Northwest Military Blogs: Served blog

Posts made in: January, 2015 (24) Currently Viewing: 21 - 24 of 24

January 28, 2015 at 10:48am

Beer Here: Gigantic Brewing, Avery Brewing, Hop Valley, Tides' Tapmaster line-up ...

Tides Tavern in Gig Harbor kicks off its Tapmaster program - 16 beers in the 28 days - Super Bowl Sunday.

As Super Bowl Sunday approaches, I'm thinking about beer. Who wants to be sipping wine or cocktails? Sudsy brews are de rigueur. Here are a few South Sound craft beer events to hit before the big game. Maybe you'll walk away with your Super Bowl beers.

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 28

Last week Double Mountain Brewing out of Hood River, Oregon, released their My Little Runaway-Belgian Style Cherry Ale. Like all beers at Double Mountain, the My Little Runaway is unfiltered for the purpose of preserving freshness and flavor. This cherry ale contains a small amount of natural fruit and yeast sediment that forms on the bottom of the bottle. No word if the beer will make an appearance at the Double Mountain Brewer's Night at Puyallup River Alehouse from 6-9 p.m.

Last month, Gigantic Brewing released its 2013 Massive! Barleywine. The aptly named barleywine always features one malt boiled for at least nine hours in the direct fire kettle, resulting in toffee and caramelized sugar malt flavors and evaporation over the long boil results in higher finished alcohol - 13.5 percent. Gigantic! Conquer this beer and meet its founder, Ben Love, when Pint Defiance hosts the Gigantic Brewing Company Brewer's Night from 5-7 p.m. The Portland brewery, which opened in 2011, will also tap its Gigantic IPA, Ginourmous IPA and Saboteur Baltic Porter. Go big!

In 1991, Homebrewer Jeff Lebesch opened New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colorado. The brewing company has ridden its Fat Tire amber ale across the country - most recently building huge plants in North Carolina, especially Asheville. There are other reasons they have become so big and successful. Le Terroir, La Folie and Tart Lychee are three of those reasons, but there are dozens more. Chat up and drink New Belgium beers at The Swiss Restaurant and Pub, beginning at 6 p.m.

THURSDAY, JAN. 29

Hey kids! Want to black out before the Super Bowl? Then you're in luck, cause Avery Brewing is bringing its demonically strong Mephistopheles Stout to The Copper Door beer store and taproom. First brewed in 2005 as the third installment in Avery's "Demons of Ale" series, it measures in at 14.5 percent alcohol. That's evil. Take note Uber drivers: The Stadium District beer store will also pour Avery's Tweak, Lilikoi Kepolo, Ellie's Brown Ale, India Pale Ale and White Rascal. Of note is the White Rascal, which was brewed at New Belgium last year while Avery built a 96,000-square-foot facility in the Gunbarrel area of Boulder - so it can push out around half a million barrels of beer annually. The new plant opens Feb. 16. The Avery Brewing Night at The Copper Door runs 6-9 p.m. Thursday.

FRIDAY, JAN. 30

How did Dick's Brewing raise more than $5,700 for American Cancer Society's Relay for Life of Lewis County this past September? It held a home brew contest and invited folks to celebrate the winners with beer drinking, auctions and raffles. The winner for the 4th Annual Beer for a Cure was Tom Rzadzki and his Black Rye IPA. Friday, Dick's Brewing will host a release party for Tom's beer from 3-7:30 p.m., as well as and having Black Rye IPA on tap at the brewery tasting room and neighboring NW Sausage & Deli.

SATURDAY, JAN. 31

Eugene native and brewmaster Trevor Howard opened Hop Valley Brewing Friday, Feb. 13, 2009. Indeed, he and his father, Ron Howard, Jonas Kungys and Chuck Hare chose Friday the 13th. Good luck has only come their way, as Hop Valley has undergone incredible growth. Drop by the Pig Bar inside South Bay Dickerson's BBQ and get an early start on the brewery's six-year anniversary by sipping a healthy Hop Valley line-up, win prizes and get in on some tasty ribs from 6-9 p.m.

SUNDAY, FEB. 1

These days, South Sound pubs offer more activities than a cruise ship. Tides Tavern wants to make it crystal clear its 12th Annual Tapmaster program isn't about chugging yards of beer then taking a flying leap off the dock into the harbor. Instead, the popular watering hole in Gig Harbor wants you to enjoy its 16 taps through the month of February. Get to know each beer. Ask the beers questions. Ask the bartenders questions. If by happenstance you drink all 16 beers in the 28 days, the Tides will give you a nifty T-shirt and add your name to the wall of fame. Here is the 2015 Tapmaster beer (and cider) list: Fremont Pale Ale, Mac N Jacks IBIS IPA, Tides Tavern Long Ass Day X2IPA, American Brewing Blonde, Alaskan Amber, Tides Tavern Anniversary IPA, Manny's Pale Ale, Hilliard's Saison, Pacific Brewing Porter, Backyard Brewing Winchester Brown, Silver City Cold One Pilsner, Seattle Cider Company's Cider, Elysian Mens Room Red, Iron Horse Irish Death, 7 Seas Stout on nitro and Widmer Hefeweizen.

THURSDAY, FEB. 5

Plan Ahead: Engine House No. 9 will host a Trinity Brewing Night with five on tap and three different brews in bottles. Trinity head brewer and owner Jason Yester will be in the firehouse.

January 29, 2015 at 9:54am

Photos: Gigantic night at Pint Defiance in Tacoma

Humans and dogs enjoyed Gigantic Brewing Company Night at Pint Defiance in Tacoma Jan. 28. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Years and years and years from now, when people from the future or aliens or whatever are sifting through the artifacts of our culture, will they ever, ever find anything as cool as this: A Gigantic brewery. OK, it's actually called Gigantic Brewing Company, and, well, gigantic is the opposite  of what founders Ben Love and Van Havig have in mind for the Portland, Oregon brewery. The vow to stay small, focus on brewing exceptional beer rather than mass produce. Veterans of the Oregon brewing community (Love has brewed for 10 years, Havig for 20), the two concentrate on two things: a really freakin delicious IPA and three-month run seasonals, including their Saboteur Baltic Porter, Ginormous Imperial IPA and 2014 MASSIVE! BarleyWine. The Porter is exceptional, with a rich chocolate and roasted taste finishing with a smooth alcoholic warmth. Heavily hopped, the delicious MASSIVE! uses only British Halcyon pale malt, which is boiled for eight hours, giving the beer a deep ruby color and rich malt flavor.

Today, Gigantic Brewing releases its Catch 23 Experimental Pale Ale made with the experimental 527 hop. You'll catch tropical mango hoppiness with every sip. Mick Wilcox, brand manager with Click Wholesale Distributing, says the Catch 23 is the best pale ale he's tasted in a long time.

Ben Love went big last night at Pint Defiance Specialty Beers and Taproom, pouring his beers and chatting up his principles. The night was so huge my neck hurts today. ...

January 30, 2015 at 11:12am

Mac and Cheese Madness: Westside Tavern

Westside Tavern serves a thick, bacon jalapeno mac and cheese. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Of course Westside Tavern's mac and cheese pops.

The energy inside the attractive Westside Olympia restaurant and bar swells on a nightly basis. Bankers and bikers share fries. Hipsters and hillbillies hug. There's a book club chatting in that corner. There's a website brainstorm happening in the other corner. Craft beer and cocktails dot the landscape. If a juggler or someone dressed at Batman popped in at any part of the night, that catalyst would ignite the room into a frenzy - the bankers and hipsters would hug, the bikers and hillbillies would dance and a book club website would be born. Mass hysteria.

It's only naturally the Westside Tavern's mac and cheese consists of a "secret family recipe."  I did discover they blend four cheeses, elbow macaroni, jalapeños and house made bits of bacon topped with crispy bread crumbs with fresh jalapeño corn bread with housemade red pepper jelly. It's a rib sticker that pops with jalapeno spice. It could help sustain a sudden party situation. It could help keep the drive alive.

The Westside Tavern knows there are two guiding principles behind terrific mac and cheese: a combination of cheeses, never just one, and a high proportion of cheese to everything else. Velveeta, cheddar and heavy cream makes the creaminest, cheesiest mac and cheese. They also know ridged elbow macaroni helps the sauce cling to the noodles. And, homemade breadcrumbs and shaved cheddar on top is just badass.

Pop into the Westside Tavern, grab the huge portion of mac and cheese, and wait for Batman.

WESTSIDE TAVERN, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday-Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday-Saturday, 1815 Harrison Ave. NW, Olympia, 360.915.7839

LINK: More mac and cheese dishes in the South Sound

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

LINK: Westside Tavern won the Tournament of Burgers

January 31, 2015 at 12:41pm

Head brewer Mike Davis returns to Tacoma

The view from Narrows Brewing Company's taproom is stunning. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

You can't be Mike Davis and just have a beer.

The University of California - Santa Barbara Aquatic Biology graduate became a home brewer while watching sea life on the Big Island of Hawaii. After a stint at the American Brewers Guild at Davis, California, Engine House No. 9 in Tacoma hired him as an assistant brewer. Then, the brewpubs came a calling, including the Monte Carlo Casino Brewery in Las Vegas where Davis lead the brewing crew. Back in Tacoma, the following 15 years is where Davis really made his mark in the brewing industry. He grabbed numerous Great American Beer Festival medals and multiple North American Brewers Association medals as head brewer at Harmon Brewing Co. Then, the breweries came a calling. Davis help launch Hi-Fi Brewing in Redmond as head brewer followed by a stint at Elliott Bay Brewing in Burien and, most recently, Twelve Rounds Brewing in Sacramento, California.

Still calling Steilacoom home, several weeks ago Davis and his wife dropped by Narrows Brewing Company in Tacoma for a beer.

Like I said, you can't be Mike Davis and just have a beer.

Narrows Brewing hired him on the spot to be their head brewer, replacing Joe Walts who is headed back home to Madison Wisconsin and his old job as quality control manager at Ale Asylum Brewery. Davis puts on the Narrows head brewer apron Feb. 16, four days before a big send-off party for Walts.

"Many things went into the decision, but coming back made life much simpler as my wife and puppies were still in Steilacoom," says Davis. "Twelve Rounds was struggling to get things moving, but for some reason the owners of Narrows really wanted me. That commitment is hard to refuse."

It wasn't a no-brainer from Davis as he respects and likes the Twelve Rounds ownership. He also enjoys working in sunny California. But, being close to home, and opportunity to help shape Narrows and make it a fun place to hang out was too good to pass up.

"One of the focuses will be to make the Narrows taproom THE "Other Place," meaning folks have Home, Work and the Other Place, where they can gather, relax and have fun," says Davis. "We want to be the Other Place."

He also has his eyes on the U.S. Open and the opportunities the national golf tournament will bring.

Davis mentions the beers as another reason why Narrows Brewing makes sense for him.

"Joe has done a great job; the beers are very good and consistent," Davis says. "The owners and I, with input from the distributors, will figure out IF anything should evolve. Of course, I would like to eventually put my influence of some of the beers, but the bottom line is to be successful."

The ownership would be wise to listen to Davis. Not only has he had 17 years working in the brewpub side of the business, but also he has bigger production experience, too.

"HI-FI was a good first start," he explains. "The owners are great and it was a nice challenge to help start a production facility. I also learned a lot of different approaches to brewing and running a brewery from Doug at Elliot Bay. I still love the brewpub scene, but feel more comfortable in the production side now."

Since Narrows Brewing sits on pilings above the water, just south of the Narrows Bridge, sharing space next to Narrows Marina, will Davis put his degree to good use?

"There was no mention of cleaning piers or boat hulls as part of my responsibilities," he replies, "though I have done that in a past life. Plus, I left my wet suit in California."

NARROWS BREWING COMPANY, 2-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, noon to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 9007 S. 19th St., Tacoma, 253.327.1400

Filed under: New Beer Column, Tacoma,

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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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