Northwest Military Blogs: Served blog

December 9, 2014 at 7:21am

Served Blog Banner Girl: Q&A with Kristina Vanous of Odd Otter Brewing Company

Standing in front of the shirts she designed, Kristina Vanous is ready to pour you an Odd Otter beer. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

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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 Kristina Vanous.

Server Banner Girl, Dec. 8-14, 2014

Kristina Vanous

Long long ago, Kristina Vanous was a Starbucks barista in high school, and then a server for a dinky restaurant out in Enumclaw called CJ Coasters. In college, she worked at a Seattle-based computer firm. She joined Odd Otter Brewing Company as a graphic designer to help them with a redesign of the logo. The scope of the project turned into so much more - a complete rebranding and, eventually, an investor in Odd Otter. Following her return from overseas travels to the lands of Hobbits and Aussies in March, she began working on the actual space. Many of the interior elements were designed and handmade by Vanous. Next on her to-do list is the much-requested flight trays. Yes, she hears you Tacoma. When she's not designing, she's pouring beers.

Why do you serve?
"Odd Otter Brewing Company was founded out of a desire to provide the community with a cozy place that is both inviting and fun. Additionally, the founders have a desire to give back to the community in other, non-alcohol based ways. I serve in large part because the spirit and purpose of the company resonates with my own life philosophy. Also, it's a great opportunity to break away from the week's work to socialize. I really enjoy being able to interact with the folks who have been watching and supporting our progress over the past year. A LOT of heart and soul have gone into this place, and it warms my heart to see people finally enjoying it. I serve because I care about Tacoma. This city has been my home for over a decade, and I love the people in it!"

Who is your favorite server in the South Sound?
"How on earth could I ever choose? Can I list crews? The teams at Hilltop Kitchen and The Forum are always on top of their game whenever any of us Otters visit them. They are approachable, helpful and they tailor their communication styles to their clientele's preferences. I love how attentive they are."

What are you most proud to serve?
"I am proud to serve ALL of our brewer's well-crafted creations, Owen McGrane, Odd Otter's head brewer, is an absolute genius. He has a knack for creating "otterly" unique experiences for your mouth. We don't expect everyone to like everything that we serve: some people like their beer sweet; others like it subtle; some like it hoppy; others like it malty. I could go on with juxtapositions, but my point is that, we've something to delight almost any palate. We think that that's definitely something to be proud of.

As much as I love serving our beer, I am MOST PROUD to serve by utilizing my skills in design and art here at Odd Otter for the community to enjoy. I am proud and honored that the otter graphics on our merchandise; the bar face at which our customers sit; and the tables that I lovingly varnished, carved with otters and checkerboards, and stained reflect my hand and my mind in the brewery. I even made sure that under table and under bar coat and purse hooks were installed for our ladies and gents. The other curiosities I have created, such as the bathroom mural and rock wall, were my way of turning a predictable experience turn into something unique and enjoyable. Witnessing the smiles and laughter over the things I've created in service to our customers are what makes me the most proud. It means I did my job right!

Oh, and my favorite beer to serve is the Ottermelon Hefeweizen. It is soft, subtle and it's delightfully summer-y. Particularly here in Washington where three of our seasons are rain - a little summer sprinkled here and there can brighten up anyone's day."

What's your current drink of choice?
"Although I have tended toward water drinking historically, my current - it's always changing - most fancied beer is Momma Otter's Pancake Porter. "The Pancake" as we call it is a real treat, especially when it comes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream brought in from Ice Cream Social. It's better than a root beer float."

Favorite movie?
"Oh boy, I'm a huge comedy buff. Some favorites include Anchorman, Grandma's Boy, Monty Python and Zoolander."

What don't you serve?
"As a local brewery and tasting room, we are presently licensed to serve only beer. We don't have wine or hard alcohol, but we have beers that wine drinkers and spirits sippers will love. We keep things simple on the food side too: anyone can bring in any food from anywhere and eat it here. Everyone who will deliver food is welcome to deliver it here as well, so even though we won't serve you food, you can eat anything you like. We do have some bags of odd chips for sale, and we'll have bar snacks coming soon."

What's on your radar at Odd Otter Brewing?
"We have some amazing new beers coming up in rotation soon. Two new beers currently fermenting are The Son of Otter, which is a Belgian with hints of spices, apple and pear. It's a nod to Rene Magritte's famed painting "The Son of Man," which depicts a bowler-hatted man whose face is obscured by a green apple. We will also have delightful holiday ale called WinterFace with unique herbal flavors of lavender, orange peel and juniper. I can't wait.

Once our larger seven barrel brewing system is up and running (soon!), we will expand our opening days from Fridays and Saturdays. We also anticipate bringing Tacoma a delightful handcrafted root beer in the next year as well.

And don't forget the gift cards we just received in the mail - hot off the presses and ready to stuff the stockings of Otter fans everywhere. If you pay attention, you also might read about our New Year's Eve party that we're planning, too."


New Brew Space Oddity

LINK: Meet other South Sound servers

LINK: South Sound Happy Hour App

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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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