Northwest Military Blogs: Served blog

Posts made in: September, 2014 (39) Currently Viewing: 31 - 39 of 39

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

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,

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

September 22, 2014 at 6:23pm

Aroma of Tacoma Pro-Am Pub Crawl coming to Sixth Avenue

Dioni De Morena won many medals at the 2014 Aroma of Tacoma Homebrew Championship. Stay standing for his beer Saturday. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Casey Williams and Trevor Nichol held their first annual home brewing contest during July, and competition was fierce. Titled the "Aroma of Tacoma Homebrew Championship," the duo invited home brewers from across the lands to brew beers using handcrafted products, containing ingredients available to the general public and made using private equipment. The competition had more in common with the Westminster dog show than it did a Betty Crocker pie-making competition. For a homebrew to rise to the top of the class, it had to match the style of one of the 23 categories recognized by the Beer Judge Certification Program guidelines. Winners in each category were then judged head-to-head to determine the "Best in Show," which was awarded to Dioni De Morena of Redmond. De Morena and the other home brewers received their awards the last Saturday morning in July in the Harmon Tap Room's beer garden. Beer was drank before 10 a.m. (natch).

Five beers from the competition were selected by local brewers to be brewed commercially, a Pro/Am selection, if you will:

Randall Breedlove brewed his The Geek IPA at Tacoma Brewing Co.;
Tim Frommer brewed his C. D. Saison ay Engine House No. 9;
Tony Ochsner brewed his Waimea Blood Orange Pale Ale at The RAM;
Jay Walker and Shawn Anderson brewed their Hop Denim Double IPA at Harmon Brewing Co.;
Dioni De Morena brewed his Die Wasp Kolsch at Wingman Brewers.

Williams and Nichol have added a final piece to their Aroma - a pub crawl. Saturday, the Pro-Am beers will be poured at Sixth Avenue drinking establishments. At noon, those who shelled out $35 here (still time!), will gather at The Red Hot to toss back 10-ounces of Frommer's C.D. Saison. Then drinkers - some wearing their commemorative T-shirts and some not - will walk across the street to the Engine House No. 9 and tip all 10-ounces of Ochsner's Waimea Blood Orange Pale. The Aroma of Tacoma Pro-Am Pub Crawl will then head east along Sixth Avenue until Williams and Nichol steer drinkers into O'Malley's Irish Pub for 10-ounces of Breedlove's The Greek IPA. Next, it's a short hop to Dirty Oscar's for the Hop Denim Double IPA invented by Walker and Anderson. At this point no one will complain about backtracking to the Crown Bar for 10-ounces of Best in Show winner De Morena's Die Wasp Kolsch.

The official crawl will end at 5 p.m. Some drinkers will walk away like pros, some like amateurs. It's safe to say most everyone will leave with smiles.

AROMA OF TACOMA PRO-AM PUB CRAWL, noon to 5 p.m., The Red Hot, 2914 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, $35,

September 23, 2014 at 11:38am

Oktoberfest South Sound 2014: Calendar full of beer, dinners, music and dogs ...

Madchen reminded us in August that Little Creek Casino's Oct. 19 Oktoberfest will end the Bavarian season in the South Sound. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

We have the Fourth of July, Mexico has Dia de los Muertos, and Ireland has St. Patrick's Festival. When it came time for Germany to claim a holiday, they figured, why not just celebrate beer for a month? Touché, Germany. Since most of us can't make our way to Munich's massive Oktoberfest festival this year, giant halls, restaurants, boaters, bars and such in the South Sound are bringing Oktoberfest to us.


Wh-wh-WA? Pint Defiance has taken the "O" out of Oktoberfest and kicked it back to Oregon, or something. Wednesday night, the specialty beer store and tap will host (WA)ctoberfest, a celebration of Washington state craft beer. On tap will be Wingman Fresh Hop Northwest Pale, Boundary Bay Pilsner, Black Raven Hochtoberfest, Georgetown Tomtoberfest, Fremont Harvest Ale, Elysian Dark O' The Moon Pumpkin Stout and Schilling Spiced Apple Cider. Don't be surprised if you see a new limited edition Pint Defiance pint glass in the haus. 5-7 p.m., no cover, Pint Defiance, 2049 Mildred St. W., Tacoma, 253.302.4240


German music and food - and pizza. That's right; Katie Downs hosts The Gary Hausam Band, offers a special German menu and continues to serve cheesy, thick triangles of goodness at its Oktoberfest. Better yet, Full Sail will sail into the waterfront restaurant with ample LTD Lager. Of course, LTD means limited edition. Since 2006, the Hood River brewery has changed the recipe, showcasing an original, Bavarian-style lager every year. In 2014, Recipe No. 7 is back, which means an Oktoberfest with imported Czech Saaz and Yakima Sterling hops. Tip one now because this three-time gold medal winner won't see October. 6-9 p.m., no cover, Katie Downs, 3211 Ruston Way, Tacoma, 253.756.0771

SEE ALSO: Oktoberfest Dinner at the Hotel Murano


The Red Hot will celebrate its Oktoberfest with a nod to acclaimed Bavarian brewery Ayinger Brauerei, located in the town of Aying, just a few miles north of the Munich area. Ayinger beers are characterized by a pronounced maltiness (in flavor and aroma) - accenting more than many of the beers from the major Munich breweries. Ayinger uses a significant portion of locally-grown barley and wheat to produce their beers. The water comes from the brewery's own well, and the hops come from the famous Hallertau region of north-central Bavaria, and Spalt, an area near Nuremberg. 11 a.m. to close, no cover, The Red Hot, 2914 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.779.0229

Fish Brewing Company's 16th Annual Oktoberfest will pack their downtown Olympia brewery. There you'll find all the things you've come to expect from a Fish Oktoberfest: down home, ole' fashion, ass kickin' southern-roots band The Slow Rollers and high energy funk, soul and sexy The Brown Edition. Live German oom-pah bands would only squash the groove. These two bands will pump out tunes to incite beer guzzling, various delicious wursts (there is no such thing as too much wurst), a sneak peek at the Hobbit beer series and an obscene amount of Leavenworth Biers Oktoberfest. 4-10 p.m., $25-$30 at, Fish Brewing Company, 515 Jefferson St., Olympia,


The Harmon Brewery & Eatery and the Harmon Tap Room present a week's worth of Oktoberfest fun. Click here for details.


Tides Tavern has been pouring craft beer since my boat shoes matched my Flock of Seagulls hair color. I've never attended their O-fest, but I'll endorse anything these folks do, sight unseen. From the day's opening, the waterfront restaurant will pair food with Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen, one of the most highly-respected märzens. An Ayinger rep will be in the haus from 5-8 p.m. 11 a.m. to close, no cover, Tides Tavern, 2925 Harborview Dr., Gig Harbor, 253.858.3982


SEE: Oktoberfest Northwest at the Washington State Fairgrounds


It's that time of year again. The leaves are changing, the air is crisper and the schnitzel is shooting out of tanks. Yep, you guessed it. It's Oktoberfest time at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The JBLM Oktoberfest celebration begins at 11 a.m. at the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Fest Tent. The event, lasting until 10 p.m., will feature German-themed music, entertainment, food and brew. The Oktoberfest celebration is free to attend. The menu at JBLM's Oktoberfest celebration will feature schnitzel, bratwurst, potato salad and sauerkraut, just to name a few items. Meals can be bought a la carte starting at $2 or as a menu starting at $9. Maisel's Weisse, Spaten Lager, Veltins and Zunft will be available for purchase. A variety of live bands will take the stage throughout the day. The Bonnie Birch Bavarian Band kicks things off at 11 a.m., ringing in Oktoberfest with traditional accordion and tuba music. The day's soundtrack will also feature polka bands and the Spazmatics, the popular ‘80s cover band. Kids may enjoy foam sword fights, pony and hay rides and a climbing wall. Adults will compete in a keg toss, stein hoist and tricycle race. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., free admission, MWR Fest Tent, behind Bowl Arena Lanes on Liggett Avenue, Joint Base Lewis-McChord,

SEE ALSO: YachtoberFest at the The Foss Waterway Esplanade

SATURDAY, OCT. 5        

Summer is coming to an end, but it's far from the end of park season. Soundview Veterinary Hospital in Tacoma hosts their version of bark in the park when its Dogtoberfest runs wild in Kandle Park. The event will feature a costume contest, obstacle course, hot dogs and refreshments, and other activities to keep both you and your pet entertained. Leashed, licensed and well-behaved pets welcome. Bonus: The Copper Door will have a booth in the park, handing out coupons for discounted 7 Seas Brewing and Wingman Brewers harvest beers back at its 12 N. Tacoma Ave. store. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., free admission, Kandle Park, 2323 N. Shirley, Tacoma, 253.759.4001


You've attended Bayview School of Cooking's "Fridays Uncorked" nights. You've casually sipped five or so wines as you gazed out at beautiful Budd Bay. Feeling good, you mosied downstairs to the Thriftway grocery store and bought five Tyson Breaded Chicken dinners, telling your kids to cook it and like it. Oct. 10, the wine series goes Oktoberfest as five German beers and German-style beers will be poured for $5. Also expect oom-pah music, pumpkin carving demonstration and customer judging of employee carved pumpkins. Does Tyson make schnitzel? 5-7 p.m., $5, $7 for paired plates, Bayview School of Cooking, 516 W. Fourth Ave., Olympia, 360.754.1448

Top Rung Brewing Co. in Lacey will take its operation outside, hosting an outdoor beer garden for a fall party. Founders Casey and Jason are Thurston County firefighters, so if they don't want to call it an Oktoberfest celebration, then it's cool with me. Expect food, games and their new 360 Red Ale. Besides the area code in Lacey, 360 also has a firefighter meaning: a complete 360-degree assessment must be completed in order to size up an incident. I know I'll be sizing up the 360 Red Ale, made with Red X, 2-Row, Oats and Chocolate malts, Cascade and Nugget hops and American yeast. It rings in at 5.8 percent ABV. 2-9 p.m., no cover, Top Rung Brewing Co., 8343 Hogum Bay Lane NE, Lacey, 360.239.3043


Wingman Brewers will host a pumpkin and Oktoberfest party with the release of an Oktoberfest and several pumpkin beers. 509 Puyallup Ave., Tacoma, 253.651.4832


The most memorable sight during this year's Olympia Brew Fest? Most guys would stumble over their words, but eventually admit it was the two young lasses dressed in Bavarian attire promoting the 2nd Annual Oktoberfest at Little Creek Casino. The guys have the pictures to prove it. The Shelton casino will have "authentic" German cuisine and more than 30 varieties of beer from around the world as well as wines and spirits. A traditional keg-tapping ceremony will be held at noon followed by live entertainment! Admission is $10 per person and includes a souvenir beer mug and 10 tasting tickets. Noon to 8 p.m., $10, Little Creek Casino, 91 W. State Route 108, Shelton, 800.667.7711

September 24, 2014 at 10:37am

Oktoberfest South Sound 2014: Harmon Brewery and Eatery vs. Harmon Tap Room

How will you Harmon next week during Oktoberfest? Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

They both are owned by Carole Ford and Pat Nagle. They both are operating breweries. And they both are hosting a week's worth of Oktoberfest events beginning Monday, Sept. 29. But between the downtown Harmon Brewery & Eatery and the Stadium District Harmon Tap Room, which can truly claim Tacoma Oktoberfest star status?

>>> MONDAY, SEPT. 29

Harmon Brewery & Eatery: Happy hour prices all night, $3 steak night and live music with Steve Stefanowicz from 7-9 p.m.

Harmon Tap Room: Oktoberfest trivia with prizes, plus German pub grub, beginning at 6 p.m.

Edge: Whomever is running the Oktoberfest trivia game, I imagine he or she can't shred Rammstein's "Ich Will" like the human jukebox Stefanowicz. The downtown Harmon wins Monday night.


Harmon Brewery & Eatery: It's Beer & Brats Night with giant pretzels all day.

Harmon Tap Room: Free giant pretzel and beer cheese with any pint all day.

Edge: I'm not talking beer fondue but rather fermented grains and water meets fermented milk. The fact I have to drink a pint to grab a free hunk of beer cheese draws a smile. The Stadium District taproom wins Tuesday night.


Harmon Brewery & Eatery: The downtown Harmon grabs the Oktoberfest themed trivia cards, and then pairs the game with Wiener schnitzel!

Harmon Tap Room: O.M.G. German chocolate and black cherries stacked in a Randall ... with pairings, beginning at 6 p.m.

Edge: The Harmon could make Wiener schnitzel the size of a Victorian lady's handkerchief, and I'd still plop right in front of that Randall Wednesday night. Be my Valentine, Harmon Tap Room!


Harmon Brewery & Eatery: 17th Annual Brewmaster's Dinner - a six-course dinner paired with season beers hosted by Harmon brewers Jeff Carlson and Bill Lundeen: pretzel baskets and Fall Ball red, pear gorgonzola salad and Creamsicle Pale Ale, wild mushroom crostini and 5 Mile Drive IPA, German fare plate with Black Tartan CDA, ice cream and Super Samurai Barley Wine Ale AND maple glazed doughnuts with walnut streusel paired with Headless Horseman Pumpkin Spice Blonde.

Harmon Tap Room: Brats & Brews Night featuring all-you-can-eat "Brat Bar" with traditional sides.  

Edge: Ja. Ja, girly-man Tap Room. Hear me now and believe me later - but don't think about it ever, because, if you try to think, you might cause your little brats to cry like a flabby wiener. Ja! Jeff Carlson and Bill Lundeen could easily rip the Tap Room's "Brat Bar"-tender's skinny little arms off and use them as dental floss! Ja! Brewmaster's Dinner wins Thursday.

>>> FRIDAY, OCT. 3

Harmon Brewery & Eatery: Bring Your Own Mug Night and have your stein filled for the same price as a 16-ounce pint. Harmon caps it at 24-ounces.

Harmon Tap Room: Jagermeister drink specials, a cooking with beer class and 99 biodegradable balloons released into the sky at 7 p.m. while "99 Luftballoons" by Nena screams from speakers.

Edge: ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha ...


Harmon Brewery & Eatery: No Oktoberfest events. The Harmon staff will probably be out searching for balloons with pounding Jager headaches.

Harmon Tap Room: A German feast with pint prices dropping hourly with the "German Barmaid" in the house, posing for photos.

Edge: German Barmaid


Neither. Unless an electoral college steps into the fray, I'm declaring this one a draw. Now, as soon as I can clear all the bribe schwag and beer from my desk, I can get back to work.

HARMON BREWERY & EATERY, 1938 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.383.2739

HARMON TAP ROOM, 204 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, 253.212.2725

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

Filed under: New Beer Column, Tacoma,

September 24, 2014 at 11:37am

Eat This Now: Sriracha Dog

The long roller coaster flavor ride that is the Sriracha Dog at Cafe Brosseau.

Nestled in North Tacoma's charming Three Bridge District, Café Brosseau welcomes those who want to cozy up to flavors, reads and screens. Among their assortment of Madrona Coffee Co. concoctions, Mad Hat Tea options and Corina Bakery pastries you'll spy a menu of sandwiches and dogs perfect for lunch time munching while typing away on the laptop or nibbling between friendly bits of conversation.

The item you must try in my humble opinion is the Sriracha Dog ($6.25). This quarter pound, all-beef frank stretches across the coffee shop in a grilled bun, split down the center and piled high with bacon, gratuitous amounts of cream cheese, sliced sweet Lynnae's Gourmet Pickles, and then drizzled with sriracha. The sweet and spice combo pack a one-two punch for your taste buds - the pickles serve to adorn your dog better than any relish you've experienced to date while the cream cheese cools it all down. I don't dare pretend to be all hoity-toity about my dogs but the textures are well balanced while the flavors are fun and compelling without being too adventurous.

If you're one who learned how to order food a la When Harry Met Sally and feel like mixing it up, the Café Brosseau crew is happy to make substitutions with cheddar or Havarti cheese on hand or even Lynnae's other pickled choices - dill or spicy. But really in this gals eyes no substitutions are necessary.

CAFÉ BROSSEAU, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, 2716 N. 21st St., Tacoma, 253.327.1306

Filed under: Eat This Now, Tacoma,

September 26, 2014 at 2:45pm

Mac and Cheese Madness: Applebee's

Applebee's 4-Cheese Mac & Cheese with Honey Pepper Chicken Tenders is a whirlwind of flavors.

Let's face it. Applebee's is genius. It knows people exiting shopping areas will be drained  - money and energy - to the point of making crazy-ass decisions. It knows its "2 for $20" appetizer and two entrees special will draw people like magnets, right to its lounge with shiny cocktails and Maroon 5 loops. Speaking of lounge, Applebee's drops its beer and emotional fulfillment right in the middle of the joint. Genius. The single's bar meets family dining captures all the middle income.

Applebee's certainly had the genius hat riding high when "4-Cheese Mac & Cheese with Honey Pepper Chicken Tenders" hit the white board. Three delicious, completely different tastes in the same bowl save time and money. Tiny bits of Applewood smoked bacon plus fried chicken on top of cheese-loaded pasta is brilliant. And, the whopping 810 calories with 35 grams of fat and 1,720 mg of sodium will help your tired, retailed-out self reach comatose in front of new fall TV delight, The McCarthys.

The only aspect of the dish that isn't genius is the flavor. It's a tad bland.

APPLEBEE'S, 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, 10407 Gravelly Lake Dr. SW, Lakewood, 253.983.8884

LINK: More mac and cheese dishes in the South Sound

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

September 29, 2014 at 9:37am

Served Blog Banner Girl: Q&A with BriAnn Hein of Shake Shake Shake

BriAnn Hein has a burger and a boozy shake waiting for you at Shake Shake Shake in Tacoma's Stadium District. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

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

Server Banner Girl, Sept. 29-Oct. 5, 2014

BriAnn Hein

BriAnn Hein genuinely cares about making peoples' dining experience an enjoyable one. She understands cooking at home is cheaper ... but not as fun. Hein creates an entertaining environment with a bubbly personality, willingness to accommodate, ability to act as a food tour guide and her real desire to make sure guests enjoy themselves overall. Her service industry career began at Mick's Ale House in Medford, Oregon. From there I have worked all over Oregon and the South Sound of Washington. She's currently serving at Shake, Shake, Shake in Tacoma's Stadium District and North China Garden on Sixth Avenue. Occasionally, she'll help out with the bustling weekend breakfast at Dirty Oscar's.

Why do you serve?

"This might sound weird but serving is part of something I need in my everyday life. I LOVE talking to people and meeting new people. I crave being social with random strangers. You meet some of the most incredible people. I got to serve the English Beat band."

Who's your favorite server in the South Sound?

"It's really hard to choose one favorite. But I have to choose Zach Gettel at Duke's Chowder House. Cool, calm and collected and super funny. Can I mention his muscles? LOL."

What are you most proud to serve?

"I am most proud to serve fresh, local and inspiring foods. I love watching people try something new for the first time and find themselves speechless. Maybe because their mouth is full, but you can see it on their face."

What's your favorite drink?

"Well, my current drink is sparkling Organic Blood Orange Soda. Alcohol and I broke up three years ago."

"What's your favorite movie?

"Don't laugh, OK? Dances with Wolves. I don't know why but I love it. Years ago McDonald's had three-dollar movies you could add to your meal. I got Dances with Wolves and I was hooked." 

What don't you serve?

"What I don't like to serve is a bad attitude. I love laughing and seeing customers happy. The happier the customers are the happier I am."

What's on your radar at Shake Shake Shake?

"Well ... we have a really cool projector and TVs so how about I radar all you folks down to have some beer, burgers and boozy shakes and cheer on our Hawks together?! Ya, sounds good to me too."

LINK: Meet other South Sound servers

Filed under: Served Banner Models, Tacoma,

September 30, 2014 at 2:26pm

Eat This Now: Tom's Famous Drumsticks

Tom's Famous Drumsticks at Pacific Grill / photo credit: Jackie Fender

I don't know who Tom is, but I can tell you why his drumsticks are "famous."

I discovered Tom's famous doing during Pacific Grill's ninth anniversary celebration Sept. 22. It happen to be happy hour, too.

The downtown Tacoma fine-dining restaurant always has flawless service, well educated on the menu selections and attentive. Our bartender recommended Tom's Famous Drumsticks ($12 regularly priced, half off for happy hour). I suggest you always take the staff's recommendations. Two meaty drumsticks cooked to perfection; the meat so tender it fell off the bone. These drummies are flavorful having been marinated with garlic, mustard, soy and Tabasco then grilled with rosemary branches. One branch was smoldering atop the duo when the dish landed on the table. The zesty marinade and lovely cilantro cream that dress the bowl are perfect for dipping the drumsticks and whatever else your heart desires.

With all day happy hour in the lounge sampling the menu is a must.

Someone needs to introduce me to this Tom guy so I can thank him in person for my new favorite chicken fix.

PACIFIC GRILL, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 5-11 p.m. Saturday, 5-10 p.m. Sunday, 1502 Pacific Ave., 253.627.3535

October 1, 2014 at 4:13pm

7 Seas Brewing and 253 Heart release 253 Pilsner, nonprofits to benefit

7 Seas Brewing and 253 Heart have released 253 Pilsner, a lager with a portion of the proceeds benefiting local nonprofits. Courtesy photo

Two years ago, Tacoma resident Catherine Masucci brought together two of her creative friends. Turns out, they had a mutual admiration for each other.

"It was on a visit to 7 Seas in early 2012 when I discovered a 253 Heart sticker on one of the brewery's windows. I took a photo and texted it to my friend Steve Naccarato," Masucci explains. "I've always been a fan of the 253 Heart because I feel that it encompasses the love and pride the people of this area have for our great community," says Masucci.

"I thought, why not bring two local favorites together?"

Masucci contacted 7 Seas Brewing co-owner Mike Runion and suggested he meet her friend Steve, torchbearer of the 253 Heart.

The two men met.

The 253 Pilsner is on the street today.

"Even before there was talk of beer, we loved the design of 253 Heart and what it means," says Runion, who owns the Gig Harbor brewery with head brewer Travis Guterson. "It strikes a cord with us. It stands for pride of where you live - a love of place. And beyond the 253, the message is still there: No matter where you are from, it's about caring and having pride where you live."

The day the two men met there was indeed talk of a collaborative beer, but there was also talk of compassion, heart and give back to the community. Craft brewing companies such as 7 Seas Brewing have put the 253 on the map as the place to experience and purchase quality beer as well as support local causes. Now the Gig Harbor brewery will join forces with an even bigger Heart to support the community year-round.

The Heart

Before touring the world with his band, Motopony, artist/poet/musician Daniel Blue lived and breathed Tacoma. On Christmas Day, 2007, Blue doodled 253, turned the paper 90 degrees and saw that it had formed a heart. Over the next three years, the 253 Heart appeared on windshields, laptops, backpacks and anything owned by someone who held the area code close to his or her heart. Blue said the 253 Heart is about love of place. With music consuming his life, Blue passed the emblem to fellow Tacoma artist and friend, Steve Naccarato -  son of Stan, brother of Gordon -  a longtime Tacoman who had put his heart into baseball, acting, consulting on a primetime television show, opening restaurants including Shake Shake Shake, producing records, producing concerts, letterpress artistry, photography and the torch bearer of the 253 Heart. Naccarato has taken his second heart to heart commissioning artists to design products that showcase the creative energy and spirit of Pierce County, with a portion of the sales benefitting local charities.

Naccarato's Heart and heart beat harder after meeting Runion. Runion, a big presence with a heart to match, agreed their collaboration should have a strong charitable presence. A second meeting inked a mission to contribute $5,000 of 253 Pilsner sales to a revolving door of 501(c)(3) status nonprofits. The inaugural nonprofits were chosen based on current relationships. Naccarato believes strongly in Ben Warner and his Alchemy Indoor Skatepark and Education Center, the Tacoma-based organization striving to improving the relationship between skateboarders and the greater community - "to provide a free, dry, and safe place for local skaters to practice and develop their athletic, social, and educational skills," according to Warner.

"Ben is helping reshape the skateboard community here," says Naccarato. "He has such a passion for skateboarding. But, he has a big mountain to climb, with laws and perception. Resources are critical, and that's were we hope to help."

7 Seas Brewing chose Peninsula Hands On Art, an organization they believe in and have donated to in the past. Founded in 2003 by parents and local artists, the organization serves approximately 2,700 students in grades K-5 across six schools.

"Peninsula Hands On Art provides elementary schools with hands-on art projects taught by local artists around a particular curriculum. The money we raise will go toward purchasing materials," explains Runion.

Runion says the Peninsula art program is in place, but resources are crucial. He can see the program branching out from the peninsula and spreading across the 253.

"We wanted to find nonprofits where the money was really going to be used," Runion continues. "We wanted to work with nonprofits where five thousand dollars can make a huge change. If you want to make change happen, sometimes it just needs to happen from within. People who live in this community and want to make our community better can't expect others to come in and do it for us. The change has to come from within. That's why we want to give back, and work with nonprofits that are just getting off the ground."

"Money is so tight out there right now, and you can do only so many auctions and car washes," says Naccarato. "It's incumbent for the private sector to partner with the community and make it a better place to live."

The 253 Pilsner will have a dedicated section on the 253 Heart website explaining why the two businesses joined forces, why they love the area and detailed information about the beer.

"It's where you can find out about projects related to the beer, follow the progress of the nonprofits, what happened to the funds, who will be the next nonprofits and a chance to nominate other nonprofits," says Runion. "And it's not just Tacoma, but Gig Harbor, University Place, Lakewood, Puyallup - It's the whole 253 area zone."

The Beer

A proponent of cans, due to the evils of sunlight and recycling costs of glass, 7 Seas Brewing will release the 253 Pilsner in gold cans.

"The 253 Pilsner can was produced by notable craft brew design leader Blindtiger - and it's striking," says Naccarato.  "We wanted to pay homage to the Tacoma brewers from a hundred years ago. Therefore, the can is old-school gold. 

"Not a lot of local brewers make Pilsners, but they did in the 1800s," continues Naccarato. "This Pilsner best represents the 253, its history - and 7 Seas has brewed a pale lager Pilsner better than the beer brewed back in the day."

"It took a while to put the whole project together due to the cans, but we strongly believe this is the way to do it," adds Runion. "We really wanted to bring back the old-school style, the gold can. We studied the old cans - the fonts, the colors, the styles. But, luckily, it won't taste like old tin cans."

Modern cans are coated in a water-based coating specially made to protect the beer.

7 Seas was the first microbrewery in Washington to can their beers. In 2008, weeks away from production, a fire destroyed their operation. They re-opened in a new Gig Harbor location and produced their first 7 Seas label key in July 2009. In 2012, the year they began producing canned beer, 7 Seas moved into an 11,000 square foot space in downtown Gig Harbor, which included a large taproom with 24 taps - with one tap devoted to a guest beer from a Washington brewery. Runion is a huge proponent of supporting the Washington beer industry.

Why a collaborative Pilsner?

"It's a nod to Tacoma's brewing history. Those breweries of yesteryear - the Hiedelbergs, the Columbias, the Olympias - produced old school light lagers," says Runion. "Lager take a lot longer to brew than ales. That's why craft brewers brew the ales. In two weeks, an ale is done. For a lager, it's more like six to twelve weeks. Sure, the financials are better to do ales. You can turn two to three times as many ales than lagers. But we have the space to brew lagers right now. And we always wanted to make a lager."

7 Seas Brewing co-owner and head brewer, Travis Guterson, brewed more than five test batches, with different hops and different malts, to try find the recipe they liked.

"Travis settled on Sterling and Cascade hops. It's a Northwest interpretation of a Pilsner," says Runion.

Hand-crafted with Northwest Pale and Pilsner malt, the 12-ounce gold can will go down easy at 5.2 percent alcohol by volume.

"We're super happy with the result," says Runion with a smile.

The 253 Pilsner will be delivered to distributors Tuesday and in stores beginning Wednesday. It will be available at bottle shops and independent grocery stores. In the spring, after the resets, the beer will find its way to the grocery store chains. The 253 Pilsner will be distributed up and down western Washington through 7 Seas' distributors.

A release party for the 253 Pilsner will be held at Shake Shake Shake in Tacoma's Stadium District, which is owned by Naccarato and his business partner, Robert Stocker. A date hasn't been nailed down, but expect nonprofits to be on-site to discuss their missions, and plenty of good beer to drink.

According to these two men, the whole idea is a charity first, and a beer second. They believe true fulfillment never comes from financial or material success. Happiness and deep sense of connection is their goal. Runion and Naccarato, and their cohorts, sit on the same mountaintop. Money comprises the base, but idealism, balance and good vibes more than tops the peak.

It just so happens the beer is delicious.

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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