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June 1, 2014 at 1:24pm

2014 Summer drinking calendar for the South Sound

It will happen this summer. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

If you're like me, you're probably left wondering where May went. It seems that just yesterday spring began. But now it's time to kick off June, and the summer drinking season can officially begin. The lawn can wait.


Talbott Vineyard Wine Tasting

Morso will tentatively pour 2011 Sara Case Chardonnay, 2012 Diamond T Pinot Noir, 2012 Kali Hart Pinot Noir, 2012 Logan Chardonnay and 2012 Logan Pinot Noir. There is a $5 fee per person for this event and is refunded with a wine purchase. Any wines purchased from the tasting may be served without a corkage fee on the night of the tasting. 5-7 p.m., $5, Morso Wine Bar, 9014 Peacock Hill Ave., Gig Harbor, 253.229.0187

Emerald Downs Brewer's Night

Northwest Brewing Company will be at the track with $2.50 craft pounders, Ottomatic DJ, prize drawings and more. 5-9 p.m., Emerald Downs Race Track, 2300 Emerald Downs Dr., Auburn, $7 entrance fee, 253.288.7000


Georgetown Brewer's Night

Puyallup River Alehouse hosts Georgetown Brewing Company for a night of Georgetown beers, giveaways, raffles, dollar tacos and more. 6-9 p.m., no cover, Puyallup River Alehouse, 120 S. Meridian, Puyallup, 253.268.0955


May 27, 2014 at 11:37am

Bicycle Built for Brew: The Red Hot Pint Pedaler and Spring Exposure Ride

The Red Hot in Tacoma launches its annual Pint Pedaler bike map at 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 28. Photo courtesy of Facebook

Over the years, I know I've made mention of this simple (if shameful) fact at least once before: There is nothing so wonderful and so free as riding your bike around Tacoma while loaded on beer. Yes, it is irresponsible and it is dangerous. But so is anything else that is part of your birthright of fun. It is with this moral dilemma in mind that I mention two bicycling and beer drinking events going down this week.

Wednesday, May 28

The Red Hot's "TRH Pint Pedaler: A Bike Map to Tacoma's Craft Breweries" made its debut during Bike Month last year, revealing the best routes for cyclists navigating their way to Tacoma's craft breweries, including the locations of the city's cool bike shops in case your chain slips. If you follow this year's map by numerical order, the route begins at The Red Hot (natch!), then leads to Wingman Brewing, Harmon Brewery and Eatery, Tacoma Brewing Co., Harmon Tap Room, Engine House No. 9, Ram Big Horn Brewing on Ruston Way, ending at the soon-to-open Pacific Brewing Co. on Pacific Avenue. That's a glorious circle of deliciousness. Each suggested brewery and bike shop will carry the maps, too. The map is printed on Rite In The Rain weatherproof paper, so beer spills/rain/sweat/nose bleeds need not ruin your copy.


Filed under: New Beer Column, Tacoma, Outdoors,

May 26, 2014 at 7:37am

Served Blog Banner Boy: Q&A with R.J. Adler of Pint Defiance in Fircrest

R.J. Adler, assistant manager at Pint Defiance, a craft and specialty beer store and taproom on the edge of Fircrest. 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 R.J. Adler.

Server Banner Boy, May 26-June 1, 2014

R.J. Adler

Assistant manager, bartender, server

Pint Defiance, a craft and specialty beer store and taproom on the edge of Fircrest

Why do you serve?

"I serve for the love of great craft beer. This answer is complete cheese, but I mean it."

Who is your favorite server in the South Sound?

"Oof, I have to pick just one? Sean at the Parkway seems to have a preternatural sense for knowing what I want before I do."

What are you most proud to serve?

"Anything local. I love being able to say, 'Here, a guy I know made this.'"

What's your current drink of choice?

Berliner Weisse

Favorite movie?

"No Country for Old Men"

What don't you serve?

"I try not to get snobbish about beer but you won't find me cracking any 'cold-activated' cans, if you catch my drift.

What's on your radar at Pint Defiance?

We always have awesome events on our calendar - Deschutes Brewer's Night on June 11, a sour beer night on June 25. I'm also looking forward to all the summer seasonal releases that are hitting our shelves. I'll be trying them all ... ya know ... for research.

LINK: Meet last week's Served Banner Girl.

May 23, 2014 at 10:16am

Beer Weekend: Engine House No. 9 and de Garde Brewing release VOLTRON, plus beer events

Engine House No. 9's brew house sits in an adjoining building.

With the camaraderie between Washington state breweries, collaboration beers are natural and frequent occurrences. For many brewers, the only inhibitor to embarking on a group project is the inability to fit collaboration into a busy brew schedule. Brewery collaborations also create a way for breweries that sometimes compete for consumer attention and dollars - and even for talented staff - to hang out under friendly circumstances.

The industry also sparks friendships first, which leads to a collaboration - as in the case between Shane Johns from Engine House No. 9 in Tacoma and Trevor Rogers of de Garde Brewing in Tillamook, Ore.

"We have very similar brewing interests and genuinely enjoy chatting about beer and drinking beer together," says Johns of his friend, Trevor Rogers. "I enjoy his beers and try to get down to his place whenever I can. Otherwise we text back and forth a couple times a week."

The two brewers have collaborated on a Brett DIPA called VOLTRON, which will be released at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 24 at Engine House No. 9. Brett DIPA translates to double India pale ale incorporating Brettanomyces yeast, or Brett for short. Doubling an IPA generally means twice the amount of hops and twice the alcohol by volume, which means a strong, hoppy beer.

"Trevor and I felt like Brett brings new and interesting flavors that you can't get with Sacc yeast," says Johns. "We had wanted to brew a Brett DIPA for a while. I had been working with it a lot in the farmhouse beer series - batch five headed to distribution yesterday - so we just decided to get together and brew a couple different versions. Trevor had the hops. I had the Brett and the facility. We worked the malt bill out together."

There will be three total batches of VOLTRON brewed. They'll change the hops each time.



Filed under: New Beer Column, Tacoma,

May 22, 2014 at 3:41pm

Beer Dinners Alert: Chambers Bay and Pacific Grill hosts both ends of the Narrows Bridge

Wine dinners have become commonplace events around the South Sound, and with new local breweries opening up; I imagine beer dinners will become more common, too.

Right now, two beer dinners are worthy of your attention - one in University Place and the other in downtown Tacoma.

First, Chambers Bay hosts neighboring Narrows Brewing Co. for a five-course beer dinner tomorrow night. Looks as if Chef Joshua Corcoran and his crew will have fun with the Narrows brews. Smokey pork belly tacos, Beecher's double cheeseburger and cinnamon doughnuts are on the docket. Narrows head brewer Joe Walts will bring Siren's Call Hibiscus Saison, Galloping Gertie Golden Ale, 4.0 in Damage Session Pale Ale, Giant Pacific Octopus IPA and his Post-Tension Porter. Tickets are $50 per person. Sign up at 253.552.4867.


May 19, 2014 at 12:46pm

Beer Here: Sierra Nevada Brewing dinner and upcoming South Sound beer events

Deschutes Brewery will take over some of The Swiss' taps May 21. Photo courtesy of Randi Rodgers

Back in the 1970s, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company was born in Chico, Calif. In 1982, San Francisco Examiner published an article praising Sierra Nevada's beers, which in turn led to pioneering chef Alice Waters including the brewery's flagship Pale Ale on her menu at her Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley. Bam! The brewery was off and running. Today, the business is the seventh-highest-selling brewery overall in America, and the No. 2 American craft brewer behind only Boston Beer Co., makers of Samuel Adams. The brewery's output has increased so steadily in the last 26 years so much so that Sierra Nevada erected another brewery outside of Asheville, N.C., in 2012 to meet the demands of the growing East Coast and European markets for its beers.Saturday, May 31, The Bayview School of Cooking will host a Sierra Nevada Brewing dinner. Chefs Barb Agee and Leanne Willard will team up with a SNBC rep for a five-course meal with beers paired with each course:

  1. Brie Quesadillas with Bacon and Beer-Glazed Onions paired with the new Southern Hemisphere;
  2. Thai Red Curry and Beef Soup paired with Sierra Nevada's famous Pale Ale;
  3. A Salad of Baby Lettuce with Feta, Strawberries and Smoked Almonds paired with Kellerweis;
  4. Grilled Chicken with Lemon-Cucumber Relish and Chinese Sesame Noodles paired with Summerfest;
  5. Chocolate Chip Shortbread with a Raspberry Drizzle served with Ovila Abbey Quad with Plums.

The dinner will be held in the BSC demo kitchen on the second floor of Bayview Thriftway, 516 W. Fourth Ave. in downtown Olympia. The cost is $65 per person. To reserve your spot, call 360.754.1448


May 17, 2014 at 2:39pm

Engine House No. 9 releases new Tacoma Brew Pilsener

Engine House No. 9 bartender Todd McLaughlin took me serious when I said need the new Tacoma Brew pronto. Thanks Todd!

What's old is new again.

In March, I mentioned Engine House No. 9 was in the process of changing its historical Tacoma Brew formula back to the original recipe created in 1888 by the Puget Sound Brewing and Malting Co. in Tacoma.

After Dusty Trail, the man, converted the landmark Engine House No. 9 into Tacoma's first brewpub in 1995, he and Douglas McDonnell brewed the Tacoma Brew, a salute to the original Puget Sound Brewing beer. Trail and McDonnell researched, tinkered and trademarked the beer, producing apparently a more pale ale version of the original recipe. Dick Dickens bought E-9 in 2002 and resident head brewer Doug Tiede used two hops in the Tacoma Brew formula: Czech Saaz hops, the variety used in the original pilsener, and Hallertau, found in Bavarian-style lagers. In 2011, X group (Asado, Masa) purchased E-9, with Shane Johns running the kettles. For several years Johns asked ownership to steer away from the current ale yeast and convert Tacoma Brew to the pilsener recipe of Tacoma's past.

At noon today, Johns' dream came true. The new Tacoma Brew is on tap at E-9, as a Bohemian-style Pilsener.

"We're happy with this first batch," said E-9 bartender Todd McLaughlin, who knows his beer. "It's a bit too sweet for our liking. We'll have it dialed in by the second batch."

Tacoma Brew is now crisp and bitter, with a dry to medium-dry finish and yes, a Pils malt sweetness. It's also bubbly in the back of the mouth.

It's perfect for warm days on E-9's front porch.

Filed under: New Beer Column, Tacoma,

May 15, 2014 at 12:58pm

Harmon Brewing wins Iron Brewer Competition 2014

Harmon Brewing Co. is the first brewery to bring the Iron Brewer Pro-Am Award south of Seattle, and have done it twice in a row. Courtesy photo

No, I'm not on Harmon Brewing Co.'s payroll. The Tacoma brewery is making news left and right.

I reported its Harmon Tap Room is integrating with its neighboring Hub restaurant.

Then, I mention the Harmon Brewery & Eatery was part of the Tacoma Brewery Walk.

Yesterday, I announced Harmon has, once again, teamed up with the Tacoma Art Museum on a new beer.

Well, Harmon is freakin' in the news, again.

As part of Seattle Beer Week, the Beveridge Place Pub held its annual Iron Brewer Competition May 11. Like television's Iron Chef, brewers are challenged to create something tasty using a set group of ingredients. Then, the resulting beers go head-to-head in a blind tasting.

Yes, Harmon won. In fact, it's Harmon's second Iron Brewer Competition win.


Filed under: Awards, New Beer Column, Tacoma,

May 14, 2014 at 3:41pm

Harmon Brewing Co. to release drINK THIS WHITE IPA

The Tacoma Art Museum - specifically Pei Pei Sung - designed the label for Harmon's drINK THIS IPA. Photo courtesy of the Tacoma Art Museum

Letterpress and craft beer. These two artistries are at the forefront of the South Sound's creative scene. Over the last decade, the area has become a magnet for creative types of every stripe - especially letterpress artists and craft brewers. Chandler O'Leary, Jessica Spring, Chris Sharp, Beautiful Angle's Tom Llewellyn and Lance Kagey, J Hukee and othershave been fighting against the Kindle tide with small presses and handmade fonts, displaying their work in dentists' offices, bars, street corners and large shows, such as Wayzgoose. The other set of bib-wearing craftsmen put just as much time, energy, thought and humor into designs that help brand their beer and distinguish their products. Beginning in the '90s, a firehouse, an electrical station, a Ram and a Fish inspired the new talent in 7 Seas Brewing, Wingman Brewers, Narrows Brewing, Tacoma Brewing Co. and others, landing them with their own taprooms, spots at notable festivals and space in grocery stores.

Then, there's Harmon Brewing Co. Tacoma's first craft microbrewery cares as much about art and image as it does producing award-winning beers. Co-owners Pat Nagle and Carole Ford will tell you they're restaurateurs first, but crafting quality beer and presenting it in creative ways is always on their minds. They've paired their beers and one-off brews with the bicycling community, snow and sun celebrations, music festivals, airplane rides, holidays, bridge re-opening celebrations, city celebrations, and one of their favorite partnerships, art exhibits at the Tacoma Art Museum. Harmon has created seasonal beers in conjunction with huge exhibits at TAM dating back to 1998, including the Hop Art Ale, a season IPA in celebration of "Andy Warhol's Flowers For Tacoma."

"We really enjoy the collaboration, the community and city government involvement in creating the Art Museum beers. We met with the Tacoma Art Museum folks, examined the Warhol exhibit, knocked around ideas and walked away with flowers on the brain. We incorporated four flowers in the Hop Art Ale - lavender, rose hips, hibiscus and chamomile. The Art Museum designed the label and coasters. They sold the beer in their store. We put it on draft in our restaurants, with coasters everywhere. Everyone's talking about the show, the museum and Tacoma craft beer - I love that," says Nagle, with enthusiasm.

Harmon Brewing Co. will once again team up with the Tacoma Art Museum, this time crafting beer around a Northwest print art show opening June 7.

Ah, all my babbling comes to a point.

"Ink This! Contemporary Print Arts in the Northwest" will shine a light on raised metal letters inked and pressed into heavy paper by notable Northwest artists over the years. The exhibit will hang through Nov. 9, 2014. Naturally, over the course of the exhibit, TAM will host many lectures, workshops and events centered on contemporary print arts in the Northwest.

What pairs well with lectures, workshops and events?


The Tacoma Art Museum asked Harmon to brew a beer for "Ink This!".

Harmon came back with ... drINK THIS!  

"drINK THIS WHITE IPA is a medium-bodied IPA brewed with three different malted barleys that make up just over 60 percent of the grain bill," says Nagle. "White wheat makes up the other almost 40 percent, with five different hop varieties - Simcoe, Centennial, Cascade, Amarillo and Citra - used in the kettle."

Nagle says it was then dry hopped with a sixth variety of hop, Sorachi Ace, which was chosen for its tropical fruit and lemon aroma flavors.

"Bold flavors of orange, lemon and melon give away to a crisp, clean and smooth finish," he adds.

drINK THIS dials in with a 7.6 percent ABV and 65 IBUs.

The beer will make the same rounds as its other arty predecessors. It will be sold in TAM's store and be available at special Museum events. The Harmon will have it on tap at its four restaurants: Harmon Brewery & Eatery, Harmon Tap Room and The Hub in Tacoma and Gig Harbor.

While the exhibit doesn't open until June 7, drINK THIS will sneak into a couple earlier events. It's scheduled to be a part of the Walk Tacoma UWT/Brewery Walk after party at the Harmon Brewery & Eatery Wednesday, May 21. Click here for details.  

Others will have the opportunity of snatching drINK THIS even earlier. The national American Alliance of Museums organization will hold its Annual Meeting & Museum Expo in Seattle May 18-20, with a couple busloads of museum directors, curators and educators traveling south to visit the Tacoma museums. During an evening gathering at the Tacoma Art Museum May 19, the group will score a taste of Tacoma - drINK THIS.

"We're going to have drINK THIS coasters in all our locations, with the Art Museum on one side and the other side blank. We're going to come up with fun stamps so you can personalize your coasters and take them with you," says Nagle. "Hopefully, it will entice people to visit the exhibit."


INK THIS! CONTEMPORARY PRINT ARTS IN THE NORTHWEST, June 7-Nov. 9, 2014, Tacoma Art Museum, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday-Sundays, 1701 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, $8-$10, 253.272.4258

Filed under: New Beer Column, Tacoma,

May 12, 2014 at 11:16am

Gig Harbor Beer Festival 2014 recap

Peace, indeed. The third annual Gig Harbor Beer Festival was a righteous, fun day of beer drinking. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

They called out to ye faithful, and all ye faithful answered. Saturday, at the third annual Gig Harbor Beer Festival, I watched the gigantic beer garden in the middle of the posh Uptown Gig Harbor retail hub slowly but surely fill up with the most faithful of beer-goers. Let me assure you, shelling out $25 for a six-hour session of beer sampling was absolutely worth it, especially when many of these beers had been just released, or were limited-edition, or were 9 percent ABV and up.

Around 20 breweries made an appearance at the Fest, manning tables in a giant circle around the perimeter. Tastes ranged from a piney Cascadian Dark Ale from 7 Seas Brewery, to a big hop bomb Belgian IPA from Dick's Brewing, a citrusy Flying Monkey Dogfight Pale Ale from American Brewing, German-style Kolsch Ale from Bainbridge Island Brewing and a refreshing Zythos Single Hop from Wingman Brewers, which was perfect beneath the warm sun.

There were also things such as the RAM Big Horn Brewery's Maibock, which brewmaster Bethany Carlsen trumpeted as "a beer that will sneak up on you." It was indeed rich, with a big kick and altogether delicious.

Another big beer was the Damnedeleven from Slippery Pig Brewery out of Poulsbo. Ringing in at 11 percent ABV, this tasty, imperial brew was loaded with 30 pounds of dandelion.

A steady stream lined up before Northwest Brewing's Mango Weizen - and with good reason. This cheery American/Bavarian Hef had the perfect amount of fruit.

The capacity crowd voted for its favorite beer at the Gig Harbor Beer Festival. Silverdale's Rainy Daze Brewing Co.'s Mind Funk walked away with the award. The roasted aroma Oatmeal Pale Stout had a subtle layer of coffee from Sunrise Coffee in Port Townsend. Worthy.

Festival producer John Fosberg can chalk up another success. Thanks to a sunny day, awesome music by Aisle of View and Perry Acker, delicious beer and a very happy, fun crowd, the fourth annual Gig Harbor Beer Festival will be a no-brainer.

LINK: More photos from the third annual Gig Harbor Beer Festival

About this blog

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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