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Posts made in: 'Benefits' (11) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 11

March 31, 2015 at 12:18pm

Beer Guy Garage Sale to benefit Citizens for a Healthy Bay

Will 7 Seas Brewing swag created by Kotis Design be available for purchase at The Swiss April 4? Drop by between noon and 5 p.m. and find out. Photo courtesy of kotisdesign.com

In 1976, most of America may have been focused on the bicentennial, but for me, I sunk into my lime green beanbag and watched Star Trek. I would yell at the red-shirted extras to stay alive aboard the USS Enterprise. During the AMC Pacer commercials, I'd study my Star Fleet Technical Manual.

In 2015, most of America may be focused on the minimum wage issue, but for me, I sink into my International Caravan Bali 42-inch Rattan Papasan Chair with Cushion and read beer release stat sheets. I yell at Russian River Brewing to send Pliny the Younger to my planet. DuringMcConaughey's Lincoln Motor Company commercials, I'd study my Cicerone Certification Program study guide.

Star Trek geeks and beer geeks share similar traits, and not just the prevalence of T-shirt wearing guys with beards, albeit the latter don free beer fest volunteer T-shirts. Both sets of geeks spot a warren of minutia and terminology that can make even a Romulan Ale brewer's head spin. Both possess an enormous collection of related schwag. And, there's a lot of yelling when someone drops a Tribble/beer.

The kings of the beer geeks, in my book, are the brewery sales representatives, or beer reps. It's their job to know beer inside and out. They need the knowledge to have intelligent conversations with their boss, the brewery owner, the brewery's brewmaster, as well as the distributor who, er, distributes their beer, the establishments that sell their beer and the consumers who attended their brewery promotions - the people who matter the most.

It's a complicated system, thanks to the U.S. government. You see, the 21st Amendment, which ended Prohibition in the U.S., gave the states the authority to regulate alcohol within their borders. Almost every state, including Washington state, adopted the "three tier system" as the legal structure in which alcohol sales must occur within the state. In a nutshell, this means that a brewer/importer can only sell to a wholesaler, who can only sell to a retailer, who can only sell to consumers. It also requires legal separation between each of these tiers. In other words, a company can't brew beer and own a bar (unless there's an exception such as for brewpubs). Many wholesalers are large companies that own refrigerated warehouses and a fleet of refrigerated trucks. Their focus is on selling and delivering the beer brands they represent to retailers. The beer rep is responsible for the promotion and sales of a beer in a territory, working hand-in-hand with all parties previously mentioned.

How geeky are beer reps? When he's not out repping San Francisco brewery 21st Amendment to Washington state establishments Colin Harvin cellars beer and trades beer with other fellow beer geeks, that is when he's not searching for rarities on his phone. Eugene's Hop Valley Brewing rep Rob Brunsman sleeps in his Hop Valley vest and will chat with every single person, even if there are hundreds, during his promotions. Although he can't grow a beard, and always smells like beer (according to Brunsman), Kevin Lind, rep at 7 Seas Brewing in Gig Harbor, knows the total breakdown from hops to malt to styles, and loves explaining the process.

Similar to Trekkies, beer reps also possess scads of schwag - meaning beer-related stuff, not "low-grade pot" as defined by the Urban Dictionary. The growing craft beer industry has lead to the growth of all kinds of periphery businesses, and a beer rep carts tons of his or her brewery's T-shirts, glassware, tins, inflatables, beer soap, coasters, craft beer earrings or "beerings," stickers and such around a specified territory, marketing the brewery and giving the schwag away. The paraphernalia piles up, due to overproduction, discontinued beers or brew that never made it to final production such as Puyallup Public Swimming Pool Porter, Buckley Bimbo Barleywine, Fuzzy Mouthfeel Peach Lambic or maybe even Eatonville Enigma Brown Something-or-other. Open up a beer reps' garage and you'll see an amassment of beer posters, buttons, bottle openers, life-size cardboard replications of brewers, drum kits made out of wooden barrels, beer can bracelets, iPhone covers that resemble frothy beer mugs and, in front of the pile, stands an angry spouse.

Marine View Beverage distributors came up with an idea to rid the reps of all their brewery's booty, and simultaneously support the effort to clean up, restore and protect Commencement Bay, its surrounding waters and natural habitat. The afternoon of Saturday, April 4, The Swiss Restaurant and Pub will host the Beer Guy Garage Sale, the opportunity to furnish home bars and man cave's with the leftover beer schwag from beer reps.

"We're combining two of Tacomans' favorite things - beer and the Bay," says Ian VanDooren, manager at The Swiss. "The folks from Citizens for a Healthy Bay will be on hand to collect money at the sales tables, auction off whatever really cool stuff we get - basketball hoops, hockey goals, coolers, neon signs and such - and also inform folks on their mission."

"It's pretty brilliant," says Karen Gogins, Partnerships and Communication manager with Citizens for a Healthy Bay. "This garage sale will be selling all of that leftover merchandise to raise funds for our clean water programs."

Drop by The Swiss Saturday afternoon and shop the schwag tables. Maybe you'll find that perfect beer lamp to go with your lime green beanbag or a lime green Rattan Papasan Chair.

BEER GUY GARAGE SALE, noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 4, The Swiss Restaurant and Pub, 1904 Jefferson Ave., Tacoma, no cover, 253.572.2821

March 24, 2015 at 10:10am

Why Adam? Why Odd Otter beer? Here's why: rally behind Team Knowing Stuff

Drink Odd Otter beer so Adam C. Boyd can ask why. Photo courtesy of Facebook

The Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor in New Jersey once reached a temperature of 920 million degrees Fahrenheit. Hawaii gets four inches closer to Japan every year. Ants never sleep, and a decapitated cockroach can live for weeks. The cracks in breaking glass spread at up to 3,000 miles an hour. A shrimp's head contains its heart. At freeway speeds, a drive to the sun would take about 175 years. It would also end badly for the car. How do we know these things? Science. So why didn't you know these things? You attended an American public school.

We live in a time of widespread scientific illiteracy, even as our pockets, homes and automobiles are crammed with technology that'd make Isaac Newton's cranium explode with delight. Studies have shown that almost half of all Americans have no idea how long it takes the earth to go around the sun, nor do over two out of five know humans and dinosaurs were never alive at the same time. In 1987, a documentarian found that many Harvard professors had no idea why seasons occur. It's difficult to have a rational conversation about DNA evidence, evolution, global warming or vaccines with people who know nothing about them. Lamar Smith, currently the chairman of the Congressional Science Committee, is a Christian Scientist, meaning he believes physical illness is a state of mind. Take that, germ theory of disease!

What can be done to stem this depressing and dangerous tide of irrationality? If only there were someone in this area willing, nay, demanding to stand in its way and shout proudly, "NO MORE!" But wait! What's this? From out of the west he comes: Washingtonian filmmaker Adam C. Boyd is working on a TV show to pursue that very goal. The Why Adam? Show aims to address the science behind everyday life. Why does food go bad? How does power reach your house from Alder Dam? What makes beer so delicious? Where do babies come from? Why does asparagus - well, maybe not all of those. The point is Adam Boyd needs your help. You, too, can be part of Team Knowing Stuff. Starting Saturday, April 4 and extending for a week, the so-called Why Adam? Show Science Summit will gather funds for and increase knowledge of the upcoming show. Odd Otter Brewing Company, for example, created a new batch called Why Adam? Belgian Dark. By simply buying and enjoying a bottle at Tacoma hangouts such as Meconi's Pub & Eatery, The Mix, The Office Bar & Grill on Pacific Avenue or Stonegate Pizza, you strike a powerful blow for non-stupidity. And how often can one say that about drinking a beer?

If you'd like to learn more or make a donation, visit WhyAdamShow.com. And if you'd like to use the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor as a Jacuzzi or drive to the sun, don't. Holy cats, man, you need Adam Boyd's show more than any of us.

March 18, 2015 at 11:49am

Taste Gig Harbor this weekend

Morso Wine Bar will serve its morsels at the Taste of Gig Harbor March 21. Photo courtesy of Facebook

There's a troll that lives under the bridge. He grimaces and holds me for ransom, then gobbles up my money every time I try to return home to Tacoma. Well, I mean, there isn't, but there may as well be. It's that damn toll. The toll makes Gig Harbor seem like some far off rumored land when really it's just a hop away. This is precisely why the Taste of Gig Harbor wasn't even a blip on my radar, and for that I feel ashamed. How could I have missed this fundraising celebration of Gig Harbor's culinary prowess and sense of community?

Gig Harbor is full of delectable and diverse dining options including fine dining digs The Green.House, burger joint Blazing Onion, classy Morso Wine Bar, exotic eats at Moctezuma's and Gateway to India, neighborhood restaurant and bar The Hub at Gig Harbor, neighborhood digs at Tides Tavern, golf-guru-go-to Canterwood Golf and Country Club and even culinary academic institute Bates Technical College, all of which have or are participating in this year's Taste of Gig Harbor's festivities on March 21.

The idea is that participating establishments set up kiosks along Tacoma Narrows Airport, and attendees choose which grub to nibble - or which libations to sip; count Heritage Distilling Company among the sponsors, which means you'll find something to pair perfectly with everything, regardless of what cuisine you choose. While noshing and sipping, take in live and silent auctions, a wine game and raffles, and mingle with fellow community minded folks. Proceeds benefit the Gig Harbor Rotary Club. That means warm fuzzies and a full belly plus, if you're lucky, prized booty won from bidding done well.

Now in its 24th year, Taste of Gig Harbor is in the business of fundraising while also bringing people together over the one thing that has successfully brought people together for eons: food. This is likely the reason why the festivities serve as the club's largest fundraising event of the year, because there is nothing more in this world that will bring the masses together better than food, drink and a worthy cause.

Founded in 1974, the Rotary has been standing true to the "service above self" motto while its members invest their time in deeds like placing Connie's Clock at the Bogue Viewing Platform in Gig Harbor's Finholm District, rebuilding the Orthopedic Guild that benefits Mary Bridge Children's hospital, building the public restrooms and pavilion in Skansie Brothers Park, and refurbishing and donating the Midway School building to the Gig Harbor History Museum. This is work that takes passion, vision and dollars.

So use this as an excuse to urban spelunk in our sister city, which is just a short drive over the bridge along with a million dollar toll (OK, OK, it's only $5.50), and dine on some good grub for a good cause.

TASTE OF GIG HARBOR, 5:30-10 p.m., Saturday, March 21, Tacoma Narrows Airport, 1188 26th Ave. NW, Gig Harbor, tasteofgigharbor.com

March 17, 2015 at 1:42pm

Wingman Brewers and The Rusty Cleavers collaborate on Old Plank Pils, release it Friday

The Rusty Cleavers with Wingman Brewers' founders Ken Thoburn (center) and Daniel Heath plan the Old Plank Pils party. Photo courtesy of Kyle Peirson/Facebook

Friday night I'm headed to the happiest place on Earth - and no, I don't mean Disneyland, which calls itself "The Happiest Place on Earth" because it has bathrooms cleaner than yours will ever be and employees who are happier than you'll ever be ... unless you contract the measles.

No, to reach the happiest place on Earth I won't even have to leave Tacoma, because Wingman Brewers is a hop, skip and stumble away from the Tacoma Dome. The Tacoma brewery will introduce the Old Plank Pils to the world, a beer head brewer Ken Thoburn and crew brewed especially for Tacoma punkgrass band The Rusty Cleavers.

Several reasons factored in Thoburn's decision to make The Rusty Cleavers his muse. First, bluegrass screams beer. You see, back in the day in the deep South the bluegrass musicians played in church halls and school auditoriums, but that changed as the musicians eventually made their way up North and pushed opened the bar doors. Instead of just playing those nostalgic songs about the cabin on the hill and mother's grave, they started adapting drinking and cheating songs from mainstream country and arranging them for bluegrass. How could they not? The urban bars in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Chicago were tough places full of tough people. When you walked in the door, you walked onto a floor of sticky beer and into a cloud of cigarette smoke. Bluegrass wasn't meant to be sterile and healthy. It was meant for working class and beer joints.

>>> The Rusty Cleavers, from left, Forest Beutel, Zach Bernard, Luke Sumerfield and Kevin Shintaku, will perform at Wingman brewers Friday, March 20. Photo courtesy of Kyle Peirson/Facebook

The Rusty Cleavers is a working class kind of band, combining the world bluegrass, punk and beer magnificently - with all manner of mandolin, banjo and backyard clatter coming together in a cacophony of spirited group-singing and hoops and hollers. The band writes rowdy songs. They take their musical influences - folk, country and bluegrass - and punk them up. They add growls, and serve them with a cold Wingman beer.

The second reason why Thoburn and The Rusty Cleavers collaborated has more merit than the music genre. The Wingman head brewer and the punkgrass band share roots in the Tacoma neighborhood of Parkland. Thoburn is a Pacific Lutheran University alum, the university where The Rusty Cleavers were Big Bluegrass on Campus. Cleavers' bassist Zach Bernard and washboard/percussionist Luke Sumerfield shared classrooms with Thoburn. A mini college reunion was held when Thoburn attended The Rusty Cleavers' recent "Cave Sessions" recording, a live, in-studio performance produced by MountainHouse Recordings in Tacoma.

"During a Cave Sessions break, Ken asked us if we would be interested in working on a beer collaboration," says Forest Beutel, banjoist with The Rusty Cleavers. "We were like, ‘Uhhh ... YES!'"

"The Rusty Cleavers guys came up with the pilsner idea and the name Old Plank Pils after their song 'Old Plank Road'," says Thoburn. "They're big pilsner fans so we made it happen."

"Old Plank Road" is a drinking anthem.

"It seemed appropriate to name a beer after one of our drinking songs," adds Beutel. 

Indeed it does.

The Old Plank Pils, or OPP as Thoburn called it, is a straight up no frills kind of pilsner. The malt bill is almost entirely pils malt, which has a continental European color and quality to it despite being grown locally. 

"We use US Saaz hops, which are a variety originally from the Czech Republic," explains Thoburn. "The ABV is 4.8 percent and the IBU is slightly under 30, which puts it right in the middle of the stylistic guidelines. For those who do enjoy craft beer the OPP is a super refreshing pils that is awesome for those days when your palette is worn out from imperial stouts, IPSs or sours. We feel like the beer is something people who don't normally drink craft beer can get behind for the sake of supporting the YWCA and drinking local. It's the perfect backyard barbecue or bluegrass kitchen party kind of beer."

YWCA?

The Old Plank Pils will be released Friday at Wingman Brewers. The Rusty Cleavers will sing drinking songs, with 25 percent of the proceeds benefitting the YWCA Pierce County.

"We see the YWCA doing a lot great things in our community and the guys from The Rusty Cleavers identified them as the group they wanted to benefit from the beer collaboration," says Thoburn. 

The Old Plank Pils pegs Wingman's second band-beer-benefit collaboration. Last year, Wingman teamed up with local reggae band Mighty High to produce the Mighty HighPA. The musicians picked Elements of Education as the benefitting organization. This year, The Rusty Cleavers chose the YWCA. And, just like last year, 10 percent of all sales of the beer will benefit the nonprofit organization.

"So drink up!" stresses Beutel.

The Old Plank Pils release party will begin at 8 p.m., with the band hitting the planks at 8:30 p.m. for a two-hour performance. I can guarantee you Wingman Brewers will be the happiest place on Earth that night ... and the bathroom is cleaner than yours.

OLD PLANK PILS RELEASE PARTY, w/The Rusty Cleavers, 8 p.m., Friday, March 20, Wingman Brewers, 509 1/2 Puyallup Ave, Tacoma, no cover, 253.256.5240

January 6, 2015 at 10:41am

Top Rung Brewing Co. offers servicemember discounts

Casey Sobol, left, and Jason Stoltz founded Top Rung Brewing Co. in April 2014. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

For Lacey-based Top Rung Brewing Co., it's all about family, friendship and honoring those who serve with a great product, a terrific atmosphere and a heartfelt thank you.

It all began with a dream, hard work and the passion to serve the local community.

The craft beer brewery, who opened their facility and tasting room in the spring of 2014, is the product of a unique friendship and family collaboration. Casey Sobol, brewery operations manager and managing member, along with Jason Stoltz, head brewer and managing member, were both deeply passionate about brewing great beer. With the support of family, investors and friends, Top Rung Brewing was born.

However, both men have another important role: they work full-time as firefighters, serving the Olympia area.

With that in mind, Top Rung Brewing Co. is passionate about recognizing and supporting families; not only immediate families but the "family" of servicemembers, fellow firefighters and police officers who serve their country and communities. As a way of saying thank you, the brewer has created "Challenge Coin Saturday" to recognize military, firefighters and police officers. Patrons that show their challenge coins on Saturdays will receive a $1 discount on a pint (military ID will also be honored to receive the discount). Also, the same group of servicemebers may receive a $1 discount on their first pint Thursday-Sunday, unless they pull out a coin on Saturdays.

"Jason and I took on the ‘challenge coin' concept, which started in the military, and thought it would be a neat way to recognize people," explains Casey Sobol. "We wanted to do something to say thank you to the military, fire and police communities and to recognize their service to our country and our communities."

In addition to recognizing those who serve, Sobol said it's also important to recognize families too.

"When it comes to balance, we have to achieve that very delicately," says Sobol, the parent of two young daughters. "Working on this business and being a firefighter, well, it can be challenging at times, but we make it work.

"We are so thankful for our families and their support; that's why it was important to have Top Rung be family friendly. I wanted to be able to bring my girls here."

Seating is long wooden tables to accommodate groups and conversation. The brewery provides a variety of board games to borrow and play (in the warmer months, outdoor games are planned). While there is a television available for big game day viewing, the volume is off. It's a relaxed environment to enjoy family and friends (to note: snacks are available and patrons can bring their own food).

And, of course, there is some terrific beer.

All the brews have subtle and not-so-subtle firefighter-themed names. The Prying Irons IPA and the My Dog Scout Stout are patron favorites. The pumpkin ale was also a big hit in the fall. A light, easy drinking black lager winter release is in the works and the brewery also features a nice Cascadian dark ale, Good Jake CDA, that hop lovers will appreciate.

Other plans for the brewer for 2015? It is going to be an exciting year.

According to Sobol, they plan to start bottling their beer in the first quarter of this year in-house with limited release. A beer club is in the works that promises to be one of a kind.

Top Rung will also be offering their first beer pairing dinner and tasting Jan. 25 at 6 p.m. in their tap room.  The special dinner will offer a full menu, tastings, brewery tour and brewing overview. Tickets are $45 per person and available at the brewery. This event is limited to 26 people.

For more information on Top Rung, upcoming events, hours of operation, directions and more, visit them online at toprungbrewing.com or on Facebook.

Top Rung Brewery Co. is at 8343 Hogum Bay Lane NE in Lacey.

December 2, 2014 at 10:20am

Drinking for Conservation to host Drinks for Lynx at ParkWay Tavern

Tip one for me.

Some people are just not "people" people. Some people are dog people, some are cat people and some are just plain animal people. If you are an animal person, or would like to at least keep animals on the planet, you need to go be around party animals Wednesday, Dec. 10.

You need to know a few things first. You don't have to say "fuzzy duck" to the person on your left, drink like a T-Rex or chase Ping-Pong balls. And you won't be freezing your ass off at the zoo; although it's no coincidence that one of the only words you can form from the letters in booze is zoo. No, really, it's totally deliberate; people love to get liquored up around caged animals (see: Zoobilee). No, the game you need to be concerned with Dec. 10 is wild game.

If this sounds like altogether too much mumbo-jumbo for you, I apologize, it's my writing style.

Actually, the event I'm babbling about isn't a party animal situation, but rather a party about animals. The ParkWay Tavern will host animal AND people person Suzanne Akerman and her Drinking for Conservation organization's "Drinks for Lynx" night Wednesday, Dec. 10. Like most people, Akerman has spent many sleepless nights pondering the plight of lynx in the Pacific Northwest, which first gained federal protection as a threatened species in 2002. Then again, maybe you haven't. She has. And, it's time you atoned for your environmentally apathetic ways. Fifty cents of every beer, cider and wine sold between 6 and 10 p.m. at the ParkWay will go to help Conservation Northwest protect the lynx.

"Drinking for Conservation is part of a larger organization called the Point Defiance Chapter of the American Association of Zookeepers," says Akerman. "That's not super important though, what IS important is that we are dedicated to raising funds for and awareness of endangered species around the world. The first Drinking for Conservation event was Pints for Pandas at the ParkWay Aug. 9, 2011. Whitney Weibel and I are co-chairs of the DFC committee. She heard about a very similar fundraiser done by a chapter of the zookeepers' association in the Bay Area in Cali. She wanted to try the same thing here, and at first we did an event about quarterly, but we've been ramping things up. Now we try to do one per month."

DFC donates to organizations with missions the committee believes in - helping animals and the environment. Then, Akerman and her fellow animal people find cool organizations with big hearts, such as the ParkWay Tavern and Doyle's Public House, to donate to the cause, let them roam through the establishment to chat up conservation, and in Akerman's case, dress like the spotlight animal and, if need be, arm wrestle Hop Valley Brewing salespeople for extra donations. Since Pints for Pandas, DFC has promoted Libations for Lions, Sloshed for Seahorses, Buzzed for Bees and most recently at the ParkWay, Brews for Bats, where Akerman wore bat wings.

"The most recent organization was a suggestion we received through our Facebook page, where we promote the events," says Akerman. "The events range widely in the amounts they raise, depending on the day of the week, how busy the bar is, how ‘sexy' the animal we choose is. The largest amount ever raised at an event was close to $700; more typically we raise $300 or so, but our average is on the rise. Sometimes we choose charismatic mega-fauna, such as elephants or lions, but other times we choose animals whose importance might be overlooked, such as frogs or bats. When we talk to people in the bars, we try to tell them a little about the animal and it's significance. Hopefully some of them will be inspired to learn more about what they can do to help animals and be environmentally friendly."

One of DFC's lofty goals is to eventually find a brewery or winery that will partner with them to donate a portion of the proceeds from a beer or wine to Drinking for Conservation.

"Don't you think Animal Ale or Species Specialty would FLY off the shelves?" asks Akerman.

That's how animal people think.

They drink to help animals.

They drink to help the lynx.

I'll drink to that.

DRINKS FOR LYNX, Wednesday, Dec. 10, 6-10 p.m., ParkWay Tavern, 313 N. I St., Tacoma, no cover, facebook.com/Drinking.for.Conservation

Filed under: Benefits, New Beer Column, Tacoma,

October 6, 2014 at 8:27am

Hotel Murano toasts Breast Cancer Awareness Month with Pretty in Pink

Drink Pink at the Hotel Murano during October. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

During October, BITE restaurant at Hotel Murano is supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month by serving up special Pretty in Pink cocktails to raise money for Keep A Breast Foundation.

"Richard Tibbot, our restaurant manager at Hotel Murano, came up with the recipe," says Tess Burick, the marketing coordinator for Provenance Hotels, owners of the hotel in downtown Tacoma.

The restaurant is donating $1 from the sale of each Pretty in Pink cocktail, made with Fris vodka, Pama Pomegranate Liqueur, a splash of pineapple juice and a raspberry resting at the bottom of the martini glass, a combination that results in a cocktail that's the same color as the famous breast cancer awareness ribbon.

Last night, I handed over $7 for one of these beauties. It's a perfectly balanced cocktail that's wonderfully tart and sweet.

The pink cocktail promotion is also happening at other Provenance hotels' restaurants:

Miller's Guild at Hotel Max (Seattle): Calling Dr. Cosmo ($10) is made with Wodka Vodka, cranberry orange shrub and Scrappy's Lime Bitters;

Jackknife at Sentinel (Portland): The Left Handed Gun ($12) is made with Vida Mezcal, Dolin Genepy, grenadine, and lime;

Imperial at Hotel Lucia (Portland): The Harlequin ($10) is made with gin, aperol and lemon juice;

Driftwood Room at Hotel deluxe (Portland): The Rose Colored Glasses ($10) is made with gin, rose syrup, fresh lemon juice and champagne.

The Pretty in Pink cocktail is available through the month at BITE located on the fourth floor at Hotel Murano and in the hotel's lobby bar.

BITE AT HOTEL MURANO, 1320 Broadway Plaza, Tacoma, 253.591.4151

Filed under: Benefits, Booze, Tacoma,

October 1, 2014 at 4:13pm

7 Seas Brewing and 253 Heart release 253 Pilsner, nonprofits to benefit

7 Seas Brewing and 253 Heart have released 253 Pilsner, a lager with a portion of the proceeds benefiting local nonprofits. Courtesy photo

Two years ago, Tacoma resident Catherine Masucci brought together two of her creative friends. Turns out, they had a mutual admiration for each other.

"It was on a visit to 7 Seas in early 2012 when I discovered a 253 Heart sticker on one of the brewery's windows. I took a photo and texted it to my friend Steve Naccarato," Masucci explains. "I've always been a fan of the 253 Heart because I feel that it encompasses the love and pride the people of this area have for our great community," says Masucci.

"I thought, why not bring two local favorites together?"

Masucci contacted 7 Seas Brewing co-owner Mike Runion and suggested he meet her friend Steve, torchbearer of the 253 Heart.

The two men met.

The 253 Pilsner is on the street today.

"Even before there was talk of beer, we loved the design of 253 Heart and what it means," says Runion, who owns the Gig Harbor brewery with head brewer Travis Guterson. "It strikes a cord with us. It stands for pride of where you live - a love of place. And beyond the 253, the message is still there: No matter where you are from, it's about caring and having pride where you live."

The day the two men met there was indeed talk of a collaborative beer, but there was also talk of compassion, heart and give back to the community. Craft brewing companies such as 7 Seas Brewing have put the 253 on the map as the place to experience and purchase quality beer as well as support local causes. Now the Gig Harbor brewery will join forces with an even bigger Heart to support the community year-round.

The Heart

Before touring the world with his band, Motopony, artist/poet/musician Daniel Blue lived and breathed Tacoma. On Christmas Day, 2007, Blue doodled 253, turned the paper 90 degrees and saw that it had formed a heart. Over the next three years, the 253 Heart appeared on windshields, laptops, backpacks and anything owned by someone who held the area code close to his or her heart. Blue said the 253 Heart is about love of place. With music consuming his life, Blue passed the emblem to fellow Tacoma artist and friend, Steve Naccarato -  son of Stan, brother of Gordon -  a longtime Tacoman who had put his heart into baseball, acting, consulting on a primetime television show, opening restaurants including Shake Shake Shake, producing records, producing concerts, letterpress artistry, photography and the torch bearer of the 253 Heart. Naccarato has taken his second heart to heart commissioning artists to design products that showcase the creative energy and spirit of Pierce County, with a portion of the sales benefitting local charities.

Naccarato's Heart and heart beat harder after meeting Runion. Runion, a big presence with a heart to match, agreed their collaboration should have a strong charitable presence. A second meeting inked a mission to contribute $5,000 of 253 Pilsner sales to a revolving door of 501(c)(3) status nonprofits. The inaugural nonprofits were chosen based on current relationships. Naccarato believes strongly in Ben Warner and his Alchemy Indoor Skatepark and Education Center, the Tacoma-based organization striving to improving the relationship between skateboarders and the greater community - "to provide a free, dry, and safe place for local skaters to practice and develop their athletic, social, and educational skills," according to Warner.

"Ben is helping reshape the skateboard community here," says Naccarato. "He has such a passion for skateboarding. But, he has a big mountain to climb, with laws and perception. Resources are critical, and that's were we hope to help."

7 Seas Brewing chose Peninsula Hands On Art, an organization they believe in and have donated to in the past. Founded in 2003 by parents and local artists, the organization serves approximately 2,700 students in grades K-5 across six schools.

"Peninsula Hands On Art provides elementary schools with hands-on art projects taught by local artists around a particular curriculum. The money we raise will go toward purchasing materials," explains Runion.

Runion says the Peninsula art program is in place, but resources are crucial. He can see the program branching out from the peninsula and spreading across the 253.

"We wanted to find nonprofits where the money was really going to be used," Runion continues. "We wanted to work with nonprofits where five thousand dollars can make a huge change. If you want to make change happen, sometimes it just needs to happen from within. People who live in this community and want to make our community better can't expect others to come in and do it for us. The change has to come from within. That's why we want to give back, and work with nonprofits that are just getting off the ground."

"Money is so tight out there right now, and you can do only so many auctions and car washes," says Naccarato. "It's incumbent for the private sector to partner with the community and make it a better place to live."

The 253 Pilsner will have a dedicated section on the 253 Heart website explaining why the two businesses joined forces, why they love the area and detailed information about the beer.

"It's where you can find out about projects related to the beer, follow the progress of the nonprofits, what happened to the funds, who will be the next nonprofits and a chance to nominate other nonprofits," says Runion. "And it's not just Tacoma, but Gig Harbor, University Place, Lakewood, Puyallup - It's the whole 253 area zone."

The Beer

A proponent of cans, due to the evils of sunlight and recycling costs of glass, 7 Seas Brewing will release the 253 Pilsner in gold cans.

"The 253 Pilsner can was produced by notable craft brew design leader Blindtiger - and it's striking," says Naccarato.  "We wanted to pay homage to the Tacoma brewers from a hundred years ago. Therefore, the can is old-school gold. 

"Not a lot of local brewers make Pilsners, but they did in the 1800s," continues Naccarato. "This Pilsner best represents the 253, its history - and 7 Seas has brewed a pale lager Pilsner better than the beer brewed back in the day."

"It took a while to put the whole project together due to the cans, but we strongly believe this is the way to do it," adds Runion. "We really wanted to bring back the old-school style, the gold can. We studied the old cans - the fonts, the colors, the styles. But, luckily, it won't taste like old tin cans."

Modern cans are coated in a water-based coating specially made to protect the beer.

7 Seas was the first microbrewery in Washington to can their beers. In 2008, weeks away from production, a fire destroyed their operation. They re-opened in a new Gig Harbor location and produced their first 7 Seas label key in July 2009. In 2012, the year they began producing canned beer, 7 Seas moved into an 11,000 square foot space in downtown Gig Harbor, which included a large taproom with 24 taps - with one tap devoted to a guest beer from a Washington brewery. Runion is a huge proponent of supporting the Washington beer industry.

Why a collaborative Pilsner?

"It's a nod to Tacoma's brewing history. Those breweries of yesteryear - the Hiedelbergs, the Columbias, the Olympias - produced old school light lagers," says Runion. "Lager take a lot longer to brew than ales. That's why craft brewers brew the ales. In two weeks, an ale is done. For a lager, it's more like six to twelve weeks. Sure, the financials are better to do ales. You can turn two to three times as many ales than lagers. But we have the space to brew lagers right now. And we always wanted to make a lager."

7 Seas Brewing co-owner and head brewer, Travis Guterson, brewed more than five test batches, with different hops and different malts, to try find the recipe they liked.

"Travis settled on Sterling and Cascade hops. It's a Northwest interpretation of a Pilsner," says Runion.

Hand-crafted with Northwest Pale and Pilsner malt, the 12-ounce gold can will go down easy at 5.2 percent alcohol by volume.

"We're super happy with the result," says Runion with a smile.

The 253 Pilsner will be delivered to distributors Tuesday and in stores beginning Wednesday. It will be available at bottle shops and independent grocery stores. In the spring, after the resets, the beer will find its way to the grocery store chains. The 253 Pilsner will be distributed up and down western Washington through 7 Seas' distributors.

A release party for the 253 Pilsner will be held at Shake Shake Shake in Tacoma's Stadium District, which is owned by Naccarato and his business partner, Robert Stocker. A date hasn't been nailed down, but expect nonprofits to be on-site to discuss their missions, and plenty of good beer to drink.

According to these two men, the whole idea is a charity first, and a beer second. They believe true fulfillment never comes from financial or material success. Happiness and deep sense of connection is their goal. Runion and Naccarato, and their cohorts, sit on the same mountaintop. Money comprises the base, but idealism, balance and good vibes more than tops the peak.

It just so happens the beer is delicious.

August 5, 2014 at 1:06pm

Matador Restaurant to raise funds for victims of Eastern Washington wildfires

Eat and drink at the Matador Aug. 7 and help the victims of the eastern Washington wildfires.

If you like it hot, and we all know that you do, Matador in Tacoma delivers food to the table primed and ready to sear the insides of your mouth. They put the wails in jalapeño at this downtown corner hot spot where long thick curtains at the entrance muffle your screams to the outside, and warms your heart around the fire pit table, the centerpiece of this sexy beast.

This summer, there are many folks who don't like it hot, specifically the victims of the Eastern Washington wildfires. The square miles of damage and the money spent to fight to fires are astronomical.

Today, Matador Restaurant and Tequila Bar announced that its Washington state locations - including downtown Tacoma - as well as Kickin' Boot Whiskey Kitchen in Ballard, are partnering with local organization Band of Brothers Northwest to help raise funds to assist victims of the Eastern Washington wildfires. Thursday, August 7 from 11 a.m. to close, the restaurants will be donating 100 percent of all profits to Band of Brothers NW, and the organization will be accepting tax-deductible donations of any kind at a booth in each location.

Let's read excerpts from Matador's press release. ...

At nearly 400 square miles, the Carlton complex fire is the largest in Washington state history and has burned more than 300 homes. Already, the cost of fighting the fire has surpassed $23 million, but that figure fails to include the cost of the victim's homes that were damaged and lost property.

Read more...

Filed under: Benefits, Tacoma,

June 4, 2014 at 9:55am

Beer Here: Harmon Brewing and Farrelli's Pizza team up, Washington Beer Awards and beer events ...

Margaret Farrell and her sister, Mary Mulkey, the inspiration behind Two Mama Blonde Ale, which pours tonight at Farrelli's Pizza in Parkland. Courtesy photo

A year or so ago, Farrelli's Wood Fire Pizza partnered with Tacoma's Harmon Brewery Co. in the development of its Two Mama Blonde Ale, named after Farrelli's founder and matriarch Margaret Farrell and her sister, Mary Mulkey.

For every pint of the brew sold, 25 cents is earmarked specifically for the Joint Base Lewis-McChord's Fisher House, which houses families while an ill or injured service member undergoes treatment at Madigan Army Medical Center.

Last year, $3,500 was riased, and this year, the partnership is expanding to include a new brew for each season.

Expect an amber in the fall, a brown ale in the winter and an IPA next spring. Though not yet named, the chosen monikers will have a play on family similar to the currently available Two Mama Blonde Ale.

Speaking of Two Mama Blonde Ale, the Farrelli's Pizza in Parkland will pour the Blonde tonight at 7 p.m., once again donating 25 cents per pint to the Fisher House.

Hoist a pint while at Farrelli's and help military families. It's a win win.

BEER NEWS

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, age-gated children born in 1993 and beyond, the annual Washington Beer Awards have been doled out. Well, at least in the private world of the 40 judges who gathered at Elliott Bay Public House & Brewery May 10. The lucky 40 judged 460 brews from 70 state breweries, awarding medals for various styles, as well as spotlight categories Best Small Brewery and Best Large Brewery of the year. The winners won't be announced until Saturday, June 14, at the Washington Brewers Festival at Marymoor Park in Redmond. Standing before a crowd of folks wearing pretzel necklaces, fake cheese hats and that one guy who wears The Beeriodic Table T-shirt, 33 medals will be handed out, including Best Washington Agricultural Product Inspired Beer.

How will the South Sound fare? Not even The Beeriodic Table Guy knows. Here's the South Sound medal count last year:

STRONG LAGERS

Silver: Fish Brewing Company - Leavenworth Navigator Dopplebock

Bronze: Ram Restaurant & Brewery (Tacoma) - Maibock

WHEAT/RYE BEERS

Silver: Ram Restaurant & Brewery (Tacoma) - Big Horn Hefeweizen

BROWN PORTERS

Silver: Harmon Brewing Company - Puget Sound Porter

AMERICAN AMBER ALES

Gold: Fish Brewing Company - Fish Tale Organic Amber Ale

STRONG ALES

Silver: Fish Brewing Company - Fish Tale 10 Squared Barley Wine

BELGIAN & FRENCH ALES

Gold: Ram Restaurant & Brewery (Northgate) - BPA

Bronze: E9 Brewery - E9 Belgian White

BELGIAN STRONG ALES

Bronze: Dick's Brewing Co. - Dick's Grand Cru

SPICE, HERB, & VEGETABLE BEERS

Silver: DUO Brewing - Twin Ports Coffee Porter

The much-anticipated 9th Annual Washington Brewers Festival takes place June 13-15 at Marymoor Park. The Washington Beer Commission welcomes more than 330 beers from 88 state breweries, including locals 7 Seas Brewing, Dick's Brewing, E9 Brewery, Fish Brewing, Harmon Brewing, Northwest Brewing and Wingman Brewers. Admission is $20 for the 21 and older, Hell's Belles rockin', 74 brewery Friday night; $25 for the all-ages Saturday or Sunday affair. Jump on Washingtonbeer.com for details and tickets.

BEER HERE

Here are a couple beer-related events going down this week. ...

Wednesday, May 4

The ParkWay Tavern hosts Dogfish Head Brewery beginning at 5 p.m.

Friday, June 6

Northwest Brewing Company will be at Emerald Downs race track with $2.50 craft pounders, Ottomatic DJ, prize drawings and more from 5-9 p.m

Saturday, June 7

7 Seas Brewing will release its Life Jacket Session IPA Saturday night at Cheney Stadium during the Tacoma Rainiers' game against the Albuquerque Isotopes. The Life Jacket Session IPA - loaded with Amarillo and Nugget hops and juicy hop aromas of tangerine and grapefruit - will be at several locations in the ballpark for the 5:05 game. Kendall Jones, a freelance writer and founder the Washington Beer Blog, will throw out the first pitch.

Tuesday, June 10

Dirty Oscar's in Tacoma hosts 7 Seas Brewing for a brewer's dinner at 6 p.m. Four 7 Seas beers - including the Life Jacket Session IPA - will be paired with a light four-course dinner by Chef James Bacher and sous chef Robert Orlando. Tickets are $50 per person. There are only 22 seats available, so RSVP now at Jennifer@dirtyoscarsannex.com.

Wednesday, June 11

Puyallup River Alehouse hosts Georgetown Brewing Company for a night of Georgetown beers, giveaways, raffles, dollar tacos and more from 6-9 p.m.

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