Lake Tapps Brewing Co. stuck on fun flavors ... but not stuck next to the Stuck River

By Ron Swarner on September 12, 2014

"Morgan Alexander is a cool guy," says Craig Martinson, one of four friends who opened the Lake Tapps Brewing Co. Aug. 25 in the Riverside Pub building next to the Stuck River Bridge in Sumner.

Alexander's name came up in conversation as the Tacoma Brewing Company founder shares the same passion with Martinson - brewing beer with non-traditional ingredients such as pineapple, cherries and raspberries. Martinson will be the first to admit he's not a chemist, but he's a scientist at heart. He enjoys experimenting in his brewery room, adding peaches and jalapenos to his creations. He might not have a mathematical degree hanging on his brewery's wall, but the longtime brewer knows what he is doing. He's been brewing on a one-barrel system out of his Lake Tapps home's garage with his friends for quite some time - friends who are now his business partners - Glenn Adams, Vance Hanbidge and Lee Martin.

"A jalapeno beer is not a unique idea. Trust me, I have had many. What WE try to do is have a fresh jalapeno smell and a fresh jalapeno taste, with a little burn," says Martinson. "A guy came in the other night and said, ‘Dude, I have had 30 jalapeno beers and this is the first one that actually tastes like a fresh jalapeno.'"

It's true. It tastes like a fresh jalapeno. It's delicious.

Besides the Jalapeno Ale, Lake Tapps Brewing Co. currently has on tap their Banana Peach Ale and Coconut Porter - two beers, according to Martinson, that are so popular he's brewing more.

Martinson says they'll try to keep 10 to 12 beers on tap, with a couple guest taps, such as Graham's M.T. Head Brewing's Zuess IPA and its lager, both available now. Other Lake Tapps Brewing beers you can drink now are the Pale Ale, Citrus Blonde with orange and grapefruit, CDA, Stout, Porter, Amber and refreshing ISA. Their IPA is currently not available.

The fresh hops are in and will make an appearance soon, as will be a pumpkin porter and pumpkin blonde. Martinson also has been experimenting with a first-time ingredient that he wants to keep a secret.

What's not a secret is the brewery's future forced move. In the early 1900s, the building, known as the Riverside Tavern, resided on the other side of the Stuck River. After the Stuck River Bridge was built in 1927, the building relocated to its current location at the corner of Valley Avenue East and Bridge Street in Sumner, where it was eventually renamed the Riverside Pub. The bridge over Stuck River on Bridge Street is slated for demolition and replacement by 2015, which will be diverted through the Lake Tapps Brewing Co.'s current location. Martinson and crew are pondering moving the building, including to a location on the east side of Bridge Street.

Until then, the brewery is open Thursday through Saturday, 4 p.m. to close.

The brewery has erected a giant flatscreen with cozy furniture from neighboring Old Cannery Furniture Warehouse. If the Seahawks are on the tube, the brewery will open one hour before the game.

The Lake Tapps Brewing Co. doesn't have a kitchen, but serves pretzels and peanuts. They allow patrons to bring in food, and deliveries are accepted.

LAKE TAPPS BREWING CO., opens 4 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 13708 Valley Ave. E., Sumner, 253.750.0869