Incorporated in 1875, Tacoma, WA is bursting with rich cultural and architectural history. Surprising to many is that craft beer shares in much of that long history. In 1897, the Pacific Brewing and Malting company opened its doors in Downtown Tacoma. It quickly grew into the one of the largest breweries in the Northwest. Sadly, like many craft breweries of the time, Pacific Brewing was shut down due to statewide prohibition in 1916 (four years before the nationwide ban). Lucky for us, two lovers of craft beer, Steve Navarro and Brent Hall, decided to resurrect the old Pacific Brewing and Malting brand, right down to the original logo, and give it new life!
The brewery is located at the foot of the Old Town Hall on Pacific Ave in the shadow of the iconic clock tower. The building has been lovingly restored and looks amazing, both inside and out! Vintage style carriage doors grace the front and gorgeous reclaimed wood table line up on the inside. Exposed brick walls give a wonderfully warm and inviting feeling.
Opening day was a busy one but I was able to squeeze my way in and try a couple of pints. First up was Dirty Skoog IPA. This a very well-balanced IPA and a tad sweeter than you would expect which is a nice change from the “blow your head off” hoppy IPA’s. Quite lovely with a malty finish. Next up was the Citra Pale Ale. Very crisp and full of fruit notes and citrus. Just hoppy enough to make IPA enthusiast order another one. But my favorite of the day was the 1897 Pale Lager. Malty, sweet, light and refreshing. This lager is a nod to the original lager once made by Pacific Brewing but with modern brewing in mind. It’s quite a delightful beer. Other beers they brew are Grit City Porter, Moon Yard Strong Ale, Galaxy Smash (single malt/single hop IPA), and they are currently brewing a Smashing Pumpkin Ale. Yum!
This particular area of Pacific Ave is about sure to be a the craft beer epicenter of Tacoma. Odd Otter Brewing is opening soon and just a few doors down from Pacific Brewing, and the McMenamins purchased the gorgeous Elks Lodge building just behind and is in the process of restoring to its former glory. So, stay tuned!