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March 30, 2015 at 7:57am

Tournament of Mac and Cheese: Second Round ends today!

King Solomon's Reef's mac and cheese (pictured) faces off with Mac N More's version in a worthy Thurston County battle today. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

MONDAY, MARCH 30: FOUR MAC AND CHEESE GAMES ON THE DOCKET >>>

Now it's getting exciting. The elbows are really starting to fly, and the cheese is getting so thick you cut it with a cheese knife.

Point is: this is serious.

Today, the Weekly Volcano's Tournament of Mac and Cheese is in its 12th day, the last day of the Second Round and the competition is as hot as ever. Who will be crowned on April 6? The path to South Sound mac and cheese greatness continues.

Here's a look at today's Tournament of Mac and Cheese action and a recap of yesterday's results. Shake some Parmesan on it if you know what's good for you and get stirring.

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: Steel Creek American Whiskey Co. (1114 Broadway, Tacoma) vs. Chambers Bay Grill (6320 Grandview Dr. W., University Place)

It's becoming a little busy around the 930-acre Chamber Creek Regional Park. Trails and dog parks are closed. The Tent City is under construction. The USGA is preparing for the U.S. Open golf championship to be held June 15-21 at Chambers Bay. Coach John Tartaglia took advantage of the Chambers Bay Grill's location, pushing his 10th seeded Steel Creek to victory with 68 percent of the votes, behind solid play from his lobster mac and cheese. Steel Creek moves into the Cheesy 16 round.

Game 2: C.I. Shenanigans (3017 Ruston Way, Tacoma) vs. Crown Bar (2705 Sixth Ave., Tacoma)

In NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament history, an eighth seed has only one once. The legendary 1985 Villanova Wildcats beat heavily-favored Georgetown as an eighth seed. But this is the Tournament of Mac and Cheese, and number eight seed Crown Bar handed number one seed C.I. Shenanigans a defeat the Tacoma waterfront restaurant will long remember. The Sixth Avenue hangout stomped on Shenanigans with 68 percent of the votes.

Game 3: Engine House No. 9 (611 N. Pine St., Tacoma) vs. Paesan Kitchen and Bar (1705 Dock St., Tacoma)

In a back and forth matchup pitting third seed Paesan Kitchen against 11th seed Engine House No. 9, Engine House No. 9 was eventually able to pull ahead of the stout Paesan Kitchen thanks to a late run - grabbing 57 percent of the votes. Paesan gambled Saturday night, closing down for a huge wedding party celebration. Did the closure affect Sunday's voting? Tournament of Mac and Cheese statisticians can't say. Apparently our stat people where all at E-9 drinking craft beer and eating mac and cheese Saturday night.

Game 4: Ricardo's Restaurant (5211 Lacey Blvd. SE, Lacey) vs. Top of Tacoma Bar and Café (3529 McKinley Ave. E., Tacoma)

Sitting in opposite counties, operating in very different styles, gritty Top of Tacoma and fancy Ricardo's battled hard yesterday. While their Facebook pages remained idle, their fans vigorously clicked computer mice. At the final buzzer, Top of Tacoma Bar and Café captured the third 68-percent-of-the-vote win of the day. Top of Tacoma moves on to the Cheesy 16.

Let's weed through the cheese. The following are advancing to the Cheesy 16:

Steel Creek American Whiskey Co.

Crown Bar

Engine House No. 9

Top of Tacoma Bar and Cafe

The daily mac and cheese battles here on Served in the South Sound are sponsored by BITE Restaurant & Bar inside the Hotel Murano.

OK, let's check out today's Second Round mac and cheese battles. Vote for one mac and cheese dish per battle. Voting for today's mac and cheese battles ends at 11:45 p.m.




Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Tomorrow's Cheesy 16 Mac and Cheese Battles

Game 1: STINK Cheese & Meat (628 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma) vs. Over The Moon Café (709 Opera Alley, Tacoma)

Game 2: Bar Bistro (1718 99th St. E., Tacoma) vs. BITE at Hotel Murano (1320 Broadway, Tacoma)

Game 3: Marrow Kitchen + Bar (2717 Sixth Ave., Tacoma) vs. The Valley (1206 Puyallup Ave., Tacoma)

Game 4: Westside Tavern (1815 Harrison Ave. NW, Olympia) vs. Boathouse 19 (9001 S. 19th St., Tacoma)

At 6 p.m. Monday, April 6, join us at McNamara's Pub & Eatery in DuPont for the Official Tournament of Mac and Cheese Party - our winner will be announced during halftime of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship game.

March 26, 2015 at 8:02am

Tournament of Mac and Cheese: First Round ends today

Maxwell’s Restaurant + Lounge’s “Max + Cheese” does battle today. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

THURSDAY, MARCH 26: FOUR MAC AND CHEESE GAMES ON THE DOCKET >>>

Low and behold, today marks the closing of the Tournament of Mac and Cheese's First Round. After today's battles the bracket will officially be down to only 32 area mac and cheese joints, and the competitions are getting fiercer by the minute. Honestly, if it gets any more exciting we'll start to understand why Marv Albert is always yelling "Yesssss!" Plus, we'll have serious back fat.

Without wasting anyone's time with elbow macaroni related basketball innuendo, on to today's Weekly Volcano Tournament of Mac and Cheese action.Let's take a gander at yesterday's results, and then preview today's matches. ...

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: Metropolitan Market (2420 N. Proctor St., Tacoma) vs. Uncle Thurm's Finger Lickin' Ribs & Chicken (3709 S. G St., Tacoma)

Everyone loves a good comeback, and this may have been one of the better clutch performances in the (obviously short) history of the Tournament of Mac and Cheese. Down by a substantial margin by midday, Metropolitan Market was able to rally the shoppers at halftime, and by the time the final buzzer sounded the Proctor District grocery store had walked away with an impressive victory, racking up 57 percent of the vote. Metropolitan Market moves into the Second Round. ...

Game 2: Rosewood Café (3323 N. 26th St., Tacoma) vs. Serious Soul Café (35501 21st Ave. SW, Federal Way)

It would have been a serious upset of monumental proportion had the Serious Soul Cafe somehow managed to defeat the Rosewood Cafe, but - alas - it was never meant to be. The Rosewood dominated from tip-off to the final seconds yesterday, collecting votes at a more than three to one ratio and securing 85 percent of the votes. Bicyclists and mac and cheese lovers unite - the Rosewood Cafe will not be denied!

Game 3: Oakhouse Restaurant & Bar (8102 Zircon Dr. SW, Lakewood) vs. King Solomon's Reef (212 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia)

In a back and forth matchup pitting two fairly evenly matched competitors (at least in the eyes of voters, it seems), King Solomon's Reef was eventually able to pull ahead of the golf course clubhouse in the Lakewood neighborhood of Oakbrook thanks to a late run - grabby 70 percent of the votes. The loss has to be especially tough for the Oakhouse, as they entered the Tournament of Mac and Cheese with plenty of hype, mainly coming from, well, the entire city of Lakewood. That said, King Solomon's Reef thanks its lucky stars every time it makes a bank deposit for the damaged livers of Evergreen students, and it has its jam packed nighttime diner scene, so the fact it's moving on to the Second Round isn't shocking. You can't question The Reef's following, and sometimes a following is just what it takes in the Tournament of Mac and Cheese.

Game 4: Mac N More (9323 Martin Way E., Lacey) vs. Silvers Saloon (2752 Pacific Ave. SE, Olympia)

In a battle of Thurston County, Mac N More cruised to victory and securing roughly 87 percent of the vote by the time things were said and done. This one was over early, and the pummeling lasted all day. Luckily for all of us, Silvers Saloon doesn't need the Tournament of Mac and Cheese to get by ... it has an awesome saloon vibe, not to mention a grubbin' mac and cheese. The high-powered Mac N More moves on to Second Round action.

Let's weed through the cheese. The following are advancing to the Second Round:

Metropolitan Market

Rosewood Café

King Solomon's Reef

Mac N More

The daily mac and cheese battles here on Served in the South Sound are sponsored by BITE Restaurant & Bar inside the Hotel Murano.

OK, let's check out today's First Round mac and cheese battles. Vote for one mac and cheese dish per battle. Voting for today's mac and cheese battles ends at 11:45 p.m.




Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Tomorrow's Second Round Mac and Cheese Battles

Game 1: STINK Cheese & Meat (628 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma) vs. Doyle's Public House (208 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma)

Game 2: The Galley at 7 Seas Brewing (3006 Judson St., Gig Harbor) vs. Bar Bistro (1718 99th St. E., Tacoma)

Game 3: The Valley (1206 Puyallup Ave., Tacoma) vs. Pacific Grill (1502 Pacific Ave., Tacoma)

Game 4: The Hub (203 Tacoma Ave. S., Tacoma) vs. Boathouse 19 (9001 S. 19th St., Tacoma)

At 6 p.m. Monday, April 6, join us at McNamara's Pub & Eatery in DuPont for the Official Tournament of Mac and Cheese Party - our winner will be announced during halftime of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship game.

March 21, 2015 at 8:20am

Tournament of Mac and Cheese: Yesterday's results and Day 3 battles ...

Marrow Kitchen + Bar serves its mac and cheese in a baking pot. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

SATURDAY, MARCH 21: FOUR MAC AND CHEESE GAMES ON THE DOCKET >>>

Typically, the only metal associated with macaroni and cheese is a post-concert feast from metal musicians. In other mac and cheese metal news, Kraft Foods, the company synonymous with macaroni and cheese, has recalled more than 6 million boxes due to the possibility that they contain small bits of metal. If you have a box of Kraft mac and cheese in your pantry right now and you're wondering if you're about to eat metal for dinner, check the "best when used by" date. The recalled boxes are 7.25 ounces in size and have dates that range from Sept. 18, 2015 through Oct. 11, 2015 and have a "C2" code. Then, slap yourself in the face, and visit one of the 64 South Sound mac and cheese establishments participating in the Tournament of Mac and Cheese (see bracket in the sidebar).

Without further ado, let's take a gander at yesterday's results, and then preview today's matches. ...

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: The Galley at 7 Seas Brewing vs. The Rock Wood Fired Kitchen

The Galley food truck sits outside the 7 Seas Brewing taproom in downtown Gig Harbor with the goal of serving its huge portion of mac and cheese in eight minutes or less. That's a winning formula, at least according to the vote totals in the Tournament of Mac and Cheese. The Galley sunk The Rock Wood Fired Kitchen with 66 percent of the votes, and moves on to the Second round.

Game 2: Bar Bistro vs. BJ's Restaurant

Bar Bistro grabbed 91 percent of the votes over BJ's Restaurant at the Tacoma Mall. Bar Bistro chef Jason Blessum takes fusilli pasta, roasted garlic puree, heavy cream and a balanced blend of smoked cheddar, aged white cheddar, pepper jack, Parmesan, Asiago and Romano cheeses, tops it with bacon bread crumbs, shaved Parmesan, then garnishes it with grape tomatoes and basil oil. BJ's wall of televisions blasting the basketball tournament apparently doesn't have a mac and cheese that can compete with Bar Bistro's A game.

Game 3: The Valley vs. Half Pint Pizza Pub

In yesterday's closest battle, The Valley edged out Half Pint Pizza Pub with 53 percent of the votes. Both joints serve tasty mac and cheese, worthy craft beer and rockin' tunes. No hocus pocus, just focus from the folks at The Valley, who converted their Port of Tacoma afternoon crowd into votes.

Game 4: Pacific Grill vs. Tugboat Annie's

Pacific Grill quickly comes to the lips of many when discussing the best food in the South Sound. So, perhaps it isn't a surprise that the fine-dining restaurant in downtown Tacoma won handily, kicking Tugboat Annie's to the dock while garnering a respectable 71 percent of the vote. Pacific Grill moves into the Second Round to face The Valley March 27.

Let's weed through the cheese. The following are advancing to the Second Round:

The Galley at 7 Seas Brewing

Bar Bistro

The Valley

Pacific Grill

The daily mac and cheese battles here on Served in the South Sound are sponsored by BITE Restaurant & Bar inside the Hotel Murano.

OK, let's check out today's First Round mac and cheese battles. Vote for one mac and cheese dish per battle. Voting for today's mac and cheese battles ends at 11:45 p.m.



Tomorrow's First Round Mac and Cheese Battles

Game 1: Harmon Brewery & Eatery (1938 Pacific Ave., Tacoma) vs. McNamara's Pub & Eatery (1595 Wilmington Dr., DuPont)

Game 2: Over The Moon Café (709 Opera Alley, Tacoma) vs. Quickie Too (1324 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma)

Game 3: Westside Tavern (1815 Harrison Ave. NW, Olympia) vs. The Swiss Restaurant & Pub (1904 Jefferson Ave., Tacoma)

Game 4: El Gaucho (2119 Pacific Ave., Tacoma) vs. Panera Bread (5606 Lakewood Towne Center Dr., Lakewood)

At 6 p.m. Monday, April 6, join us at McNamara's Pub & Eatery in DuPont for the Official Tournament of Mac and Cheese Party - our winner will be announced during halftime of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship game.

March 11, 2015 at 11:27am

Beer Here: Breakside, Pelican, Spinnaker Bay, Hops of March IPA, St. Patrick's Day ...

The new 7 Seas Brewing growlers arrive this weekend. Photo courtesy of Facebook

Hello South Sound beer enthusiasts. Here is your workout leading up to St. Patrick's Day. ...

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11

From a three-barrel brewing system in Woodlawn, Oregon in 2010 to a 20,000 barrels per year in Milwaukie, just south of Portland, Breakside Brewing may hold the record for the highest number of different beers brewed in a year - 83 in 2012, 92 in 2011 and 100 in 2013. The Red Hot hosts the crew from Breakside for a few of their more unique and rare offerings, including the GABF-award-winning Wanderlust IPA, Liquid Sunshine Pilsner, Lunch Break ISA, Safe Word Triple IPA, Tropicalia Saison, New World Bruin, La Tormenta Sour, Salted Caramel Stout and Bourbon Barrel Aztec. Tapping begins at 5 p.m.

The Puyallup River Alehouse turns into a Raven's Nest when Black Raven Brewing Company out of Redmond, Washington, flies in at 6 p.m. Black Raven was opened in 2009 by Robert "Beaux" Bowman, who honed his brewing skills at Mac & Jack's Brewing, the now-defunct Far West Ireland Brewing and a few other local breweries. Cross your fingers for some Black Raven barrel-ages.

Thrill-seeking accountant Marcy Larson and chemical engineer Geoff Larson, both 28, founded Alaskan Brewing Co. in 1986 - Juneau, Alaska's first brewery since Prohibition. From the historically based Alaskan Amber recipe to alder-smoked malts and Sitka spruce tips, Alaskan beers reflect Juneau's local brewing history and innovation. Alaskan's rotating spring seasonal this year is the Big Mountain Pale Ale. Made with a variety of hops, its flavors range from tropical fruit to resinous pine. Six Alaskan beers will be served at Pint & Quarts Lacey beginning at 6 p.m. Go drink a Sitka spruce.

If you're thinking cider, then head to Pint Defiance from 5-7 p.m. and hang out with No. 6 Cider Company out of Seattle. Named after the hand-dug railway tunnel that lead to the expansion in the Pacific Northwest, No. 6 created hand-crafted ciders such as Honey Ginger Cider, Pomegranate Cider and others next to the railway.

THURSDAY, MARCH 12

Beachfront Pelican Pub & Brewery sits just off the dunes in the resort town of Pacific City, Oregon. Pelican's magnificent view beats the view out of The Copper Door in Tacoma's Stadium District, but it's all good through the bottom of a pint of Red Lantern IPA, Silverspot IPA, Stormwatcher's Winterfest and other Pelican brews, which will stick their beaks into Copper Door from 6-9 p.m.

FRIDAY, MARCH 13

Do you purposefully walk under every ladder? Seek out black cats? Open umbrellas inside all the time? Then why not toast your affinity - or respect - for superstition with some Hopworks Urban Brewery beers at Gravity Beer Market in Olympia. The Portland, Oregon brewery will pour Galactic Imperial Red Ale, Motherland Russian Imperial Stout, Nonstop Hef Hop, Survival stout and Rise Up Red Ale from 5-7 p.m.

Loosen up your drinking arms and test-run your offensive-to-the-Irish-community T-shirt at the St. Patrick's Day Pre-funk & Release Party at Puyallup River Alehouse. Puyallup River Brewing will be unleashing their springtime seasonals - St. Paddy's Day stout, Springtime Brown Ale and Green Cream Ale - beginning at 6 p.m. They'll also be tapping a keg of Cockrell Hard Ciders' Green Apple Cider. How do like them apples?

Narrows Brewing in Tacoma will release an ESB Friday in their taproom. It's the first Narrows brewing beer released by new head brewer Mike Davis.


SATURDAY, MARCH 14

Lucky Eagle Casino and Hotel is dealing themselves in the beer festival game hosting their first annual Beer and Wine Festival from 1-5 p.m. For $20 advance (1.800.720.1788) or $25 at the door, you will receive a commemorative pint or wine glass, eight drink tickets and a straight line to Dick's Brewing Co., Hi-Fi Brewery, Mt. St. Helens Cellars and others.

When you think of a brewmaster, you probably envision a bearded fellow in a trucker hat. But not at Spinnaker Bay Brewery in the Hillamn City neighborhood in Seattle. The woman-founded, -owned, and -run brewery and taproom brews some damn strong, tasty beer without beards. Founded in 2012 by Janet Spindler and Elissa Pryor, Spinnaker creates "big flavorful beers with attitude," and those beers are boss this Saturday when they take over the taps at Morso Wine Bar in Gig Harbor from noon to 3 p.m.

Northwest Brewing Co. just outside of Sumner hosts a party with green beer and Dan Benz & Friendz on stage.

The new 7 Seas Brewing growlers will arrive in their taproom (3006 Judson St., Gig Harbor) Saturday at 11 a.m. This year's edition, once again, features imported glass from Germany and is decorated by Gig Harbor's Fresh Northwest Design. The growlers are $75, with a coupon for $2 off your next growler fill. For those who have last year's edition, grab your growler and drop in Friday to grab your same number (1-500).

SUNDAY, MARCH 15

It's March ... meaning Madness is in the air. Sixty-four well-oiled competitors (for the most part) will tip off and do battle - working their way through the tediously-constructed bracket and toward ultimate supremacy. We speak, of course, of the Weekly Volcano's Tournament of Mac and Cheese, which begins March 19 on our ServedintheSouthSound.com blog. Apparently, a college basketball tournament is also slated to go down this month. The NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament selection announcement hits the tube Sunday, and the Harmon Tap Room in Tacoma will broadcast it beginning at 3 p.m. Ridding the wave of enthusiasm for our Tournament of Mac and Cheese, or more likely the hoops tourney, Harmon brewmasters Jeff Carlson has, once again, released his Hops of March IPA. Every March, Harmon releases this hoppy IPA, but rotates the hops. This year, the hops varieties of Magnum, Amarillo, Rainier, Cascade and Horizon - M.A.R.C.H. - were brewed with five malted barleys to give this medium- to full-bodied IPA (6.8 percent ABV, 90 IBUs) a brown color similar to a basketball. Nothing but the bottom of the pint, baby! Drink it up at one of Harmon's four houses of beer, including the Harmon Tap Room.

TUESDAY, MARCH 17

Your last name may not be O'Neil or McCarthy, but in the South Sound, we all have a little bit of Irish in us. Irish and Scotch-Irish served as crew aboard Spanish, English and U.S. vessels that explored the Puget Sound during the second half of the 18th century. They participated in land-based explorations as well. And now, here we are in this hodgepodge of a region. We're hardworking, tax-paying citizens (most of us any way), and we deserve the right to wear our finest green attire and down a pint at nine in the morning every bit as much as anyone who's authentically Irish. Fish Brewing Company will release this year's Over & Oat Oatmeal Stout and Hodgon's Double IPA at 5 p.m. in their Fish Tale Brewpub (515 Jefferson St. SE, Olympia). Westside Pints & Quarts (625 Black Lake Blvd. SW, Olympia) will pour Tullamores, Iron Horse Irish Death and Guinness. O'Blarney's Irish Pub (4411 Martin Way E., Olympia) will offer an outdoors Guinness VIP beer garden. The Forum (208 S. Meridian, Puyallup) will fire up the black and tans. Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. (610 Pacific Ave., Tacoma) will host a St. Patrick's Day party featuring new releases Belgian Golden Ale and Galaxy Session IPA. The Hub (1208 26th Ave. NW, Gig Harbor) will pour Green Pale Ale and Jameson Oak Soaked Stryker Stout during its St. Paddy's Day celebration.

February 24, 2015 at 10:40am

Where to plan your South Sound beer enterprise

Oly Taproom bottle shop opened last week across from Percival Landing in downtown Olympia. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

You know they heard. South Sound beer entrepreneurs have read the studies. They know sitting for long periods is the single-most horrible thing you can do to your body - next to twerking in a bouncy house or babysitting a Viking child or trying to ski this season in the Pacific Northwest. Beer entrepreneurs might stretch, exercise regularly, eat right and take great care of his or her bodies, mostly. Doesn't matter. WebMD says if you sit for long enough periods, you're in peril. Period. Sitting for a long time causes muscles to burn less fat and blood to flow more sluggishly, which can increase the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and other problems.

Several South Sound beer lovers have moved from sitting enthusiasts to entrepreneurs. They have moved from the stool to standing and dodging and twirling and leaning on the other side of the bar. Want proof? Beautiful Zog's Pub is serving craft beer on Fox Island. Levi Hendricks and Sanrica Marquez just opened the handsome Oly Taproom across from Percival Landing in downtown Olympia. Bryan and Molly Copland and Aaron and April Johnson are still forging ahead with their Wet Coast Brewing in Gig Harbor. John Fosberg and crew have installed the tanks at their forthcoming Gig Harbor Brewing Company. Half Pint Pizza Pub owners are brewing Sluggo Brewing. Award-winning home brewers Jay Walker and Shawn Anderson have formed the Grit City Group. Destiny City Brewing has a future. Fox Island Brewing is sly like a fox. Tacoma World Beer changed hands. Fish Brewing now has cans.  

You can't pull a chair out from under these folks. They kicked the chair over.

What do you have planned? Maybe you'll meet your new beer business partner at one of these events tomorrow night.

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 25

Beer entrepreneurs Renee and Barry Watson host Loowit Brewing from 5-7 p.m. at their Pint Defiance Specialty Beers and Taproom. The Watsons have spent a lot of time visiting brewers in Vancouver, Washington. Loowit is one of their favorites. Devon Bray and Thomas Poffenroth opened Loowit in 2012 specializing in approachable, well-balanced ales. Expect to drink Shadow Ninja IPA, Flawless Victory IPA, Two Sixteen Red Ale and Der Couvensteiner Dunkel, among others. The Watsons will have the raffle machine running, too.

The Red Hot will more a bunch of Full Sail beers including Top Sail Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Porter, 2013 Full Sail Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout, 2015 Full Sail Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout, Full Sail 27th Anniversary Wheat Wine, Powder Stash Pale and Session IPA, beginning at 5 p.m.

Meet Rob Brunsman from the newly distributed Hop Valley Brewing Company from Eugene, Oregon at the Puyallup River Alehouse. Hop Valley opened their doors on Friday, Feb. 13th, 2009 in Springfield, Oregon. Their brewery is placed on the same grounds that used to be the hot-bed for hop production before prohibition, and is a marker to those that drink their beers, that they are proud to still be using the same local hops that once supplied the industry. Since opening, they have accomplished a lot, including increasing their overall production from 1,000 barrels/year to 12,000 barrels with their current setup in Eugene, and have also won a couple World Beer Cup medals. Brunsman has beer and prizes from 6-9 p.m.

According to Laurelwood Brewing Co. in Portland, Oregon, coffee and beer can help ignite your creative juices. They posted this ditty on their blog: "What's the drink you reach for to get that first burst of motivation at work? That's right, coffee. But how many of you have had that ‘lightbulb moment' after a couple of beers? It turns out both coffee and beer are good for your creative process, each in their own way." They suggest you head to their Brewer's Night from 6-9 p.m. at The Swiss Restaurant and Pub, drink their Organic Portland Roasting Espresso Stout, and think of your next brilliant idea. I predict the rich, chocolate flavors and warm, roasted aromas will inspire the idea to have another.

Filed under: New Beer Column, Tacoma, Puyallup,

January 28, 2015 at 10:48am

Beer Here: Gigantic Brewing, Avery Brewing, Hop Valley, Tides' Tapmaster line-up ...

Tides Tavern in Gig Harbor kicks off its Tapmaster program - 16 beers in the 28 days - Super Bowl Sunday.

As Super Bowl Sunday approaches, I'm thinking about beer. Who wants to be sipping wine or cocktails? Sudsy brews are de rigueur. Here are a few South Sound craft beer events to hit before the big game. Maybe you'll walk away with your Super Bowl beers.

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 28

Last week Double Mountain Brewing out of Hood River, Oregon, released their My Little Runaway-Belgian Style Cherry Ale. Like all beers at Double Mountain, the My Little Runaway is unfiltered for the purpose of preserving freshness and flavor. This cherry ale contains a small amount of natural fruit and yeast sediment that forms on the bottom of the bottle. No word if the beer will make an appearance at the Double Mountain Brewer's Night at Puyallup River Alehouse from 6-9 p.m.

Last month, Gigantic Brewing released its 2013 Massive! Barleywine. The aptly named barleywine always features one malt boiled for at least nine hours in the direct fire kettle, resulting in toffee and caramelized sugar malt flavors and evaporation over the long boil results in higher finished alcohol - 13.5 percent. Gigantic! Conquer this beer and meet its founder, Ben Love, when Pint Defiance hosts the Gigantic Brewing Company Brewer's Night from 5-7 p.m. The Portland brewery, which opened in 2011, will also tap its Gigantic IPA, Ginourmous IPA and Saboteur Baltic Porter. Go big!

In 1991, Homebrewer Jeff Lebesch opened New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colorado. The brewing company has ridden its Fat Tire amber ale across the country - most recently building huge plants in North Carolina, especially Asheville. There are other reasons they have become so big and successful. Le Terroir, La Folie and Tart Lychee are three of those reasons, but there are dozens more. Chat up and drink New Belgium beers at The Swiss Restaurant and Pub, beginning at 6 p.m.

THURSDAY, JAN. 29

Hey kids! Want to black out before the Super Bowl? Then you're in luck, cause Avery Brewing is bringing its demonically strong Mephistopheles Stout to The Copper Door beer store and taproom. First brewed in 2005 as the third installment in Avery's "Demons of Ale" series, it measures in at 14.5 percent alcohol. That's evil. Take note Uber drivers: The Stadium District beer store will also pour Avery's Tweak, Lilikoi Kepolo, Ellie's Brown Ale, India Pale Ale and White Rascal. Of note is the White Rascal, which was brewed at New Belgium last year while Avery built a 96,000-square-foot facility in the Gunbarrel area of Boulder - so it can push out around half a million barrels of beer annually. The new plant opens Feb. 16. The Avery Brewing Night at The Copper Door runs 6-9 p.m. Thursday.

FRIDAY, JAN. 30

How did Dick's Brewing raise more than $5,700 for American Cancer Society's Relay for Life of Lewis County this past September? It held a home brew contest and invited folks to celebrate the winners with beer drinking, auctions and raffles. The winner for the 4th Annual Beer for a Cure was Tom Rzadzki and his Black Rye IPA. Friday, Dick's Brewing will host a release party for Tom's beer from 3-7:30 p.m., as well as and having Black Rye IPA on tap at the brewery tasting room and neighboring NW Sausage & Deli.

SATURDAY, JAN. 31

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. Drop by the Pig Bar inside South Bay Dickerson's BBQ and get an early start on the brewery's six-year anniversary by sipping a healthy Hop Valley line-up, win prizes and get in on some tasty ribs from 6-9 p.m.

SUNDAY, FEB. 1

These days, South Sound pubs offer more activities than a cruise ship. Tides Tavern wants to make it crystal clear its 12th Annual Tapmaster program isn't about chugging yards of beer then taking a flying leap off the dock into the harbor. Instead, the popular watering hole in Gig Harbor wants you to enjoy its 16 taps through the month of February. Get to know each beer. Ask the beers questions. Ask the bartenders questions. If by happenstance you drink all 16 beers in the 28 days, the Tides will give you a nifty T-shirt and add your name to the wall of fame. Here is the 2015 Tapmaster beer (and cider) list: Fremont Pale Ale, Mac N Jacks IBIS IPA, Tides Tavern Long Ass Day X2IPA, American Brewing Blonde, Alaskan Amber, Tides Tavern Anniversary IPA, Manny's Pale Ale, Hilliard's Saison, Pacific Brewing Porter, Backyard Brewing Winchester Brown, Silver City Cold One Pilsner, Seattle Cider Company's Cider, Elysian Mens Room Red, Iron Horse Irish Death, 7 Seas Stout on nitro and Widmer Hefeweizen.

THURSDAY, FEB. 5

Plan Ahead: Engine House No. 9 will host a Trinity Brewing Night with five on tap and three different brews in bottles. Trinity head brewer and owner Jason Yester will be in the firehouse.

January 7, 2015 at 1:55pm

Beer Here: Hop Valley, Tacoma Runners, Guzzling For Gorillas, 7 Seas Brewing ...

Powerhouse restaurant & Brewery has unleashed its Jan-u-cherry saison. Best get on that before it's gone. Photo courtesy of Facebook

Well looky here, it's 2015. And we hope you rang in the New Year exactly how you wanted to. But just because some of us may have partied hard last week, doesn't mean we're not going to take January lying down. Hell no. We're going to get out there and live it - and so should you.

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 7

Powerhouse Restaurant & Brewery (454 E. Main, Puyallup) has been releasing its Sourhouse series of barrel-fermented saisons over the past month. This week, their merlot barrel fermented saison with dark cherries Jan-u-cherry has hit the snifters.

Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. (610 Pacific Ave., Tacoma) proclaimed their New Year's resolution is a happy hour every Wednesday-Friday until 6 p.m. And it is so. Expect dollar off pints and discounts on growlers.

Puyallup River Alehouse (120 S. Meridian, Puyallup) hosts Bainbridge Island Brewing for a brewer's night, 6-9 p.m. Expect to drink Eagle Harbor IPA, Puget Sound Giant Hoptopus, Arrow Point Amber, and a barrel-aged olde ale.

THURSDAY, JAN. 8

Hop Valley Brewing Co. out of Eugene, Oregon, will head to the house of burgers and brisket - Stuck Junction Saloon in historic downtown Sumner - for brewer's night festivities and HVB beers, including Double D Blonde Ale, Alphadelic IPA, V.I.P (Vanilla Infused Porter) and Festaroo Winter Ale, their winter warmer. HVB rep Rob Brunsman will kick off the craziness at 6 p.m.

Forget light and low-carb beers. The Tacoma Runners have a better method for fighting fat: They run then drink beer. They're the classic drinking group with a running problem. They meet at 6:30 p.m. every Thursday at a Pierce County alcohol-slinging joint, run 3 miles and then return to the starting line to celebrate. This week, the group will meet at the Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. for Moon Yard Ales, Dirty Skoogs IPA, Donkey Puncher ESB and elevated heart rates.

SUNDAY, JAN. 11

Pacific Lutheran University Sous-chef Erick Swenson offers a four-part, beer-tasting class launching Sunday at 208 Garfield restaurant, running consecutive Sundays through Feb. 1. Read the full story on Swenson's classes here.

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 14

In the late '80s, only 248 mountain gorillas remained in the wild, no thanks to civil wars, dangerous diseases, poaching and the devastating consequences of increased habitat loss. And although the number of gorillas living in the wild has now risen to more than double thanks to the efforts of such groups as the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund, the situation is still tenuous. Disease remains rampant, and logging and land development continue at an alarming rate. Clearly, there's only one thing to do: drink beer. Tacoma's Drinking for Conversation folks present "Guzzling for Gorillas," where 50 cents of every draft beer sold at Doyle's Public House will be donated to the MGCF. If you enjoyed Drinking for Lynx last month at the ParkWay, you'll certainly enjoy guzzling beers at Doyle's Public House (208 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma), beginning at 5 p.m. Who's wearing a gorilla suit that night?

7 Seas Brewing in Gig Harbor is unleashing head brewer Travis Gutterson on Pint Defiance (2049 Mildred St., Tacoma) to answer questions and hug it out with his fans, beginning at 5 p.m. In Gutterson's trunk will be a bunch of 2013 Wheelchair Barleywine. The Pint Defiance folks will also run 7 Seas' Rude Parrot IPA through a Randall full of fresh hops.

Harmon Brewing Co. will takeover the taps at Ammar's Mediterranean Grill (409 E. 26th St., by Tacoma Dome) from 5-7 p.m. You'll receive a raffle ticket with every Harmon beer.

SATURDAY, JAN. 17

Wingman Brewers (509 ½ Puyallup Ave., Tacoma) will host their annual Porterpalooza in which they'll offer creative variations on their flagship P-51 Porter, from 2-11 p.m. Expect to drink the following variations on their Porter theme: Coconut, Peanut Butter Cup, Vanilla Rum, Chili Pepper and Sichuan Pepper Corns, Maple Pecan, Chocolate Orange, Smoked Sea Salted Caramel, Mexican Chocolate and Cinnamon Raisin. Also available during PorterPalooza will be Wingman's Bourbon Barrel Aged Big Baby Flat Top, aged in Willet Distillery barrels from Kentucky. So good! A $5 cover secures a commemorative glass and a first pour; all other pours cost $4 each.

Bayview School of Cooking teams up with Elysian Brewing to present "New Year- New Beer, A Brewery Dinner with Elysian Brewing" at 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17. Bayview chefs and Elysian's regional manager will pair beers with a five-course dinner, and discuss all aspects at the school (516 W. Fourth Ave., Olympia). The dinner will include Avatar Jasmine IPA partnered with chicken wings in a spicy peanut sauce and the Split Shot Stout matched with coffee and ancho chili flat iron steak with a green chili apple relish and garlic mashed potatoes. Nice. Tickets are $75 and reservation is required at 360.754.1448.

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 21

The Swiss Restaurant and Pub (1904 Jefferson Ave., Tacoma) has their beer dinners dialed in, offering multiple food courses paired with beer, beer production and history from brewers and reps, preparation details from the kitchen and lots of laughs. This month, Silver City Brewing teams up with The Swiss kitchen on a Wednesday night. Drop by the historic building with $40 to secure a delicious, fun time.

December 30, 2014 at 10:25am

Beer Here: Happy New Beer and upcoming events

Happy New Year!

Ten ... nine ... Please, please tell me you're not at home while the clock's ticking. Not bidding adieu to the bucking Year of the Horse 2014 on the couch. Not munching stale popcorn. Not watching hair-gelled Ryan Seacrest hyperventilate you into Jan. 1. Eight ... seven ... six ... So that 2014 diet ended at 3 a.m. last New Year's Day when you went on a bleary-eyed Taco Time run. So you weren't nicer to your sister, never fixed the washing machine and have yet to visit your ailing grandmother. If you're resolving to drink more South Sound beers in 2015, now's your chance to get a jump on a resolution you just might keep. Five ... four ... Here are this week's local beer happenings to help push out with the old, and drink in with the new, or something - and no better way to set a tasty tone for the year than by ringing in 2015 while drinking beer. Three ... two ... one ...

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 31

The Harmon Brewing Co. Mobile will be racing down the highway New Year's Eve. First stop, a noon to 3 p.m. new Point Defiance IPA tasting at Olympia Total Wine & More, followed by a 4-7 p.m. PD IPA tasting at the Puyallup Total Wine & More with Spokane's No-Li Brewhouse in the house, too.

Beer will be flowing all over the South Sound New Year's Eve, including at taprooms. Puyallup River Alehouse invites Two Beers Brewing Co. and its sister business, Seattle Cider Co., to wear party hats at its downtown Puyallup locale, with raffle prizes and free champagne toast at midnight as part of the festivities. The long haul begins at 6 p.m.

Three Magnets Brewing Co. hosts a NYE shindig with Major Thompkins Imperial Oatmeal Stout in the firkin with figs, gates and bourbon, Wreathing Havoc Imperial Red Rye Ale in another firkin with cocoa nibs and Himalayan sea salt, and Whitewood Cider's Wassail Spiced Red Cap Cider in on the party, too.

Wanna have a Happy New Beer? Head over to Odd Otter Brewing Company for "An Otter New Year's Eve Party", kicking off at 8 p.m. The Tacoma brewery will be unleashing its holiday beer Winterface Ale at the party for those who score a limited number of tickets. A wristband reading "Have an Otter New Year - 2015" is proof you belong, with neighbor The Matador providing the munchies. The $49.99 ticket is available at oddotterbrewing.com.

The Red Hot will hold a Duvel toast at midnight.

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 7

Puyallup River Alehouse hosts Bainbridge Island Brewing for a brewer's night. They have been brewing Kommuter Kolsch, Bainbridge Pale Ale, Port Blakely Brown, Battle Point Stout and its most popular beer, Eagle Harbor IPA, since opening in June 2012. Will they bring their "Beeritos" - a brew that includes Cool Ranch Doritos - to the Alehouse? Drop by from 6-9 p.m. and find out, and maybe win a prize.

FUTURE THINGS ARE COMING

The beer hits your tongue. You try to identify different flavor components in the beer. Is it bitter? Earthy? Are there fruity flavors? Smoke? How about grassy, herbal flavors? Zeroing in on the various flavors in different beers will help you begin to isolate the styles that you like the most, at least according to beer geek Erick Swenson. The Pacific Lutheran University sous chef holds special beer nights at the school's neighboring restaurant 208 Garfield. In January, he's hosting the four-part "Perfecting Your Inner Beer geek" series using the Siebel Institute Sensory Training kit every Sunday afternoon, beginning Jan. 11. The cost is $10 each, or $36 for the series. To sign up, visit 208garfield.com.

Bayview School of Cooking teams up with Elysian Brewing to present "New Year - New Beer, A Brewery Dinner with Elysian Brewing" at 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17. Bayview chefs and Elysian's regional manager will pair beers with a five-course dinner, and discuss all aspects at the school (516 W. Fourth Ave., Olympia). The dinner will include Avatar Jasmine IPA partnered with chicken wings in a spicy peanut sauce and the Split Shot Stout matched with coffee and ancho chili flat iron steak with a green chili apple relish and garlic mashed potatoes. Nice. Tickets are $75 and reservation is required at 360.754.1448.

Hands On Children's Museum hosts "The Art & Science Behind Craft Brews" at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23. The museum will host beer tastings, beer-themed science experiments, art projects and more. The $25 admission fee includes free beer tastings and a souvenir glass. Barbecue will be available to purchase. Duh, adults only. Buy tickets at www.hocm.com/adultswim.

December 17, 2014 at 10:31am

Beer Here: Lagunitas night, Pelican party, holiday sweaters, Troll Crank ride ...

Ho ho ho yo!

You're lagging in the Christmas spirit this year. Just like last year. And the year before. Scrooging has always been your go-to reaction to the yuletide, but as your grow older, fatter and more sentimental, it's increasingly unacceptable to be crotchety and contrarian. It's unsavory. So, you decide to be proactive. You set aside this coming week to gorge yourself on Christmas cheer. By which I mean beer. ...

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 17

Engine House No. 9's 25 Days of Christmas beer-a-day countdown is going strong. Stop by 611 N. Pine St. and discover today's present.

Harmon Tap Room is hosting the 12 Beers of Christmas, tapping a different small batch holiday brew, every day, for 12 days in a row. By the way, the Tap Room just added 10 new taps.

Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma, California, releases anticipated seasonals every year with high levels of alcohol and names as charismatic and irreverent as any beer might hope for - Lagunitas' own Imperial IPA, brewed since 1996, is called Maximus. Brown Shugga, a seasonal brew from Lagunitas, was created in 1997 as the result of an attempt to rescue a failed batch of Olde GnarlyWine Ale by adding "boatloads of brown sugar" - or so the story goes, anyway. Fingers crossed, The Swiss will be pouring it at its Lagunitas Brewer's Night from 6-9 p.m. Yeah, yeah, yeah, woo!

As I have written ad nauseam, a steady stream of big, goonish stouts are filling shelves and taps. Some of these seasonals are worth the fuss and price (Deschutes' The Abyss, for example - head to The Red Hot Sunday) while many others are lopsided thanks to hyper-inflated alcohol content and overblown flavor infusions. Pelican Pub & Brewery's Tsunami Stout rises to the top. With a color only a few minutes from midnight and a thick but clean pour, it has a satisfying, but not overpowering (7 percent), heariness. Big, roasty cocoa flavors dominate, but hopheads will find that Magnum and Willamette hops impart a slice of crisp citrus and a cherry topper. Drink it and eight other Pelican brews at 99 Bottles, beginning at 5 p.m. The first 48 people to check in at the Federal Way beer store will score a free Pelican glass.

The 2nd Annual Cheers to Winter Beers event takes place at 6 p.m. in the Puyallup River Alehouse. Here's the deliciousness owner Eric Akeson has planned for patrons: 10 Barrel Pray For Snow, Alaskan Winter, Elysian Bifrost, Widmer Brrr, Redhook Winterhook, Anderson Valley Winter Solstice, Naked City Potlatch Smoked Maple Brown Ale, The Lost Abbey Merry Taj Christmas IPA, Puyallup River Old Pioneer Winter Ale and others. "Our 2014 Old Pioneer Winter Ale is a new recipe for this year," says Akeson. "Last year, we brewed a malt-forward Amber Ale with vanilla beans and lavender. This year, we're brewing an Imperial Red IPA-style beer, with a big, dry hop that all the hop heads are going to love." Santa will arrive at 7 p.m.

THURSDAY, DEC. 18

Top Rung Brewing runs its My Dog Stout through a Randall loaded with candy canes beginning at 4 p.m.

How much wood can the Woodchuck Hard Cider chuck if the Woodchuck Hard Cider could chuck wood? I have no idea, but Topside Bar & Grill is allowing the Vermont cidery to take over four of its handles, beginning at 6 p.m.

FRIDAY, DEC. 19

Want to drink a Cozy Sweater while wearing an ugly holiday sweater? Twisted Kilt Irish Pub hosts an ugly sweater party with an emphasis on Iron Horse Brewery beers, including Irish Death, Mocha Dream and said sweater. Expect a DJ spinning and giveaways, beginning at 9 p.m.

SATURDAY, DEC. 20

Top Rung Brewing hosts an ugly holiday sweater festival from 2-9 p.m., with a contest going down at 7 p.m. Santa will drop off a food truck. The Outlanders will play bluegrass beginning at 6:30 p.m. The Randall will be working overtime.

Also hosting an ugly holiday sweater party is Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. Those who don holiday cheer will receive a dollar off every pint, from 6-9 p.m., and entered into a contest to win a PB&M gift basket.

Itchin' for an excuse to pull that bicycle out of storage and get some extra wear out of your Santa hat? Saddle up and get ready to ride through the streets of Tacoma drunkon candy canes and the drinks they garnished. The Tacoma Mob Rider invites revelers to jump on their pedal-driven sleighs and eat and drink their way through Tacoma, Saturday. The Troll Crank zaniness begins at 7 p.m. inside the canned beer and bicycle shop Broken Spoke. From there, the pack moves on to other fine establishments, which will be revealed over cans of beer at the Spoke. It's free to participate, but you'll be shelling out cash for anything you eat or drinkalong the way. Tacoma Mob Rules asks you to dress festive, with a nod toward Crosby sweaters.

Tacoma Stars have dubbed Saturday, Dec. 20, "Wingman Brewers Night" for their soccer match against the Arlington Aviators. Wingman beer is now pouring at every match in the Far Post Bar at the Tacoma Soccer Center (2610 East Bay St., Tacoma). Saturday, beginning at 7:30 p.m., added giveaways and handshakes from the Wingman crew are an added bonus.

SUNDAY, DEC. 21

The Red Hot hosts its 3rd annual Darkest Day festival, while across the street Engine House No. 9 unleashes its 2014 Snow Cru, plus a multitude of other E9 big beers. Details on these Tacoma joints' celebrations of the longest night of the year can be found here.

MONDAY, DEC. 22

Fish Tale Brew Pub hosts the 15th Annual Holiday Brass Bash at 7:30 p.m. Trumpeter Andy Omdahl will lead a brass-tastic band, rattle beer pints and the donation boxes for Thurston County Food Bank.

December 10, 2014 at 10:29am

Beer Here: 25 Days of Christmas, WinterFest, Winter Beer-nanza, 12 Beers of Christmas ...

Top rung Brewing in Lacey will release its Heavy Irons Double IPA Dec. 13. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

There are five gazillion beer events around the South Sound this coming week. And as much as I enjoy checking out your Untappd beer count, I want you to take care of yourself enough to reach next Wednesday. It's hard enough work juggling lagers and stouts and ales without all those ciders and meads, so I thought I'd suggest just a few beer events for this coming week. But, first, consider a clone: Yeah, yeah, I know it's unethical. But I'm talking about beer here. Since you can't have Drinks for Lynx at the ParkWay at the same time as tossing a few Odin beers back at the Puyallup River Alehouse, you are going to have to let your morals slide just a little bit. I like to dress my close up in a smart bobbed wig. It's best not to be too conspicuous.

BEER HERE

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 10

The ParkWay Tavern will host Drinking for Conservation's "Drinks for Lynx" night. Fifty cents of every beer, cider and wine sold between 6 and 10 p.m. will go to help Conservation Northwest protect the lynx. DFC donates to organizations with missions the committee believes in - helping animals and the environment.

Odin Brewing of Seattle has released a small batch of Equinox Porter with the non-spore forming genus of yeast Brettanomycesafter months of aging the brett tartness and earthiness blend with bourbon flavors in barrels. Will it be at the Odin Brewer's Night at Puyallup River Alehouse? Show up between 6-9 p.m. and find out, or at least be in the running for raffle prizes.

The holiday season brings rich, heavy beers, and those with delicate spices really shine. "Winter warmer" traditionally refers to malty, dark beers that sometimes have a cola-like flavor profile, but contemporary craft brewers are happy to slap the label onto almost any kind of beer released for the December market. Through Jan. 31, Pints & Quarts and O'Blarney's Irish Pub host WinterFest '14, a "passport" affair where drinkers can score a 16-ounce Pilsner glass by drinking five winter beers at each joint, receiving stamps for proof.

Speaking of a bunch of beers ... Are you participating in Engine House No. 9's 25 Days of Christmas beer-a-day countdown? Head brewer Shane Johns has tapped a special beer to drink every day until Christmas. So far, E9 Nameless IPA #33, Samichlaus, 2013 Delerium Noel, 2012 Port Old Viscosity, Boneyard Bone A Fide, The Bruery Bois, 10 Barrel's German Sparkle Party, Lost Abbey's Merry Taj and Firestone Walker's Agrestic have been tapped. Day 10? Stop by 611 N. Pine St. and discover today's present.

Speaking of gifts ... Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. debuts its Belgian Abbey Ale today. Brewed in the tradition of Belgian Trappist beers, the Belgian Style Dubbel is complex, malty and fruity. It's open from 4-10 p.m.

THURSDAY, DEC. 11

Here we are, clamped firmly in winter's dismal, rime-curdled armpit. Fortunately, my projected schedule for the next two months includes plenty of winter beers, including Pint Defiance's annual Winter Beer-nanza party, beginning at 5 p.m. The specialty beer store and taproom will convert seven of its taps into winter cheer dispensers: Goose Island Bourbon County Stout (2014), Black Raven Festivus Holiday Ale, Lost Abbey Merry Taj IPA, Bale Breaker High Camp Winter Warmer, pFriem Belgian Christmas Ale, Heathen Reindeer Tears Barrel-Aged Barleywine and Atlas Spiced Pear Cider. In addition to big beers, Pint Defiance will host a "Christmas Cookie Potluck," asking patrons to don a holiday sweater and deliver cookies for all to enjoy. Emergency Food Network donations will be collected at the door.

SATURDAY, DEC. 13

Dec. 13-24, the Harmon Tap Room will host 12 Beers of Christmas, tapping a different small batch holiday brew, every day, for 12 days in a row. If you enjoy a brew for each of the 12 days, you'll receive a complimentary engraved mug. Day one begins with a party, tapping the Candy Cane Porter at 11 a.m. Drink it, stamp your passport and take a tour of the brewery until 3 p.m. Ivan Russian Imperial Stout will be tapped Sunday.

A few decades back, ugly holiday sweaters were a gift as reviled as fruitcake. These days, however, the yuletide look is going through a bit of a renaissance. No longer a style exclusively for crazy old ladies, tacky, sequined sweaters are now sold at Target. They can be found on hipsters, bar crawlers, teens at malls and other folks who like a little irony in their wardrobe (while also benefiting from their cozy warmth). This Saturday, Dick's Brewing Company hosts its Ugly Sweater Christmas Party from 3-7:30 p.m. in its tasting room. Don't forget to bring unwrapped toys and non-perishable food.

Top Rung Brewing Company will unleash its hoppy Heavy Irons Double IPA Saturday. This truly delicious, 8.2 percent ABV was brewed with Simcoe, Amarillo, Cascade and Nugget hops. When you need a double, grab the Heavy Irons.

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 17

Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma, California, releases anticipated seasonals every year with high levels of alcohol and names as charismatic and irreverent as any beer might hope for - Lagunitas' own Imperial IPA, brewed since 1996, is called Maximus. Brown Shugga, a seasonal brew from Lagunitas, was created in 1997 as the result of an attempt to rescue a failed batch of Olde GnarlyWine Ale by adding "boatloads of brown sugar" - or so the story goes, anyway. Fingers crossed, The Swiss will be pouring it at its Lagunitas Brewer's Night from 6-9 p.m. Yeah, yeah, yeah, woo!

Over at the ParkWay Tavern, Paso Robles' Firestone Walker Brewing Company is one of the country's finest brewers of traditional ales and lagers. There's a reason that the California brewery has won the Great American Beer Festival's Mid-Size Brewery of the Year honor so many times. When Firestone releases a new beer, you can rest assured that it's been well executed. The ParkWay will tap the full gamut of Firestone, beginning at 5 p.m.

SEE ALSO

Cheers to Winter Beers at Puyallup River Alehouse Dec. 17

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