The tricky thing about wood-aged beer – if done in a barrel – is the space required. If Morgan Alexander had his way, he’d have warehouse space to stack barrel after barrel of wood-aged beer.
With only 1,000 square feet at his Tacoma Brewing Co. in the St. Helens neighborhood, he’d have trouble finding room for one barrel.
Rather than ditch his idea of wood-aging beer – a growing trend among brewers – he turned to a clever solution other nano brewers are employing. He uses wood chips and spirals thrown into the fermenter to impart a woody flavor to his ales and stouts.
Here’s a fun local tidbit – he’s sourced some of his wood from Tacoma woodworking business, Madera.
On Saturday Feb. 8, Alexander will host Tacoma’s first wood-aged beer festival at his brewery, which he operates with his brother Tristan Litke. Check the list of beers below. He’ll tap the brews from 2-10 p.m. Supplies are limited. Beer will be served in pints and schooners. The event will feature Alexander’s brews, as well as guest brewer R.J. Adler.
“It’s kind of been a growing trend and something I’ve been wanting to play around with for awhile,” said Alexander by phone of what spawned the idea for a wood-focused beer festival.
Alexander described his method as mad scientist brewing. That entails tossing various woods into various beers to impart woody tones and seeing what works.
“I’ve assembled as many types of woods as I can find. Oak, birch, cherry wood, ash; a couple roots and barks – sarsaparilla and wormwood,” said Alexander, ticking off the inventory of what he’s experimented with so far. Were there any woods he wanted but couldn’t source? “There was one I wanted to have for this event and I just didn’t have time to get out and find it – and that’s spruce tips to make a spruce beer. That’s still on my list of things to do.”
Tacoma Brewing Co.
625 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma; 253-242-3370; facebook.com/TacomaBrewing
Here’s the list of brews he’s serving 2-10 p.m. Saturday.
– Spanish Cedar Aged Rye IPA
– Birch Aged Rye IPA
– Sugar Maple Aged Rye IPA
– Oaked Rye IPA
– Birch Aged Pilsner Style Ale
– Rum Oaked Imperial Stout
– Bourbon Oaked Imperial Stout
– Cherry Wood Imperial Stout
– Smoked Birch Imperial Stout
– Smoked Ash Imperial Stout
– Sarsaparilla Brown Ale
More events from Alexander and Tacoma Brewing Co.:
Tacoma Beer Week: March 3-9, various locations. This inaugural beer week will feature Tacoma brewers with a number of hosted events, as well as a collaboration brew created by Tacoma brewers – Narrows, Wingman, Harmon, RAM, E9, the soon-to-open Pacific Brewing and Tacoma Brewing Co. Check the News Tribune for coverage the week before the event. Find info here.
Big Beer Festival: 2-10 p.m. March 15 at Tacoma Brewing Company. Big beers with bold flavors will be on tap for this festival featuring triple IPAs, quadruple IPAs, barleywines, and big stouts.”