Northwest Military Blogs: Served blog

Posts made in: May, 2014 (45) Currently Viewing: 21 - 30 of 45

May 8, 2014 at 9:23am

Harmon Tap Room to integrate with The Hub

The Harmon Tap Room in Tacoma is being remodeled, including an integration with its sister restaurant, The Hub. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Whatever you do, don't call the Harmon Brewing Company's Stadium District restaurants "McMenamins."

I made the mistake of dropping that term during a conversation with co-owner Pat Nagle about his remodel plans to make the Harmon Tap Room and The Hub more of a destination. "It's not McMenamins," he shot back. "We're not adding a hotel or movie theater."

I've known Nagle for some time. I've never met someone more passionate about the restaurant and brewery business. If he says his new plan doesn't mimic McMenamins then, hey, I'm not calling it either (although I did notice a slight smile on the man's face).

Nagle, and his business partner, Carole Ford, are transforming the Harmon Tap Room, and in a way The Hub above it, into one single destination for families. Phase one is nearly complete. The Tap Room's outdoor beer garden has been remodeled, complete with new tables and concrete walkways. If you're thinking dirndl-wearing beer maids bearing big tankards of frothy lager, think again. You need to think families - dining outdoors, under Tivoli lights, next to a fancy new fence, with giant Jenga games and music on the way, only to be interrupted by the brewmasters wheeling kegs toward the cold storage. The keg highway through the beer garden, or Harmon Garden as it now is known, will disappear in June.

The Harmon, like many other breweries across the nation, is aspiring to be more than just a place where patrons drop in for a mug or a quick bite on the way to somewhere else.

"We have two restaurants and the huge all-ages outdoor Harmon Garden, a private events space, the brewery behind glass - it's more of a destination," says Nagle, nibbling on a Tap Room street taco, while pointing to each subject's location - including The Hub straight above. The Tap Room turned family-friendly this year, but the outdoor beer garden was a 21 and older hangout. If you take your beer out to one of the Garden's long, wood tables today, don't be surprised when two fifth-grade St. Pat's students slam down their root beers on the same table and high-five because their teacher, Mr. Moore, is "rockin' cool."

Over the next four to six weeks, Nagle and Ford will remodel the stairway between the two restaurants, allowing an easy flow.

"The only outdoor seating at The Hub is in the bar. If a family wants pizza or a pulled pork grinder in the sunshine, down the stairs they can descend and out to the Harmon Garden," explains Nagle. "It's that easy."

Other changes include a freshening of the Tap Room's facade. In June, expect to see window dressings and awnings. Wood fencing has replaced the chain fence around the Garden.

As I mention, the keg route to cold storage is changing.

"The area off the Tap Room's back room will be remodeled, insulated and fitted to be a bottling and keg-filling center, opening up the brewing room for more tanks," says Nagle. This will eliminate having to cart the kegs through the Harmon Garden. The kegs will soon only travel several feet into cold storage. Gone will be the crowded bottling situation in the brewing room, and awkward flow through the Garden."

Also on the way are menu changes, seasonal specials and holiday dinners.

The Hub and Harmon Tap Room should be integrated by mid-June, just in time for graduations.

Now, if there was a hotel on top of The Hub. ... Just kidding Pat!

HARMON TAP ROOM, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, all ages until 9 p.m., 204 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, 253.212.2725

Filed under: New Beer Column, Tacoma,

May 9, 2014 at 11:35am

Mac and Cheese Madness: Skillet at Smoke + Cedar in Tacoma

Smoke + Cedar's Skillet Mac + Cheese is a plus. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

While many people who head to the newly opened Smoke + Cedar are looking for the slow-roasted prime rib, the half-pound chuck burger, Team Dino's cocktails and the awesome happy hour, I drive up the hill for the mac and cheese. An order brings the perfect amount of orecchiette pasta (means "little ears") mixed in with owner Gordon Naccarato's version of the Augusta National pimento cheese recipe, then spackled with panko and crumbled  "Ritzy" fire cracker crumbs. The mac and cheese is served in hot skillet, which keeps it hot and prevents the concoction from sticking to the pan - good idea, since you don't want to let a single bite escape. it's freakin' delicious.


May 12, 2014 at 11:16am

Gig Harbor Beer Festival 2014 recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 14, 2014 at 3:41pm

Harmon Brewing Co. to release drINK THIS WHITE IPA

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

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

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

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

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

Ah, all my babbling comes to a point.

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

What pairs well with lectures, workshops and events?


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

Harmon came back with ... drINK THIS!  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Filed under: New Beer Column, Tacoma,

May 15, 2014 at 12:58pm

Harmon Brewing wins Iron Brewer Competition 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Filed under: Awards, New Beer Column, Tacoma,

May 16, 2014 at 11:17am

Mac and Cheese Madness: Engine House No. 9 tailgate version

Engine House No. 9's Tailgate Mac and Cheese

It's Friday, which means I tempt you with another South Sound mac and cheese dish I believe is worthy of the Tournament of Mac and Cheese next spring. Of course, you, the reader, will ultimately decided the fate of the dish when nominations open in February 2015.

Wildly annoying name aside, Lit'l Smokiesaren't necessarily so bad on their own. What's not to like about a bite-sized pellet of sodium and grease from various protein sources after all? Where Smokies take the step from kitschy tooth-picked to awesome is when a cheese sauce starts to get involved.


May 17, 2014 at 2:39pm

Engine House No. 9 releases new Tacoma Brew Pilsener

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

What's old is new again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Filed under: New Beer Column, Tacoma,

May 19, 2014 at 12:46pm

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

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

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

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

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


May 19, 2014 at 1:45pm

Served Blog Banner Girl: Q&A with Rose Peterson of 1022 South J in Tacoma

Rose Peterson, general manager at 1022 South J in Tacoma. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Welcome to Served in the South Sound - the Weekly Volcano's new food and drink blog. This blog will continue to host our thoughts on the South Sound food and drink scene, but now with fewer Howitzers. Military news and event coverage, as well as South Sound music, arts and wackiness will remain on our Walkie Talkie blog. On our new blog, we'll serve up a feedbag of fresh chow daily, with local restaurant news, the 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. We've moved all the New Beer Column and Mac and Cheese Madness posts to this blog. The food and drink posts from 2006 through last Friday will remain on Walkie Talkie.

Every week we'll swap out the Served banner art above, introducing you to the people who serve food and drinks in the South Sound. This week, meet Rose Peterson.

Server Banner Girl, May 19-25, 2014

Rose Peterson

General manager, bartender and server

1022 South J, a craft cocktail lounge and locally-source food, 1022 South J on Tacoma's Hilltop

Why do you serve?

"I started in the bar business as a part-time job for extra cash. I soon found out I didn't want to work behind a desk. I enjoy the conversations I have with strangers, as well as my regulars."

Who is your favorite server in the South Sound?

"Right now, I'm digging Will over at Asado."

What are you most proud to serve?

"The Hazelnut Old Fashioned"

What's your current drink of choice?

"I'll pour a Bastille Whiskey at home, but I'm also on the cider wagon right now."

Favorite movie?

"Die Hard, in fact all of the Die Hard flicks are my favorites."

What don't you serve?

"I don't have anything blue."

What's on your radar at 1022 South J?

"Summer nights on our kickass patio. Bring on the warm weather!"

May 19, 2014 at 6:24pm

Lynnae's Gourmet Pickles to be featured on QVC's "Gourmet Nation with the Food Dudes"

Aly Cullinane, left, and Lynnae Schneller pictured just before they entered the "Shark Tank." Photo courtesy of Facebook

Using a 100-year-old secret family recipe, Lynnae's Gourmet Pickles has not only taken Tacoma by storm, but also has infiltrated the nation. Lynnae Schneller and Aly Cullinane launched their pickle business in 2011, becoming a hot item in the South Sound with their Mrs. Pickles, a sweet and sour pickle, and the Hot Mama, where jalapeno, garlic and pimento swim next to dill spears. Oh, Mama, what a bold, vibrant flavor and nice low burn!

The word got out, and Lynnae's Gourmet Pickles found space in such media as iOprah, Wall Street Journal, Reader's Digest, Ladies Home Journal, USA Today andCNN. In 2013, the duo stood before the sharks on the TV show Shark Tank, but didn't find funding.

Lynnae's Gourmet Pickles are headed back to national television.Wednesday, May 21, Schneller will be featured on QVC at 4 p.m. ET on a new show Gourmet Nation with the Food Dudes, hosted by Dick Domeier and Dan Wheeler.

Lynnae's Gourmet Pickles are available in select stores, including Kroger stores, and are priced at $7-$9 a jar.

Filed under: Business, Media, Tacoma,

About this blog

Served, a blog by the Weekly Volcano, is the region’s feedbag of fresh chow daily, local restaurant news, New Beer Column, bar and restaurant openings and closings, breaking culinary news and breaking culinary ground - all brought to the table with a dollop of Internet frivolity on top.

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Recent Comments

Budi Sdk said:

A very interesting article, to add insight can be read at


Ted Smith said:

Thank you for the list of restaurants to try out. I will have to try their Mac and Cheese....

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tastymakan said:

I like your post on Bakery restaurants I like ...

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Angela Whitten said:

Any Spring beers?

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