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November 26, 2014 at 1:24pm

Three Magnets Brewing introduces casual surf and turf

Three Magnets Brewing's Jamburger with savory jam and bacon / photo courtesy of Facebook

At the Olympia's new brewpub Three Magnets Brewing Co., the "soft launch has turned rock-hard very quickly," as a recent post on the pub's Facebook page put it.

The pub opened Nov. 7, with the all-ages restaurant section opening Nov. 17, but it's already getting plenty of attention from fans of local beer, local food and soccer - which is on the bar's TV whenever there's a game on.

The simple menu is still evolving, but it will continue to evolve - and it will continue to be simple.

"It's always going to be a pretty small menu," says Sara Reilly, who owns the brewery and pub - and popular breakfast spot Darby's - with husband, Nate Reilly.

"That's what we've been able to learn from Darby's," she says. "It's famous because it has this huge menu, and it pleases everyone, but it's not a very good way to run a business.

"The idea is to try to do a couple of things and do them well. It's almost like a food-truck mentality."

>>> Three Magnets Brewing's salt-cod Reuben / photo courtesy of Facebook

The focus is on a casual version of surf and turf - including hand-ground burgers on housemade spent-grain buns, fish and chips and a salt-cod Reuben. All of the sauces are made in house.

On a visit last week, we had the Lamburger ($14), jazzed up with lemon-mint marmalade, and the Jamburger ($13), with savory jam that was a bit like a more exciting and chunkier version of ketchup. The bacon was gone when we arrived at 9 p.m., as were the buns, but toasted bread worked just fine.

The burgers come with a cup of the soup of the day (also sold out) or a mug of fries that were light, crisp, hot and just salty enough. And - be still my heart - the fries are gluten free, although the staff points out that in a brewery there is a risk of contamination that may be a problem for those with celiac disease.

My companion didn't want fries, and the kitchen was willing to substitute a simple side salad with malt vinaigrette.

There are a couple of vegetarian options, including Beercheese Mac ($7), with more on the way, and a small kids menu.

But don't go in on the hunt for any specific dish.

"We're keeping very few items from day to day," Reilly says. "We're trying to come up with new menus daily.

"We don't want to make a commitment on anything that people can expect."

Actually, that's not quite true. Three Magnets doesn't want to marry any specific menu item, but patrons can expect food that's fresh, local and of high quality, Reilly promises.

Some of the produce is coming from Wobbly Cart Farm, and fish will change based on what's available, she says, with a focus on fresh, never-frozen varieties.

Housemade gravlax is on the way, as are seasonal game burgers. "We'll have a venison burger, an elk burger and things like that, but we're always going to grind it in house," she says.

Also coming soon will be lunch, weekend brunch and more beverage options beyond beer. Again, the focus will be close to local.

Currently, the pub has the simplest of wine options - a house white and a house red ($5 for a snifter) - but more Eastern Washington wines are on the way, including some from Salida Winery in Rainier.

There'll be cocktails, too, probably in the next month or two. Just don't expect a full bar.

"We're not going to have Bacardi and Coke, because we don't have Bacardi or Coke," Reilly says, "but we might have a nice artisanal rum from the San Juan Islands and our housemade malt cola."

THREE MAGNETS BREWING CO., 4ish-10ish p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 4ish-11ish p.m. Friday and Saturday, 600 Franklin St. SE, Suite 102, Olympia, 360.972.2481

SEE ALSO

Science with Three Magnets Brewing Co.'s head brewer Pat Jansen

November 25, 2014 at 12:39pm

Free Thanksgiving: Now that's a home-cooked meal

I'm not gonna lie, I was kind of a Big Man on Campus back in the day. Mostly I'm admitting I was overweight, though I did have my successes. Still, the achievements I look back on with the greatest pride were all shared: lifelong friendships, plays I directed or costarred in, and my participation in a campus philanthropic society. Each year, our "Sigma Society" along with dozens of other charitably-minded Oklahomans came together to provide our community much-needed Thanksgiving feasts free of charge. Thousands of less-fortunate citizens would queue up for holiday turkey, mashed potatoes, desserts-all the comforting, crave-able classics they couldn't afford to prepare for their own families. I grew up poor myself, so I know what it's like to have nothing in the fridge or depend on government assistance. Believe me, it's not the glorious free ride it's made out to be. Not to put too fine a point on it, being poor sucks. That's why I place enormous value in highlighting grassroots efforts to brighten the lives of struggling South Sounders in these darkest of late-autumn days.

For 45 years now, the late Barb O'Neill and her loved ones have been providing holiday meals along with seasonal clothing and other food and gift donations. What started as an invitation to neighbors has impacted the lives of thousands of Olympians. This is a great group of people, and you can be one of "Barb's Family and Friends" as well. A member of the organization was recently stopped on the street by a person who benefited from O'Neill's generosity years ago, during years when that person was homeless. Now she and her grown daughter are back on their feet, and they want to help pass the favor on to somebody else. It's called paying it forward, people, doing unto others as the best among us have done for us.

As it does every other day of the year, Tacoma's Rescue Mission serves warm, healthy meals to people who are homeless or otherwise underprivileged. Last Thanksgiving Day alone, the mission served over 1100 meals. It's currently accepting donations of money and food items for Thursday's feast; check out https://www.rescue-mission.org/thanksgiving to see how you can lend a hand...or a ham. Gifts of turkeys and hams are always appreciated, as are volunteer hours, especially between now and Christmas. Thankfulness is a beautiful thing, as this holiday serves to remind us, but giving back when things get better might be an even more sacred obligation.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. Let's make sure this is a happy occasion for everyone around us as well.

BARB'S 45TH ANNUAL FREE THANKSGIVING DINNER, noon - 5 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 26, United Churches of Olympia, 110 11th Ave. SE, Olympia, free, 360.485.9931

GOOD NEIGHBOR CAFE, 4 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 27, Rescue Mission Downtown Campus, 425 S. Tacoma Way, Tacoma, free, 253.383.4493

Filed under: Holidays, Tacoma, Olympia, Community,

November 24, 2014 at 10:26am

Punkin chunkin' - impeccable pumpkin pies in the South Sound

Corina Bakery in Tacoma is open for pie pick-ups until 1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 26. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Your Thanksgiving feast is only days away. Perhaps you have family en route, maybe that weird uncle who watches Fox News all day and roots for the Chiefs. These people are expecting a feast of epic proportions, and your oven is already a 24-hour operation. Darn right you'll be making a turducken, as the Pilgrims and American Mormon Jesus intended. That yellow three-by-five card with Granny Mayberry's recipe for bacon-wrapped green bean casserole is already sitting on the counter, and dough for homemade yeast rolls is rising in the fridge. Oh, wait. Did you - ? No. My God, NO. This can't be happening! Quickly, take a census of pies in the making. Apple, cherry ... where is it? How the hell did you forget the pumpkin pie, you infidel? Have you taken leave of your senses? No PUMPKIN PIE? Well, you can kiss that appearance in Aunt Magnolia's will a fond farewell! You just doomed your family to a lifetime of holiday leprosy! This omission will not stand! Without the platform of pumpkin pie, where will the Cool Whip go, we ask you? WHERE WILL THE COOL WHIP GO?

Stop your crying, you sad, sad excuse for a human being. We here at the Weekly Tectonic Eruption offer hope. For a few bucks, compared to the turducken anyway, we can get you that pie. Well, not exactly "we." The last time we made a pumpkin pie it was a faux martini with crème de cacao and vanilla-flavored vodka. Actually, we drank so much of that we woke up 20 hours later with pumpkin pie spice crusted around our nostrils. It was bad, and we wish you hadn't posted those photos on Instagram. No, we're talking actual pie, made by someone who knows his or her way around an autumn squash.

Let's start with a pie maker so talented, so singularly gifted, that USA Today recognized him as one of the 20 finest in the entire nation. (It must be rough working at USA Today. Their annual "best of" issue is probably a free-for-all.)  Yes, I'm talking about Dr. Terry McLaughlin of Dr. Terry's Pies in Puyallup, and don't think the good doctor got his postgraduate degree at Phone-It-In Pie Medical School. McLaughlin offers you and your loved ones the say-it-with-me-and-drool Long Island Cheese Pumpkin Pie, a confection that'd make Ina Garten weep extra virgin olive oil. All his pies - yes, even the Grandma's Apple, Strawberry Cream with two pounds of mutant strawberries, and Browned Butter Pecan - are handcrafted from scratch. Buy 12 and you get the baker's dozenth free, which should just about see us through the end of November. Terry's doctorate is in theology, so God wants you to buy one of those delectable pies. Have you sinned this year? Care to greet your Maker with moral turpitude still on your conscience? No? Then you'd better get on that.

Corina Bakery offers made-from-scratch Spiced Pumpkin pies, but why stop there? Who doesn't love Pumpkin Cheesecake? Or Bourbon Pecan pie? Or just bourbon? Our point is we like bourbon. Oh, and you can even get most of Corina's gorgeous pies vegan or gluten-free, so in your autoimmune-disorder face, celiac disease.

For last-minute orders, check out 8 Arms Community Bakery, which is hosting an open house from noon to 7 p.m. Thanksgiving Eve. Standard pumpkin, linzer-hazelnut pumpkin, pumpkin-brownie swirl, and sticky-toffee pecan-pumpkin pies will all be flying out the door for pennies on the dollar. While you're there, grab some pumpkin spice bread and a brochure for Weight Watchers, and we'll see you there in December.

DR. TERRY'S PIES, Sterino Farms, 6116 52nd St. E, Puyallup, $39, 253.845.0719

CORINA BAKERY, 602 Fawcett Ave., Tacoma, $24-$38, 253.627.5070

8 ARMS COMMUNITY BAKERY, 413 Decatur St. NW, Olympia, $12, 360.754.6894

Filed under: Holidays, Tacoma, Puyallup, Olympia,

November 19, 2014 at 11:19am

Beer Here: Hop Valley Brewing, The Red Hot vs Japan, Hops For Hope, dark beers, Harmon beer dinner ...

Rob Brunsman chats up Hop Valley brewing at Pint Defiance tonight. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

October has the German celebration of beer. November has the American feast to end all feasts. If only there was a way to merge the two months into one long, gluttonous season. Octember might be a figment of my imagination, but Novem-Beer isn't. Drink up South Sound. ...

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 19

Lane County, Oregon, is in a yeasty beer boom. Whiteaker, Oakshire, Ninkasi, Plank Town, Viking Braggot, Claim 52, Falling Sky and Hop Valley Brewing Co. are just a few of the breweries keeping Eugene and Springfield on a constant beer run. Pint Defiance Specialty Beers & Taproom picked Hop Valley from the notable beer region for a night of beers and prizes from 5-7 p.m. Eugene native and brewmaster Trevor Howard opened Hop Valley Brewing Friday, Feb. 13, 2009. Indeed, he and his father, Ron Howard, Jonas Kungys and Chuck Hare chose Friday the 13th. Good luck has only come their way, as Hop Valley has undergone incredible growth. The growth should continue as Hop Valley hired Rob Brunsman, the funniest man in beer, to rep Washington state. Join Brunsman for such Hop Valley brews as Alphadelic IPA, Double-D Blonde, Mistress of the Dark Black IPA and Smokin' Porter.

Japan's Kiuchi Brewery was established in 1823 as a sake brewery. In 1996, they began brewing beer under the Hitachino Nest label, and have since produced a range of well-regarded, tasty beers. Their White Ale, a wheat beer spiced with coriander and curacao orange peel in the Belgian style, is top notch, and certainly on par with the best Belgian representatives of this classic style. The Red Hot offers a flight of four Hitachino beers today.

Iron Horse Brewery - the Ellensburg, Washington, brewery that loves to party - will bring a bunch of beer and schwag to The Swiss from 6-9 p.m.

Puyallup River Alehouse hosts North Coast Brewing Company out of Fort Bragg, California, for a night of Blue Star Wheat Beer, Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, Acme California IPA and other brews, plus schwag giveaways from 6-9 p.m.

McMenamins Spar Café celebrates the Terminator Stout's 29th birthday with $3 pints all day. Expect Terminator floats and chili dogs, too.

THURSDAY, NOV. 20

Over by Pacific Lutheran University, beer geek Erick Swenson will offer a German beer sampler at 208 Garfield for $6 a person, beginning at 6 p.m. 

Top Rung Brewing will run its Trashed Pumpkin through a Randall loaded with coffee beans.

Narrows Brewing Co. hosts Hops For Hope, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Grab a pint of the new Turkish Coffee Stout from 6-9 p.m. and maybe your raffle ticket will land you a prize.

FRIDAY, NOV. 21

The Copper Door hosts a Movember fundraiser beginning at 6 p.m. For every pint sold, a dollar will be earmarked for The Movember Foundation to fight prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health issues. Expect a raffle with Movember schwag.

Gig Harbor icon Finholm's Market and Grocery will host Narrows Brewing Co. for a brewer's night from 5-7 p.m.

SATURDAY, NOV. 22

Wingman Brewers knows you need a malty, roasty, chocolatey barrel-aged hug - the warmest snuggle-buddy in all the land - during these cold times. In celebration of their Stratofortress and Bourbon Barrel Stratofortress Belgian Strong Dark Ale style beer releases, Wingman has created a mini festival of darkness and deliverance. In addition to Team Stratofortress, and hauling out its other dark beer goodness, Wingman has invited a few fellow winter beers - some equally dark and strong as the Stratofortresses. Wingman calls the event Denizens of the Dark. From 2-11 p.m. the Tacoma Brewery will offer dark ones: Stratofortress, Bourbon Barrel Stratofortress, Jack' o Fortress, Chocofortress, Bourbon Barrel Big Baby Flat Top, Bourbon Barrel P-51 Porter, Oak Aged Heavy Bevvy Scotch Ale, 2013 Stratofortress (limited bottle release) as well as Lost Abbey Bourbon Angels Share, Alesmith Speedway Stout, 2013 Dogfish Head World Wide Stout, 2013 The Bruery 6 Geese-A-Laying, Epic Brewing Big Bad Baptist, North Coast Old Stock, Pelican Barrel Aged Poire and 2013 Scaldis Noel. Seven bucks scores you a commemorative Cthulhu snifter and your first pour.

TUESDAY, NOV. 25

As one of the lucky few who can claim every meal eaten out as a tax deduction, I don't have much incentive to spend time in the kitchen. Even the prospect of guests to impress doesn't tempt me to start cooking, since I'm acutely aware of how many more talented epicureans are practicing their art in the South Sound, including Bar Bistro's executive Chef Jason Blessum. Bar Bistro hosts a five-course beer-pairing dinner with the Harmon Brewing Co. For $35, you'll receive an ahi crostini with a Hop ‘N Rye beer cocktail, braised pork belly with the Black Tartan CDA, pork tenderloin with the new Fall Ball Imperial Red and other treats, beginning at 6 p.m. Reserve your space at 253.537.3655.

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 26

For some, the night before Thanksgiving can be a greater cause for celebration than the holiday itself - an opportunity to return to the old stomping grounds, imbibe oneself with threatening amounts of beer and play catch-up with some forlorn acquaintances. The Puyallup River Alehouse provides the venue. Widmer Brothers provides the beer ... and some raffle prizes ... from 6-9 p.m.

November 17, 2014 at 12:41pm

Served Blog Banner Girl: Q&A with Jessica Nicoletti of King Solomon's Reef

Jessica Nicoletti serves delicious milkshakes at King Solomon's Reef in downtown Olympia. Photo credit: Nikki McCoy

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 Jessica Nicoletti.

Server Banner Girl, Nov. 17-23, 2014

Jessica Nicoletti

King Solomon's Reef in downtown Olympia re-opened in May 2012. After two fires and 15 months of restoration, the Reef's curse has turned into a blessing. The inside is immaculate. In the restaurant, the original booths are refinished to a smooth charcoal vinyl. The ceiling is pressed tin for a fascinating pattern. The wood paneling has been recreated. Everything is ship-shape, yet you can feel the nostalgia the building holds. The bar is still swanky, too. On the food side, the self-proclaimed "Best Diner in the Galaxy" serves favorites such as a delicious Monte Carlo, the Pac Man breakfast sandwich, fried chicken and waffles, homemade sausage and amazing housemade pies. Leading the charge are the coolest kids in town, including server Jessica Nicoletti.

Why do you serve?
"I have been in the service industry since I was about 13 years old - making milkshakes and sundaes in a tiny, stand-alone hamburger joint in a very small town in Wisconsin. It has always been a part of my life and I can honestly say I genuinely enjoy what I do. It is very rewarding to serve in such a centrally located spot in our quirky and lovable community."

Who is your favorite server in the South Sound?
"I have some really amazing friends working downtown and picking just one is difficult! I really love Danielle Ruse at The Brotherhood and her drink knowledge blows my mind. Watching her bartend on a busy and packed Saturday night is amazing. She moves so quickly and fluidly, her drinks are always on point and she does all of this with a smile across her face. She is definitely a person that I look up to in live and in the serving world."

What are you most proud to serve?
"I am mostly proud of my milkshakes. Ironically, I have a dairy allergy, but I do put a lot of love into them. On a larger scale, I am proud to serve anything and everything at The Reef. Our staff works so hard."

What's your current drink of choice?
"I like to indulge in a soy chai tea latte at Cafe Vita or OCR made by some of the best baristas in town. Both have a perfect blend of sweet and spicy. In the spirits world, I really love a Moscow Mule. But I really love all of the cocktails on our drink menu at Obsidian. That's right, I'm going to be bartending at the new café and music venue down the street from The Reef. Our soft opening is this Thursday - with a partial menu for two weeks. Our grand opening will be in the beginning of December."

Favorite movie?
"Why is this always the toughest question? I'm not sure I can break this tie but I am somewhere in between The Little Mermaid and The Holy Mountain."

What don't you serve?
"Trashcans."

What's on your radar at the Reef?
"We have recently added some delicious blended cocktails - some with more standout names such as the Astroglide. Yes, you may ask us what is in it ... but you should definitely try it first."

LINK: Meet other South Sound servers

LINK: South Sound Happy Hour App

November 17, 2014 at 10:28am

Beer science and history with Three Magnets Brewing's head brewer Pat Jansen

Three Magnets Brewing's head brewer Pat Jansen checks the status of his sours in his barrel room. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

For a high schooler with designs on coolness, there's only one peer-sanctioned response to a long lecture on organic chemistry: boredom. Notebook doodling, loud gaping yawns - perhaps even a head slumped on the desk, for good measure - until, of course, the instructor drops organic chemistry lab phrases such as "three-way stop-cock" and "prying open the bung hole," then you laugh along ensuring fellow teenage classmates there isn't some geeky girl-repelling chemistry kit in your closet.

Yet, there's always that one kid in class who views the science as more essential than oxygen. That kid grows up to be a head brewer at Three Magnets Brewing Co. in Olympia.

Science mystifies Americans, while art seduces them. It's a phenomenon that Pat Jansen - head brewer and local sourcing liaison at Three Magnets - has a hold on both. Having studied soil chemistry for 10 years, Jansen knows how soil pH levels ultimately affect beer and other science behind brewing beer - and by science I mean he knows the isomerization path of a-acids into iso-a acids during the boiling stage of brewing - the chemical breakdown of humulone into isohumulone - as one of many examples. It's gaping yawn garble unless Jansen is disseminating the subject. He's a one-man show. Hands are flying. His body jerks and twists. His face morphs through 15 different expressions. He shows great passion in brewing beer.

I've been Jansen's audience member twice now. Once, during a Three Magnets brewer's night at Dillingers Cocktails and Kitchen, down the street from the brewery, and a second time Thursday night on a progress tour of the brewery, which has opened - the brewing and bar side of the business are in operation while construction continues on the family dining section. Jansen's stage show was restricted to body gestures at Dillingers due to space constrictions. Inside the brewery, I had to run to keep within listening distance. At one point, Jansen had Three Magnets co-owner Nate Reilly, assistant brewer and bar manager Jeff Stokes, kitchen manager Nancy Bickell and Weekly Volcano sales executive Nikki McCoy and I performing in his stage production, The Barrel-Aged Bung Hole Peek Conga Line. Early review: It's a lively production that should produce some tasty cherry and currant cherry sour ales down the road.

While Three Magnets has a Farmhouse Saison named after Helsing Junction Farm in Thurston County and an Autumnal Saison on tap, most of the farmhouse and Belgian-style beers brewing at the downtown Olympia brewery are for future barrel projects.

"The goal is to put them in barrels and age, to be reinoculated with wild yeast or fruit or a combination of what lives on the fruit with wild yeast," says Jansen. "I have been waiting for the first frost, which means the bacteria load in the air will die and stop reproducing and lose its aggressiveness. Bacteria will tolerate 110, 120, 130 degree temperatures. Yeast will tolerate down to freezing. Bacteria, however, doesn't like freezing temperatures. Once we get to the freezing point, I can take raw wort from a brew, take it up on to the roof of the brewery, and set it in large shallow pans to start collecting cold tolerant wild yeast and bacteria - which means we can make indigenous sour beer, instead of buying cultures from a lab." (If you could only see the short jump and raised hands during this speech.)

The 14 barrels in Three Magnet's auxiliary room have purchased or home-procured wild yeast and wild yeast from fruit. Most of the barrels are from Doug McCrea's Salida Winery in Thurston County, with a couple from Columbia Crest. The room, located off the open kitchen and behind the family dining area, will eventually house spirits barrels too, with the barrels arranged to allow tastings and other private functions.

Running Beer Man

In addition to brewing, Jansen also shows passion for brewing history, especially old English beers and traditional brewing processes. He's interested in making "real ale," and running a firkin off the countertop in the brewery's bar area.

"In the 1700s and 1800s, British brewers were making pale ales, bitter beers and porters," explains Jansen. "In the 1900s, technology allowed for stewing malts - to create crystal malts, which means coffee and toffee forward malts, red fruit character malts - red cherries and currants, and purple character malts such as prunes and figs. And the British made a beer that you could make quickly and drink it fresh. They were called running beers. ...

"Anyway, because the UK beer market began pushing products of low flavor and overall quality onto the consumer, such as Budweiser and Stella Artois, four stodgy British guys basically said, ‘we need to form a society, and petition the government and save traditional-styled beers.'" (Jansen made a stodgy facial expression during this explanation.)

Campaign for Real Ale, or CAMRA, was formed in March 1971 by the four men from the northwest of Britain to save traditional, flavorsome beers promoting fermentation in the cask from which they were served and give British beer drinkers a better variety and choice at the bar. CAMRA's core aims are to promote real ale and pubs, as well as act as the consumer's champion in relation to the UK and European beer and drinks industry.

Jansen explained that toward the end of the 19th century, brewers built large estates of tied pubs. They moved away from vatted beers stored for many months and developed "running beers" that could be served after a few days storage in pub cellars. Draught Mild was a "running beer" along with a new type that was dubbed "Bitter" (3.4-3.9 percent ABV) by drinkers. Bitter grew out of Pale Ale but was generally deep bronze to copper in color due to the use of slightly darker malts such as crystal that give the beer fullness of palate. "Best" (4 percent and higher) is a stronger version of Bitter but there is considerable crossover.

Jansen explained the tradition of blending back-aged beer into young beer went away in the early decades of the 20th century, mostly eliminated after the two World Wars. In Britain, the running beers gave birth to the cask movement but, generally, no blending of old beer with young is done.

"Rodenbach beer (Flemish Red ale) is probably the closest beer around to traditional English porters these days. Rodenbach pasteurizes the beer so it doesn't turn and get sour or tart."

Jansen began telling the story of Rodenbach and Eugene Rodenbach, grandson of the founders, who traveled to England to learn about barrel aging and blending from English porter brewers. The methods Eugene learned, while no longer in use in England, are still used by Rodenbach today. Rodenbach is known as a "mixed fermentation" beer, meaning it's fermented with a mix of regular ale yeast and a cocktail of wild yeast and bacteria. This mixture then goes into large wooden barrels called foeders. ...

"OK, back to running beer ... the tradition in Britain wasn't to keg off beer and push it with CO2 because during the war there wasn't a lot of it around due to conversation, so they took beer from a large tank right before it finishes fermenting so there is just enough sugar to carbonate the beer, then put them into metal casks, sometimes wood casks, bung it for a pressure seal," Jansen explains. "For example, if you let our Smoked English Porter sit for a half-hour it would taste like a freshly tapped cask of British style beer would taste like back in the day - low carbonation, around fifty degrees warm."

The British brewers would make the beer, put it in a cask, and ship it out to the publican - the keeper of a public house or tavern. Then, the publican would finish the brewing process by aging the beer properly and placing it on the bar counter and presenting it properly.

"Today, the brewers have to do that work because the American consumer wants aged beer," says Jansen.

Two casks, or firkins, currently sit on Three Magnet's bar. Jansen hopes to launch a firkin program in several weeks. He's still pondering on the correct way to proceed.

"There are two ways of doing it," he says. "If you know you have a crowd that can kill a cask quickly because they want it or have a bartender who can actually sell beer worth a damn, you can actually put the cask on and sell it over a three-day period - because that's the amount of time before oxidation affects the character of the beer. After that, it gets really cardboard-y, a little too over sherry-ish and you get vinegar. It's terrible.

"The second way to run a cask is to put a cask breather on it where you get a slow blanket of CO2 on it and you're not over carbonating it, and continues to present the right way for a week."

Jansen has taken his interests and binary compounds and brewed an exceptional Smoked English Porter and Brewers Best English Pale with Jeff Stokes, who often acted as an interpreter during Jensen's lightning-fast verbal dissertations. Also on tap are a Rye Meridian, Citra Wet Hop Ale, Mosaic + Citra Wet Hop Ale, Session IPA, Rainy Day IPA - named after Rainy Day Records -  and Brotherhood Brown Ale, named after The Brotherhood Lounge. A quarter of every pint sold of the last two beers goes to Thurston County charities. SafePlace benefits from the Brotherhood - and the popular downtown Olympia bar kicks in another 25 cents per pint. Helsing Junction Farmhouse Saison sales are part of the local causes program, too.

The history of the building, brewery owners Sara and Nate Reilly's history with their Darby's Café and the reason behind the Three Magnets name was covered when we announced the brewery this past spring. Also, look for a follow-up story on Three Magnet's menu on this blog soon.

Until then, drop by the downtown Olympia brewery and drink some science and history. And, while nobody has yet won a grant to explore brewer fringe theater - if such a grant comes to fruition - it's certain to be named after Pat Jansen. He makes science go down as easy as a Three Magnets classic British-style brew.

THREE MAGNETS BREWING CO., 600 Franklin St. SE, Suite 105, Olympia, threemagnetsbrewing.com

Filed under: New Beer Column, Olympia,

November 14, 2014 at 11:31am

Mac and Cheese Madness: Silvers Saloon

Silvers Saloon tops its ultra-cheesy bacon mac and cheese with shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Cowboys retain a certain mystique: They're cool. Spend enough time in these environs, and you'll find yourself wondering: could I pull off a cowboy hat? Or cowboy boots, maybe? (For me, the answer is no on both counts.)

Yesterday, I was surrounded by cowboy hats and boots, listening to new country tunes at Silvers Saloon, the "Chuckwagon meets Saloon, Old meets New, Spacious meets Intimate, Casual meets Chic" joint, or so the Olympia restaurant bar claims on its Facebook. Silvers does have one cowboy boot firmly planted on the ranch, but it feels like it could have been DJ Murphy's Chip and Chowder House, which it was several years ago. Yes, the horseshoes dot the walls. The wagon wheels lean. And its rustic wares were once a mercantile's hot items. Yet, it needs one good bar brawl to paint the walls before it feels truly old and saloon-y. Also, I vote for more twangier tunes, but to each their own.

The service is ultra-friendly and fast. My bacon mac and cheese ($10) tray arrived quicker than a hot knife through butter.

Yes, I said "tray." A long, oval plate rimmed with cartoon cows corralled the enormous amount of thick mac and cheese. Yes, I said "thick." The elbow macaroni butted elbows due to a surplus of smoked white cheddar topped with bacon. Yes, I said "bacon." It's sad, but more often than not it's true. Bacon makes everything better, and cheese-soaked pasta is no different. Silvers Saloon's stick to your ribs mac and cheese is understated and simple, but a herd of bacon puts it over the top.

SILVERS SALOON, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. kitchen daily, bar later, breakfast all day, 2752 Pacific Ave. SE, Olympia, 360.489.0255

LINK: More mac and cheese dishes in the South Sound

LINK: The answer to why this mac and cheese column exists

November 12, 2014 at 10:41am

Beer Here: Three Magnets opens, Coast to Coast Toast, Tacoma New West CDA ...

There are people inside Three Magnets Brewing Co. in downtown Olympia! Photo courtesy of Facebook

Cold? Yes, I noticed. But that's one of the many reasons we have beer. Get to it. ...

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 12

Three Magnets Brewing Co. (600 Franklin St. SE, Olympia) has opened the bar section of its giant venture. Those 21 and older may enjoy a limited food menu and, of course, beers.

New Belgium Brewing will takeover the taps at Pint & Quarts Pub (1230 College St. SE, Lacey). Tickets for tastings are a dollar each, beginning at 6 p.m.

Seriously Puyallup River Alehouse? You couldn't wait until after Black Friday to host Chicago's Goose Island Beer Co.? The brewery's infamous Bourbon County Stout will be released the day after Thanksgiving, unleashing the imperial stout with a fearsome 14 percent alcohol content, aged in used bourbon barrels from places like Iowa's Templeton Rye, and hunted for by fans on their release dates like a Beautiful Angle poster. Oh well, Goose Island will bring its other beers and schwag to the downtown Puyallup alehouse from 6-9 p.m.

THURSDAY, NOV. 13

Thursday marks the official day (and night) of the Coast to Coast Toast. Vanberg & DeWulf, who founded the Coast to Coast Toast three years ago, was the first company to specialize in importing Belgian beers to the U.S. The principals of Vanberg & DeWulf (Don Feinberg and Wendy Littlefield) have been tireless champions for Belgian beer and now "honorary Belgians" all from independent family run producers. 99 Bottles (35002 Pacific Hwy. S., Federal Way) will raise a toast and feature the Vanberg & DeWuld portfolio, from 5-7 p.m.

The focus at The Forum in Puyallup (208 S. Meridian) will be Mac & Jack's IBIS IPA and Cascadian Dark Ale, beginning at 7 p.m. Two Seahawks tickets will be up for grabs, too.

The Copper Door (12 N. Tacoma Ave., Tacoma) hosts Full Sail Brewing Company out of Hood River, Oregon. Expect Cascade Pilsner, Wasail, Mathias's Main Ingredient Oatmeal Stout, Session Fest and others, besides a raffle from 6-8 p.m.

The ParkWay Tavern (313 N. I St., Tacoma) welcomes 10 Barrel Brewing Company from Bend, Oregon, and their Uberliner Berliner Weissbier, Power to the People American Stout, German Sparkle Party Berliner Weissbier, Apoxalypse IPA, among others, beginning at 5 p.m.

Randall alert! Top Rung Brewing Co. (8343 Hogum Bay Lane NE, Lacey) will runs its Prying Irons IPA through fresh hops beginning at 4 p.m.

SATURDAY, NOV. 15

Unless you have been living in a pothole, you know the Tacoma Art Museum busts out its Haub Family Collection of Western American Art and the museum expansion Saturday. TAM is celebrating the largest gift in the museum's 79-year history with an all-day and night party plus releasing a signature Harmon Brewing Co. ale and a Heritage Distilling Co. bourbon. Harmon's Tacoma New West CDA, a unique Cascadian dark ale brewed with six different malted barleys and chocolate wheat - which means it's black like a stout and the flavor is hoppy like an IPA. Tacoma New West CDA is sold in all Harmon Brewing locations, and a special limited edition will be available in the TAM Cafe. Heritage's Tacoma New West Bourbon Whiskey is a 92-proof bourbon aged less than two years with tones of caramel and vanilla, leaving a light sweetness in the high center of the palate and a smooth lingering finish.

Does the glass matter when tasting craft beer? That's the question Morso Wine Bar (9014 Peacock Hill Ave., Gig Harbor) will answer drinking beer from Spieglau's Pilsner glass, Hefe glass, IPA glass, Tulip glass, plus a typical pint glass, from 1-3 p.m. Reserve your $49 ticket at 253.530.3463.

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 19

Iron Horse Brewery - the Ellensburg, Washington, brewery that loves to party - will bring a bunch of beer and schwag to The Swiss (1904 Jefferson Ave., Tacoma) from 6-9 p.m.

Puyallup River Alehouse (120 S. Meridian, Puyallup) hosts North Coast Brewing Company out of Fort Bragg, California, for a night of Blue Star Wheat Beer, Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, Acme California IPA and other brews, plus schwag giveaways from 6-9 p.m.

THURSDAY, NOV. 20

Over by Pacific Lutheran University, beer geek Erick Swenson will offer a German beer sampler at 208 Garfield (208 Garfield, Parkland) for $6 a person, beginning at 6 p.m. 

November 11, 2014 at 9:31am

Veterans Day discounts or free meals to servicemembers and veterans

National Parks and Army Corps of Engineer Recreation area are waiving entry fees for veterans, servicemembers and their families, Nov. 11. Many restaurants and retailers are also offering deals to vets and servicemembers. Photo credit: David Vergun

Many restaurants and retailers are offering Veterans Day discounts or free meals to servicemembers and veterans. Some offers even extend to family members.

National Parks and Army Corps of Engineers recreation areas are waiving entrance fees for veterans, servicemembers and their families Nov. 11.

Most commercial establishments require proof of military service such as a military ID card or current leave and earnings statement, a driver's license with veteran's designation, DD 214 discharge paperwork, a veteran's organization card or a photograph in uniform.

Many of the companies offering deals are franchises, and officials recommend calling ahead to verify participation of specific locations, along with dates and times of the offers.

The following list was primarily compiled by military community services staff members and does not claim to be all-inclusive:

Salty's at Redondo: The seafood restaurant in Des Moines offers a free slice of Salty's famous white chocolate mousse cake and a take home $20 gift card to those who have served in the U.S. armed forces.

Harmon Tap Room: The brewery in Tacoma's Stadium District honors those who served with a 25 percent discount off their meals today, with military ID.

Duke's Chowder House: The seafood restaurant will give away its ward-winning chowder to all veterans today, which happens to be International Chowder Day.

Lunchbox Laboratory: The gourmet burger chain offers a free meal up to $15 to all veterans.

Vince's Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria: The Federal Way Italian joint offers a 20 percent discount to all veterans and active-duty veterans.

BJ's Restaurant: Free lunch entree or free one-topping mini pizza at dinner is being offered.

Famous Dave's: Participating locations are offering different meal deals for current or retired military on Veterans Day.

Hooters: A free meal of 10 hot wings available to military veterans and service members all day on Veterans Day at participating Hooters restaurants. A drink purchase is required.

Krispy Kreme: A free doughnut and small coffee available only at participating Krispy Kreme stores. Offer available to all active-duty, retirees & veterans on Nov. 11.

Red Robin: Free Red's Tavern Double and Bottomless Steak Fries for all Red Robin guests with a military ID or proof of service. Red Robin is also partnering with Heinz for Veterans Day to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. Red Robin will also donate $10,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Little Caesars Pizza: U.S. military and vets get a free order of Crazy Bread, with proof of military status/service. Call local Little Caesars to make sure they are participating in this deal.

7-Eleven: Veterans, active members of the U.S. military and their immediate families can stop by 7-Eleven on Veterans Day and get a free small Slurpee drink. Just bring proof of current or former U.S. military service to participating stores.

Applebee Restaurants: A free meal will be provided to all active or retired service members and veterans. Proof of service is required. Locations can be checked at www.applebees.com.

Bed Bath & Beyond: Service members can receive 20 percent off their entire purchase Nov 9, 10 and 11, in-store only. U.S. military ID required at time of purchase.

Big Lots: A discount of 10 percent on entire purchase is being offered to active-duty military, Guard/Reserve, veterans, retirees and their immediate family members, with a valid ID.

Cabela's: The store's standard employee discount is offered to all U.S. military veterans, active-duty military, Guard/Reserve, law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services personnel. Discounts varies from 5 percent to 20 percent, depending on the item.

Chilis: Free entree available to veterans and active- duty military from 11 a.m. -5 p.m. on Veterans Day.

Cost Plus World Market: A discount of 20 percent off entire in-store purchase available to U.S. military. ID required at time of purchase.

Denny's: Get free all-you-can-eat pancakes at participating Denny's restaurants.

Great Clips: On Nov. 11 customers who come in for service can get a free haircut card to give to their favorite veteran. Veterans can also receive a free haircut or get the free haircut card. Haircuts are redeemable until Dec. 31.

Home Depot: Offering all active-duty personnel, reservists, retired military, veterans and their families a 10-percent discount off their purchases in honor of Veteran's Day. The offer is valid on purchases of up to $2,000 for a maximum of $200 off and is available at The Home Depot stores, The Home Depot Design Center locations, Yardbirds and EXPO Design Center(R) locations.

JC Penny: Veterans, active-duty military and family members can receive an extra 20 percent off in stores Nov. 6-11 with coupon.

Lowe's Military Discount: Lowe's Companies, Inc. will offer all active, reserve, honorably discharged, retired military personnel and their immediate family members a 10-percent discount on in-store U.S. purchases made during the Veterans Day holiday. The discount is available on in-stock and special order purchases up to $5,000. To qualify, individuals must present a valid military ID or other proof of service. Excluded from the discount are sales via Lowes.com, previous sales, and purchases of services or gift cards.

McCormick & Schmick's: Complimentary lunch or dinner is offered at participating restaurants to veterans. Verification of service is required (retired ID card or DD214). McCormick & Schmick's highly encourages reservations for the Veterans Appreciation Event as tables fill up quickly for this event each year.

Massage Envy: Participating locations in the Washington, D.C, Maryland, and northern Virginia region are offering a complimentary one-hour massage to active military, veterans and spouses on Nov. 11.

Menchie's Free Frozen Yogurt: On Veterans Day, veterans and active-duty personnel get a free 6 oz. frozen yogurt. Show a valid ID or be in uniform to receive.

National Parks: Fee-free days offered to all visitors at more than 100 national parks that usually charge entrance fees. And making the fun even more affordable, many national park concessioners are joining the National Park Service in welcoming visitors with their own special offers.

Olive Garden: Veterans and active -duty military get a free meal on Veterans Day. With proof of service, choose from a special menu with breadsticks and a choice of soup or salad.

Outback Steakhouse: As an expression of Outback Steakhouse's appreciation to s veterans and active-duty military, a free Bloomin' Onion and Coca Cola will be available to them at every Outback in the country.

Red Lobster: Free appetizer available on Veterans Day with military ID or proof of service. Vets may choose from a select list of appetizers.

Sizzler: Veterans and military can show proof of service to get a free 6-oz steak entree with the purchase of a second one.

Sports Authority: All Veterans and military personnel can stop at their local Sports Authority store to receive 15 percent off their entire purchase.

T.G.I. Friday's: Free Lunch offered for all U.S. military and veterans. Uniforms should be worn, if permitted by the service, or military ID (old or current) can be shown.

The Weekly Volcano contributed to this story.

October 29, 2014 at 11:44am

Beer Here: Reporter report, The Queen's Peach, Ill-Tempered Gnome, Halloween beer parties ...

Wingman Brewers' The Queen's Peach is on sale at Western Washington Metropolitan Markets.

REPORTER REPORT

Dick's Brewing Company turned 20 this weekend and had a big ol' birthday bash to celebrate at their Centralia brewery and tap room. The duck hunting camouflage was donned and the beer was flowing - in addition to classic pours such as their Dick Danger Ale and their I.P.A., a few new 2014 beers were available for the drinking, including the Reporter Red Ale, brewed in honor of The Chronicle newspaper's 125th anniversary of serving the folks in Lewis County. Head Brewer Dave Pendleton brewed the Northwest-style Red Ale with hops in mind more than malt, incorporating Washington state hops Cascade, Centennial, Magnum and Columbus. It's not overly bitter, with citrus and pine notes. I also enjoyed Dick's Midnight Ride Black IPA as Top Rung Brewing's Mike Besser (BrewDad.com) and I shouted over the Backfire Band. Rich and dark like a porter, Cascade and Centennial hopped as a Northwest IPA, the CDA-style beer has a smoky finish and lively carbonation. Congrats Dick's!

THE QUEEN'S PEACH

Metropolitan Market had peaches - big, juicy, slurpalicious mothas so fabulous that they have their own month. Since 1996, Metropolitan Market has collected the peach bounty from Pence Orchards in Wapato, Washington and organic growers Frog Hollow Farm in Brentwood, California. And every August, Diamond Princess, O'Henry, Summerset and several other peach varieties receive the royal treatment from Met Market's produce managers, including the Proctor District store. Of course, not all peaches make the cut. Metropolitan unloaded more than 100 pounds of bruised peaches in Wingman Brewers' loading dock, asking the Tacoma brewery to turn them into beer for all their stores. Head Brewer Ken Thoburn brewed the peaches with bourbon, Madagascar vanilla beans and cinnamon sticks, producing a beer that could replace your Thanksgiving dessert, if you like your dessert ringing in at 8.5 percent alcohol by volume. Head to Met Market in Proctor, marvel at the remodel and grab some peach cobbler disguised as 22-ounce bottles.

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 29

Seattle's Elysian Brewing is the pumpkin king of the Northwest, brewing 13 different pumpkin beers and just hosted its 10th massive pumpkin brew festival that draws entrants from as far away as Europe. Puyallup River Alehouse will allow Elysian to take over its taps, including this year's pumpkin beers, such as the Punkuccino ale with a short shot of Stumptown coffee, cinnamon and nutmeg. Giveaways and raffles will be part of the action from 6-9 p.m.

The ParkWay Tavern teams up with Avery Brewing for a "Night of Darkness," featuring such Avery beasts as Mephistopheles, Samaels, The Reverend, Salvation, 2012 Hog Heaven, Rumpkin, Pump[KY], Trogdor the Burninator at The Beast, to name a few. It will get dark around 5 p.m.

Three Magnets Brewing Co. is busy pushing out kegs as work continues on their much-anticipated brewery and brewpub, slated to open next month at 600 Franklin St. in downtown Olympia. As you might have heard, Three Magnets is the brainchild of Nathan and Sara Reilly, who also own Darby's Café in downtown Olympia. Dillingers Cocktails & Kitchen - the beautiful speakeasy serving pre-Prohibition cuisine and carefully researched, era-appropriate drinks crafted by bartender Sherilyn Lightner - will host Three Magnets head brewer Pat Jansen and the brewery's latest brews from 4-7 p.m.

THURSDAY, OCT. 30

Oakshire Brewing has unleashed its Ill-Tempered Gnome, an American brown ale with chocolate malt and a snappy bitter, hoppy finish. Fingers crossed this winter seasonal will be on tap at The Copper Door when the beer store and tap room hosts the Eugene, Oregon brewery beginning at 6 p.m. Prizes will be doled out for best costume and best beer-related costume, such as an Ill-Tempered Gnome.

The Spar in Old Town Tacoma hosts a Deschutes Brewing brewer's Night from 7-9 p.m. A spotlight will shine on the Bend, Oregon, brewery's Reserve Series' "Not the Stoic," a Belgian-styled quad that was aged and sequestered in rye whiskey and Pinot Noir barrels, resulting in a complex flavor that is an entirely new rendition - with a nod to the original "The Stoic," which was released in 2011.

FRIDAY, OCT. 31

Nothing with pumpkin tastes good above 70 degrees. With a high of 56 predicted for Halloween day, Puyallup River Alehouse's Halloween Pumpkin Beer Party should be a smashing success.Expect to drinkPuyallup River Jack O'Lahar, Puyallup River Black Pumpkin Saison, Puyallup River Gourdy Wow!, Elysian Dark O The Moon, Elysian The Great Pumpkin, Elysian Punkuccino, Elysian Night Owl, Doc's Draft Hard Pumpkin Cider, Dogfish Head Punkin, Bainbridge Island Pumpkin, Southern Tier Pumking and others from 3 p.m. to midnight.

If adult trick-or-treating were a thing, what would you hand out? Probably beer, at least that's what Pint Defiance has on the docket. Beginning at 5 p.m., the specialty beer store and taproom will tap rare pumpkin beers from Almanac, Bale Breaker, Elysian, 21st Amendment and others. The first 100 customers to order a pumpkin beer will walk away with a treat bag full of candy, prizes and beer schwag.

Narrows Brewing Co. will host its Hoppy Halloween Party, shining a spotlight on the new Coffee Cardamom Stout, a collaboration beer with Northern Pacific Coffee Company and Mad Hat Tea Company, beginning at dusk. Ice Cream Social created a Coffee Cardamom Stout ice cream flavor and will serve it during the party as well as beer floats with other flavors. Food trucks will park out front. A costume contest with a $100 gift card prize for the winner will begin at 8:30 p.m.

Comeback Sports hosts its Halloween party at Wingman Brewers featuring a dance party with DJ, costume contest with prizes, food truck outside, pumpkin beer and cider and, well, more beer. The party kicks off at 9 p.m. with a $5 admission; $20 includes five Wingman beers.

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