How to do the ParkWay Tavern IPA Fest Aug. 30

By Ron Swarner on August 27, 2014

You're either at Bumbershoot or the ParkWay Tavern's IPA Fest Saturday, Aug. 30. Both events will be packed with people. I believe the Seattle music and art festival slightly edges out the Tacoma Stadium District tavern's gathering in terms of attendance numbers. Also, Bumbershoot has more Slovakian Gypsy acrobats.

The ParkWay's IPA Fest is a huge deal. It has been circled on calendars for months. Vacation days have been submitted. Relatives have been shunned. The ParkWay's taps will be consumed by 32 deliciously bitter India pale ales from 11 a.m. to close. It's a true tribute to hops and those who love them.

Nothing but IPAs may sound monotonous, but the originally British India pale ale style comes in a wide variety of flavors these days, from strong, malty double and imperial IPAs such as Valholl The Mother In-Law, Laurelwood Megafauna and Sound Brewing Humulo Nimbus to fruity IPAs such as the Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin and Caldera Dry Hop Orange, and spicy rye IPAs such as the one from Bellevue Brewing Company. Don't forget the dark, roasted black IPAs such as the new Dick's Midnight Ride Black IPA.

If you haven't attended the ParkWay's IPA Fest, I have a few tips. Get there early. Duh. No, really. Get there early. If you score a bar stool, you can sell it for $500. You'll have a ringside seat to the staff's mosh pit of craziness. If you feel as if you're being ignored, glance back at the line out the door. I'll guarantee you'll be served faster sitting at the bar.

Know the IPA list before entering the line. There is often a beer list printout floating around. The IPAs will be chalked on the wall. Snap a photo with your phone if need be. When your waist hits the bar, it's go time. If you stutter, you'll be thrown in IPA Jail. If someone spaces and steps in front of you, don't freak out. There's plenty of time and plenty of beer.

No doubt 6-ounce tasters will be the glass of the day, which is the way it should be. It's not a day for a full pint of Double IPA. There are too many different beers to spend so much time and volume on one. But don't shy away from quantity - order two or three at a time for efficiency. Then, take your beers for a stroll down the side walkway to the backyard beer garden, and chill out with friends. Listen to live music beginning at 3 p.m. Enjoy burgers and ribs off the barbecue.

The ParkWay will tap 32 IPAs Saturday. Here is a partial list of IPA Festival beers the tavern posted on its Facebook:

IPA FESTIVAL, 11 a.m. to close, Saturday, Aug. 30, ParkWay Tavern, 313 N. I St., Tacoma, no cover, 253.383.8748