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September 22, 2014 at 10:38am

Oktoberfest South Sound 2014: How to mix beer, music and running and get away with it

Run with an empty stein then fill it with beer at the finish line at the 5K Stein Dash Oct. 5. Photo courtesy of steindash5k.com

For so many South Sounders, autumn = race season, and that means on any weekend day, you're likely to be passed-on-the-left by hordes of runners in training.

But all that personal-best pressure can take the joy out of running. Festivals, Inc. wants to get back to the roots of the individual sport. Stein Dash is a German-themed 5K that focuses on the fun of running and, just as important, the fun of the after-race.

The 5k Stein Dash combines racing with beer.

The race kicks off the third day of Festivals' Oktoberfest Northwest, the three-day Bavarian celebration at the Western Washington Fair and Events Center. Celebrating its 10th year at the fairgrounds, the huge Oktoberfest celebration kicks off at 6:15 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3 with the taping of the Oktoberfest Firkin. At 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 5, runners will run around the fairgrounds with a provided beer stein finishing at the Oktoberfest Northwest Festhalle Biergarten where those 21 and older may fill the steins with Warsteiner Dunkel, Warsteiner Oktoberfest, Hofbrau Oktoberfest, Trumer Pils, Hacker Pshor Weiss and Snoqualmie Harvest Moon, the featured beers of the festival. Washington Hills wine will be available for weirdos. Kids may fill up in the Root Beer Garden.

Race fees are $35 until Oct. 1 when online registration closes. You will pay $40 the day before at race packet pick-up. If your Hacker Pshor Weiss calorie intake the day before has you worried, show up with $45 Sunday morning. All 5K participants receive an authentic one of a kind logo'd 5k Beer Stein and allowed to party at Oktoberfest Northwest Sunday for no additional fee.

The German theme doesn't apply just to the beer. Tacoma European restaurants Bruno's and Café Europa will keep drinkers fed all three days with schweinebraten, pyzy, curry wurst, cabbage rous, kartoffelpuffer, bierocks, goulash soup, schnitzel sandwiches, to name a few dishes. Food trucks Zeiglers German Haus, Kaleenka piroshkies and Gutes Essen Haus will add more brats and schnitzels. Shishkaberry's will dip fruit in chocolate and stab it with a stick.

The Stein Dash is one of many kitschy events to keep you entertained throughout the weekend. The hilarious wiener dog races are back, including stupid wiener tricks. The Enzian Schuhplattler dancers will spin around a May Pole. Pumpkins can be decorated. The German Corner shopping mall will outfit you in lederhosen. Manuela Horn, aka Austrian Amazon, will yodel, dance, throw out one-liners and plant eyes in her cleavage Friday and Saturday night. Kids can pound nails with hammers all weekend. Ja, families are welcomed in the Festhalle Biergarten until 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and all-day Sunday. Teens might scoff at the oom-pah bands, which dominate the entertainment stages during family hours.

Oh, to be in that great mass of humanity, dancing to the throbbing polka beats, scarfing down sausage, kraut, and strudel, and most of all, imbibing from the holy grail ... er, stein. It can be yours Oct. 3-5 in Puyallup.

As always, you get bonus coolness points for going in costume, especially if you run with an empty stein.

OKTOBERFEST NORTHWEST, noon to midnight Friday, Oct. 3, 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday, Oct. 4, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5, Washington State Fair and Events Center, Ninth and Meridian, Puyallup, free admission noon to 3 p.m. Friday, $10 Friday after 3 p.m. and all-day Saturday, $5 Sunday, oktoberfestnw.com

LINK: More 2014 Oktoberfest events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

September 19, 2014 at 11:28am

Mac and Cheese Madness: Metropolitan Market Al Fresco Food Truck

Metropolitan Market in Tacoma's Proctor District serves a delicious Mac & CheeZola from a food truck. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Food truck. Mac-and-cheese. Metropolitan Market. Delicious.

Last Saturday, Tacoma's Proctor District was humming. The "Green Day" edition of the Proctor Farmers Market blossomed with folks studying sustainability and deleting Gateway to India's dish options before the market closed. Fair schmair. People walked the streets with purchased goods, with a little skip in their step, as they held tight to the summer sun. Umpqua Bank even closed later than normal, although I might have had something to do with that. Sorry folks.

Even with the huge Moveable Feast food truck festival at Cheney Stadium, Metropolitan Market - the posh "oh-my-gosh it's changed again" grocery store that arguably anchors the Tacoma neighborhood - had a steady stream of folks in front of its food truck. Hold that image. ...

If there is one thing Met Market knows, and does well, it's cheese. The upscale grocery store knows it is a food that makes the world go round, whether you're savoring tasty brie from a blanket on Tacoma's Ruston Way or substituting Manchego for sex in your house ... or Ruston Way. Met Market houses one of the best cheese shops in all the land, with almost every variety invented and a separate budget for sample toothpicks. It comes as no shocker the store's prepared mac and cheese is to die for. At least five penne pasta tubes escape from the keepsake ceramic bowl every time I have a session with the buttermilk blue mac and cheese. So good.

Back to the food truck ... Met Market skips the buttermilk blue and hands a Mac & CheeZola through the truck window. The truck people follow company policy of overstuffing the mac and cheese container, which I am not filing any complaints. I say bring it on. The "CheeZola" is a fancy name for cheddar and Zola cheese. CheeZola hugs it out with Conchiglie, commonly known as "shells" or "seashells" pasta. Topped with Parmesan and breadcrumbs, this $4.99 delight scores high in cheese flavor and crunchy crumbs.

Grab a cup and show it Proctor.

P.S. Through Sept. 23, Met Market is slashing 25 percent off many specialty cheeses.

METROPOLITAN MARKET, food truck open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through mid-October, breakfast until 11 a.m., 2420 N. Proctor St., Tacoma, 253.761.3663

LINK: More mac and cheese dishes in the South Sound

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

August 9, 2014 at 1:57pm

Beers On Broadway: Brew Five Three live in Tacoma

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

Summary

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

Characters

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

Setting

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

SCRIPT

SFX:

Clinking glass noises, band sound check

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

SFX:

Drum roll

EMCEE (Singing):

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

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

EMCEE:

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

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

SFX:

Applause

SFX:
Drum roll

EMCEE:

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

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

Gary is wearing a straw hat with many brewery pins.

Tim is wearing a bear deer beer T-shirt.

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

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

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

Apparently there's a team that makes Rick drink.

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

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

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

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

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

EMCEE:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SFX:

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

EMCEE:

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

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

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

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

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

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

EMCEE:

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

June 2, 2014 at 1:10pm

Updated: 7 Seas Brewing to release summer beer at Tacoma Rainiers and Dirty Oscar's

7 Seas Brewing's Life Jacket Session IPA will be available at the Tacoma Rainiers' game June 17 at Cheney Stadium.

"It's just a classic summer moment floating down the river with this apparatus tied to your butt with beer in hand," says 7 Seas Brewing "Sails Ambassador" Rob Brunsman, describing the Gig Harbor brewery's Life Jacket Session IPA.

7 Seas will launch the summer seasonal Saturday night at Cheney Stadium during the Tacoma Rainiers' game against the Albuquerque Isotopes.

"There isn't a better local location for a truly local brand like ours," says Brunsman.

The Life Jacket Session IPA - loaded with Amarillo and Nugget hops and juicy hop aromas of tangerine and grapefruit - will be at several locations in the ballpark for the 5:05 game. I suggest arriving early as it's Little Leaguers Night. Sip on Life and watch the kids grab pre-game player autographs and participate in on-field parades. After the game, the kids will run the bases.

UPDATE: 7 Seas Brewing sent a news release with addition information about its Life Jacket Session IPA and scheduled activities at the game:

This NW summer classic style, Session IPA, balances low ABV, high drinkability, with bursting hop flavor and aroma. Life Jacket Session IPA is well suited to quench your thirst and deliver hoppy satisfaction.  Brewed with Pale Ale, Pilsner, and a touch of Wheat & Light Crystal malts -- the beer finishes crisp and clean with a load of Amarillo and Nugget hops imparting juicy hop aromas of tangerine and grapefruit.  At a relaxing 4.8% ABV, this brew is perfect for enjoying on our beautiful NW waters, backyard BBQ, or at a ball game! Available June-August on Draft.

Who'll be throwing out the first pitch? None other then, WA's Craft Beer Ambassador, Kendall Jones, a freelance writer and freestyle beer drinker. In 2008 Kendall founded the Washington Beer Blog, one of the Northwest's most popular and trusted sources for beer news and information. Beyond blogging, he writes and represents WA Beer for local and national publications and press.

If you can't make Saturday game, the Life Jacket will be a highlight during Dirty Oscar's 7 Seas beer pairing dinner June 10.

According to Jennifer Johnson, Dirty Oscar's operations manager, four 7 Seas beers - including seasonal favorite Life Jacket Session IPA - will be paired with a light four-course dinner by Chef James Bacher and sous chef Robert Orlando. Brunsman will be at the Sixth Avenue restaurant, discussing the brewery's history and brewing process, as well as explaining the reason behind each beer choice. 7 Seas received the Dirty Oscar's menu Friday.

"A multifaceted menu utilizing roasted rainbow beets, pickled fennel, grilled kale, poached quail egg, beef medallions, gulf prawn, flat shaved purple and orange cauliflower, IPA infused blueberries, jicama confit and more will be served," says Johnson, who has hosted many beer dinners at Dirty Oscar's.?? She's dialed in these beer dinners, with professional presentation, fast service and a fun raffle held throughout the night.

The 7 Seas Brewing dinner begins at 6 p.m., Tuesday, June 10. Tickets are $50 per person. There are only 22 seats available, so RSVP now at jennifer@dirtyoscarsannex.com.

June 2, 2014 at 11:12am

Eat This Now: Blackened Rockfish Tacos

Enjoy the sun with Blackened Rockfish Tacos at Steamer's Seafood Cafe. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

South Sounders head outdoors when the sun shines. In mild weather, we throw on a light jacket and ante up to patio furniture. Summer living - and eating - in the South Sound is even sweeter, especially with a waterfront view. Since we've been hitting 70-degree temps, it's time to take Eat This Now waterside, soak in some Vitamin D while treating the taste buds.

This week's al fresco dining dash takes us to Steamer's Seafood Café at Titlow Beach where you must eat its Blackened Rockfish Tacos ($9) now. A pair of fresh, warm golden brown flour or corn tortilla shells overflow with fresh rockfish. The tender white fish arrives with a little heat, mixed with roasted corn, black beans, cabbage and a creamy dressing.

My, oh my.

Served up with a small side of coleslaw and French fries perfectly seasoned with sea salt, pepper and a hint of sesame, this dish begs for seaside snacking.

Bonus: Steamer's family friendly digs includes a handful of warm weather brews on tap to pair with the tacos and delectable, creamy ice cream concoctions.

Or, skip the beer and introduce your Blackened Rockfish Tacos to the shoreline or neighboring sprayground.

STEAMER'S SEAFOOD CAFÉ, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 8802 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.565.4532

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.

JUNE 6

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

JUNE 11

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

Read more...

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.

Read more...

Filed under: New Beer Column, Tacoma, Outdoors,

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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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