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Category: South Sound craft beer


South Sound craft beer: A guide to Pierce County’s breweries and taprooms

Ah, the smell of Fall.

No, I’m not talking rain.

I’m talking the yeast, the hops, the roasted malts.

I’m talking beer.

Just as our gullets wander to pumpkin spice lattes and slow-simmered stews, brewers begin punching up their offerings with fall seasonal brews.

That makes October the best time of year to visit your neighborhood brewery.

Call this your very own do-it-yourself Oktoberfest with a focus on 15 breweries that brew beer right here in Pierce County.

This brewery guide - in list form below, and as an interactive map above –  will take you to taprooms of all shapes and sizes. You’ll explore brewery restaurants with extensive menus, a taproom squeezed into a brewer’s garage and even one tucked into a warehouse. I’ve covered broad territory — this guide spans both sides of the Tacoma Narrows and stretches across the county along Interstate 5. Grab a map and a designated driver for this journey. You’ll need both, and it’s just smart planning.

The craft beer revival has struck Pierce County hard in recent years, with a third of these breweries opening since 2011. And more are on the way — you’ll have to read to the end of the story to find out where. Read more »


Cider Swig 2014: First hard cider festival of its kind Saturday in Gig Harbor

A sparkling glass of Alpenfire Pirates Plank Hard Cider. Dean J. Koepfler / File photo 2011
A glass of Alpenfire Pirates Plank Hard Cider. Dean J. Koepfler/File photo 2011

Beer seems to get all the attention in early fall, a consequence of all those Oktoberfest celebrations and seasonal beer releases.

But not this fall. Another kind of adult beverage is finally getting its due: hard cider.

The inaugural Cider Swig will be held Saturday at Sehmel Homestead Park in Gig Harbor.

The festival is a fundraiser for the Greater Gig Harbor Foundation and features a dozen Northwest cideries serving 50 hard ciders (that’s alcoholic ciders, for those keeping track). Apple ciders comprise the bulk of the menu, but pear ciders also will be served. See a list below of ciders. Read more »


Opening Saturday: Outlaw Ales, a nano brewery in Bonney Lake

Taprooms and breweries sometimes pop up in the oddest locations, sometime even home garages. Dan Sowers’ new Outlaw Ales is one of those nano breweries that’s a completely homegrown operation. Don’t let the name fool you, he just received his state licensing to sell beer out of the garage of his Bonney Lake Home. His first keg will be tapped at noon Saturday. Read more »


Opening Saturday: Pacific Brewing and Malting in downtown Tacoma

Photo courtesy of Pacific Brewing and Malting.
Photo courtesy of Pacific Brewing and Malting.

Here’s some great brew news: Pacific Brewing and Malting will open at 1 p.m. Saturday in downtown Tacoma. “After what feels like an eternity we are finally ready to open our doors to the public this Saturday,” wrote Pacific Brewing co-owner and head brewer Steve Navarro in an email.

After months of permit delays, everything’s been signed off and the brew is ready to flow. Read more »


October beer festivals: South Sound IPA Festival and Yachtoberfest

Brew alert. There are now two beer festivals planned for Tacoma in October.

The Washington Beer Commission sent an email to brewers advising them to save Oct. 18 for the South Sound IPA Festival at Union Station. According to the email, the festival will have two sessions – at noon and 5:30 p.m. – with 24 Washington brewers attending.

And if you haven’t heard already, there’s another beer festival in Tacoma Oct. 4. Yachtoberfest will be a fundraiser for the Tacoma Waterfront Association. More than a dozen brewers will serve. More details on both beer festivals below. Read more »


Coming to South Hill – Rainier Growlers, a taproom and growler fill station

South Hill is about to get a growler store and taproom offering a broad selection of craft and international beers. Russell Hooper expects his Rainer Growlers store will open this fall at 13105 Meridian Ave. E., which is in the same shopping center as Pho Tai and Ivar’s. Read more »


Beer? And coffee? Together? You bet. Hop Coffee opens in Tacoma

Pictured here, a porter mocha from Hop Coffee at the Harmon Taproom. I'd drink it again. I liked the richness of the porter beer with the chocolate sauce - in coffee made from beans roasted at Bluebeard Roasters.
Pictured here, a porter mocha from Hop Coffee at the Harmon Taproom. I’d drink it again. I liked the richness of the porter beer with the chocolate sauce – in coffee made from beans roasted at Bluebeard Roasters.

French press, cold-brewed, DIY bean roasting and even coffee beans pooped out of an elephant and priced $500 a pound.

Yes, we’ve now seen every coffee trend possible.

Or have we?

Hello, new Northwest trend. Now we’ve got coffee – flavored with beer.

Harmon beer is the curious ingredient in a line of sweetened coffee syrups developed by Melina Eshinski, pastry chef for Harmon Brewing Co. Read more »


Beer me: IPA Fest at Parkway Tavern Saturday; beer dinner at the Swiss on Wednesday

A beer garden, long lineup of IPAs and the band Rusty Cleavers will be at the Parkway Tavern Saturday for the annual IPA fest. Did you know The Swiss Pub has a new series pairing dinner with beer? Read about both events below. Read more »