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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

December 23, 2014 at 11:04am

Greatest Christmas carols paired with beers

Christmas is better with beer.

The International Society of Pairologists has released its definitive list of 10 Greatest Christmas Carols of All Time And The Beer That Pairs With Each. The revered group of retired piano tuners who are also home brewers spent the entire year of 2014 holed up in their headquarters in Orting, Washington, listening to more than 800 Christmas carols and drinking 7,200 beers.

According to Rudolph Pinglehead, the distinguished president of the society and co-writer of the unauthorized biography of Josef Mohr, the author of "Silent Night," the tuner home brewers listened to every Christmas carol at least 11 times. "Once for the lyrics, once for the tune, nine times to pair the perfect beer."

Pinglehead, who hails from Düren, Germany, said he is aware that everyone might not agree with the list. "We were strictly objective, and did not let sentimental associations or drunkenness cloud our judgment."

I was disappointed to see several favorite Christmas carols not included. Where is "O Tannenbaum?" Where is "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas," "The Christmas Song" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas?" How about "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?" The biggest outrage is the omission of "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer," Elmo and Patsy's poignant ballad of loss and redemption.

Nevertheless, we shouldn't let subjective partisanship ruin the holidays.

Without further ado, here are the 10 Greatest Christmas Carols of All Time And The Beer That Pairs With Each, with commentary and analysis by Pinglehead.

1. "Santa Baby." As voiced by the sexy Eartha Kitt, this song asks the eternal question: "Santa honey, I really do believe in you, let's see if you believe in me." Eartha doesn't beat around the bush as she implores Santa to "hurry down the chimney tonight," and "fill up my sock." She assures Santa that she will wait up for him, and ends up with a provocative offer he can hardly refuse: "Come and trim my Christmas tree." Beer Pairing: The International Society of Pairologists found a spicy, dark rich beer to loosen up Santa. Seattle's Fremont Brewing took their Bourbon Barrel Abominable, aka B-Bomb - a winter ale with spicy aroma, dark roasted chocolate malt and rich notes of bourbon, wood and vanilla - and infused it with coffee and cinnamon to create the Coffee Cinnamon Bourbon Abominable. It's the bomb, Santa baby! Available at 99 Bottles in Federal Way, Gravity Beer Market in Olympia, Pint Defiance and The Copper Door in Tacoma

2. "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus." This perennial favorite, sung by former jockey Jimmy Boyd, takes a humorous approach to a child's shocking discovery of his mother's infidelity. "Mommy" and "Santa Baby" are just two of many songs dealing with the theme of Santa as sugar daddy. Beer Pairing: The Pelican Pub & Brewery in Pacific City, Oregon, brews a beer that pairs with Mommy's merry adulterer - Bad Santa. This mysterious dark elixir is filled with complex malt flavors and aromas with toasted malt and roast character, blending seamlessly to the alluring herbal hop aroma that comes from copious amounts of Fuggle hops. Bad Santa doesn't care if you've been naughty or nice, he just wants Mommy. Available at Gravity Beer Market, Pint Defiance and Tacoma Boys

3. "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas." Everyone loves this upbeat song by Burl Ives, who played the role of Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof - a large, brash and vulgar plantation millionaire who believes he has returned from the grave. Beer Pairing: Iron Fist Brewing out of Vista, California, makes a Dark Days Imperial Stout with 11 percent ABV. It's a pitch-black beauty aged in brandy barrels with a chocolate after taste. It's perfect for Big Daddy's dark side. Available at Gravity Beer Market and 99 Bottles 

4. "A Marshmallow World." This was a popular hit in the '50s, and deserves a comeback. The gifted Arthur Godfrey with the Chordettes and the Cherry Sisters performed it. Mr. Godfrey makes effective use of onomatopoeia as he croons, "It's a yum-yummie world, made for sweethearts." Beer Pairing: The yummy Candy Cane Porter by Harmon Brewing Co. pairs well with the song, as Candy Man Jeff Carlson who uses 13 candy canes per keg of the deep brown goodness. The peppermint is forward, almost overwhelming the roasted malt and cocoa notes. Carlson makes the world taste good. Available at the Harmon Tap Room in Tacoma

5. "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town." The consensus among the pairologists was that the best version of this song about a vindictive voyeur - "He sees you while you're sleeping, he knows if you're awake, he knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake" - was done by the Beach Boys, with their sweet voices belying the dark theme of the song. You better watch out, indeed. Beer Pairing: And you better watch out for Maritime Pacific's Jolly Roger Christmas Ale, which is also sweet with just a hint of harsh booziness to it. The official insignia for this English Strong Ale style is a smiling skull-and-cross-bones, reminder to all to enjoy their Jolly, but afterward you better be good for goodness sake. Available at Gravity Beer Market, Pint Defiance, Tacoma Boys and The Copper Door

6. "Mele Kalikimaka." This is an admirable attempt to incorporate other cultural traditions into our provincial WASP celebration of Christmas. Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters tell the inspiring tale of the Three Wise Men getting lost on their way to Bethlehem, and ending up in Hawaii. Beer Pairing: Duh ... Tacoma's Wingman Brewers has planes and coconuts. It's Stratofortress Aged in Bourbon Barrels on dark rum-soaked cedar planks with notes of figs and ripe fruit will get you to Hawaii (aloha 11.4 percent!). Their P-51 Coconut Porter will keep you there (aloha 8 percent!). Available at Wingman Brewers' taproom, as well as Gravity Beer Market, 99 Bottles, Pint Defiance and The Copper Door

7. "Blue Christmas." This was the favorite song of many pairologists, with its complex use of "blue" as a trope. Blue snowflakes, blue memories, etc. We all agreed that only Elvis captures the full blueness of the carol, managing to say blue 13 times in his version. Beer Pairing: Pacific Brewing & Malting Co.'s Griswold's Winter Warmer, an easy drinking malty 8.5 percent ABV ale named after the Clark Griswold who was extremely blue after his employers renege on the holiday bonus he needs. "Hey! If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one," says Griswold. "I'd like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is! Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where's the Tylenol?" Available at Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. in Tacoma

8. "Grandma's Homemade Christmas Card." There are many Christmas carols about Grandma, but our panel believed that this song says it all. Merle Haggard sings of his elderly grandma making a Christmas card out of scraps of discarded magazine inserts. Beer Pairing: 53 Peaks Brewing Co.'s Nut Brown. You'll have to go over many rivers and through many woods to reach Grandma's House, a Denver brewhouse and pub that allows other aspiring breweries the opportunity to create their beers on their brewing system, cover their tap handle with a knitted sweater and sell them through the taproom. 53 Peaks Brewing Co. is one of Grandma's grandkids, and its Nut Brown with Traeger roasted cashews and pecans, has Grandma pinching their cheeks with joy.

9. "Suzie Snowflake." Sung by heartthrob George Clooney's grandma, Rosemary Clooney, this particular carol is a vivid example of the carpe diem tradition. "I haven't long to stay," says Suzie Snowflake, just before she lands on the back of a border collie out for a walk. Beer Pairing: Rogue Yellow Snow IPA. While IPA is not commonly a winter beer, the southern Oregon brewery's winter-seasonal IPA with its bracing clean hoppy bitterness up front fits the bill. Suzie snowflake's dog walk will, no doubt, end with her falling in yellow snow; might as well enjoy a juicy fruit beer with a long-stay bitterness. Available at Tacoma Boys

10. "Frosty the Snowman." The pairologists were moved to tears by the picture of poor Frosty running here and there all around the square, frantically trying to have some fun before he melted away. If you listen carefully to the song, you realize Frosty is not quite the jolly, happy soul he was made out to be, condemned as he is to melt away, the sun being hot that day. Some dissenters saw in Frosty's promise to come again some day as a reference to Christian resurrection. Beer Pairing: ScuttleButt Brewing Company's 10 Below Ale. While the name suggests this Imperial Dunkelweiss from the Everett, Washington, brewery could keep Frosty from melting, the 7.4 percent ABV strong chocolate flavors of 10 below Ale is exactly what one needs to keep warm. It's a malty beast with just enough hops to make it drinkable, and make Frosty's fate forgettable. Available at Gravity Beer Market and The Copper Door

September 9, 2014 at 10:12am

Olympia Food Co-op to host first Zuke Fest

Olympia Food Co-op will give zucchinis a chance to prove themselves in terms of size, taste and even speed.

The zucchini is joked about, giggled at for its shape and sometimes maligned for its overabundance at this time of year.

But Sunday, the zucchini will have its day at the Olympia Food Co-op's first Zuke Fest.

The fest, part of the co-op's annual Harvest Party, will give those phallic giants a chance to prove themselves in terms of size, taste and even speed.

The co-op will award patches for porn-star-sized zukes in three categories: most giant (longest), most girth and most weight. (Insert your own zucchini - er, your own zucchini joke.)

There'll be a zucchini bread bakeoff and a zucchini derby along the lines of the Boy Scouts' pinewood derby. All zucars must be made on site using standard wheels and no engines. You can bring your own zucchini or one will be provided for you, but don't bring your biggest one: Finished vehicles can't exceed a foot in length or 10 inches in width.

The race is open to all ages, with a category for "big kids" who are over 18.

"We were trying to figure out something really fun to do with kids and adults, something that would be intergenerational and playful," Gagnier said.

The fest is a new part of the co-op's 10-year-old Harvest Party, which this year will feature music by Artesian Rumble Arkestra and Romanteek.

"We make a feast, and members bring food," said Shameka Gagnier, the co-op's outreach coordinator. "There are games. We have face painters and all kind of fun things going on.

"This year, we decided we were going to try to make it a little more exciting, and we added the Zuke Fest."

Rogers Street in front of the co-op and part of the parking lot will be closed off for the event, so Gagnier recommended carpooling, taking public transportation or biking.

HARVEST PARTY & ZUKE FEST, 1-6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 14, Westside Olympia Food Co-op, 921 Rogers St. NW, Olympia, free admission, 360.754.7666

August 19, 2014 at 2:15pm

Cafe and music venue Obsidian to replace Jezebels in Olympia

Nathan Weaver, left, and Chris Beug are turning the old Jezebels into Obsidian, a cafe and music venue in downtown Olympia. Courtesy photo

A few weeks ago, Jezebels, a club in downtown Olympia, closed its doors. Now, as demolition takes place, the rumor mill is churning about what's going on behind those same doors. Is it a concert venue? A cafe?  A bar?

We caught up with new owners and seasoned musicians Nathan Weaver and Chris Beug about their vision for Obsidian, and how that includes all of the above.

WEEKLY VOLCANO: First, why the name Obsidian?

TEAM OBSIDIAN: Obsidian is a black crystal formed from fast cooling volcanic lava. It is essentially volcanic glass. We chose the name because of the healing and purifying properties associated with the stone. Many people believe that obsidian absorbs negative energy.  Beyond that, it is simply a beautiful word.

VOLCANO: How did this opportunity arise?

OBSIDIAN: We've been planning on opening a venue in downtown Olympia for many years. A little over a year ago we began working in earnest to find the right property. The location we chose has a perfect layout for a concert hall-cafe and lounge and we couldn't be happier with how the design of the space is progressing.

VOLCANO: What is your plan for Obsidian?

OBSIDIAN: Our goal has always been to join in the longstanding Olympia tradition of supporting underground music and art while simultaneously providing a safe space for our community. During daytime hours, Obsidian will be a cafe and coffee house. We'll offer a full menu with local, organic and gluten-free options that will include waffles, sandwiches, salads and small plates. The cafe will also feature Stumptown coffee, traditional espresso drinks, Nitro Toddy and a selection of handcrafted tea blends. We'll also carry locally sourced baked goods delivered daily from Left Bank, Blue Heron and Bearded Lady bakeries.

After dark, the lounge will offer a selection of craft cocktails, local craft beer, hard cider and wine while providing unique ethereal ambience.

Obsidian's main focus will be booking live performances of all varieties. The concert hall will be well equipped with a proper stage, powerful PA system, lighting rig and sound engineer. Events will be a combination of all ages and 21+.

VOLCANO: So the space will be divided in half - the front will be a café and coffee shop and the back will be the show space?

OBSIDIAN: Yes. We have gutted every inch of the previous build-out and are completely redesigning the venue. The aesthetic of Obsidian will be an amalgamation of the building's existing industrial architecture and organic elements such as cedar and natural fibers. We hope to create a warm, creative and inspiring space.

VOLCANO: When is your first show?

Obsidian: We're putting together a grand opening for the fall arts walk. We are currently available for booking requests October through December. Obsidian will book local and established national acts regularly and will host DJs every Friday night. We are launching an online event calendar that will be updated weekly.  

VOLCANO: What do you feel sets you apart from other venues in town?

OBSIDIAN: We have both had the chance to perform in some of the best and worst venues in the world. We're taking what we've learned about what works and what doesn't and are applying it to Olympia. I don't think anyone else is doing this.

VOLCANO: Anything else you feel compelled to say?

OBSIDIAN:Olympia has long been known as a hub of Pacific Northwest culture, particularly in the realm of music. We both feel extremely grateful for this opportunity to contribute to such a rich history.   

Opening is slated for Oct 3. A website will launch soon. In the meantime, visit https://www.facebook.com/obsidianolympia. For booking inquiries, go to booking@obsidianolympia.com. To send them a virtual hug, go to obsidianolympia@gmail.com.

OBSIDIAN, opening Oct. 3, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., all ages until 11 p.m., 414 Fourth Ave. SE, Olympia,  

August 14, 2014 at 11:51am

Outsider's Guide: Music and Art in Wright Park

Sometimes after having your face melted by blistering guitar solos, you need a burger. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

Saturday, Aug. 16 marks another year for the iconic Music and Art in Wright Park festival. This free fabulous festival celebrates local, duh, music and art.

It only seems natural then that as a dedicated urban spelunker I commit some time to the area around Wright Park to enable you, as a festival attendee, to unearth all the glorious, shiny gems you can Saturday while enjoying live entertainment from the likes of Fist of Fire, Girl Trouble and 12 other bands, plus art by Carrie Foster, also known as the creative force behind the Shroom Brothers and artist Gilbert Lord.  

Wright Park has been the backdrop to many a Tacoman memories,

The area surrounding Wright Park is rich with food, drink and sights to see. Here are just a few in the immediate vicinity.


Rosebud Revelers

As a beautiful botanical garden, W. W. Seymour Conservatory is an iconic destination for those thirsty for a taste of Tacoma history and those wishing to gaze upon an enchanting display of Mother Nature. The conservatory hosts a variety of events allowing visitors to enjoy the lovely surroundings during concerts, story times and lectures alike. It is a must visit when visiting Wright Park. 316 S. G St., 253.591.5330


Diner, Dives and Drinkers

Though the Hob Nob has recently undergone some renovations, it will always remain a diner destination. A go-to for breakfast grub on one side and stiff cocktails on the other, the Hob Nob is tops if you're looking for some sustenance or a little pick me up while venturing on foot around the park. After all one can become parched whilst indulging in live music shenanigans and need not travel far to refuel before going back for more. 716 Sixth Ave., 253.272.3200


Modern Day Foraging and Hunting

No one expects you to pick berries and hunt wild life to bring sustenance to the familial units because one simply can dine out or visit a grocer for such needs and Stadium Thriftway is just a hop from Wright Park. This means you can take a stroll to find picnic grub to fuel the festival going ons, plus just about anything else that finds your fancy like a bottle of vino, fresh flowers and deli grub. This makes loading up the minivan a cinch equating to less of a load to bring from home. 618 N. 1st St., 253.627.8275

Coffeemongers

Cosmonaut Café(once known as Satellite) is directly across from Wright Park and promises to deliver a quick one-two caffeination uppercut to keep a little pep in your step and swag in your shimmy. And let's face it; a daylong excuse to rock out requires some of that. Besides they brew up Stumptown beans, which are utterly divine. 617 Division Ave., 863.692.6766

 

Drive Thru Diners

Another iconic Tacomacentric locale lies nearby at Frisko Freeze. Their double cheeseburger, hot fudge shake and onion rings are pretty much mandatory when I visit Wright Park. There's always a line, which is a drag, but also a testament to the deliciousness that is delivered condiment slathered and dripping with grease between two tasty buns. 1201 Division Ave., 253.272.6843

Have a Cold One

For the Kiddies: Gibson's Frozen Yogurt, Shake Shake Shake

For the Grown Ups: The Copper Door, ParkWay Tavern, Doyle's Public House, Harmon Tap Room

Filed under: Tacoma, Community, Music, Summer Tip,

August 9, 2014 at 1:57pm

Beers On Broadway: Brew Five Three live in Tacoma

Full glass pints are waiting for you to fill with beer on Broadway in downtown Tacoma until 8:30 p.m. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Summary

A beer festival is held on Broadway in downtown Tacoma Saturday, Aug. 9. For full details, click here.

Characters

  • Emcee
  • Director Aaron Stevens
  • Brewers
  • Ciderists
  • Mobile Food Trucks Employees
  • Stephanie Anne Johnson
  • The West Coast Women's Blues Revue
  • The Mark Riley Trio
  • Junkyard Jane
  • Beer Drinkers

Setting

Washington state breweries in booths line Broadway between Ninth and 11th in downtown Tacoma. A blue music stage sits above in the park next to Theatre on the Square.

SCRIPT

SFX:

Clinking glass noises, band sound check

EMCEE:
(Who could, if desired, be a voice over the speaker system for the whole performance.) Step right up, step right up. This way to the fabulous Brew Five Three. Come one, come all, and drink the most amazing beers in the universe. So step this way. And let the show begin!

SFX:

Drum roll

EMCEE (Singing):

Welcome back my friends to the lines that never ends /
We're so glad you could attend /
Come outside! Come outside!
There in a glass is a real beer from grass /
Be careful as you pass /
Move along! Move along!

Come outside, the show is about to start /
Guaranteed to blow your head apart.
Rest assured you'll get your money's worth /
The greatest show in Two, Five and Three.
You've got to see the show; it's a dynamo.
You've got to see the show' it's rock and ... blueso (had to make it rhyme). ...

EMCEE:

Ladeeeeez and G-E-N-T-L-E-M-E-N, and all older than 21. Welcome to the fabulous Brew Five Three! Today, here on Broadway, right before your very eyes, a fabulous array of acts has been assembled for your delight and delectation. Jest with jaunty Washington state brewers ... cry with our cavorting ciderists ... marvel at the magnificent moveable fests ... give a bravo to our blues musicians ... and hold your breath because you're about to taste the best beers in all the land. All this and more before the clock strike 9.

But to start, let's give a big round of applause to the Broadway Center Executive Director David Fischer and his crew for hosting the second annual Brew Five Three. You'll find Fischer checking people in.

SFX:

Applause

SFX:
Drum roll

EMCEE:

1:30 p.m.: I tell you, I've had so many face-lifts, they finally lifted it right off my body! It's true; it's true! Oh, oh, oh! Let's take a look who's strolling the gray pavement and what they are wearing. ...

John and Alyssa are wearing Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. and Pint Defiance, respectively.

Gary is wearing a straw hat with many brewery pins.

Tim is wearing a bear deer beer T-shirt.

Rick is wearing a T-shirt he found on beer.woot.com.

In case you're wondering, today I'm wearing Target, H&M and some black socks my ex-girlfriend left at my house.

These two guys were laughing so much I don't know who they are or what they are wearing.

Apparently there's a team that makes Rick drink.

Northwest "swampabilly" blues band is performing original music and covers, such as Led Zeppelin's "Ramble On."

Rest easy, Brew Five Three crowd: This man is here to make sure no one runs.

Engine House No. 9 bartender Todd McLaughlin is singing about E9's Nameless #25 IPA with Citra, Centennial, Mosaic and Simcoe hops to the tune of U2's "Where the Street Have No Name." It's drawing a crowd, mostly because the IPA is freakin' hoppy delicious.

2:55 p.m.: The first pint glass breaks. The crowd erupts in cheers.

3 p.m.: It's announced over the Broadway Center's walkie talkie communication system that Tacoma Craft Beer Festival and Washington Brewers Festival tokens are being passed off as Brew Five Three tokens. TOKEN DEFCON is now 2.

EMCEE:

Thank you Broadway Center Instagram for all the delicious posts from the Brew Five Three beer festival. Gazing at Broadway Center Marketing Coordinator Mariesa Bus' Instagram posts, I can tell she bases much of her work on Renaissance imagery and brings classical aplomb to her posts.

Lady A of the West Coast Women & Blues Band has just popped into the crowd.

The chemistry between Nat Woodsmith and Elise Woodsmith at the Puyallup River Brewing Co. booth is engaging, although the sometimes breakneck pace at which their extended pours have been directed runs roughshod over punch lines and transitional moments. Nat, in particular, rolls equal parts boyish bounciness and comic mania into his pours, especially his tasty Bourbon Barrel-aged 3 IPA, which rings in at 11 percent ABV. It's all good; they're head brewer and wife.

4:30 p.m.: The comedy portion of Brew Five Three hit the pavement outside the Pantages Theater.

Colin Harvin of 7 Seas Brewing has been performing comedy at beer festivals all summer. He's quick. Clearly, his routines from the 7 Seas' booths showcase that. Although he had moments of focusing on the negative things in his life (which is still always funny), he hits topics such as politics and potholes in Tacoma. He pulls from the world, and he knows what he is talking about. He is amazing and sharp and can work with anything you throw at him, even while pouring the 7 Seas' Depth Finder IRA - a inspired NW style ale that combines the hop profile of an IPA (Columbus, Palisade and Simcoe) with the malt character of a lusciously, smooth Amber ale. Harvin is not joking when he says the IRA has a resinous, bitter finish.

Over at the Amnesia Brewing booth, Brew Five Three Director Aaron Stevens, who believes he broke his foot navigating stairs last night, joined in on a live script reading of the 2006 film Beerfest, about two brothers who travel to Germany for Oktoberfest, only to stumble upon a secret, centuries-old competition described as a Fight Club with beer games. The folks gathered around the Amnesia Brewing booth compared the reading to Amy Schumer's comedy, although the crowd was drinking plenty of delicious Amnesia Trail Hazer Ale, a medium body, floral dry hopped version of its popular Dusty Trail Pale Ale.

5:45 p.m.: The first jumper of the day climbed over the fence at the south end of the festival at 11th Street right into the arms of several volunteers. Without a wrist band and tokens, the jumper felt stupid and left unescorted.

The Mark Riley Trio is pulling people off the beer trail and up onto the concert arena. A guitar craftsman and veteran of such bands as Snake Oil, Little Bill & The Bluenotes and The Mark Whitman Band, Riley and crew are playing blistering blues.

Odd Otter Brewing Co. in downtown Tacoma, a brewery schedule to open within a month, is pouring its Coconut Chai Ale, one of five Otter beers at the Brew Five Three. It's like drinking a porter on a tropical beach not engulfed in a tropical storm, even though the staff clearly would be fun at a beach bar. Bravo!

SFX:

Drum roll (sustained quietly during the following) - The talk of Brew Five Three is Brickyard Brewing's Southwestern Hatch Green Chili Blonde Ale. The Hatch Green Chili peppers are from New Mexico, providing a subtle heat, making this beer perfect for a pizza. It's amazing, and at 5.2 percent ABV, so drinkable.

EMCEE:

It's intermission, ladeeez and gennelmen. Ice Cream Social and beer will be on sale during the interval, and then hurry back to your seats as we bring you further marvels in the Brew Five Three (read: blogger needs a drink).

7 p.m.: Intermission was shattered with the news the sixth pint glass was dropped on Broadway. Once again, cheers erupted.

Intermission is back on. Here's a shot of the Brew Five Three crowd to hold you over until Stephanie Anne Johnson takes the stage. Can you spot the Top Rung Brewing Company founders? Hint: They're in the middle of the shot.

In the late-1980s, Anthrax was part of an MTV contest wherein they would wreak havoc on the winner's home. A few years later, the legendary metal band reprised their role as house destroyers on Married with Children, when Bud Bundy wins dinner and a concert with the band. At best, it was pointless. Guest appearances can go wrong, unless you're Randi Rodgers of The Swiss Restaurant and Pub. Rodgers had the crowd in her palm today guest pulling the taps at the Seattle Cider Co. booth at Brew Five Three.

Stephanie Anne Johnson and her band are rocking the Brew Five Three. In fact people are (gasp) putting down the pint glasses and dancing.

The dude with the Wingman Brewers T-Shirt dancing in the middle of the dance floor before Stephanie Anne Johnson inspired us to end the night with a full pint of Wingman's IPA.

EMCEE:

That's the end of the show! That's the end of the show! Wow, it's been a quick but also very long seven hours. Thanks for spending them with us. End of the shooooooooow!

July 28, 2014 at 9:57am

Served Blog Banner Girl: Q&A with Rachel Hogan of Jazzbones

Rachel Hogan serves drinks at Jazzbones on Tacoma's Sixth Avenue. 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 Rachel Hogan.

Server Banner Girl, July 28-Aug. 3, 2014

Rachel Hogan

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 Rachel Hogan, who has been a bartender at Jazzbones since she was 21, deserves heroine worship for the way she straddles the line between professional and perky. She's engaging and exuberant and comes off as genuine and knowledgeable but never snooty, and she doesn't overthink what she pours in your drink. Like the pro that she is, she just gets it.  

Why do you serve?

"I enjoy people. I quit doing dental because I could not converse with people like I can serving. I have met a lot of cool people behind the bar. It's a real awesome job."

Who is your favorite server in the South Sound?

"Josh Hill is my favorite. He works at The Swiss and Eleven Eleven. I think he's one of the best bartenders in our area. He's definitely a high volume bartender and can hold a conversation even when he's super busy."

What is your current drink of choice?

"Real cheap champagne. I love it."

What is your favorite movie?

"I don't watcha lot of television. But, when I'm real sick, I like to watch Gone with the Wind."

What don't you serve?

"I don't serve Zima and Mad Dog."

What's on your radar at Jazzbones?

"Jazzbones has some real rad music on the way, such as The Red Elvises, English Beat, Katchafire, J-Boog and Randy Hansen."             

LINK: Meet other South Sound servers

July 25, 2014 at 3:06pm

Beer:45 - Time for Kim Archer and Elysian's Night Owl Pumpkin Ale

Kim Archer's "My Friend" is blasting out of our publisher's office.

Every Friday after 2:45 p.m., when workday decorum is thrown out, Weekly Volcano publisher Pappi Swarner pops open a regional brew, tilts back in his rickety office chair and cranks his Frazier Model Seven speakers. And as interns inappropriately learn from Pappi during their orientation, nothing tastes better than pairing local music with local beer. Pappi picks one song and repeats it until he can see the bottom of his glass. When the music stops, we know he has left the building.

Today, Pappi looks exhausted. The 2014 Best of Tacoma issue got the best of him. Plus, his whole "I'm not going to get a haircut until the Best of Tacoma is on the street" probably wasn't his best move. Right now, he's kicked back in his chair, half asleep as this year's "Best Band" winner Kim Archer's "My Friend" song is cranked, with a Elysian Brewing Night Owl Pumpkin Ale half-cocked in his hand.

"Kim Archer's music is a mixture of blues, soul and classic rock licks," writes Rev. Adam McKinney, describing Archer in this week's 2014 Best of Tacoma issue, which is on the street. "A typical live performance of hers will feature plenty of lively covers and heartfelt originals. She's not breaking the mold, exactly, but her presence and delivery has garnered her a passionate fan base. The community of singer-songwriters and their fans has always been a tight-knit one in Tacoma, with more than their share of supportive open mics and bars that tend toward the blues and the folk.

"I'm honored to be voted best band," says Archer in the article. "I think, when it comes down to a decision being made by the readers and the voters, it's extra special. It feels really awesome."

In regards to the Kim Archer song Pappi is listening to today, "My Friend," it's the title song on her 2011 CD.

"It's about the connection you have with people over time ... no matter how far away you are, or how long it's been since you've seen them," Archer says. "I wrote it for my mother, who is my best friend."

Nice.

Elysian Brewing Co. in Seattle sent Pappi an early release of their Night Owl Pumpkin Ale, scheduled to hit the shelves and taps Aug. 1. Elysian brewed over seven pounds of Oregon pumpkin per barrel, and includes seven different malt varieties, green and roasted pumpkin seeds, Magnum hops and pumpkin in the mash, boil and fermenter. It's definitely pumpkin forward, but the conditioning of allspice, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and ginger shines. This pumpkin brew is easy drinking at 5.9 percent ABV.

Pappi has a smile on his face.

July 18, 2014 at 3:09pm

Beer:45 - Time for for Jeremy Silas and Top Rung Brewing Co.

Jeremy Silas' "Spiritual Girl" is blasting out of our publisher's office.

Every Friday after 2:45 p.m., when workday decorum is thrown out, Weekly Volcano publisher Pappi Swarner pops open a local brew, tilts back in his rickety office chair and cranks his Frazier Model Seven speakers. And as interns inappropriately learn from Pappi during their orientation, nothing tastes better than pairing local music with local beer. Pappi picks one song and repeats it until he can see the bottom of his glass. When the music stops, we know he has left the building.

Today, Pappi has a grin from ear to ear. He's happy how next week's Best of Tacoma came together. Therefore, he's paired Jeremy Silas' "Spiritual Girl" with Top Rung Brewing Co.'s My Dog Scout Stout.

Tacoma musician, artist and poet Jeremy Silas recently self-released his debut album, It's Your Way EP, at digital music stores worldwide, including iTunes and GooglePlay. A longtime fan of Silas, Pappi skipped the new album; instead he's blasting Silas' new "Spiritual Girl" single, which is under review by SONY. The single is posted on Talenthouse Artworks, which is open for public vote.

Currently, YouTube is the only medium where "Spiritual Girl" is available. It's the first song Jeremy Silas wrote under his Atlas Alas pseudonym, so the song is special to him.

"I have tried for years to hold a band together. Yet, I was always the last man standing. Last March, I woke up and wrote the music and words to 'Spiritual Girl.' It just came out. I feel as though my soul was finally quiet enough to really ((((HEAR)))) the music. I created Atlas Alas because I wanted an identity other than my own name. I wanted to grasp a personal movement within the art form of music. Atlas Alas became my bridge to this place."

"'Spiritual Girl'" is a special kind of love song, it is inspired by a sweet young lady I dated many years ago who passed away from cervical cancer. She was a natural beauty. She was spiritual. She was a dear friend. I understand it can feel like sacred territory just uttering the word, ‘Spiritual' since it's connotations are so broad and personal to so many people, yet I had to, especially in context to how one person can make another person feel.

"I wanted an urban beat, a soulful vocal and poetic lyrics ... ‘All ancient jewels and wise lonely fools can't see ... what you mean to me ... You're captivating to me ... Spiritual Girl.'"

Riding on the theme of love, Pappi has paired "Spiritual Girl" with his new love, the My Dog Scout Stout by Top Rung Brewing Co. in Lacey. He goes on and on about its chocolate and coffee flavors, and its easy drinking with eight different dark malts. In fact, Pappi dropped by Top Rung last night when brewers Jason Stoltz and Casey Sobol ran the stout through a Randall loaded with coffee beans and chocolate nibs. He won't shut up about it. He loves it.

Filed under: New Beer Column, Lacey, Music,

July 11, 2014 at 3:49pm

Beer:45 - Time for The Approach and Wingman Brewers' Coconut P-51 Porter

The Approach's "The Mask" is blasting out of our publisher's office.

Every Friday after 2:45 p.m., when workday decorum is thrown out, Weekly Volcano publisher Pappi Swarner pops open a local brew, tilts back in his rickety office chair and cranks his Frazier Model Seven speakers. And as interns inappropriately learn from Pappi during their orientation, nothing tastes better than pairing local music with local beer. Pappi picks one song and repeats it until he can see the bottom of his glass. When the music stops, we know he has left the building.

Today, Pappi looks a little down. He's been dealing with some homeowner issues. Therefore, he's paired The Approach's "The Mask" with Wingman Brewers' Coconut P-51 Porter.

Combining hip-hop, reggae, rock and ska, Tacoma band The Approach isn't afraid to throw in some unexpected tricks, such as shredding guitars and a few Anthony Kiedes-like interludes. Although some of the songs go on a bit long, they rarely sound self-indulgent. No, instead they sound like a party, which is exactly what the band's live shows bust out.

"'The Mask' was written and intended to be known as the Anti-Hero song. ‘I wear a mask to conceal my identity, cuz I'm a member of your family you're not proud to see'," says The Approach vocalist Joseph Abarca. "The song is meant for anyone who feels like they cannot get out of the downfall they live in due to money, politics or their upbringing. Sometimes you have to make the hard choices to move up in the totem pole. That's why we wrote this song."

That's heavy, but it rocks and is perfect for Pappi's mood.

Catch The Approach at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, July 12 at Half Pint Pizza Pub on Tacoma's Sixth Avenue. The band will return to the Half Pint the next day to join other bands on the Art on the Ave "Half Pint Stage" at 2 p.m., Sunday, July 13.

A dark mood calls for a dark beer. Pappi is tipping Wingman Brewers' P-51 Coconut Porter. The brew house close to the Tacoma Dome has added hundreds of toasted flaked coconuts and the perfect amount of coconut oil to its popular and robust P-51 Porter, creating the seasonal Coconut Porter. Growler after growler line up before the Coconut Porter tap, eager to grab the 8 percent ABV and a taste of Hawaii. The Coconut Porter pairs well with rich meat dishes such as osso buco, coq au vin and burgers. But of course it makes for a great ice cream float. Wingman also has the tasty Pina Colada Porter on tap, an offshoot of the Coconut Porter with pineapple. These are two desirable beers even though we are far, far from the (is)land(s) of rainbows.

LINK: The Approach on SoundCloud

Filed under: Music, New Beer Column, Tacoma,

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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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