Northwest Military Blogs: Served blog

Posts made in: March, 2015 (32) Currently Viewing: 31 - 32 of 32

March 31, 2015 at 12:18pm

Beer Guy Garage Sale to benefit Citizens for a Healthy Bay

Will 7 Seas Brewing swag created by Kotis Design be available for purchase at The Swiss April 4? Drop by between noon and 5 p.m. and find out. Photo courtesy of

In 1976, most of America may have been focused on the bicentennial, but for me, I sunk into my lime green beanbag and watched Star Trek. I would yell at the red-shirted extras to stay alive aboard the USS Enterprise. During the AMC Pacer commercials, I'd study my Star Fleet Technical Manual.

In 2015, most of America may be focused on the minimum wage issue, but for me, I sink into my International Caravan Bali 42-inch Rattan Papasan Chair with Cushion and read beer release stat sheets. I yell at Russian River Brewing to send Pliny the Younger to my planet. DuringMcConaughey's Lincoln Motor Company commercials, I'd study my Cicerone Certification Program study guide.

Star Trek geeks and beer geeks share similar traits, and not just the prevalence of T-shirt wearing guys with beards, albeit the latter don free beer fest volunteer T-shirts. Both sets of geeks spot a warren of minutia and terminology that can make even a Romulan Ale brewer's head spin. Both possess an enormous collection of related schwag. And, there's a lot of yelling when someone drops a Tribble/beer.

The kings of the beer geeks, in my book, are the brewery sales representatives, or beer reps. It's their job to know beer inside and out. They need the knowledge to have intelligent conversations with their boss, the brewery owner, the brewery's brewmaster, as well as the distributor who, er, distributes their beer, the establishments that sell their beer and the consumers who attended their brewery promotions - the people who matter the most.

It's a complicated system, thanks to the U.S. government. You see, the 21st Amendment, which ended Prohibition in the U.S., gave the states the authority to regulate alcohol within their borders. Almost every state, including Washington state, adopted the "three tier system" as the legal structure in which alcohol sales must occur within the state. In a nutshell, this means that a brewer/importer can only sell to a wholesaler, who can only sell to a retailer, who can only sell to consumers. It also requires legal separation between each of these tiers. In other words, a company can't brew beer and own a bar (unless there's an exception such as for brewpubs). Many wholesalers are large companies that own refrigerated warehouses and a fleet of refrigerated trucks. Their focus is on selling and delivering the beer brands they represent to retailers. The beer rep is responsible for the promotion and sales of a beer in a territory, working hand-in-hand with all parties previously mentioned.

How geeky are beer reps? When he's not out repping San Francisco brewery 21st Amendment to Washington state establishments Colin Harvin cellars beer and trades beer with other fellow beer geeks, that is when he's not searching for rarities on his phone. Eugene's Hop Valley Brewing rep Rob Brunsman sleeps in his Hop Valley vest and will chat with every single person, even if there are hundreds, during his promotions. Although he can't grow a beard, and always smells like beer (according to Brunsman), Kevin Lind, rep at 7 Seas Brewing in Gig Harbor, knows the total breakdown from hops to malt to styles, and loves explaining the process.

Similar to Trekkies, beer reps also possess scads of schwag - meaning beer-related stuff, not "low-grade pot" as defined by the Urban Dictionary. The growing craft beer industry has lead to the growth of all kinds of periphery businesses, and a beer rep carts tons of his or her brewery's T-shirts, glassware, tins, inflatables, beer soap, coasters, craft beer earrings or "beerings," stickers and such around a specified territory, marketing the brewery and giving the schwag away. The paraphernalia piles up, due to overproduction, discontinued beers or brew that never made it to final production such as Puyallup Public Swimming Pool Porter, Buckley Bimbo Barleywine, Fuzzy Mouthfeel Peach Lambic or maybe even Eatonville Enigma Brown Something-or-other. Open up a beer reps' garage and you'll see an amassment of beer posters, buttons, bottle openers, life-size cardboard replications of brewers, drum kits made out of wooden barrels, beer can bracelets, iPhone covers that resemble frothy beer mugs and, in front of the pile, stands an angry spouse.

Marine View Beverage distributors came up with an idea to rid the reps of all their brewery's booty, and simultaneously support the effort to clean up, restore and protect Commencement Bay, its surrounding waters and natural habitat. The afternoon of Saturday, April 4, The Swiss Restaurant and Pub will host the Beer Guy Garage Sale, the opportunity to furnish home bars and man cave's with the leftover beer schwag from beer reps.

"We're combining two of Tacomans' favorite things - beer and the Bay," says Ian VanDooren, manager at The Swiss. "The folks from Citizens for a Healthy Bay will be on hand to collect money at the sales tables, auction off whatever really cool stuff we get - basketball hoops, hockey goals, coolers, neon signs and such - and also inform folks on their mission."

"It's pretty brilliant," says Karen Gogins, Partnerships and Communication manager with Citizens for a Healthy Bay. "This garage sale will be selling all of that leftover merchandise to raise funds for our clean water programs."

Drop by The Swiss Saturday afternoon and shop the schwag tables. Maybe you'll find that perfect beer lamp to go with your lime green beanbag or a lime green Rattan Papasan Chair.

BEER GUY GARAGE SALE, noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 4, The Swiss Restaurant and Pub, 1904 Jefferson Ave., Tacoma, no cover, 253.572.2821

April 1, 2015 at 7:16am

Tournament of Mac and Cheese: Cheesy 16 games

The Crown Bar's mac and cheese (pictured) battle the Rosewood Cafe's version in Tournament of Mac and Cheese action today. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner


The best mac and cheese in the South Sound? You think you know where to find it. We all do. After weeks of feverish voting (and with the help of a complicated computer program stolen from cavemen) we at the Weekly Volcano World Headquarters have watched you, beloved readers, narrow down the region's mac and cheese from 64 to the very best 16, the cream of the cheese. Yesterday, the first eight mac and cheese dishes did battle. Today, the remaining eight go at it.

Without further ado, let's take a gander at yesterday's results, and then preview today's matches. ...

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: STINK Cheese & Meat (628 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma) vs. Over The Moon Café (709 Opera Alley, Tacoma)

"R-E-S-P-E-C-T" is how the song goes, and that's just what Over The Moon Café has been earning so far in the Tournament of Mac and Cheese, knocking off Quickie Too and Harmon Brewing in earlier rounds. Yesterday, in the battle that knocked over their antique lamps and tabletop poetry books, Over The Moon Café proved they could go all the way. Even with an impressive evening push that closed the gap to 20 votes, STINK Cheese & Meat, deservingly a number one seed, with weekly gourmet mac and cheese specials, fell to neighboring Over The Moon Café. I wouldn't be surprised to see STINK owner Kris Blondin and Over The Moon owner Deanna Harris Bender hug it out at the corner of Seventh and Saint Helens Avenue today.

Game 2: Bar Bistro (1718 99th St. E., Tacoma) vs. BITE at Hotel Murano (1320 Broadway, Tacoma)

The Provenance Hotel group isn't messing around. The Portland-based boutique hotel collection phoned in psychological ploy for their Hotel Murano in downtown Tacoma to use in their battle with Bar Bistro yesterday. "Push our new free WiFi option and in-house pet psychologist," the team in Portland might have said. That they did, as well as turn up the upbeat chill music in the lobby and placed three mints on pillows instead of two. With the solid play from BITE Restaurant's meaty orecchiette pasta fused with a mix of melted white cheddar, ricotta and Parmesan, and the corporate suggestions, BITE was able to maintain a lead all day, capturing 61 percent of the votes over Bar Bistro's worthy mac and cheese, and a slot in tomorrow's Baked Eight competition. 

Game 3: Marrow Kitchen + Bar (2717 Sixth Ave., Tacoma) vs. The Valley (1206 Puyallup Ave., Tacoma)

Marrow likes the narrow. The modern vegetarian, vegan and animal proteins bistro on Sixth Avenue is not a run-and-gun player. Rather Marrow will slow play their opponents, concentrating on their baked gourmet mac and cheese, then throwing a bunch of craft cocktails at them. They kept scrappy gritty The Valley within arms reach the entire game. Marrow knew golden boys Justin and Rob Peterson and their Valley could easily go on a run and take it. In perhaps the most hotly contested match of the tournament, Marrow, who trailed the entire game by a good margin, pulled it out seconds before the buzzer, winning by one vote. Marrow moves into the Baked Eight to take on the winner of today's Engine House No. 9 and Mac N More game.

Game 4: Westside Tavern (1815 Harrison Ave. NW, Olympia) vs. Boathouse 19 (9001 S. 19th St., Tacoma)

This game was a bit of a surprise. Yes, Boathouse 19 was seeded slightly higher and their cast iron, three-cheese macaroni and cheese with caramelized onion and huge chunks of ham is exceptional, but to beat Westside Tavern and their secret family cheese sauce and thousands of fans was a shocker. The other seven South Sound mac and cheese joints in tomorrow's Baked Eight need to sharpen their elbows because Boathouse 19 is the real deal. With 73 percent of the vote, the waterfront restaurant next to the Narrows Marina moves closer to the title.

Let's weed through the cheese. The following are advancing to the Baked Eight:

Over The Moon Café

BITE at Hotel Murano

Marrow Kitchen + Bar

Boathouse 19

The daily mac and cheese battles here on Served in the South Sound are sponsored by BITE Restaurant & Bar inside the Hotel Murano.

OK, let's check out today's Cheesy 16 mac and cheese battles. Vote for one mac and cheese dish per battle. Voting for today's mac and cheese battles ends at 11:45 p.m.

Today's Cheesy 16 Mac and Cheese Battles

Game 1: Crown Bar (2705 Sixth Ave., Tacoma) vs. Rosewood Café (3323 N. 26th St., Tacoma)

Tipping off the second day of Cheesy 16 games we have number eight seed Crown Bar, with its popular late-night street food and tasty cocktails, battling number four seed Rosewood, a Proctor District-ish neighborhood café popular with bicyclists and dogwalkers. Both businesses serve worthy mac and cheese dishes, and are well loved with the community, so rallying support won't be an issue. The real question is: will Rosewood Café be intimidated off the court at the sight of Crown Bar's lively clientele, or will the comfy feel café just tighten up the shoelaces and go to work? The votes will decide. VOTE HERE

Game 2: Eleven Eleven (1111 S. 11th St., Tacoma) vs. Steel Creek American Whiskey Co. (1114 Broadway, Tacoma)

Working class mac and cheese dishes face off in this Tournament of Mac and Cheese Cheesy 16 game, albeit one donning a cowboy hat. Steel Creek's lobster mac and cheese knows how to win against creative versions, beating Masa and Chambers Bay Grill. Can the country/western whiskey bar beat Eleven Eleven cheese-driven creation? Will Steel Creek grow quick beards to handle what 1111 beerdos Justin and Rob Peterson throw at them off the bench? Do you wish I'd stop asking questions and just allow you to vote? Do it!  VOTE HERE

Game 3: Engine House No. 9 (611 N. Pine St., Tacoma) vs. Mac N More (9323 Martin Way E., Lacey)

A good mac and cheese experience owes as much to the atmosphere as the actual elbows and cheese themselves. And what I have discovered in my travels is that firehouse equipment and beer club plaques in a restaurant usually signal that a mac and cheese feast of epic proportions is at hand. Be lucky enough to find a joint with a fire hose and, holy three-alarm, you're in for a treat. You'll be happy to know that Engine House No. 9 fulfills such criteria, as well as grabbing the "People's Choice" award at last weekend's Slider Cook-Off at the Museum of Glass. The Sixth Avenue neighborhood restaurant and bar will need every hose, every fire hat, every craft beer recipe from brewer Shane Johns to beat Mac N More, the Lacey house of mac and cheese. Truth is, I have pulled up a chair at the Lacey strip-mall eatery a dozen or so times since Steve and Katrina Cobb opened the mac and cheese centric restaurant in 2012. Steve, who has seen the world through a restaurant kitchen window while his wife, Katrina, served in the Army, tweaked his macaroni and cheese recipe during a 25-year journey. After tasting the famous macaroni and cheese at S'mac in New York City, and making the final adjustment, the Cobbs felt confident enough to open their own joint at the corner of Martin Way and Dutterow Road. And their recipes are freakin' delicious. VOTE HERE

Game 4: Maxwell's Restaurant & Lounge (454 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma) vs. Top of Tacoma Bar and Café (3529 McKinley Ave. E., Tacoma)

I'm not sure how to describe this game. Maxwell's Restaurant & Lounge vs. Top of Tacoma Bar and Café could end relationships, cause car title exchanges and fill the tattoo shops with sad faces. These two mac and cheese dishes are equally outstanding. Glad you're voting and not me. VOTE HERE

Tomorrow's Baked Eight Mac and Cheese Battles

Game 1: Over The Moon Café (709 Opera Alley, Tacoma) vs. winner of Eleven Eleven (1111 S. 11th St., Tacoma) vs. Steel Creek American Whiskey Co. (1114 Broadway, Tacoma)

Game 2: BITE at Hotel Murano (1320 Broadway, Tacoma) vs. winner of Crown Bar (2705 Sixth Ave., Tacoma) vs. Rosewood Café (3323 N. 26th St., Tacoma)

Game 3: Marrow Kitchen + Bar (2717 Sixth Ave., Tacoma) vs. winner of Engine House No. 9 (611 N. Pine St., Tacoma) vs. Mac N More (9323 Martin Way E., Lacey)

Game 4: Boathouse 19 (9001 S. 19th St., Tacoma) vs. winner of Maxwell's Restaurant & Lounge (454 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma) vs. Top of Tacoma Bar and Café (3529 McKinley Ave. E., Tacoma)

At 6 p.m. Monday, April 6, join us at McNamara's Pub & Eatery in DuPont for the Official Tournament of Mac and Cheese Party - our winner will be announced during halftime of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship game.

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.

Add us on: Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr and follow our RSS Feed.

Recent Comments

Budi Sdk said:

A very interesting article, to add insight can be read at


Ted Smith said:

Thank you for the list of restaurants to try out. I will have to try their Mac and Cheese....

about Tournament of Mac and Cheese: It's Cheesy 16 time!

tastymakan said:

I like your post on Bakery restaurants I like ...

about Mac and Cheese Madness: The Homestead Restaurant and Bakery

Angela Whitten said:

Any Spring beers?

about Cheers to Winter Beers in Puyallup

Web Developers Delhi said:

Amazing blog and very interesting stuff you got here! I definitely learned a lot from reading...

about Eat This Now: Radiator Whiskey Tots