Seas Stout on nitro and Widmer Hefeweizen.

THURSDAY, FEB. 5

Plan Ahead: Engine House No. 9 will host a Trinity Brewing Night with five on tap and three different brews in bottles. Trinity head brewer and owner Jason Yester will be in the firehouse.

January 26, 2015 at 12:00pm

Harmon Brewing upgrades Stryker Stout

Harmon Brewing Co.'s Stryker Stout has a new recipe. Look for the upgraded stout in stores beginning Jan. 29. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

When you make a rock-solid stout that's named after the mighty combat teams at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, you get to be in my column. It doesn't hurt that it's also a delicious smooth stout made with oats, chocolate and hints of cherry. Here's the after action report. ...

Feb. 27, 2002, the U.S. Army officially named its medium-weight armored vehicle the Stryker after two unrelated infantrymen with the same last name - Pvt. Stuart S. Stryker (1945) and Spec. Robert F. Stryker (1967), both Medal of Honor recipients. The first Strykers arrived at Fort Lewis in May of that year, 14 vehicles for A Company, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Division. By June, the Strykers were training at the Yakima Training Center. July 1, the Army made it official creating the Stryker Brigade Combat Team, or SBCT. In September, the 3rd Infantry Brigade became the 3rd Stryker Brigade at Fort Lewis. Fort Lewis sent the first of the nation's Stryker brigades - 5th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division - into action in the war in Iraq in 2003. The 3-2 SBCT also deployed to Iraq in 2003. In 2005, the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division "Raiders" was formed and activated at Fort Lewis the following year. July 2010, the 5-2 SBCT was inactivated and reflagged as the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division "Lancers," at the reformatted Joint Base Lewis-McChord. In October 2011, the Harmon Brewing Co. released their Stryker Stout. Last March, during an hour inactivation ceremony, the 4-2 SBCT recognized for eight years of stellar service and became victim to the Army's downsizing from 45 to 33 active brigades. Last week, the Harmon Brewing Co. released a new recipe and look for their seasonal Stryker Stout, now on tap at the Harmon downtown and Tap Room in the Stadium District, as well as bottled for retail and on draft at its two Hub restaurants Jan. 29.

Harmon Brewing Co. co-owner Pat Nagle has a grip on the look and names of the beers he releases with his business partner, Carole Ford. Nagle, an enthusiast for everything outdoors, baseball and Tacoma, marries his passions with his products - a snowboarder on their Steep & Deep Winter Ale, kayaker on their Pt. Defiance IPA - but Nagle's mother takes the credit for naming their stout after the armored vehicle. She felt the servicemembers at JBLM should be recognized, and the Stryker Stout was born.

"We've always hosted lots of Hail and Farewell parties at the Harmon," Nagle told the Weekly Volcano. "The military is a huge thing for our local economy." Also, Nagle has had family members serve in the U.S. forces, including JBLM.

The Harmon's seasonal beers appear in October and are served on tap at the four restaurants for about four months. Nagle broke tradition in 2011, and decided to bottle Stryker Stout.

"We felt it was too good to be served just at our locations," he said.

The Harmon brewing team also thought it needed a new recipe.

"Mike Davis, who was the Harmon's head brewer for 15 years, brewed the Stryker Stout," said Jesse Holder, director of brewing operations at Harmon. "Jeff Carlson, our new head brewer for the last several years, wanted to change it up and put his mark on the important brew."

"The tweaks to the Stout are a little more 15L, Carafa Type II, Pale Chocolate, Flaked Oats and Chocolate Wheat," said Carlson. "I also added some 120L and Cherry Smoked malt."

The Stryker Stout's components are a combination of six different malted barleys including a special cherry smoked variety plus some chocolate wheat and rolled flaked oats for a smooth sipper with hints of cherry and a little smoke in the aroma and finish. A 7.3 percent alcohol by volume puts in the mid-range for stouts; its 46 IBU bitterness is similar to Guinness.

It's a stout to salute, as well as drink.

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

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

THE HUB, 203 Tacoma Ave. S., Tacoma, 253.683.4606

THE HUB GIG HARBOR, 1208 28th Ave. NW, Gig Harbor, 253.853.1585

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