Sometimes some of the best places are found completely by accident. About 3 years ago, when my husband and I were new to Washington State, we went exploring down 6th Ave in Tacoma. I just happened to be looking to my left when I spotted a gorgeous brick building with fluorescent beer signs in the windows. Thinking it was probably a dive bar, hubby reluctantly turned the car around to investigate. And boy, are we glad we did! Turns out this brick building is home to Tacoma’s first micro-brew. Engine House No. 9, built in 1907, was once the original fire house for Tacoma’s North End and is registered on the National Historical Register.
Talk about ambiance! The place is packed full of antique fire fighting equipment and memorabilia including the original pole the firemen slid down a hundred years ago. The brewery not only carries its own beers, but has many guest taps as well featuring some of the best beers from around the world. I ordered the Engine House No. 9 (AKA E9) sampler tray for $5.00. The sampler features 6 of E9’s best home beers, some of the finest micro-brews in Tacoma.
Belgian White (4.1% ABV): If you are looking for a springtime ale, this may be the ale you want. The lowest ABV of the bunch, the aroma is soft and citrusy with a hint of lavender and wheat. This is a crisp, floral ale with a good clean finish. The Belgian White is very easy to drink and would go great with just about any meal.
Tacoma Brew (5.1% ABV): Brewed with Czech Saaz hops, this pale ale has a smooth, hoppy flavor with a sweet caramel finish. The caramel seemed to intensify with every sip. Tacoma Brew is my husband’s “go to” beer. It may be yours too!
Roasted Porter (5.9% ABV): As many of you know, I’m a big pan of porters. Made with coffee, this porter is so sweet and creamy; I thought it was nitro tapped. The iced coffee flavor and aroma is so prominent, you may forget you’re drinking beer. Delicious!
Rowdy Dick Amber (6.2% ABV): Crisp and slightly hoppy, the malty finish rounds out this nice ale. I pick up subtle hints of spice and think of autumn when I drink this ale. This ale is great for crisp October nights.
Winter Warmer (6.3% ABV): Like I’ve shared in my previous blogs, winter ales are a bit stronger than the average ale. And, like I am about to share, this ale is true to form. Beautiful and toasty, hints of caramel and coffee smooth out this rich ale. There is a bit of the hard alcohol taste I have warned you about in previous blogs, so be careful. This ale is definitely a sipper.
India Pale Ale (6.6% ABV): As you are all aware, I’m not a fan of IPAs but I actually enjoyed this one. Full bodied and full of hops, this IPA has a beautiful citrus aroma and the bitter flavor of grapefruit. Being the IPA fan, my husband really enjoys this beer. Though this ale may sound strong, it was actually quite easy to drink.
Fire Engine Red (7.0% ABV): With the highest ABV on my list, Fire Engine Red has a high alcohol nose and a strong winter ale style taste. It’s quite hoppy and yet toasty with a malty finish. Like hard alcohol this beer is quite warming but I wouldn’t suggest you drink it while you eat.
Engine House No. 9 is family friendly and has a great, eclectic food menu. Try one of their fantastic pizzas with the house brews. Since stumbling upon Engine House No. 9 over 3 years ago we have become regular customers. If you come by on a weekend chances are pretty good you may run into me.