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July 17, 2014 at 10:40am

Harmon Brewing to open Hop Coffee during its Progressive Party July 26

Nikki Johnson will be pouring Hop Coffee and other coffee drinks at the Harmon Tap Room. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Coffee-infused stouts are fairly common in the craft beer industry, especially in imperial stouts. It makes perfect sense to match roasted coffee with roasted malt.

Harmon Brewing Company has taken the coffee-beer combination in a different direction with its Hop Coffee - a coffee roast accented with its beer. Made with Bluebeard Coffee beans, Hop Coffee is a coffee that is all about the beer.

"We have taken two of America's most favorite tastes - coffee and beer - and fused them," says Harmon Brewing Co. co-owner Pat Nagle. "My business partner Carole Ford came up with the idea of taking some of our beers, reducing them down to syrups for flavoring for local coffee."

Ford chose Tacoma coffee roaster Bluebeard Coffee, which buys its beans from Latin America, Indonesia and East Africa, as their partner.

Bluebeard principle Kevin McGlocklin is excited to work with Harmon Brewing. "They are go-getters, always coming up with something new," says McGlocklin.

McGlocklin is creating a special dark roast for Hop Coffee, which the Harmon folks believe will work better with their beer reduction.

According to a news release, Harmon Brewing hired Melina Eshinshi, a professional chef, to handle the special alchemy between the coffee and beer. The flavored syrups are reductions of four Harmon signature craft beers: Mt. Takhoma Blonde with Orange Zest, Pinnacle Peak Pale Ale with Vanilla Bean, Pt. Defiance IPA with housemade Torani caramel sauce and Puget Sound Porter with housemade chocolate sauce.

"I can't reveal all the trade secrets, but for example I mixed our Pale Ale with an all-natural vanilla extract and that is going to make a fantastic Macchiato," said Eshinski in the news release. "The Puget Sound Porter seems a natural fit with any mocha drink."

Ford and Nagle will sell their Hop Coffee and standard coffee drinks from the northwest corner of the Harmon Tap Room. Stadium Bistro, the restaurant that occupied this space before the Harmon Tap Room, had hired a guy to build a coffee shop in the corner. The Harmon Brewing Co. will take the concept to completion, opening the Hop Coffee business during its Progressive Party Saturday, July 26 - the official merging of the two St. Helens neighborhood sister restaurants Harmon Tap Room and The Hub into one giant beer complex, which I announced several months ago. Meet the brewers, drink specialty beers, taste the new menu, sample desserts from Harmon's new in-house baker, hug a Harmon employee - the Progressive Party will run 1-6 p.m. for $15 a head. Spac eis limited; grab your tickets at The Hub and Harmon Tap Room.

The homebrewing competition Aroma of Tacoma awards ceremony will also be held during the Progressive Party.

"You can come in and grab your regular coffee drinks, or you can get one of our specialty Hop Coffees," explains Nagle. "It's going to be its own coffee shop, open at 6 a.m., where you can come in with your laptop, have a cup of coffee, watch our guys brew beer in the brewery room. It will be like having your own large office, complete with Wifi."

Bluebeard Coffee will help hire and train the Hop Coffee staff.

The Hop Coffee logo carries the "H" from the Harmon logo and the "O" is a big hop.

"It's a beautiful logo," says Nagle with a big smile.

The Hop Coffee space will also house Harmon's merchandise - shirts, caps and such - which Nagle hopes to set up an online store to sell both the coffee and swag.

"We're looking to remodel the Harmon downtown to have a Hop Coffee outlet there, maybe a Hop Coffee out at the Gig Harbor Hub."

Could there be Hop Coffee huts?

In any case, you won't be sorry to wake up and smell the coffee with Hop Coffee.

HOP COFFEE OPENING/PROGRESSIVE PARTY/AROMA OF TACOMA AWARDS, 1-6 p.m., Saturday, July 26, Harmon Tap Room/The Hub, 204 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, 253.212.2725

July 15, 2014 at 10:58am

Joe Walts and Narrows Brewing celebrate first anniversary with Breakers Ball Saturday

Joe Walts is the head brewer at Narrows Brewing Company. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

This time last year Joe Walts was pinching himself. An ear-to-ear smile busted out as he gazed at the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound on a glorious summer morning in Tacoma. Behind him was the Narrows Brewing Company. His dream of being a head brew master came to fruition, accented in a locale surrounded by mountains, mild seasons and friendly peers. Saturday, he and Narrows Brewing celebrates their one-year anniversary with a bash featuring Stephanie Anne Johnson and the release of the Barrel Aged Black Saison.

Flash back 15 months, Walts has his broken leg propped up on his couch in Madison, Wis. He suffered an injury while on the job as quality manager at Ale Asylum Brewing. Besides the pain, he was contempt. The company just moved into a new facility. His lifestyle was good.

"However, I didn't get into the field to work on other people's recipes. I wanted to do my own thing," says Walts.

Walts had been searching for a head brewer job for eight years.

"I was tied to the Madison area," says Walts. "Anytime you tie yourself to a specific area you either get phenomenally lucky or take whatever you can get. So brewers have to move to advance."

He did turn down several jobs in less desirable areas. He and his wife, Rachel, felt lucky and fortunate in their current lifestyle. They came to the conclusion if they left for a head brewer job, it would have to be in paradise.

Enter the Evergreen State.

"The Narrows Brewing job popped up on ProBrewer(.com), and I thought, if I don't go after this it's not going to get any better."

Narrows Brewing, a team of 10 owners, made a smart move. They flew Joe and Rachel out to meet them and their nearly finished brewery. Rachel could see first hand that, indeed, it was the paradise they desired. It had the mountains and water, without the sweltering heat, mosquitos and frigid winters.

The scenery isn't the only beauty. Housed in a striking, 100-year-old building on pilings, walking into Narrows Brewing can knock you off your feet. It's huge. The sparkling clean 15-barrel brew house has large doors to receiving as well as the moorage house. The Narrows Bridge and surrounding waterway commands your attention in the high-ceiling tasting room, after you weave your way past three event rooms and 100 seats to get there. If you can veer from the gorgeous view, and not get lost in the contemporary wood beam architecture, six taps await. The tasting room feels pub-ish, large enough to host your after-work happy hour on a moment's notice. The taproom has a satisfying mix of regulars and new visitors since it opened last year.

Because of weight limits, Narrows Brewing can grow much larger, in terms of volume produced, other than the new 30-barrel fermentation tank on the way. Maybe they could squeak another in. The ownership sees the complex as more of a destination than a worldwide distributor. Wednesdays are open mic night from 6-9 p.m. MindTap Trivia is Thursdays at 7 p.m. Live music is common on the weekends. Food trucks such as Barrel 51 BBQ (before it was vandalized) are common Fridays beginning at 6 p.m., as is a high school reunion in one room and a bon voyage party across the hall in the neighboring room.

Did Walts change his brewing style to match his new surroundings?

"Not at all," he says. "And that's really surprising to people. Yes, this is hoppier country, but that doesn't mean the best IPAs here are better than the best ones in the Midwest. In fact, they are pretty much the same. Your geekier beer drinkers are going to be the same no matter where you go in the world. They'll be looking for crazy beers, or what they are really into, caring deeply about the brewing process. Then you go a couple notches below that, and you have people who don't really care about how the beer is made. They want to drink local, and drink a flavorful beer. Those people in the Midwest are drinking cream ales and amber lagers. Out here, that group of people is almost exclusively drinking IPAs. And the taps in both areas reflect the demand. Those making IPAs in the Midwest are crushing it. In fact, the brewery I came from makes a great IPA. They opened in 2006, and they're going to break 20,000 barrels this year, and they are leaning heavy on hoppy beer. I think variety is more important to Midwest brewers, even if they could make more money selling hoppier beers (laughs)."

Narrows Brewing's Giant Pacific Octopus IPA is the star beer at Narrows, in terms of volume sold.

Currently, Walts is in the lab making sour beers with two wine barrels. He also has six bourbon barrels from Kentucky and two from Gig Harbor's Heritage Distillery (in which he aged the anniversary beer) and as the barrels get stripped of flavor, he'll use them to make sour beers. Walts is a big fan of Engine House No 9's sours.

"Although, I don't want to see sour beers go the way of IPA and become a commodity," he says.

What he does want to see is everyone drinking his one-year anniversary beer, the Barrel Aged Black Saison, which he first brewed last autumn with 10.5 percent ABV.

"I took that beer and aged it in the Heritage barrels," Walts describes. "In those barrels that Saison yeast, which was insane to begin with, continued to ferment for four months so it's 10.9 now and has a really great wood flavor. We bottled it in 22s and got four or five cases worth out of those two barrels."

He's also got yeast on order for an Oktoberfest beer for a September release.

But, it's summer, and Narrows Brewing will host an outdoor one-year anniversary party Saturday titled "Breakers Ball," a continuation of its nautical motif. The brewery has unconstrained views of the Narrows Bridge and nearby waterways, in which to drink their Galloping Gertie Golden Ale, Siren's Call Hibiscus Saison and Post-Tension Porter, just to name a few. Stephanie Anne Johnson will perform before an outdoor dance party Saturday. Local food trucks and vendors will be on site.

Walts, of course, will be there, too. As the sun sets over the mountains he'll probably pinch himself, if he's not underneath the Marina checking the status of his barrels.

BREAKERS BALL, 6-11 p.m., Saturday, July 19, Narrows Brewing Company, 9007 S. 19th St., Tacoma, $10, 253.327.1400

Filed under: New Beer Column, Tacoma,

July 14, 2014 at 1:38pm

Engine House No. 9 to host Berliner Fest and Wild & Sour Fest

Head brewer Shane Johns switching out tap handles, a common sight at Engine House No. 9 in Tacoma. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

It's "BBQ Month" at Engine House No. 9 in Tacoma. I dropped by E9 for one of its six barbecue dishes, the delicious smoked barbecue pork quesadilla with a chipotle sour cream drizzle kick ($6.99). I scanned the walls. ...

Besides weekend breakfasts beginning in August, the other notable event on E9's calendar is its Wild and Sour Fest Aug. 23. E9 brews awesome sours, and this annual festival is probably the restaurant and bar's biggest event of the year.

"Couldn't be happier with how sour fest is shaping up," says E9 head brewer Shane Johns. "Going to be a lot of great beers. Have some super special stuff in bottle format. And I have received almost every keg on my wish list. I only have a couple kegs left to arrive at the E9. Going to be some tough decisions made as to what beers go on tap first and what will be back-ups."

Having more sours this year than he can tap can only be a good thing.

"It will also be the biggest selection of E9 sours ever available at one time," adds Johns. "Will have five of them: Raspberry Wild, the last keg of Gold Medal winning Golden Berry, the last keg of Silver Medal winning Verre Violet, Rhubarb Wild Batch 3 and End of a Era, which will be blended to be Super Funk Forward."

In mid-chomp of a pork quesadilla triangle, my eye caught a glimpse of a brown poster filled with a list of beers in all-caps. Apparently, Johns has been tinkering with sours. E9 will present 14-plus Berliner Weisse and Gose and part of its Berliner Fest Saturday, July 19, which will include the E9 Tacoma Weiss with peach and golden raspberry variants.

"It was something I've talked about making for a couple years and just hadn't pulled the trigger on," says Johns. "Some encouragement from Trevor at De Garde and Tanya from 10 Barrel got me pretty excited about going forward with the project. I love both of their Berliner-inspired beers, so pulled out the recipe and went for it. The Tacoma Weiss isn't a true-to-style Berliner I sort of put my own spin on it."

Here's the Berliner Fest tap list:

  • Almanac Golden Gate Gose
  • Anderson Bally Horse Tongue Wheat
  • Anderson Valley Mink and the Holy Gose
  • Bear Republic Tartare
  • Black Market 1945 Berliner Weisse
  • Bruery Hottenroth Berliner Weisse
  • E9 Tacoma Weiss
  • Evil Twin Justin Blabaer Weisse
  • Freigeist Abraxxxas
  • Off Color Troublesome Gose
  • Professor Fritz Briem 1809 Berliner Weisse
  • Tacoma Brewing Beer X Berlin Belma
  • 10 Barrel Cucumber Crush
  • 10 Barrel Raspberry Crush

If Johns had to pick three non-E9 beers at Berliner Fest to drink, which ones would he choose?

"I would pretty much drink any of the Berliners or Gose that will be on tap. I've enjoyed all of them multiple times. One of the great things about these styles is the low ABV you can really session them, without getting too buzzed. If you're going to make me choose, then the 10 Barrel Raspberry Crush, Professor Fritz 1809 Berliner Weisse and Bruery Hottenroth."

Johns releases about two beers a month, most straight to his Alpha distributor. "The next fun release at E9 will be for the Berliner Fest and Sour Fest - peach and golden raspberry Tacoma Weisse for Berliner and Raspberry Wild and End of a Era for Sour Fest," says Johns. "I'll have a few other new beers hit the draft line-up between the two fests."

The new beers to hit the E9 taps include several released this month - VOLTRON 2.0, Duex Cinq Trios (batch two) and the Summer Saison - plus an India session ale for Latona Pub in Seattle, the Farmhouse Six to be released early August and the Raspberry Wild at the end of August.

"We'll also be brewing Tacoma Brew again this month and another batch of Tacoma Weisse," adds Johns. "If hops show up, I'll also do some sort of hop forward beer with Galaxy hops. I don't know what style yet."

He has a few other ideas cooking, but he doesn't know if he'll get them into the fermenters this month or next.

Not like he doesn't have time.

BERLINER FEST, 11 a.m., Saturday, July 19, Engine House No. 9, 611 N. Pine St., Tacoma, 253.272.3435


Shane Johns and E9 win Washington Beer Awards medals

Filed under: New Beer Column, Tacoma,

July 14, 2014 at 8:15am

Served Blog Banner Boy: Q&A with Steve Wirtz of Eastside Club Tavern

Slinging craft beers requires knowledge beyond the basic pour. Eastside Club Tavern bartender Steve Wirtz has the answers. 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 Steve Wirtz.

Server Banner Boy, July 14-20, 2014

Steve Wirtz

Steve Wirtz was with Dick's Brewing Co. for 13 years, spreading the Centralia brewery's good word and great beers near and far. For the last 21 years, Wirtz has been pulling the 42 tap handles at the notorious Eastside Club Tavern in downtown Olympia.

Why do you serve?

"I'm absolutely in love with the beer industry and all the people involved. Fitting since my last name means "tender of the bar" in German. My father was also a bartender for many years. I guess I'm just destined for this career and a lifer at the Eastside Club."

Who is your favorite server in the South Sound?

"My favorite tender in the South Sound is Terry Williamson at The China Clipper in Olympia. He is pretty much known worldwide at this point and his infectious personality keeps people coming back to the Clipper. Love that guy!"

What are you most proud to serve?

"Being an IPA guy myself, I'm most proud serving the wide variety of great IPAs on the market today. I really feel like I can connect to the breweries and then translate it to the customers - like an ambassador of beer.

What's your favorite movie?

"My favorite movie would have to be the Shawshank Redemption. I'm also into any movie containing classic and antique cars as I'm a gearhead."

What don't you serve?

"Thankfully, I don't serve liquor. Beer has a much better vibe and comes with much less trouble. My customer base at the Eastside is a very diverse, yet docile and relaxed crowd. I'm pleased to serve and converse with them.

What's on your radar at the Eastside Club Tavern?

"I'm excited for the Eastside cycling jerseys, which should arrive soon. The design looks great!

LINK: Meet other South Sound servers

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,

July 11, 2014 at 1:48pm

Beer Weekend: 7 Seas Bash, Bremerton Brewfest, Art on the Ave ...

Scene from 7 Seas Brewing's Third Anniversary Bash / photo by Pappi Swarner


7 Seas Brewing isn't just the maker of delicious craft beer. It isn't just at the forefront of the "beer in a can is cool again" movement. It's a local business doing things the right way and an entity that knows how to party - as will be proven when 7 Seas throws its fifth annual anniversary bash in its parking lot Saturday. According to co-owner Mike Runion, you can expect "Grab Ass, Awesome Local Musicians, Tom-Foolery, Delicious grubs, Leisure, Relaxation and Sunshine" from noon to 8 p.m. at its Gig Harbor brewery.

"We are pulling out all of the beers we can for the bash," says Runion. "Probably 18 to 20 different 7 Seas beers on tap - a few are only a single keg left. 

The following beers will be available at the 7 Seas Brewing 5th Annual Anniversary Bash Saturday: British Pale, Cutt's NW Amber, Rude Parrot IPA, CDA, Port Royal Export Stout, Ballz Deep Double IPA, Broken Mast Brown, Reign Man ESB, Life Jacket Session IPA, Depth Finder IRA, Oatmeal Raisin Imperial Stout, Dry-Hopped Pilsner, Red Hot Session IPA, Swiss 21st Anniversary Imperial Red, Slow Rye'd Rye IPA, Bavarian-style Hefeweizen and SMASH Plisner.

Click here to see my 7 Seas Brewing anniversary party commercial.

Four the fourth year, ferries will be unloading folks with funny hats, pretzel necklaces and T-shirts proclaiming they love beer in every way possible into downtown Bremerton. The 2014 Bremerton Summer Brewfest will bump up participating Washington breweries to 30, pouring more than 70 summer style beers, from noon to 6:30 p.m. It's a short walk from the Bremerton Ferry Dock, with live music by Driftin Harbour Rats at 1 p.m. and The Echo Devils at 4, with the South Sound represent, including 7 Seas Brewing, Dick's Brewing, Fish Brewing, Harmon Brewing, Narrows Brewing, Northwest Brewing, RAM Brewery and Top Rung Brewing. Randalls are big at this festival, too. The $20 advance/$25 door fee includes a tasting cup and six tokens each good for a 5-ounce taste. Additional tokens may be purchased at $1.50 each or four for $5. For more details, go to

If you don't have kids of your own, playing miniature golf is not much more than a nostalgia trip. Fond memories of a round with Mom and Dad and going out for ice cream afterward provides its appeal, not the challenge of putting the ball in the holes. The Harmon Brewing Company has your nostalgia needs covered and then some with its family-friendly Mini U.S. Open Put Putt Tournament, a nine-house course weaving through its venues The Hub, Harmon Tap Room and its beer garden, the Harmon Garden from 4-6 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., an award ceremony will be held in the Harmon Garden. At stake are team high score, individual high score, individual low score and lowest team score. The grand prize is two free rounds at Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place, home of the 2015 U.S. Open. Two-dollar pints make everyone a winner.


Tacoma's popular Art on the Ave community festivals adds a Tasting Lounge this year, located next to the 6th Ave Photography building on Sixth Avenue. As of press time, Harmon Brewing, Tacoma Brewing Co. and soon-to-open Odd Otter Brewing Company will join Cork! Wine Bar, offering five tastings for $10. The Lounge will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

With a festival-loaded weekend, you might want to bring it down a notch Sunday. Pint Defiance continues its popular Sunday Sampler series, this week offering tastings from the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp. From 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., flights of four 4-ounce pours will be served for the cost of a normal pint. Expect to drink Firestone Walker, Oskar Blues, Victory Brewing and Bell's/Sierra Nevada.

July 9, 2014 at 3:18pm

X Group and Eleven Eleven ownership to re-open Tacoma's Valley Pub

The Valley Pub in Tacoma's Dome District will re-open in August. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

Remember when Pappi Swarner announced the Valley Pub in Tacoma would reopen soon? He wasn't just loaded on 7 Seas Brewing's Life jacket IPA. The news is true.

Brothers Justin and Robbie Peterson, responsible for the Eleven Eleven on Hilltop Tacoma, and X Group Restaurants, of Masa, Asado, Engine House No. 9 and Choripan, have joined forces to bring life back to the Valley Pub.

John Xitco of X Group tells me, "They have beards and we have scruff, and you can anticipate the Dome District dive Valley Pub to reopen on or around August 1."

Team Valley Pub is knee deep in a remodel, which will include taxidermy and lots of diamonds, "neon, wood and painted," and a famous "Pillars of Pennies" that Xitco says, "You will just have to see it."

Entertainment will include live music on some nights and a jukebox on others.

The "pub" moniker won't quite be right since liquor will be available as well as 12 draft handles pouring ice cold craft brew plus a wicked bottle selection to boot.

Of the pub's grub Xitco says, "The menu will have similarities to Eleven Eleven, but with newly created specialties just for the Valley.  We will have several ‘grab and go' menu items for the quick lunch break too."

And finally, Xitco closes by telling me, "A guy once ate glass at the Valley. We would like to welcome him back."

July 8, 2014 at 10:00am

7 Seas Brewing 5th Annual Anniversary Bash commercial

Let it roll ...

Gig Harbor's 7 Seas Brewing celebrates its five-year anniversary Saturday with a huge bash. Shockingly, I can't find a promotional video pumping the party. If I were to create a video promotion for 7 Seas Brewing's 5th Annual Anniversary Bash, this is how it would go down. ...

("Rambo" by Ben Union plays.)

7 SEAS BREWING'S CO-OWNER MIKE RUNION: (Floating on a raft in the middle of Gig Harbor) You ever get the feeling you could just ... I don't know ... brew something incredible?

(Cut to a sinking yacht.)

AIRLINE PILOT: That yacht is going to sink!

7 SEAS BALLZ DEEP DOUBLE IPA: I'm on it! (The 7 Seas Brewing beer dives off the Jerisich Dock, using all of its 8.4 percent ABV and 82 IBUs, it pulls the yacht to shore.)

BEAUTIFUL REAL ESTATE BROKER: Look at the ballz on that beer; his malt is so firm!

MIKE RUNION: It's Ballz Deep ... (Cut music. Blackout.) And it will be at our 5th Anniversary Bash Saturday, July 12.

("Can't Get That Low" by C-Leb & The Kettle Black plays)

7 SEAS BREWING CO-OWNER TRAVIS GUTERSON: (Standing on top of Peacock Hill) You ever feel like drinking a beer can make you fly?

HARBORVIEW DRIVE WALKER ONE: I don't know why I feel so depressed.

HARBORVIEW DRIVE WALKER TWO: Maybe it's your beer? You got to get off the Blue Ribbon, girl. You're bringing all of us down.

7 SEAS RUDE PARROT IPA: What you need is a big juicy, tropical fruit hop nose girlfriend. Grab ahold of my can and let me show you what Simcoe and Citra hops can do to your attitude ... and altitude. (The Rude Parrot IPA and Walker One fly toward Fox Island.)

TRAVIS GUTERSON: That beer can fly! And so can you from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday at our brewery on Judson Street. But flying is for adults only, so leave the little birds in the nest.

("6 AM" by Perry Acker plays.)

MIKE RUNION: (Lying in Semel Homestead Park's meadow, long blades of grass between his teeth) We work to minimize our carbon footprint through efficient operations, responsible packaging and recycling programs. We also recycle our spent grain to local farmers as livestock feed. ... (Cutt's Ale cuts him off.)

7 SEAS CUTT'S ALE: Memo to Mother Nature: Don't think, even for a minute, that just because you've scheduled 80-degree weather Saturday, that I'm going to stay holed up inside the can cooler. I'm busting out my brilliantly clear reddish hue, intense nose of pine and citrus and pleasant lingering hop bitterness on 7 Seas' patio, kicking back with the musical styling of Ben Union, C-Leb & The Kettle Black, Perry Acker, Four On The Floor and Red Stone Sinners.

MIKE RUNION: Pack it in; pack it out!

("Resurrection River" by Red Stone Sinners plays)

TRAVIS GUTERSON: (Standing next to Mike Runion in their taproom, both wearing orange life jackets): Our brewery rose from ashes in 2008 after a fire tore through our first location, and in late 2012, we moved our entire operation to a 3,000 square foot brewing facility in downtown Gig Harbor. (They both extend their outer arms toward opposite walls.)

MIKE RUNION: This is our annual opportunity to say thanks to all those who have supported us and made this company what it is. And we are extremely thankful. A day of beer, food and music in our beautiful downtown waterfront. (They both extend both arms forward toward the outdoor patio.)

TRAVIS GUTERSON: Buck-B-Q will be serving up favorites off the grill and lighter salads, and Tizley's Euro Pub, serving up some vegetarian options and ratatoulle

(All the 7 Seas beers gather around their two creators.)

TRAVIS GUTERSON: And, of course, our beers will be front and center.

MIKE RUNION: Hope to see you all here.

(Cut music, fade to black. Cut to title screen with "7 Seas Brewing 5th Annual Anniversary Bash" floating in the middle of Gig Harbor.)

VOICE-OVER: 7 Seas Brewing is at 3006 Judson Street in Gig Harbor. The party is a 21 and older event. The cost is just $3 per person, 100 percent of which goes to the bands. Credit/debit cards will only be accepted for merchandise purchases, so bring cash for entry, beers and food. The Tap Room will be open for growler fills and merchandise only. Of course, good dogs on leash are welcome with their humans. Lifestyle Valet has graciously offered its shuttle service free of charge during the party. Walk, bike, designate a driver - just be sure to be safe!

July 6, 2014 at 12:54pm

Harmon Brewing hosts Mini U.S. Open Putt Putt Tournament July 12

Bring your putters, golf balls and family to Harmon Brewing Company's Mini U.S. Open Putt Putt Tournament July 12 at The Hub/Harmon Tap Room.

I can see it now. Two men - each brandishing an obnoxiously large putter - approach the first tee at The Hub. On the hot, sunny Saturday afternoon, the testosterone of the middle-aged men fights through their silk designer shirts.

"I'm going first," shouts the brawniest in the duo.  Adjusting the brim of his Nike hat, he addresses his ball, takes a few seconds to review the cardinal rules - head down, eye on Titleist, please-dear-God-don't-let-me-gag-this-one-in-front-of-the-crowd - and then reveals an improbable herk ‘n' jerk backswing that breaks all laws of golf and physics. Even though the guy handles the putter like Don Knotts, the result is anything but clumsy: the ball rolls straight for six feet and drops in the hole. His friend nods in appreciation and golf-claps with his $2 Harmon Pinnacle Peak Pale Ale pint tucked between his knees.

The second player, thirsty to match his boisterous pal, takes a mighty hack at his ball. It smacks the back bumper, sailing into The Hub's wood-stoned pizza oven. No one says a word. He silently re-tees knocking it three inches from the cup.

I can totally see that happening at the Harmon Brewing Company's Mini U.S. Open Putt Putt Tournament Saturday, July 12. The nine-hole miniature golf tournament will span The Hub, Harmon Tap Room and Harmon Garden in Tacoma's Stadium District. The silk-shirted twosome will have their eyes on the grand prize - two free rounds at Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place, home of the 2015 U.S. Open. Their designer silk shirts may grab the Best Dress prize.

Back to the action. ... In The Hub's parking lot, two slackers - 20-somethings with plaid shirts hanging over fatigues - practice putts for beer. They pick the farther away tire and swear at themselves when they don't hit it on the first stroke.  They trash-talk like b-ballers and cough at inappropriate moments. They also cheat like hell, with subtle taps of their Vans.

Next to approach The Hub's first hole one is a young father - a dead ringer of Tiger Woods followed by his pregnant wife and preschool daughter - commences a rhythm of escape from the daily grind: putt, sip beer, putt, sip beer, sinks it. The wife - sporting a DMX tattoo on her dark ankle - sinks it in two.  Little Miss looks on as her mother's bloated belly sways with each shot; Mom giggles at her first-hole victory over Mr. Tiger, then pats the progeny that will soon make the family a foursome.

Next up, two Korean men are clad in nice pants, nice shirt, nice ties. One quickly tees up the ball; the other sinks it in two. They exchange positions and roles, the second gent sinking a hole-in-one. The only English spoken amidst their frantic, high-pitched discourse is a random, throaty "Good shot!"

The miniature golf action continues from The Hub below to the Harmon beer garden and Harmon Tap Room. Two-dollar pints are creating uproarious roars from the crowd. There is no whispering at the Harmon's Mini U.S. Open Putt Putt Tournament.

At 5 p.m. in the Harmon Garden, as his young sons buzz around him like nattily attired electrons, Dad has a worn-out look on his face underneath his old straw hat as he tries to survive the miniature golf course with three preteens. Not wanting to hurt feelings, he didn't partner with one of his sons, but instead chose his neighbor. Directions to the next hole doesn't matter much to the kids - they run ahead, run behind, just plain run around - and Dad trudges on and sighs. Old Straw Hat shakes his head as he peers through Buddy Holly glasses at the kids. Mrs. Old Straw Hat wants to run over and hug him.  

The crowd inside the Harmon Tap Room overflows. Tacoma public officials discuss why they left early, tossing back the drINK THIS White IPA brewed for the Tacoma Art Museum. Martha thanks her fellow hairstylists for the fun going-away party. Two twosomes settle up Mini U.S. Open bets.

Back out on the course, a bartender from the bar down the street caught the ball with the heel of the putter and it speeds off left toward the Harmon Garden's fence like a scalded cat. It flew over the shoulder of a brewer emerging from the keg cold room, ricocheted around the beer garden to the consternation of two families, and finished up in a planter. Laughter erupts.

At 6:30 p.m., an award ceremony is held in the Harmon Garden. At stake are team high score, individual high score, individual low score and lowest team score. The lowest team score winning twosome is a geriatric Okinawan janitor/ninja and a 15-year-old fatherless boy with paint on his white shirt. Harmon Brewing Co. co-owner Pat Nagle tells the boy to "wax on" as he hands them the free rounds at Chambers Bay prize. The beer garden erupts in laughter.

MINI U.S. OPEN PUTT PUTT TOURNAMENT, 4-6 p.m., 3:45 p.m. check in, award ceremony 6:30 p.m., Saturday, July 12, bring putter and ball, The Hub, 203 Tacoma Ave. S., Tacoma, $10, pre-registration required at The Hub or Harmon Tap Room, $2 pint all day, 253.683.4606

LINK: Mini U.S. Open Putt Putt Tournament Facebook

July 3, 2014 at 4:50pm

Beer Here: Where you are drinking this coming week in the South Sound

Happy Fourth of July!

Put on your stars and stripes and your red, white and blue: the Fourth of July is tomorrow! Here are a few upcoming South Sound beer events to ponder while you wave your sparklers in the air like you just don't care.


If there is anything better than life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it is a national holiday falling on a Friday. So go forth South Sound this Fourth of July and pursue happiness. I'll be declaring my independence from beer garden to beer garden at Tacoma's Freedom Fair along Ruston Way. Duke's Chowder House, RAM and Katie Downs will host music stages with adjoining beer gardens.


Pint Defiance's Sunday Beer Sampler pits the United States against England. From 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. you may drink 4-ounce pours of beers from the U.S. and England for $4.50 total. After you drink your sampler, stand up and shout the winning country.


Five days before it throws its five-year anniversary bash, Gig Harbor's 7 Seas Brewing will take over the ParkWay Tavern's taps, beginning at 5 p.m.


Puyallup River Alehouse has brewer's nights scheduled through September. The downtown Puyallup face for Puyallup River Brewing's beers, as well as multiple guest beers on tap, has the marketing thing down. Next up, Backwoods Brewing Company from little ol' Carson, Wash. Head brewer Jordan Tanasse will load up the jalopy with four different Backwoods brews, plus swag for the raffle, and hit the trail for the 6-9 p.m. spotlight.

Pint Defiance hosts the Stone Brewing Co. crew from San Marcos, Calif. for a night of favorites, special brews such as the Stochasticity Project, and PD's infamous raffle from 5-7 p.m.


While Van Halen was telling everyone to "jump," brothers Kurt and Rob Widmer opened their brewery with $50,000. It was a slow start. In 1986, the Widmer Brothers introduced their Hefeweizen to America. The rest is history. In 2008, Widmer and Red Hook merged to form what would later be titled Craft Brew Alliance, the ninth largest brewer in the nation. The Copper Door hosts a Widmer Brothers Brewer's Night from 6-9 p.m. Meet the brewer, chat beer history and drink limited release Widmer beers.


Gig Harbor's 7 Seas Brewing hosts its fifth year anniversary with a beer, music and food noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, July 12. This brewery knows how to party.

The Harmon Tap Room will set up a nine-hole miniature golf course and host a competition from 4-6 p.m. July 12.

Saturday, July 19 marks the one-year anniversary for Tacoma's Narrows Brewing Company. A craft beer-style party will be held at its brew house, the restored Mill Building in Narrows Marina at the bottom of 19th Street, from 6-11 p.m. Dubbed "Breakers Ball" - a fishing community reference to a favorite location off Pt. Richmond - the party will include a performance by Stephanie Anne Johnson, as well as the release of its Barrel Aged Black Saison.

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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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