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August 28, 2014 at 11:41am

Words & Photos: The Swiss hosts Mac & Jack's Brewing Co. for a four-course beer dinner

Keith Carpenter of Mac & Jack's Brewing thanked The Swiss owners Jack and Carol Ann McQuade for a lovely dinner last night. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

As someone who has spent a great deal of time in the company of chefs, the majority are certainly no strangers to beer. Sometimes consumed before (or even during) a dinner service, and most definitely after, it's a part of daily life in the South Sound restaurant industry.

Many incorporate craft beer into their masterpieces. After all, craft beer is lower in alcohol than wine or spirits, broader in its number of styles and achievable taste elements, and more about providing flavor than either of the aforementioned beverages. Craft beer can absolutely enhance the dining experience. Whether accompanying a dish or serving as a flavor-adding component in a recipe, craft beer can and does make a difference. I discovered that last night at The Swiss Restaurant and Pub.

Keith Carpenter, the Mac & Jack's Brewing Company's representing for south and west of King County, dropped by The Swiss Restaurant & Pub to chat up the Redmond brewery's history and pair beers with a four-course dinner. Mac & Jack's head brewer Caleb Osborn made the trip down, too.

Flanking the middle room of The Swiss, diners were treated to Mac & Jack's Serengeti Wheat - a crisp, refreshing unfiltered American style Hefeweizen as Carpenter gave an oral history of Mac Rankin and Jack Schropp's beer company - founded in 1993 in Schropp's garage. Yes, there really is a Mac and a Jack. The flagship African Amber started as a house beer for Bruce Springer's Park Pub next to the Woodland Park Zoo. Springer, who owned the pub at the time, played off the Zoo theme to create the name. The next house beer Mac created for the Park Pub was Serengeti Wheat; it was named in the same fashion. Brewed with plenty of Yakima valley hops, it yields a wonderful citrus finish, which glowed in the sunshine beaming through The Swiss. After the two beers grabbed the state's beer drinkers' attention, in a big way, the two brewers made the big jump, quit their day jobs and moved their operation to Redmond. Solely a draft beer operation, Mac & Jack's recently purchased a small 22-ounce bottling machine and will be bottling occasional special release beers, such as their Bourbon Barrel-Aged Cascadian Dark Ale.

Scott Cleese, chef at The Swiss, came out with a bang. His lamb nachos was just one memorable taste in a procession of courses incorporating Mac & Jack's brews into the recipes, then paired with the beer ingredient. Cleese's ground lamb roasted in African Amber should be placed on The Swiss' permanent menu. Strong flavors such as lamb overwhelm light beers. That's why the complex, heavier African Amber pairs well. Bravo to the lamb, cherry tomatoes and pickled onions piled high on seasoned plantain chips with mint tzaziki. 

Mac & Jack's also occasionally brews some special release beers. The latest is their Ibis IPA, which is a 6.9 percent ABV IPA with 65 IBUs. It is brewed with Amarillo and Mosaic hops.

"Ibis is actually a South American bird. It's one of our first beers that is dry-hopped in tank. It's filtered; it's very floral, very fruity, with a lot of tropical notes," explained Osborn. "A lot of people get pineapple, papaya. It has a clean finish. It's very drinkable."

Staying with the fruit theme, Cleese added the IBIS IPA to his juice potion, creating a flavorful scallop ceviche with grilled and chilled pineapple, mango and papaya.

Course three featured Mac & Jack's more bitter IPA, the Two Tun. According to Osborn, it's generously hopped late in the boil, with a more bitter front and citrus on the end - the opposite of the IBIS - and dry-hopped in the keg with Amarillo hops. Cleese added the IPA to black pepper and peach for a favorable barbecue sauce that coated his fork-cutting, braised short ribs. The couscous arrived perfect, accompanied with roasted baby carrots and edamame.

Where there's smoke, there's usually fire, but in this case there's vanilla instead. Mac & Jack's smoky, coffee-flavored BlackCat Porter was infused into vanilla ice cream; a huge hit among last night's crowd. The beer's mocha head painted a perfect picture.

Don't let a conversation with Carpenter pass you by. After 14 years at Mac & Jack's, 28 years in the beer business, this Mount Tahoma grad has sidesplitting Tacoma stories, as well as a wealth of beer knowledge. As we enjoyed the fabulous Mac & Jack's "farewell beer" - Maker's Mark barrel-aged Cascadian Dark Ale - Carpenter told stories of Tacoma taverns cashing paychecks in the 1980s and brewing beer in Tacoma's Nalley Valley. The best story told last night was Swiss owners Jack and Carol Ann's 3 a.m. exodus from a Gorge concert. Don't play the "Safety Dance" near them.

Mac & Jack's will release the bourbon barrel-aged Cascadian Dark Ale Monday.


Georgetown Brewing Company beer dinner at The Swiss

August 27, 2014 at 9:43am

How to do the ParkWay Tavern IPA Fest Aug. 30

Celebrate the IPA with your community at the ParkWay Tavern Aug. 30. Photo credit: Pappi swarner

You're either at Bumbershoot or the ParkWay Tavern's IPA Fest Saturday, Aug. 30. Both events will be packed with people. I believe the Seattle music and art festival slightly edges out the Tacoma Stadium District tavern's gathering in terms of attendance numbers. Also, Bumbershoot has more Slovakian Gypsy acrobats.

The ParkWay's IPA Fest is a huge deal. It has been circled on calendars for months. Vacation days have been submitted. Relatives have been shunned. The ParkWay's taps will be consumed by 32 deliciously bitter India pale ales from 11 a.m. to close. It's a true tribute to hops and those who love them.

Nothing but IPAs may sound monotonous, but the originally British India pale ale style comes in a wide variety of flavors these days, from strong, malty double and imperial IPAs such as Valholl The Mother In-Law, Laurelwood Megafauna and Sound Brewing Humulo Nimbus to fruity IPAs such as the Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin and Caldera Dry Hop Orange, and spicy rye IPAs such as the one from Bellevue Brewing Company. Don't forget the dark, roasted black IPAs such as the new Dick's Midnight Ride Black IPA.

If you haven't attended the ParkWay's IPA Fest, I have a few tips. Get there early. Duh. No, really. Get there early. If you score a bar stool, you can sell it for $500. You'll have a ringside seat to the staff's mosh pit of craziness. If you feel as if you're being ignored, glance back at the line out the door. I'll guarantee you'll be served faster sitting at the bar.

Know the IPA list before entering the line. There is often a beer list printout floating around. The IPAs will be chalked on the wall. Snap a photo with your phone if need be. When your waist hits the bar, it's go time. If you stutter, you'll be thrown in IPA Jail. If someone spaces and steps in front of you, don't freak out. There's plenty of time and plenty of beer.

No doubt 6-ounce tasters will be the glass of the day, which is the way it should be. It's not a day for a full pint of Double IPA. There are too many different beers to spend so much time and volume on one. But don't shy away from quantity - order two or three at a time for efficiency. Then, take your beers for a stroll down the side walkway to the backyard beer garden, and chill out with friends. Listen to live music beginning at 3 p.m. Enjoy burgers and ribs off the barbecue.

The ParkWay will tap 32 IPAs Saturday. Here is a partial list of IPA Festival beers the tavern posted on its Facebook:

  • 21st Amendment Hop Crisis
  • Bale Breaker Top Cutter
  • Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin
  • Bear Republic Mach 10
  • Boneyard RPM
  • Boulevard Single-Wide
  • Breakside ALS Double
  • Caldera Dry Hop Orange
  • Crux Outcast
  • Double Mountain Hop Lava
  • E-9 Nameless #26
  • Elysian Space Dust
  • Everybody's Country Boy
  • Firestone Walker Double Jack
  • Freemont/Oscar Blues Simultaneous Release
  • Ft. George Powered By Ho
  • Georgetown Dry Hopped Lucille
  • Gigantic Brewing IPA
  • Green Flash Citra Session
  • Heathen Mega Dank
  • Laurelwood Megafauna
  • Old School House Ruud Awakening
  • pFriem Family IPA
  • Port Brewing Anniversary Ale
  • Rainy Daze Hypocrite
  • Silver City Dry Hop Whoop Pass
  • Sound Brewing Humulo Nimbus
  • Stone 18th Anniversary
  • Tacoma Brewing Aristotle's
  • Two Beers Fresh Hop
  • Valholl The Mother In-Law

IPA FESTIVAL, 11 a.m. to close, Saturday, Aug. 30, ParkWay Tavern, 313 N. I St., Tacoma, no cover, 253.383.8748

Filed under: New Beer Column, Tacoma,

August 26, 2014 at 9:37am

Slew of South Sound brews to be released this fall

Puyallup River Brewing unleashes two pumpkin beers Friday, Aug. 29 at its Puyallup River Alehouse.

It seems sort of sinful to complain about the glorious sunshine of late, but that's exactly what I'm doing this week. Enough already. I'm ready for some autumn brews.

Seasonal beers are nothing new for South Sound breweries. Summer is better with a farmhouse ale. Fall isn't fall without a pint of Oktoberfest. And of course, many anxiously await autumn for the arrival of pumpkin ales and stouts. Here's what's on tap this fall at South Sound breweries.

Worn out from his big Sour Fest over the weekend, Engine House No. 9 head brewer Shane Johns says he has several different barrel beers on the autumn docket. Johns will also release his annual fresh hop Spikes Harvest Ale, made with fresh hops from friend Spike's backyard. Also scheduled for release will be an Oktoberfest as well as a new batch of Tacoma Brew Bohemian-style Pilsener.

7 Seas Brewing's Sails Ambassador Rob Brunsman released his paddle, let his kayak drift and told me they're releasing their harvest ale this coming week. Inspired from the respected traditions of German Oktoberfest and Vienna Marzen style of beers, the 7 Seas Fest-Ale blends German Munich and Vienna malts as a base, receiving a bit of spice from German Hersbrucker and Czech Saaz hops. It's a smooth, earthy brew, perfect for an autumn paddle around Commencement Bay.

>>> Thanks for the pic, Rob!

Puyallup River Brewing Co. hosts its Pumpkin Release Party at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 29. Its downtown Puyallup storefront, the Puyallup River Alehouse, packs them in during brewer nights and releases, and I don't expect Friday to be any different with the release of its Jack O'Lahar Pumpkin Ale and silver medal winning Black Pumpkin Saison. PRB will release its We Are The Champions IPA just in time for the Seahawks season opener. Down the leaf-covered road will be the Imperial Pumpkin Cream Ale, Gourdy Wow! Spiced Pumpkin Saison Regal and Aketoberfest, a harvest ale. "We'll probably also do a pumpkin stout at some point," says brewmaster Eric Akeson.

"We have a bunch of exciting beers this fall," says Wingman Brewers co-founder and head brewer Ken Thoburn. "In September, we will be releasing our 2014 Vintage Sour. This year it is a Brett Berliner Weisse. Then in October we will be releasing our fall seasonal can ‘Beazle ESB'." Wingman will also release its oak-aged scotch ale Heavy Bevvy and its Belgian-style triple Miss B Havin. In November, expect to drink the 2014 release of Stratofortress and a Bourbon Barrel Stratofortress.

Narrows Brewing Company will release its Oktoberfest lager during a party Sept. 20, which coincides with the start of Oktoberfest in Munich. "In the couple of months that follow, we'll bring back the Imperial Red as a fall seasonal - and hopefully add it to our bottled lineup, collaborate with Northern Pacific Coffee Company to brew the beer equivalent of a Turkish coffee and release a blended old ale - assuming the year-old beer in wine barrels with Brettanomyces is ready," explains Narrows head brewer Joe Walts. Also, beer historian Ron Pattinson of the popular beer website Shut Up About Barclay Perkins will be at the brewery Nov. 8.

Tacoma Brewing Company celebrates its two-year anniversary in late October. Head brewer Morgan Alexander says he'll be releasing a bourbon barrel-aged stout around the same time as the party at his Tacoma Triangle District brewery. "We're also very close to releasing our Dr. Alexander's Hard Ginger Ale in bottles," says Alexander.

The Harmon Tap Room throws a weeklong Oktoberfest beginning Sept. 29. Expect games, German grub, German barmaid, 99 red balloon release and beers.

I couldn't reach all the South Sound brewers. Some were camping. Some are not open yet, as in the case of Pacific Brewing and Malting Co., Odd Otter Brewing Co. and Three Magnets Brewing Co., which all will be releasing a ton of beer this fall.

So even though I'm whining about the great South Sound weather, I'm happy for it to hold on just a little longer, so that you can enjoy a few of these beers with family and friends at your next barbecue or picnic.

August 20, 2014 at 10:14am

Yo sour heads! Engine House No. 9 offers 50 sour beers this weekend

Mouth-puckering beers bonanza this weekend at Engine House No. 9.

If you've never tasted a sour beer, your first reaction might be: "That's not beer?"

You take another sip. "This is like drinking a rind of a grapefruit."

Tart, light in alcohol, sharp, funky and pungent with odd hues: Sours are more than an acquired taste. Some call it the Limburger cheese of beer.

It's not flawed beer, unintentionally infected with lactobacillus. Brewers add the bacteria strain as well as pediococcus for the mouth-puckering flavors, a traditional method developed by the Belgians hundreds of years ago. The Belgians also inoculated the beers with brettanomyces, a yeast strain that imparts funky, barnyard-ish flavors.

Low on carbonation, sours are actually full and robust, the finish often dry. The flavor is not so much the flip side of hoppy bitterness as a step beyond: bitter and sour are practically kissing cousins. For the adventurous drinker, sours offer something different from the hop bombs that dominate the Pacific Northwest. Wine drinkers tend to enjoy sours due to similar complex characteristics.

During the days when serfs clapped coconuts behind knights, Belgian lambics were the bomb, exposed to the barnyard bacteria and wild yeasts. Today, more and more American breweries are utilizing mixed-fermentations with non-isolated yeast strains such as lactobacillus and brettanomyces to release wild-fermented beers. American sour ales follow the Belgians path, although they tend to be produced in smaller batches, aged in oak barrels and then blended for taste.

The catalog of lambic flavors is vast. If you run across a kriek, you're about to drink a lambic with cherries. Framboise pops with raspberry. Peach is actually "peches" in the lambic world. Gueuze is a blend of young and old aged lambics, with a secondary fermentation life.

Wild yeast sours come in Gose, smoky Lichtenheiner and Flanders red styles. Flanders reds often have hints of black cherry or currant, and are aged in oak barrels.

Berliner weisse is a traditional German style, a slightly sour, dry wheat beer. Think champagne - tart and really lively in carbonation.

While sours are becoming more popular in the South Sound, they remain firmly on the margins of the craft beer world. Engine House No. 9 has been striving to change that trend. Head brewer Shane Johns' face is anything but sour when he chats up his Sour Fest, a two-day nod to European and American sours launching Saturday, Aug. 23. It's E-9's biggest beer festival of the year.

"Couldn't be happier with how Sour Fest is shaping up," Johns told me last month. "Have some super special stuff in bottle format. And I have received almost every keg on my wish list. Going to be some tough decisions made as to what beers go on tap first and what will be back-ups."

Johns is serious about his Sour Fest. So serious he didn't release the beer line-up to his staff, not even E9 bartender and brewroom fellow Todd McLaughlin.

"I have no idea what he has up his sleeve," says McLaughlin. "I do know he has a couple super secret and awesome sours he's going to release at 11 a.m. Saturday."

News Tribune Lifestyle Editor Sue Kidd scored a peek at a large portion of Johns' sour list. Check it out here.

ENGINE HOUSE NO. 9 SOUR FEST, 11 a.m. to close Saturday, Aug. 23-Sunday, Aug. 24, Engine House No. 9, 611 N. Pine St., Tacoma, 253.272.3435

Filed under: New Beer Column, Tacoma,

August 18, 2014 at 1:47pm

The Swiss to pair Mac & Jack's beers with braised short ribs, nachos and more ...

August is going out like a lion at The Swiss Restaurant & Pub in Tacoma.

Keith Carpenter, the Mac & Jack's Brewing Company's representative for south and west of King County, will drop by The Swiss Restaurant & Pub to chat up the Redmond brewery's history and pair beers with big bites. Here is Carpenter's history speech in a nutshell:

1991: Mac Rankin started home brewing and fell in love with the process. He probably started home brewing to relieve stress as it was Dave Krieg's final season in Seattle, when he was one of four quarterbacks to start during Seattle's 7-9 season.

1993: Mac approached Jack Schropp with the possibility about starting a microbrewery. Over the next nine months the first batches of the African Amber and Pale Ale were rolled out while Nivana's In Utero cranked in Jack's garage.

1994: After much success with the Amber and the Pale Ale, Mac & Jack's finalized their African Amber, Blackcat Porter and Serengeti Wheat (their Hefeweizen beer). These signature beers were introduced at the The Park Pub, next to the Woodland Park Zoo. The Mac & Jack's brews were held high as Sukari, a female giraffe, and Rafiki, the male giraffe at Woodland Park Zoo gave birth to a 5-foot, 6-inch female named Karani. She weighed 140 pounds at birth.

1995: After two great years of making craft beer by themselves, Mac and Jack began to hire more staff. It was a miracle beer was brewed as the entire staff had their eyes glued to the Mariners' magic season. It's believed Jack wanted to change the name of African Amber to Randy Amber.

1996: Mac and Jack realized that it was time to move out of Jack's garage. After eight months they finally started construction in August at North Sammamish Center in Redmond, Washington. After the move, Microsoft's stock splits 2-for-1, its sixth split since the company went public 10 years before.

1997-2000: Production was quickly maxed out, and Mac & Jack's remodeled the brewery four times to increase overall production. The Kingdome explodes.

2013: Mac & Jack's is the third largest craft brewery in Washington state, producing 43,000 barrels, behind Georgetown Brewing and number one Redhook Ale Brewery.

Wednesday, Aug. 27, 6:30 p.m.: The Swiss hosts a pairing dinner with Mac & Jack's Brewing, incorporating the beers into the recipes. There will be four courses and six beers plus a raffle of Mac & Jack's items. Carpenter will recap the above history, plus add facts about Mac and Jack's love of animal labels. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at The Swiss, 1904 Jefferson Ave., in downtown Tacoma. Give them a buzz at 253.572.2821

Let's look at the Mac and Jack's Brewing Paring Dinner menu

August 18, 2014 at 11:16am

Tumwater Artesian Brewfest pays tribute to city's gaming history

Beer Pong is Tumwater. Courtesy photo

Entertainment has always been a keystone of Tumwater's identity. Even in the mid-1800s, when it was little more than a dusty pioneer town, Tumwater was a lively place, with no shortage of games.

Michael T. Simmons, who along with other pioneers who founded what would become Tumwater, invented beer pong. After working all day at the grist and saw mills, Simmons and the gents would ride their horses to downtown New Market, their settlement centered on the Deschutes River and Tumwater Falls, and set up a beer pong game in the middle of the street. They'd toss pebbles into tin cans full of beer, shouting "It's the water!" when the pebble found the bottom of the can, although research doesn't reveal why such a phrase was shouted.

In the 1850s, right around the time New Market became Tumwater, a nod to the glorious Tumwater Falls, the lumberjacks would gather on Sunday afternoons, pour beer into their dented tin cans and create challenges out of wood scraps. Stuffing the most wood into trousers soon gave way to deconstructing towers of wood pieces piece by piece until it collapsed, sending the culprit to the outhouse they all lovingly called the "Time Out." Reigning champion Jed Jenga dubbed the game "Stack 'Em Up, Knock 'Em Down."

Nov. 25, 1869, Tumwater was officially incorporated as a town. In celebration, the town folk tossed their "New Market" embroidered fanny packs in the trash tins. In keeping with the rich community tradition of games, those who could hit the tiny hole from faraway distances would win pretzel necklaces. At the end of the year, the champion would receive a big floppy hat and oversized sunglasses.

In the summer of 1895, Montana brewer Leopold F. Schmidt discovered Tumwater's artisan springs, shelled out $4,550 for property and within a year built five buildings by the Deschutes River comprising the Capital Brewery - a four-story wooden brewhouse, five-story cellar building, one-story ice factory, bottling/keg plant and, of course, a game hut. History hasn't been kind to the game hut; only verbal history has kept its existence alive. 

The Capital Brewing Company became the Olympia Brewing Co. in 1902, marketing its artisan water excellence with the slogan "It's the Water" for their flagship brand, Olympia Beer.

Prohibition messed with Oly Brewing's good life, the game hut fell victim to the emerging social gaming leader Milton Bradley and the property exchanged hands several times, as well as other historical tidbits of note.

I relay the Tumwater history lesson to prove Saturday's Tumwater Artesian Brewfest isn't a celebration of the city's rich beer history, but rather a re-boot of the city's gaming roots. Yes, 30 Pacific Northwest breweries will line the Tumwater Valley Golf Course's driving range, but the spotlights will shine on the events consuming most of the green grass - games. The beer festival folks present Beer Stein Holding Contest (men and women divisions), First Tee's Hole in One Contest, supersized beer pong, cornhole, volleyball, giant Jenga as well as a ride on a Mechanical Shark. I'm not prepared to make waves with Tumwater's notorious mechanical shark history. I have mouths to feed.

"Supersized Beer Pong is not an organized activity, it is just open to whoever is wanting to play," explains Jennifer Leach, special projects and event manager with the Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater Visitor and Convention Bureau, as well as the producer of the Tumwater Artesian Brewfest. "The game is played with twelve red garbage cans and two volleyballs, following regular beer pong rules - however, it is difficult to remove the cups so they pretty much stay put."

No doubt Michael T. Simmons smiles from above.

"Beer Stein Holding Contest contestants line up and must hold a one-liter stein, filled with Olympia Beer, straight out in front of them," explains Leach. "There is no supporting of the arm allowed, and no bending or leaning of the body. The last one holding their stein wins."

Obviously, this game is borrowed from Germany. I have submitted a FOIA request.

"The hole-in-one contest is 168 yards long; prize still to be determined," says Leach. "There will be footballs, Frisbees and other balls available for play; however, there is no organized game. There will also be volleyball nets and cornhole games set up - everything is very casual, much like a backyard barbecue."

The Mechanical Shark wasn't discussed. Not shocking.

The Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater Visitor and Convention Bureau's hope was to create an environment where there is plenty to do besides tasting beer, wine and cider, especially for those people who are the designated drivers for the group or simply don't (gasp) enjoy beer.

"The reason we have so many activities is that we wanted to be unique from other beer festivals or brew fests, providing things to do besides standing or sitting and tasting beer," explains Leach. We wanted to create a fun environment to appeal to the 21 to 35 crowd. However, people of all (drinking) ages will certainly have a great time at the event, especially with such a wide range of activities.

Leach disputes gaming lead to the creation of the Tumwater Artesian Brewfest, which was renamed from the last year's Tumwater Oktoberfest.

"The idea of Tumwater Artesian Brewfest originated with the desire to celebrate Tumwater's brewing history, as the former home of Olympia Beer," says Leach. "That is why in addition to all the microbrews available, we will have Olympia Beer on tap, to honor the former Olympia Brewing Company's impact on the Tumwater community."

The Visitor Bureau's goal was to host Pacific Northwest breweries, so Leach and the committee hand-selected breweries from Washington and Oregon. South Sound breweries pitching booths on the driving range include 7 Seas Brewing, Dick's Brewing Co., Fish Brewing Company, Harmon Brewing Co., Kastellan Brauerei, Narrows Brewing Co., Three Magnets Brewing Co., Top Rung Brewing Co. and Wingman Brewers. Olympia Beer will make its way north from Los Angeles, thanks to the Pabst Brewing Co. Oregon breweries including 10 Barrel Brewing Co., Base Camp Brewing Co., Full Sail Brewing Co., GoodLife Brewing and Pelican Brewing Co.

Tickets are $20, $15 military and $10 designated driver before Aug. 22, increasing by $5 each at the gate. Five taste tokens and a 6-ounce plastic glass will be your award, with an additional buck for each additional tasting. There will also be 12-ounce souvenir glasses for sale. Tickets are available at, or at the Bureau, 103 Sid Snyder Ave. SW in Olympia.

So Saturday, as you hurl an enormous ball into enormous cups, you and Tumwater founder Michael T. Simmons will be united on this earth, caught in the dance of pioneer vision and jovial drinking games. "It's the water!"

TUMWATER ARTESIAN BREWFEST, 1-8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23, Tumwater Valley Golf Course, 4611 Tumwater Valley Dr. SE, Tumwater, $10-$25,

Tumwater Artesian Brewfest breweries (as of Aug. 18)

  • 7 Seas Brewing Co. • Gig Harbor, WA
  • 10 Barrel Brewing Company •  Bend, OR
  • Bainbridge Island Brewing • Bainbridge Island, WA
  • Base Camp Brewing Company • Portland, OR
  • Brickyard Brewing • Woodinville, WA
  • Dick's Brewing Company • Centralia, WA
  • Fish Brewing Company • Olympia, WA
  • Fremont Brewing Company • Seattle, WA
  • Full Sail Brewing Company • Hood River, OR
  • GoodLife Brewing • Bend, OR
  • Hales Brewery • Ballard, WA
  • Harmon Brewery • Tacoma, WA
  • Iron Horse Brewery • Ellensburg, WA
  • Kastellan Brauerei • Lacey, WA
  • Madsen Family Cellars • Lacey, WA
  • Narrows Brewing • Tacoma, WA
  • NoLi Brewhouse • Spokane, WA
  • Northwest Mountain Winery • Lacey, WA
  • Olympia Beer • Los Angeles, CA
  • Orlison Brewing Co. • Airway Heights, WA
  • Pelican Brewing Co. • Pacific Beach, OR
  • Port Townsend Brewing Company • Port Townsend, WA
  • Scatter Creek Winery • Tenino, WA
  • Seapine Brewing Company • Seattle, WA
  • Stottle Winery • Lacey, WA
  • Three Magnets Brewing Company • Olympia, WA
  • Top Rung Brewing Company • Lacey, WA
  • Westport Brewing Co. • Westport, WA
  • Whitewood Cider Co. • Olympia, WA
  • Wingman Brewers • Tacoma, WA
Filed under: New Beer Column, Olympia,

August 11, 2014 at 2:39pm

The resurgence of Tacoma's beer legacy

Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. founders Steve Navarro, left, and Brent Hall began brewing beer July 30 at their downtown Tacoma brewery. Photo courtesy of Jeremy Leffel

As far back as when Job Carr stirred wort alongside the banks of Commencement Bay, our city has had a love affair with beer. It is only natural that with a mix of working class Scandinavians, Austria/Hungarians and Germans that someone (if not everyone) would be mixing their own home brew.

In pre-prohibition Tacoma, the brewery district housed Heidelberg, Milwaukee and Pacific Brewing and Malting companies. Today, we have new local favorites such as Tacoma Brewing Company, Narrows Brewing and Wingman Brewers creating flavorful brews and bringing beer pride to the City of Destiny - and more are on the horizon.

Tacoma's Brewery District

The area between South 17th Street to South Tacoma Way on the east side of downtown was once home to some of the most productive and influential beer making facilities of the pre-prohibition Northwest. Today, the area contains warehouses and storage facilities with its former breweries in derelict condition or demolished in the name of progress (I'm looking at you, Holiday Inn.)

According to, one of the first breweries in the area was the New Tacoma Brewery, which was established in 1884. The company changed hands in 1886, taking on the name United States Brewing & Ice Co. In 1891, the brewery changed hands again and became the first major brewery in the area, The Milwaukee Brewery. Though solely a Tacoma company, owner Samuel Loeb named his company "Milwaukee" to reflect the 19th century's award-winning breweries of the Midwest.

In 1897, Milwaukee Brewery merged with Puget Sound Brewing Company to form the Pacific Brewing and Malting Company. The building that housed PBMC still stands today at 2515 S. Holgate St.

Just as PBMC was coming together, Columbia Brewing opened its doors a few blocks away. However, both Columbia and PBMC hit hard times during the dark days of prohibition, and PBMC  closed shop in 1914 when Washington state jumped the gun and ratified prohibition six years before it was mandated by federal law. Columbia Brewing kept its doors open by producing non-alcoholic beverages. When the company came out the other side of forced temperance, it changed its name to Heidelberg Brewing.

As one of the top three breweries in the West (along with Olympia and Rainier), Heidelberg Brewing made Tacoma synonymous with beer until the 1970s, when it finally closed its doors.

>>> Wingman Brewers co-founder Ken Thoburnserved beer during Wingman's third anniversary party in April 2014. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner 

The Modern Era

"We hope to reawaken the greatness of Tacoma as a beer town like it was with big breweries like Pacific and Heidelberg, but it may not look the same as it once did," said Ken Thoburn, brewer at Wingman Brewers, brewing beer in the shadow of the Tacoma Dome. "Instead of one huge brewery serving a large area, craft beer is moving toward a hyper local kind of product."

Tap handles in every bar and restaurant around the Northwest symbolize the progress Tacoma is making toward reinvigorating its brewing traditions. Today, it isn't uncommon to find locally brewed beers next to nationally established standbys. This shows growing momentum in the acknowledgment of what local beer artisans are producing.

The resurgence started in the mid-'90s with Engine House No. 9 and the RAM Restaurant and Brewery followed by the Harmon Brewing Co. During the last 20 years, Tacoma's seen great strides in its craft beer movement with Narrows Brewing Co., Wingman Brewers and Tacoma Brewing Company. Five founders - three with local military ties - will open Odd Otter Brewing Co. on Pacific Avenue before October.

Additionally, surrounding Pierce County cities have spawned their own local flavors. Gig Harbor's 7 Seas Brewing has been making big waves since it opened in 2008. Powerhouse Brewing Company and Puyallup River Brewing offer tasty options in Puyallup.

With the assistance of Tacoma's Mash or Puyallup's Station U-Brew, the number of locally brewed concoctions coming from home brewers is growing exponentially. Who knows what mad genius is out there creating your next favorite beer?

At the 2014 Washington Beer Awards, Tacoma brought home six medals. E9 collected three. The Harmon brought home two. Wingman rounded out the showing with two medals. Notably, Puyallup (Tacoma's agrarian neighbor) had a big winner with Puyallup River Brewing grabbing three medals.

But in Tacoma, a few medals doesn't translate as a beer superpower.

>>> Harmon Brewing Co. co-owner Pat Nagle revamped his Harmon Tap Room's beer garden this spring, reopening it as the Harmon Garden last month. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

"Imagine if EVERY pub and restaurant in the greater Tacoma area always served at least three Tacoma breweries on tap all of the time. This would be a phenomenon in and of itself," said Pat Nagel, co-owner of the Harmon Brewing Co. "It would provide enough business for all of the local breweries to meet their goals for production and build loyal customers supporting local business. It's a win/win. The breweries grow, the beer scene grows, the restaurants are supporting local and benefiting from this because their customers are local and they appreciate it."      

Pacific Brewing and Malting Company Redux

In September, the Pacific Brewing and Malting Company will be reborn. Not directly affiliated with the original PBMC, the new Pacific Brewing and Malting pays homage to Tacoma's illustrious brewing past. Previously, rights to the PBMC name, logo and recipes were held by Engine House No. 9. E9 even used the PBMC motto "Best East or West" to describe its own beer during the late '90s, which it continues today. This year, Steve Navarro, with help from investors, bought the "expired" rights to the PBMC name and will be using the Pacific Brewing and Malting name to usher in its own creations.

"When we started brainstorming names for the new brewery, a friend, who also happens to be one of the original investors, thought it would be great to bring back one of the cornerstones of the original Tacoma brewing industry. Being that we live in Tacoma and appreciate its history, we naturally gravitated to Pacific Brewing and Malting Co.," explained Navarro, co-owner and head brewer.

With a number of established local brews around T-town (such as E9, Harmon, Wingman and the RAM), PBMC has a lot of recent history to live up to.

"For such a small city, Tacoma has a very sophisticated beer community that spans all ages. They know what they like, and they like quality craft beer," Navarro continued. "The brewing community here is very supportive of one another and have been a huge help for me as I have been trying to open our brewery.

"One of our flagship beers is going to be a pale lager ... (like the) company's flagship beer from 1897 to 1915, (which was) known as Pacific Beer. I entertained the idea of staying within the style of a pre-prohibition style lager, but decided to create my own interpretation of the beer," Navarro said of the similarities between the original and new PBMC. "I think that our pale lager can act as a gateway beer for those beer drinkers who are just starting to explore what craft beer is."

The New PBMC will be located at 615 Commerce St., with its brewery doors opening out to Pacific Avenue.

We All Win When There Is More Beer      

"(Tacoma is) on the verge of being a true player on the craft beer scene - like Seattle, Portland and Bend," said Nagle. "We have key people not only brewing great local craft beer, but we also have smart, hip pubs serving great local craft beer like Parkway, The Red Hot, The Swiss, The Hub, Meconi's, The Office, the Social and many others. We also have awesome people running specialty bottle shops like 99 Bottles, Pint Defiance, World Beer Tacoma and the new Copper Door near us in the Stadium District. All of this is so important in building loyal beer drinkers that really want to get to know the beers."

Whether you drink Harmon's Browns Point ESB or the Narrow's Galloping Gertie Golden Ale, it is a good time to be a beer drinker in T-town.

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


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


  • 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


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.



Clinking glass noises, band sound check

(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!


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). ...


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.



Drum roll


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

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.


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!


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.


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.


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!

August 6, 2014 at 11:37am

Beer Here: Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp Across America, Midnight Sun and Green Flash tonight

Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp Across America sets up camp tonight and Friday in Tacoma.

If you're the type of observant beer drinker who follows beer blogs, you may have noticed Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp Across America, one of the most ambitious craft beer celebrations yet. A multi-pronged offensive into the gullet of beer fans nationwide, the Beer Camp Across America is part roving beer festival and part collaboration beer series, that has hit Washington state, and in fact, Tacoma's ParkWay Tavern tonight, beginning at 5 p.m., at Tacoma's Pint Defiance beer store and taproom Friday, Aug. 8, at 5 p.m.

The idea is an expanded spin on the pioneering Chico, Calif., brewery's annual Beer Camp program, which since 2008 has invited distributors, brewery owners and a few lucky consumers to Northern California for a hands-on brewing weekend with Sierra Nevada's pilot system. Barry Watson, co-owner of Pint Defiance, has been one of the lucky ones to visit the Beer Camp, and will share his Camp brewed beer, Barry's "No Sleep 'Till Chico" Imperial Coffee Vanilla Porter, Friday.

The top brews were made on a larger scale and released each spring in a highly anticipated Beer Camp variety pack, which Pint Defiance and other Washington state specialty beer stores have in stock.

The ParkWay's tap list tonight:

  • Allagash-Myron's Walk Belgian-style Pale Ale - 5.3%ABV
  • Asheville Brewers Alliance-Tater Ridge Scottish Ale - 7.0%ABV
  • Ballast Point-Electric Ray IPA - 8.5%ABV
  • Bell's-Maillard's Odyssey Imperial Dark Ale - 8.5%ABV
  • Cigar City-Yonder Bock Tropical Maibock - 7.7%ABV
  • Firestone Walker-Torpedo Pilsner - 5.2%ABV
  • 3 Floyds-Chico King Pale Ale - 6.5%ABV
  • New Glarus-There And Back English-style Bitter - 5.6%ABV
  • Ninkasi-Double Latte Coffee Milk Stout - 7.6%ABV
  • Oskar Blues-Canfusion Rye Bock - 7.2%ABV
  • Russian River-Yvan The Great Belgian-style Blonde - 6.3%ABV
  • Victory-ALT Route Altbier - 6.6%ABV
  • Narwhal Imperial Stout - 10.2%ABV
  • Hoptimum Imperial IPA - 10.4%ABV
  • 08' Big Foot Barley Wine - 9.6%ABV


The Red Hot hosts Midnight Sun Brewing Co. out of Anchorage beginning at 5 p.m. Besides swag, expect Bar Fly, Son of a Berserker, Snowshoe White, Sockeye Red IPA, Monk's Mistress and 9Teen Saison.

Speaking of Pint Defiance, the beer store and taproom hosts Green Flash Brewing Co. from 5-7 p.m. On tap will be two special releases from Green Flash's Hop Odyssey Series - White IPA and Citra Session - as well as its rarely seen East Village Pilsner. Pint Defiance's wacky raffle is on, too.

Filed under: New Beer Column, Tacoma,

August 4, 2014 at 11:29am

Tacoma's Brew Five Three beer festival returns with larger glass pints and awesome blues

There it is! The Brew Five Three glass pint! Photo courtesy of Broadway Center

For any craft beer enthusiast living in the South Sound, 2014 has been a pretty stellar year. From the inaugural Tacoma Beer Week, opening of Top Rung Brewing in Lacey, expansion of The Red Hot and the soon-to-open Three Magnets, Odd Otter and Pacific Brewing, to good times at Gig Harbor Beer Festival, huge 7 Seas Brewing anniversary party and last weekend's Olympia Brew Fest - plus too many new beer releases to mention - the stream of craft beer-related events seems to be endless. This weekend continues the trend with Broadway Center's second annual Brew Five Three: Tacoma's Beer & Blues Festival next to the Pantages Theater in downtown Tacoma, Saturday, Aug. 9, from 1-9 p.m.

Building upon the success of their first year, the Broadway Center and Brew Five Three organizer Aaron Stevens seek to continue building upon the quality of the first mixture of beer and blues.

"It was so fun last year listening to the brewers talk to each drinker about beer," says Stevens, who is the program manager at Broadway Center. "Our volunteers did an amazing job making it as easy as possible for the brewers to do just that - concentrate on their beers and the beer drinkers. The brewers are proud of their product. The less distractions, the better."

Stevens also gives huge props to Chris Miller of The Red Hot, Tacoma's craft beer and hog dog hangout. Miller, a beer aficionado and veteran of beer festivals, served as an advisor for last year's Brew Five Three, offering advice and tips from behind the scenes, which Stevens calls invaluable. Stevens is thrilled to have Miller back this year.

While the debut of Brew Five Three was a success, Stevens and his team paid close attention to feedback. Improvements sourced from survey results from last year's festivalgoers and brewers include allowing re-entry and larger, pint-sized souvenir GLASSES. Yes, glass. Well-behaved dogs on leash and drinkers off-leash will still be permitted.

"Last year exceeded our expectations," says Stevens. "But, we listened. We received some feedback on our small drinking glasses. Our thought, after talking with brewers, was a small glass allowing for more tasting. This year, we have pint glasses from the very start, instead of pulling them out at the end like we did last year."

It's logical thinking, but maybe people thought it was too much work to refill.

"The Broadway Center strives to serve the community," adds Stevens. "(Executive Director) David Fischer has never taken the approach of being Tacoma's tastemaker, bringing in what he thinks Tacoma needs. He listens to what the community has to say. It's been fun to take the same approach with this beer festival."

The pint glasses have 4-, 8- and 12-ounce marks, or drinkers may fill it all the way to the top. While it seems crazy to limit your tastings with full pours, Stevens witnessed folks who wanted to sip a full pint while watching a band's whole set or kick back at the end of the night with a pint and compare notes with friends.

For the second year, Brew Five Three returns to Broadway, in front of Broadway Center's venues and down the street. The block-party layout will remain the same, with breweries lining the street and the music stage above in the park. But, the date obviously changed. Ignoring this year, June can be a rainy month.

"It rained before and after last year's June Brew Five Three," explains Stevens. "The sky opened up just for the beer drinkers. Still, people felt hunkered down. August makes more sense."

Tents will be erected if needed, but the weather calls for clear skies and temperatures in the mid-80s.

Washington state breweries and cideries are the focus, with more than 30 confirmed to line Broadway, including South Sound breweries 7 Seas Brewing, Dick's Brewing Company, Fish Brewing Company, Harmon Brewing Co., M.T. Head Brewing Co., Narrows Brewing, Puyallup River Brewing, Tacoma Brewing Co. and Wingman Brewers. Also included are Odd Otter Brewing Company and Pacific Brewing & Malting Co., even though the two downtown Tacoma breweries haven't opened their doors.

"I'm really excited Pacific Brewing and Odd Otter are part of Brew Five Three," says Stevens. "It's not really their debut because they have done a great job promoting themselves, but I'm thrilled they'll be on Broadway. They have a lot of energy, focus and have been fun to work with."

The other participating state breweries are an impressive lot; click here to see the list.

"We got great feedback from the brewers last year," says Stevens. "And almost every one of them is coming back. Those brewers who couldn't make it due to vacations or what not have partnered with other breweries to pour at the event. Those certain brewers felt it's important to be at this festival. I love when community happens. The brewing community is a friendly one. And, that's why this is such a fun event to host. (Laughing) I get to have meetings with all the best breweries."

Stevens, lead singer of Tacoma indie rock band Goldfinch, as well as a contributor to many other musician's projects, will be the first to tell you he's not a blues aficionado. He did campaign to have Stephanie Anne Johnson, a longtime Tacoma singer-songwriter and top contender on NBC's The Voice, to headline the festival. No one argued.

Wisely, Stevens solicited the help of Rev. Dave Brown, a beer drinker and producer of Immanuel Presbyterian Church's popular Blues Vespers shows, to book the blues musicians. Brown will bring in the West Coast Women's Blues Revue - a Northwest blues super group of Lady A, Patti Allen, and Teri Anne Wilson - the Mark Riley Trio and swampabilly band Junkyard Jane. Brown went with high-energy blues bands. Good call.

Food vendors include Athena's Food Truck, Auto Pompa Pizzeria, Fish Basket's Mobile Fish Bar, Ice Cream Social, Murph's BBQ, Quack Dogs LLC and Lumpia World.

"Lumpia has its highest-grossing day of the year at the festival," says Stevens.

B Sharp Coffee House down the street will set up a station onsite, serving complimentary coffee.

Although it's easy for craft beer enthusiasts to get excited about Brew Five Three for its beer and blues alone, the event serves as an important fundraiser for The Broadway Center's Education Program, one of the largest arts education programs in Washington state, serving more than 51,000 students, teachers and parents each year.

Advance tickets to Brew Five Three are on sale now.Tickets are $30, $25 for military personnel for 10 tastings. Designated drivers may purchase a ticket for $10 to enjoy live music, a variety of food vendors and a festive outdoor atmosphere. To purchase tickets call the Broadway Center Box Office at 253.591.5894, toll-free 1.800.291.7593, visit in person at 901 Broadway in Tacoma's Theater District or online at, or visit The Red Hotor The Beer Essentials. Additional tokens may be purchased at $1.50 per token, or 10 for $10. An ATM will be onsite.

With so many craft beer events dotting the calendar in the South Sound, Stevens and his team feel that Brew Five Three further builds upon the events throughout the year, adding a different flavor and context that enthusiasts will enjoy.

"I believe it complements everything else that's going on in the South Sound as far as beer festivals and beer events," he said. "It completes the puzzle with quality Washington-centric beers and great blues music."

BREW FIVE THREE: TACOMA'S BEER & BLUES FESTIVAL, 1-9 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 9, block party on Broadway between Ninth and 11th streets, Tacoma, $10-$30,

Filed under: New Beer Column, Tacoma,

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