Harmon Tap Room Reserve Series beers announced, including a tribute to John O'Gara

By Ron Swarner on July 24, 2014

It's a big weekend for Harmon Brewing Company. Saturday marks the official merging of its two St. Helens neighborhood sister restaurants Harmon Tap Room and The Hub into one giant beer complex. In celebration, a "Progressive Party" will be thrown from 1-6 p.m., where those who pay $15 may meet head brewer Jeff Carlson and his crew, drink specialty beers, taste the new menu, sample desserts from Harmon's new in-house baker and, of course, hug a Harmon employee. Space is limited; grab your tickets at The Hub and Harmon Tap Room. Harmon will also unveil its Hop Coffee enterprise at the party. Hop Coffee will operate out of the Harmon Tap Room, serving Bluebeard Coffee Roasters espresso accented with Harmon beer reduction syrups. If that wasn't enough, the party will also take time out for the Harmon and Tacoma homebrewing supplier MASH to hand out awards for their homebrewing competition, Aroma of Tacoma.


In regards to the "specialty beers" available during the Progressive Party, head brewer Jeff Carlson has released the goods. The following Harmon Tap Room Reserve Series beers will be available Saturday, and will remain on tap at the Harmon Tap Room after the party.

In honor of John O'Gara, the ParkWay Tavern's long-time manager who passed away this past spring, Carlson has brewed the Old John Barrel Blend; an old ale brewed with Pale 2-Row, Dark Munich, Crystal 15 and a little Pale Chocolate malts. It was hopped with Liberty, Fuggle and Cascade hops. The whole batch was transferred into three barrels - two whiskey barrels and one wine barrel - then blended. It rings in at 9.7 percent ABV and 45 IBUs. The ParkWay Tavern also has a little shindig on Saturday.

The second Harmon beer is the Left Handed Nomad, which was brewed for the anniversary of the Tacoma Rugby Club. It's a hoppy light bodied blonde ale with citrus, melon and tropical/fruity flavors and aromas. The flavors and aromas come from five different hop varieties - Sterling, Amarillo, Centennial, Cascade and Citra. The grains Carlson used to balance the beer out and create its wonderful color were 2-row pale, a German Pilsner malt, Carahell and White Wheat. It rings in at 5.1 ABV and 35 IBUs.

The third release is its Super Samurai; a single hop barleywine featuring Sorachi Ace hops. Name appropriately, this barleywine is big, bold and aggressive with 11 percent ABV and 102 IBUs.

Fourth, its Cascadian Dark Ale Black Tartan will be in the house. The full-bodied IPA is brewed with six different malted barleys and chocolate wheat, and hops Colombus, Amarillo, Simcoe and Zythos for the dry-hop. Harmon's Black Tartan grabbed a silver medal at the 2014 Washington Beers Awards for its combination of roasted malts with citrusy and piney hop notes. If you can't decide between a stout and an IPA, chose this combination of booth. It rings in at 7.4 percent ABV and 84 IBUs. Only one keg remains, so Saturday may be your only chance.

Finally, the Reserve Series Barrel Aged Saison is Harmon's latest release in its Tap Room Reserve Series of beers. The Mt. Takhoma Blonde is the base of this beer, fermented and aged in a wine barrel, with two different strains of Saison yeast. While fermenting in the barrel Carlson also added some candied Ginger and three different tea blends from Ubis in Tacoma. Expect a combination of aromas and flavors with a slight tart and dry finish. It rings in at 5 percent ABV and 18 IBUs.

There you go. There's Carlson's summer gift to you.

HOP COFFEE OPENING/PROGRESSIVE PARTY/AROMA OF TACOMA AWARDS, 1-6 p.m., Saturday, July 26, Harmon Tap Room/The Hub, 204 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, 253.212.2725