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September 11, 2014 at 12:19pm

Reading Between The Lines: Powerhouse Brewery fall beer releases, plus the week in beer ...

Perusing Weekly Volcano scribe Jackie Fender's update on big menu changes and the addition of a bourbon bar at the Powerhouse Restaurant and Brewery, I noticed the downtown Puyallup brewery announced its fall beers:

Other new beverage delights include fall brew releases such as an Oktoberfest, a pumpkin-Graham Cracker brew and the Winter Warmer, which is dark and warm, and, Baird says, "everything you want on a cold day in a glass."

All three intrigue me. I'll keep an eye on the release dates.



The Copper Door beer store and taproom hosts a launch party for San Diego's Green Flash Brewing's season triple IPA Green Bullet from 7-11 p.m. New Zealand grown Pacific Gem and Green Bullet hops were used to create this bold IPA with notes of spicy pine, mango and pineapple. Also on tap will be Flash's Saison Diego, East Village Pilsner and Road Warrior Imperial Rye IPA.


Pint Defiance celebrates its two-year anniversary with an all-day party featuring a special 2nd Anniversary IPA. Read up on the beer store/taproom's history and party specifics here.

If Pint Defiance doesn't have enough farm animals for your liking, may I suggest the Hops & Crops Brew Festival at Mary Olson Farm in Auburn. The 67-acre, 1887 family subsistence farm welcomes a dozen or so breweries, including South Sound represent Harmon Brewing and Fish Brewing, from noon to 6 p.m. The Cottonwood Cutups are among several bands scheduled to perform.

Over at the Chinese Reconciliation Park on the Ruston Way waterfront in Tacoma, Wingman Brewers will be pouring a special brew made with flaked rice, lychee fruit and ginger as part of the Moon Festival from 1-8 p.m.


The ParkWay Tavern isn't calling it good after its recent massive IPA Fest. The North Slope Tacoma pub hosts the San Marcos, California, Belgian-inspired brewery The Lost Abbey and its brews. I have no idea what will be poured, but my guess the beers will be high in alcohol and at least one named after some poor chap who forgot it was his turn to drive the plague cart.

September 8, 2014 at 12:40pm

Brewing Pint Defiance: Specialty beer store and taproom celebrates second anniversary

Renee and Barry Watson opened Pint Defiance specialty beer store and taproom Sept. 10, 2013.

The South Sound - Pierce County especially - is quickly becoming a major craft beer destination. With long standing places such as Engine House No. 9, The RAM, Powerhouse and Harmon Brewing Company, to newer breweries such as 7 Seas Brewing, Wingman Brewers, Tacoma Brewing Company, Narrows Brewing and Puyallup River Brewing to not quite opened Odd Otter Brewing and Pacific Brewing and Malting Company, the choices for awesome craft beer are long and varied. But a hub hidden away in a strip mall on the edge of Fircrest, Pint Defiance, which will celebrate its second anniversary Saturday, is quickly becoming one of the centers of the local craft beer scene.

Pint Defiance is a carefully laid out bottle shop with a 50 foot long, 16 door wall cooler full of beer, meads and ciders and a small bar with 10 taps usually staffed by co-owner Barry Watson and his crew of experts R.J. Adler, Justin Johnson, Clare Hayford and Scott Travis. Barry and his wife and business partner, Renee, have been brewing the idea of opening a specialty beer store and taproom for years.

Mashing The Ingredients

Asked about the genesis of the shop, Barry replied, "Not to simplify the answer, but we opened the store out of the love for craft beer, especially Northwest beer. I've worked in the industry for so long, and absolutely love it." Barry's grandparents owned the C Street Café in Tacoma.

Barry was in school studying computers, working part-time at the ParkWay Tavern. His interests quickly changed, and after a stint managing the ParkWay, he went to work for a local beer distributor. His knowledge of the industry doubled after he and Renee opened the Rosewood Café off 26th and Warner in 2003, which quickly became North Tacoma's go-to spot for scratch soups, sandwiches, Giant Cowboy Cookie and a notable wine and craft beer offering, especially after Sunday bicycle rides.

The Watsons sold the restaurant to Richard and Gretchen Benzin in January 2012, whom they knew could maintain the magic, and were ready for the next chapter.

>>> Barry Watson, co-owner of Pint Defiance Specialty Beers and Taproom, sips a brew. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Fermenting The Idea

Barry had been knocking around the idea of a store solely dedicated to craft beer for quite some time. He promised his family he wouldn't start a new chapter without closing the previous one. Plus, they needed a break.

The break lasted about two months. Barry had his eye on Tacoma's Westside.

"Sure, we're Northend folks living just off Sixth Avenue, but we felt the Northend had craft beer covered with the Engine House, The Red Hot, ParkWay and The Spar. ... There are a dozen other good places to grab a quality craft beer in that area. Metropolitan Mark, Thriftway and Tacoma Boys also do a nice job of stocking great beer. We wanted to differentiate ourselves, and reach another market. Yet, not too far for our Northend friends to drive."

Unable to completely cut himself off from the industry Barry filled in shifts at The Red Hot craft beer and hot dog joint while the duo researched locations and the specialty store business. His friends thought he was crazy to open a beer store. The Watsons knew it would work.

>>> R.J. Adler, assistant manager at Pint Defiance, left, and co-owner Barry Watson proudly display the store's popular T-shirt. Photo courtesy of Facebook

A play off Point Defiance Park, the Watsons opened Pint Defiance at 2049 Mildred St. W. Sept. 10, 2012. Located in the space that formerly housed Mario's Mercato Italiano on the edge of Fircrest, the 1,800 square feet store houses 1,000 or so beers, ciders and meads in a long, narrow bright space, which includes a bar, high and low top tables and a retail section stocked with clever promotional T-shirts, including the poplar I Hop Tacoma with an actual hop replacing the word.

The duo shares responsibilities, although Renee spends more time in the office while Barry pulls more taps. They're hand-in-hand during beer research trips, which happens often. They spend time with brewery owners and head brewers, researching the beers before allowing them in their cold cases.

The Watsons hired friendly, beer experts to help run the store and taproom, and encourage them to suggest beers and contribute ideas.

>>> Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

"I'd like to take credit for all of our great ideas, but Renee and our staff have come up with really good ideas," Barry says with a laugh. "Our newest full-time employee, Scott Travis, came up with the idea of our Seattle Beer Week Marathon. We crushed through 70 kegs in eleven days."

Filtering The Flavor

When you browse up and down the cold case trying to select a few 22-ounce beers you maybe haven't tried yet, the staff at Pint Defiance inevitably comes up and asks you with concern if you need help. And that's what makes Pint Defiance beer heaven. They can help you decide among Belgian Trappists and Northwest IPAs, debate the merits of Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp 12-pack even though you don't drink milk stouts, and explain the new Washington state liquor laws, including SB 6442 allowing cider to be sold in growlers. And if you already have your mind made up, just let the staff know what you need, and they'll send enough 10 Barrel Brewery beer to keep your party rolling straight to the cash register where you wait to pay.

While Pint Defiance sees its share of beer newbies, the specialty beer and taproom is also home to a who's who of West Coast brewing. Grab a barstool and within a half hour a brewer, distributor, patron with 1,000 or more distinct beers on the Untappd app or a top customer for Barry's days managing the ParkWay Tavern will drop by for a beer. Barry can name all the breweries in Astoria, Oregon, even notable but hidden Buoy Beer Company, because he's visited them all. The middle table at Pint Defiance was a gift from Rob Widmer, who threw it in his truck and drove it up from Portland. South Sound head brewers celebrate their birthdays at Pint Defiance. And Pint Defiance's almost weekly Brewer's Nights, more often than not, include prided possessions from the represented brewery's owners as raffle prizes.

>>> Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

"Pint Defiance has become a destination for beer lovers," says R.J. Adler, assistant manager at Pint Defiance. "I've seen countless people make friends at the bar just by asking, ‘What are you drinking?' People who love craft beer love to talk and share and have a seemingly endless well of generosity. I was helping a couple pick out some beers one day, and we got to talking about Russian River Brewing and how they had recently decided to stop distributing to Washington in early 2013. I mentioned that I have never tried one of their sours that we had carried previously, Supplication. The couple bought a few bottles, thanked me, and left. About an hour later, I'm pouring a pint and someone reaches over the bar and sets a bottle in a brown paper bag in front of me. That same couple came back just to give me a bottle of Supplication. I was gobsmacked. I have hundreds of stories like this of the generosity that the craft beer community has. And Pint Defiance gives them a place to circle around."

"I think why people come to drink at Pint Defiance is because of our atmosphere and customer service," says employee Justin Johnson. "We all pride ourselves in our knowledge of craft beer and providing a welcoming environment. I personally enjoy talking to people and getting to know them. As cheesy as it sounds, I like having a pub where everyone knows your name. We are all a fun group of people who enjoy sharing a laugh over a pint."

Clinking Pints

Pint Defiance has squirrelled away some special kegs for the second anniversary celebration.

"We wanted to show off some of our favorites as well as showcase a few unique offerings," explains Barry. "I don't want to give too much away, but know that there will be a little something for all tastes. IPAs, sour, barrel-aged porter, cider, pale and others. Elysian Brewing Company brewmaster Steve Luke has been sneaking us special kegs all year for events. This time around, he is advancing us a keg of what Elysian will be entering in this years Great American Beer Festival - The Quarter Nelson Pale."

Besides Elysian, expect some of the Watsons' other favorites such as Almanac and Dogfish Head, plus a few rarities.

Barry's Beer Camp "No Sleep ‘Till Chico" Coffee Vanilla Porter will also be in the house. Barry was fortunate to attend Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp, the Chico, California brewery's full-immersion, hands-on beer education where - in addition to learning everything about the pioneering brewery - distributors, brewery owners and select industry campers such as Barry work with Sierra Nevada brewers to develop a name, concept and recipe for a new beer of their choosing, which is produced and distributed to a very select number of accounts. Apparently Barry is an "A" student, which you'll discover Saturday, if you haven't tasted the porter.

Of course, it's not a second anniversary party without a second anniversary beer. Thanks to Stoup Brewing in Seattle, the 2nd Anniversary IPA will be on tap Saturday.

"I met Brad Benson from Stoup Brewing back in March when we hosted the Tacoma leg of the Hop-Mob Triple IPA Fest. We were so impressed with his young brewery that Renee and I started making trips to Ballard to sample his beers and bring kegs back to Pint Defiance," explains Barry. "They have since hired a sales manager so we can get their beers more regularly and have had much of the Stoup line-up in regular rotation. I asked Stoup to brew our anniversary beer after Brad and I bonded over 10 Barrel Brewing Co.'s O.G. Wheat IPA. We both liked how uniquely the wheat in the grain bill of that beer changed the overall mouthfeel of the beer and how well it showcased the hops."

Bittered with Millennium hops, finished with Falconer's flight and dry hopped with a combination of Amarillo, Simco and Falconer's flight, the 2nd Anniversary was brewed with two-row barley, red, flaked and crystal wheat, ringing in at 6.2 percent ABV and 45 IBUs.

"The 2nd Anniversary IPA is fantastic," notes Barry. "Brad and I wanted to put a twist on an IPA without it being a novelty. We made a wheat-based IPA with strong color and terrific palate - really rich, and more full-bodied than a traditional IPA. Starts off nice and citrus-y and hoppy, then once you swallow it, the palate is wiped clean and ready for the next taste. Stoup is certainly a brewery to watch. Not only do they make fantastic beer, but they play well with others and collaborate a lot."

Typical of Pint Defiance Brewer's Nights, the two-year anniversary party will be lively, full of beer chatter and pats on the back from Barry and Renee, who will be the first to admit none of their success would have happened without their staff and customers. A lot of stores in the South Sound sell beer, but then, a lot of stores sell batteries and toilet paper, too. Pint Defiance is the place to go if you want to hang with people who revel in beer - who really love the stuff.  

PINT DEFIANCE TWO-YEAR ANNIVERSARY, 11 a.m. to close, Saturday, Sept. 13, Pint Defiance, 2049 Mildred St. W., Fircrest, free admission, 253.302.4240

Filed under: New Beer Column, Fircrest, Tacoma,

July 11, 2014 at 1:48pm

Beer Weekend: 7 Seas Bash, Bremerton Brewfest, Art on the Ave ...

Scene from 7 Seas Brewing's Third Anniversary Bash / photo by Pappi Swarner


7 Seas Brewing isn't just the maker of delicious craft beer. It isn't just at the forefront of the "beer in a can is cool again" movement. It's a local business doing things the right way and an entity that knows how to party - as will be proven when 7 Seas throws its fifth annual anniversary bash in its parking lot Saturday. According to co-owner Mike Runion, you can expect "Grab Ass, Awesome Local Musicians, Tom-Foolery, Delicious grubs, Leisure, Relaxation and Sunshine" from noon to 8 p.m. at its Gig Harbor brewery.

"We are pulling out all of the beers we can for the bash," says Runion. "Probably 18 to 20 different 7 Seas beers on tap - a few are only a single keg left. 

The following beers will be available at the 7 Seas Brewing 5th Annual Anniversary Bash Saturday: British Pale, Cutt's NW Amber, Rude Parrot IPA, CDA, Port Royal Export Stout, Ballz Deep Double IPA, Broken Mast Brown, Reign Man ESB, Life Jacket Session IPA, Depth Finder IRA, Oatmeal Raisin Imperial Stout, Dry-Hopped Pilsner, Red Hot Session IPA, Swiss 21st Anniversary Imperial Red, Slow Rye'd Rye IPA, Bavarian-style Hefeweizen and SMASH Plisner.

Click here to see my 7 Seas Brewing anniversary party commercial.

Four the fourth year, ferries will be unloading folks with funny hats, pretzel necklaces and T-shirts proclaiming they love beer in every way possible into downtown Bremerton. The 2014 Bremerton Summer Brewfest will bump up participating Washington breweries to 30, pouring more than 70 summer style beers, from noon to 6:30 p.m. It's a short walk from the Bremerton Ferry Dock, with live music by Driftin Harbour Rats at 1 p.m. and The Echo Devils at 4, with the South Sound represent, including 7 Seas Brewing, Dick's Brewing, Fish Brewing, Harmon Brewing, Narrows Brewing, Northwest Brewing, RAM Brewery and Top Rung Brewing. Randalls are big at this festival, too. The $20 advance/$25 door fee includes a tasting cup and six tokens each good for a 5-ounce taste. Additional tokens may be purchased at $1.50 each or four for $5. For more details, go to

If you don't have kids of your own, playing miniature golf is not much more than a nostalgia trip. Fond memories of a round with Mom and Dad and going out for ice cream afterward provides its appeal, not the challenge of putting the ball in the holes. The Harmon Brewing Company has your nostalgia needs covered and then some with its family-friendly Mini U.S. Open Put Putt Tournament, a nine-house course weaving through its venues The Hub, Harmon Tap Room and its beer garden, the Harmon Garden from 4-6 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., an award ceremony will be held in the Harmon Garden. At stake are team high score, individual high score, individual low score and lowest team score. The grand prize is two free rounds at Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place, home of the 2015 U.S. Open. Two-dollar pints make everyone a winner.


Tacoma's popular Art on the Ave community festivals adds a Tasting Lounge this year, located next to the 6th Ave Photography building on Sixth Avenue. As of press time, Harmon Brewing, Tacoma Brewing Co. and soon-to-open Odd Otter Brewing Company will join Cork! Wine Bar, offering five tastings for $10. The Lounge will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

With a festival-loaded weekend, you might want to bring it down a notch Sunday. Pint Defiance continues its popular Sunday Sampler series, this week offering tastings from the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp. From 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., flights of four 4-ounce pours will be served for the cost of a normal pint. Expect to drink Firestone Walker, Oskar Blues, Victory Brewing and Bell's/Sierra Nevada.

July 3, 2014 at 4:50pm

Beer Here: Where you are drinking this coming week in the South Sound

Happy Fourth of July!

Put on your stars and stripes and your red, white and blue: the Fourth of July is tomorrow! Here are a few upcoming South Sound beer events to ponder while you wave your sparklers in the air like you just don't care.


If there is anything better than life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it is a national holiday falling on a Friday. So go forth South Sound this Fourth of July and pursue happiness. I'll be declaring my independence from beer garden to beer garden at Tacoma's Freedom Fair along Ruston Way. Duke's Chowder House, RAM and Katie Downs will host music stages with adjoining beer gardens.


Pint Defiance's Sunday Beer Sampler pits the United States against England. From 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. you may drink 4-ounce pours of beers from the U.S. and England for $4.50 total. After you drink your sampler, stand up and shout the winning country.


Five days before it throws its five-year anniversary bash, Gig Harbor's 7 Seas Brewing will take over the ParkWay Tavern's taps, beginning at 5 p.m.


Puyallup River Alehouse has brewer's nights scheduled through September. The downtown Puyallup face for Puyallup River Brewing's beers, as well as multiple guest beers on tap, has the marketing thing down. Next up, Backwoods Brewing Company from little ol' Carson, Wash. Head brewer Jordan Tanasse will load up the jalopy with four different Backwoods brews, plus swag for the raffle, and hit the trail for the 6-9 p.m. spotlight.

Pint Defiance hosts the Stone Brewing Co. crew from San Marcos, Calif. for a night of favorites, special brews such as the Stochasticity Project, and PD's infamous raffle from 5-7 p.m.


While Van Halen was telling everyone to "jump," brothers Kurt and Rob Widmer opened their brewery with $50,000. It was a slow start. In 1986, the Widmer Brothers introduced their Hefeweizen to America. The rest is history. In 2008, Widmer and Red Hook merged to form what would later be titled Craft Brew Alliance, the ninth largest brewer in the nation. The Copper Door hosts a Widmer Brothers Brewer's Night from 6-9 p.m. Meet the brewer, chat beer history and drink limited release Widmer beers.


Gig Harbor's 7 Seas Brewing hosts its fifth year anniversary with a beer, music and food noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, July 12. This brewery knows how to party.

The Harmon Tap Room will set up a nine-hole miniature golf course and host a competition from 4-6 p.m. July 12.

Saturday, July 19 marks the one-year anniversary for Tacoma's Narrows Brewing Company. A craft beer-style party will be held at its brew house, the restored Mill Building in Narrows Marina at the bottom of 19th Street, from 6-11 p.m. Dubbed "Breakers Ball" - a fishing community reference to a favorite location off Pt. Richmond - the party will include a performance by Stephanie Anne Johnson, as well as the release of its Barrel Aged Black Saison.

June 26, 2014 at 3:13pm

Beer Weekend: Beerversary, brew dinner ... plus photos

Monkey works the taps during Double Mountain Brewery Night at The Swiss June 18. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Americans are drinking more craft beer, but they're also making more of their own at home. This is a friendly reminder the Aroma of Tacoma HomeBrew Championship competition is on, with an entry deadline of July 17.

OK, a few beer events happening over the next couple of days. ...


Northwest Brewing Company (1091 Valentine Ave. SE, Pacific) celebrates its second anniversary with an all-day party beginning at noon. A $5 cover lets you see a bunch of bands.

Fremont Brewing beer will flow at Morso (9014 Peacock Hill Ave., Gig Harbor) beginning at noon. Casey Gish from Fremont will be onsite from 1-4 p.m. to discuss and pour Wandering Wheat, Seasonal Summer Solstice Ale, Universale Pale Ale, Interurban IPA and Brother Imperial IPA.  There is a $5 fee per person for this event, which will be refunded with a growler fill. 


Brett Porter, brewmaster at Goose Island Brewery joins Jere Scott, executive chef at Stanley & Seafort's, for a five-course beer dinner at the fine-dining restaurant on the cliff above Tacoma. The cost is $69.95 per person. Reserve your spot for the 6 p.m. dinner at 253.473.7300.

Let's take a look at people drinking beer in the South Sound this past week. ...

Pint Defiance on the edge of Fircrest hosted Deschutes Brewery Wednesday, June 18. >>>

The Swiss Restaurant & Pub hosted Double Mountain Brewery Wednesday, June 18 >>>

Puyallup River Alehouse hosted Narrows Brewing Co. Wednesday, June 25 >>>

LINK: Photos from The Red Hot's re-opening on Sixth Avenue

June 23, 2014 at 11:13am

Beer Here: Beer Float Social and a busy Wednesday

Beer Float: Is this level of decadence even legal? There should be a secret codephrase, at least.

One of my favorite memories of my Lakewood childhood was Career Day at Oakbrook Elementary, instead of sitting in on the physician's lecture or learning about animals from the local veterinarian, I helped a classmate's mom make root beer in a giant garbage pale. In my memory, the root beer tasted roundly sweet, like cane sugar soda does - I don't remember Mrs. Laakso dumping corn syrup into the concoction. After each of us took turns stirring, the principal - who also must not have cared much for the medical arts sessions - arrived with frosty (glass! not styrofoam!) mugs each with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The joy from our little room was far greater than those listening to heartbeats in the next room. Of course, those inspired by the stethoscope probably play gold every Wednesday and have a receptionist.

Along with carhops and car-bound family meals, having a root beer float seems like an equally bygone-era idea - rich and sweet and heavy yet utterly wholesome, like putting a slice of cheddar cheese on your apple pie, or so I hear.

All of this is a pretty lengthy preamble to this New Beer Column submission - and thanks, if you've stuck around this long.

I graduated from Oakbrook, and root beer for that matter. I now prefer beer with my ice cream. Seriously, stop scowling. Unwrinkle your nose. It works, thanks to stout's coffee and cocoa undertones, which pair well with the creamy vanilla.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to beer floats: "Ooh, that sounds delicious," and "Ooh, I'd rather drink Purina pet food runoff." But despite a small cadre of haters, beer floats have been slowly dripping into the mainstream. Red Robin has been leading the charge, offering shakes made with Guinness and Blue Moon. Los Angeles hosts a Beer Float Showdown. Maritime Pacific Brewing Co. in Seattle has been serving Jolly Rogers Christmas Ales floats for years.

Beer can help bring some bitterness and dryness to an ice cream, which is traditionally sweeter than other desserts. It has this great functionality. But as artisan ice cream makers seek local ingredients that push the envelope, craft beers offer new dimensions, preferably a strong stout or fruity ale, such as Bourbon Stout, Raspberry Stout, Cherry Stout, Vanilla Stout, Citrasicle Orange Vanilla IPA, Cherry Ale, Raspberry Ale and Jasmine Green Tea Pale ... from Tacoma Brewing Co.

Tacoma Brewing Co. will team up with Tacoma's artisan Ice Cream Social for a night of beer floats Saturday, June 28. From 2-9 p.m., Ice Cream Social will plop a scoop of its chocolate, vanilla, salted caramel, lavender, bourbon stout and non-daily coconut creations into parfait glasses. "Or pint glasses if I run out of fancy glassware," says Morgan Alexander, co-owner of Tacoma Brewing Co.

"The first time I had a beer float was at the ParkWay Tavern. It was on their Randall," says Alexander. "It was Southern Tier Brewing Company's Crème Brulee Imperial Milk Stout, which is so rich it's hard to drink a whole pint. Then the ParkWay added ice cream to it - so delicious. I knew then I wanted to hold a beer float night."

The darkest, most concentrated beers, such as stouts, tend to make the best base for beer floats as the water in beer tends to create icy textures, making it difficult to make a creamy ice cream with discernible beer flavors.

Ice Cream Social, which is scheduled to open Tuesday, June 24 on Sixth Avenue next to The Red Hot, began as a food truck, with the goal of sourcing locally.

"Ice Cream Social is all about providing the highest quality product to our customers. We believe the best way to achieve this is (by) purchasing local, all-natural ingredients," said Jamie Van De Wege, co-owner of Ice Cream Social. "Providing a consistent, high-quality ice cream also depends on the freshness of our ingredients. We can only guarantee this by sourcing locally as much as possible."

Besides beer floats, Alexander will run his delicious Broken Window IPA through a slushie machine. Someone will undoubtedly experience brain freeze that night.

For a little warmth, The Rolling Crust pizza guy will roll up with his portable wood-fired oven at 5 p.m.

Kim Thompson contributed to this column.

BEER FLOATS SOCIAL, 2-9 p.m., Saturday, June 28, Tacoma Brewing Co., 625 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, 253.242.3370



Speaking of Tacoma Brewing Co., The Red Hot has ordered a couple of its kegs for its new space, which opens Wednesday, June 25. It will close at the end of today, spend Tuesday moving everything next door, and re-open at the corner of Sixth Avenue and North Junett Street.

Puyallup River Brewing and its Ale House (120 S. Meridian, Puyallup) hugs it out with visiting Narrows Brewing Co. over beers, giveaways and raffle prizes from 6-9 p.m.

Yo Sourheads! A Pucker Party will go down at Pint Defiance (2049 Mildred St. W., Tacoma) featuring special sour beer draft releases 5-7 p.m. Expect Oude Bruins, Berliner Weissebiers, Krieks, Sour Blondes from Petrus, Lost Abbey, Jolly Pumpkin, Cascade and many others.

June 17, 2014 at 9:28am

Heather McClung: From Curtis Jr. High to Schooner Exact Brewing Co.

Heather McClung photographed in her Schooner Exact Brewing Co. taproom. Photo credit: Richard Baker

Former University Place photographer Heather McClung is rapidly becoming Seattle's Baroness of beer. As co-owner of Schooner Exact Brewing Co., she had never tasted a beer until she entered college. She is presently president of the Washington Brewers' Guild. Running a business can lead a person to drink, especially if the business is a brewery. Difficulties with personnel, equipment, inventory, payroll, taxes, customers, are just some of the problems a small businessperson encounters. Heather accepts the challenges with a smile and seems to relish the turmoil of business ownership along with the great joys.

Before her dip into beer, Heather developed an interest in photography while attending Curtis Jr. High, in University Place. Because of a great eye, her skills grew quickly and while still in the ninth-grade she entered a photograph she had taken with a borrowed Hasselblad camera into the 1998 Washington State Photographic Competition to outshine 2,998 participants and win "Best of Show." Since she leaned toward art, owning a business never entered her head, not even in college.

>>> Heather McClung's 1998 Washington State Photographic Competition "Best of Show" photograph

At U.P.S. she studied art with an emphases in photography and after graduating she landed a job as a photographer with a dotcom company. Unfortunately the glamorous and creative life of a photographer did not follow and she spent most of her time photographing car parts. She moved into teaching but found that job equally unrewarding. It also led her to brewing beer. She never enjoyed sweet, fizzy drinks and beer was a natural alternative. Beer helped fulfill some of her creative tendencies since she could experiment with different mixes and techniques.

Following her very short teaching career, where she met Matt, who was also brewing his own beer, she moved into supermarket management. Everything she learned along the way eventually helped her become a successful businessperson - her artistic knowledge, working with people, especially children, and her management skills.  When she and Matt decided to get married, they brewed all the beer for the wedding. Because the beer was a big hit they started brewing larger batches and eventually bought a half-barrel system they set up in the living room.

>>> Schooner Exact Brewing Co. brewery room. Photo credit: Richard Baker

>>> Schooner Exact Brewing Co. taproom. Photo credit: Richard Baker

Their reputation for great beer spread quickly and pubs, restaurants and taprooms started featuring everything from Profanity Hill Porter and Gallant Maiden Hefeweizen to 3 Grid India Pale Ale. Brewing was becoming a full-time job so they both quit their jobs and expanded the brewery from living room and garage to a business in South Park. Business grew quickly, however, as word of their beer spread, so they moved again to their present location at 3901 First Ave. S., Seattle.

Last year they sold 5,000 barrels of beer and, after landing a recent contract with several chain grocery stores, should increase production for a record year.

>>> Heather McClung's artwork hangs at Schooner Exact Brewing Co. Photo credit: Richard Baker

Heather maintains a relaxed atmosphere at the brewery and insists that the freshest ingredients be used in all the restaurant food. The storefront patio, adjacent to a Vespa shop, has an almost European feel. Her artwork and photographs decorate the walls and she has just bought a new Cannon camera.

Schooner Exact maintains an intimate relationship with its customers and offers various brewing activities. They now arrange field trips to a hop farm in Toppenish where participants enjoy a special lunch prepared by top chef Warren Peterson, and harvest hops for their own personally brewed beer.

As president of the Washington State Brewer's Guild, Heather spends time working with legislators in Olympia. The Guild is dedicated to educating Washington state policy makers about the advantages of small breweries, building a strong community of brewers, and fostering a balanced view about the benefits of moderate beer consumption.

Heather sees small breweries growing in Washington to meet the thirsty needs of residents and beer aficionados.



Wednesday, June 18

Fort George Brewery in Astoria has, once again, brewed its 3-Way IPA, a collaboration with Block 15 and Boneyard breweries. In celebration, its showing the IPA and its other beers the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Its 2014 IPA Odyssey tap takeovers tour will set up fort at the ParkWay Tavern (313 N. I St., Tacoma) beginning at 5 p.m.

Located in an historic 1992 warehouse in downtown Bellingham, Boundary Bay Brewing Company have been brewing beers since 1995. In fact, last week it began brewing its 5,000th batch of beer. The BBBC makes its way south for a 6-9 p.m. brewer's night at the Puyallup River Alehouse (120 S. Meridian, Puyallup). Expect Boundary beers, giveaways, raffle prizes and dollar tacos.

The Swiss Restaurant & Pub (1904 Jefferson Ave., Tacoma) hosts Double Mountain Brewery out of Hood Rover, Ore., for a brewer's night and raffle 6-9 p.m.

Pint Defiance (2049 Mildred St. W., Tacoma) welcomes Deschutes Brewing Co. from Bend, Ore., for a brewer's night and raffle. Expect Not the Stoic Quad, 2103 Abyss Imperial Stout, Fresh Squeezed IPA. Twilight Summer Ale and other beers on tap 5-7 p.m.

Thursday, June 19

208 Garfield (208 Garfield St. S., Parkland) will be pouring summer shandy samples 6-9 p.m. for $6. Beer Geek Erick Swenson will be pouring half-beer and topping them off with lemonade, ginger ale and orange soda.

Pint Defiance pulls a double-header with Deschutes June 18 and Boulder's Avery Brewing the next night 5-7 p.m.  Rub elbows with the Colorado team and drink White Rascal Wit, Karma Belgian Pale, Avery IPA and a rare keg of Out Of Bounds Stout. Raffle prizes o'plenty.

Wednesday, June 25

Puyallup River Brewing hugs it out with visiting Narrows Brewing Co. over beers, giveaways and raffle prizes from 6-9 p.m.

A Pucker Party will go down at Pint Defiance featuring special sour beer draft releases 5-7 p.m.

June 10, 2014 at 10:37am

Beer Here: Doyle's to go big during World Cup 2014, plus upcoming beer events

Doyle's Public House in Tacoma is ready for World Cup 2014 action. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Maybe it's the geo-political pageantry. Maybe it's that study abroad you did in Germany. Maybe it's Lionel Messi's hair. Whatever your reason for paying attention, it's World Cup time, kicking off June 12 and running through July 13.

The average American's knowledge of futbol is limited to the following: "Ole, ole, ole, ole, ole" and an extended "goooaallll" or two.Others might believe underwear model David Beckham, who married Posh Spice, is STILL playing for Los Angeles.

That's not the case outside this country. The rest of the world is counting down the minutes. They'll be misspending all their waking moments between June 12 and July 13, hoarse and bleary-eyed. They're bat shit crazy over the game.


May 26, 2014 at 7:37am

Served Blog Banner Boy: Q&A with R.J. Adler of Pint Defiance in Fircrest

R.J. Adler, assistant manager at Pint Defiance, a craft and specialty beer store and taproom on the edge of Fircrest. 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 R.J. Adler.

Server Banner Boy, May 26-June 1, 2014

R.J. Adler

Assistant manager, bartender, server

Pint Defiance, a craft and specialty beer store and taproom on the edge of Fircrest

Why do you serve?

"I serve for the love of great craft beer. This answer is complete cheese, but I mean it."

Who is your favorite server in the South Sound?

"Oof, I have to pick just one? Sean at the Parkway seems to have a preternatural sense for knowing what I want before I do."

What are you most proud to serve?

"Anything local. I love being able to say, 'Here, a guy I know made this.'"

What's your current drink of choice?

Berliner Weisse

Favorite movie?

"No Country for Old Men"

What don't you serve?

"I try not to get snobbish about beer but you won't find me cracking any 'cold-activated' cans, if you catch my drift.

What's on your radar at Pint Defiance?

We always have awesome events on our calendar - Deschutes Brewer's Night on June 11, a sour beer night on June 25. I'm also looking forward to all the summer seasonal releases that are hitting our shelves. I'll be trying them all ... ya know ... for research.

LINK: Meet last week's Served Banner Girl.

May 19, 2014 at 12:46pm

Beer Here: Sierra Nevada Brewing dinner and upcoming South Sound beer events

Deschutes Brewery will take over some of The Swiss' taps May 21. Photo courtesy of Randi Rodgers

Back in the 1970s, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company was born in Chico, Calif. In 1982, San Francisco Examiner published an article praising Sierra Nevada's beers, which in turn led to pioneering chef Alice Waters including the brewery's flagship Pale Ale on her menu at her Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley. Bam! The brewery was off and running. Today, the business is the seventh-highest-selling brewery overall in America, and the No. 2 American craft brewer behind only Boston Beer Co., makers of Samuel Adams. The brewery's output has increased so steadily in the last 26 years so much so that Sierra Nevada erected another brewery outside of Asheville, N.C., in 2012 to meet the demands of the growing East Coast and European markets for its beers.Saturday, May 31, The Bayview School of Cooking will host a Sierra Nevada Brewing dinner. Chefs Barb Agee and Leanne Willard will team up with a SNBC rep for a five-course meal with beers paired with each course:

  1. Brie Quesadillas with Bacon and Beer-Glazed Onions paired with the new Southern Hemisphere;
  2. Thai Red Curry and Beef Soup paired with Sierra Nevada's famous Pale Ale;
  3. A Salad of Baby Lettuce with Feta, Strawberries and Smoked Almonds paired with Kellerweis;
  4. Grilled Chicken with Lemon-Cucumber Relish and Chinese Sesame Noodles paired with Summerfest;
  5. Chocolate Chip Shortbread with a Raspberry Drizzle served with Ovila Abbey Quad with Plums.

The dinner will be held in the BSC demo kitchen on the second floor of Bayview Thriftway, 516 W. Fourth Ave. in downtown Olympia. The cost is $65 per person. To reserve your spot, call 360.754.1448


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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Recent Comments

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

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

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Any Spring beers?

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