Pacific Northwest Beer Chick

Breweries, Beers & Good Times

Brewing up the past September 26, 2014

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,IMG_2688 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!






4th Annual Tacoma Craft Beer Festival 2012 August 29, 2012


WHEN: Saturday September 1st, 11AM to 8PM

WHERE: At the 21st Street Park on the Foss Waterway; 2101 Dock Street, Tacoma WA 98402

HOW MUCH: $25 pre-sale online, $30 at the door, $10 Military discount off the Pre-sale ticket price (Active, Retired, Veteran, Reserves) at the door only with military ID.

Admission gets you a 5.5 oz commemorative taster glass and 10 tasting tokens. Additional tokens are $1.50. There will be games, live music and over 50 brewers! This event is 21 and over only. I will see you there!





An afternoon in t-town June 21, 2012

Since I couldn’t make the Washington Brewers Festival last weekend I decided to hit a couple of Tacoma’s breweries for some much-needed liquid sunshine. Wingman Brewing Company and Engine House 9 Brewery have a few new (and interesting) releases. First stop: Wingman Brewing.  Wingman has brewed something a bit lower in alcohol but not on flavor. Pomegranate Weizen is a very different beer for this brewery. A light pomegranate aroma hits the nose as soon as you raise your glass. A lighter bodied beer, there is a hint of hops and sour fruit. The finish is crisp and snappy. And the alcohol? A nice 5.2% ABV is a little more manageable than the bigger beers Wingman is known for. I loved this beer so much I filled my growler!

Another interesting beer from Wingman is a triple IPA specially brewed for the Über Tavern’s anniversary celebration at the end of this month in Seattle. Operation Cross Roads Triple IPA is one highly hopped beer. One might think the 100 IBU’s would be enough to cause even the biggest “hop head” to lose his faculties. Surprisingly, Operation Cross Roads is very malty for an IPA. The aroma is floral with grapefruit acidity. The body is thick and syrupy. The taste is very sweet, I mean REALLY sweet but the hops mellows it out a bit. Definitely a sipper this beer is not for the faint of heart; it’s also not for anyone driving. 16.8% ABV to be exact, so pleeeaaassseee proceed with caution!!

Moseying over to my usual hang out, Engine House 9 Brewery, I decided to try one of their newest creations. E9 is trying out a program where they select a recipe from one of the Tacoma’s many homebrewers and brew it on the big tanks. This month’s creation is a fun and quirky Pale Ale. So what makes this pale ale so quirky? They threw in Hot Tamale candy, and named it Parky. Yes, you read correctly…Hot Tamales! Hot cinnamon spice in the aroma and flavor and the color is unusual shade of red. Sweet and light Parky is a fun beer that brings back childhood memories. The candy part, not the beer part.

A guest beer currently making an appearance at E9 is Double Mountain Brewing’s Clusterfuck. Again, you read that correctly. Not only is this beer fun to order (cover your ears Grandma) but it is a great beer to drink. This single IPA is a true “hop monster” that packs a hoppy punch. Grapefruit aroma and strong citrus finish. This beer has been very aptly named and hubby loved it!

Grab these beers while you have the chance as they are only on tap for a limited time.




Tacoma finds his Wingman! May 31, 2012

The micro-brew family in Tacoma, WA just got a little larger. Wingman Brewing has been making and distributing their creations to local pubs and markets since April of 2011 but, alas, had no tasting room of their own. Flash forward one year to April 21st, 2012 to the opening of Wingman Brewing’s very own tasting room. Original brick walls surround the room and vintage-style Wingman posters are plastered on the walls. But the best part is the beer!

Falconer’s Flight Single Hop IPA (6.8% ABV) – Dark peach color. Belgian yeasty aroma. Great hop, nicely balanced. Crisp with smooth finish.

Ace IPA (7.4% ABV) – This one was my favorite. Mellow with aroma of grapefruit and flowers. Hoppy, but not too hoppy, with hints of caramel. Clean finish.

P-51 Porter (8.0% ABV) – Dark brown (almost black) color with a tan head. Rich chocolate and coffee aroma. Malty, creamy, and full of chocolate flavors. This is a nice sipping beer.

Belgian Double (8.4% ABV) – Thinner mouth feel than the others yet very sickening sweet. Dark brown color. Spice notes in the aroma and flavor with a slightly sour finish. This was an interesting beer, but too not one of my favorites.

Stratofortress (11.4% ABV) – Wingman took the Belgian Double and aged it in oak. Though much higher in alcohol than the Double, in this form it was much more drinkable. Slightly medicinal aroma. Sweet and sour taste with a malty balance. It’s amazing what a little oak can do!

As you can see Wingman is really into “big” beers. The alcohol does not go below 6% ABV. It’s my hope they will look to brew something lower in ABV that won’t cause the casual drinker to lose their faculties after one pint.  A nice wheat, pale ale or pilsner perhaps (hint, hint).

The tasting room is huge! There is a lot of seating around the bar but a lot of open space that could be utilized for more seating. But hey, they just opened. They may have more great plans for the tasting room in the works. Wingman does not prepare food but the New Frontier Lounge down the street will be more than happy to deliver pizza right to the taproom door. The taproom is open Thursday through Saturday from 2:00pm-11:00pm.






Coming soon: Trade Route Brewing Co, more of the Best of Tacoma, and a couple of tasty 22oz brews. January 15, 2012


upcoming book signing in Seattle! November 24, 2011




SEATTLE, WA – On Thursday, December 1, from 4 p.m. until 7:30 p.m., author Christian DeBenedetti will join Head Brewer Dean Mochizuki at Pike Brewing Company (1415 First Avenue, 206-622-6044) for a beer tasting and book signing of DeBenedetti’s first book, The Great American Ale Trail: The Craft Beer Lover’s Guide to the Best Watering Holes in the Nation (Running Press; September 2011; Paperback; $20.00 US).

“The well-traveled beer enthusiast will be signing copies and talking all things ale alongside Pike’s head brewer, Dean Mochizuki and Pike Brewing owners, Charles and Rose Ann Finkel.   For the event, Mochizuki will be offering his Pike Double IPA, which has been dry hopped with summit hops, for $3.50 a glass.  In his book, DeBenedetti lists Pike Brewery as one of the “Best Watering Holes.”  Books will be available for purchase, and guests are also invited to bring their own copy if they have already bought one to have it autographed.  Following the meet-and-greet and signing, the event will feature live music from Atlas Stringband, and of course, plenty of great draught beer. ” – Jennie Hatton, Profile Public Relations

WHO:        Pike Brewing Company and author Christian DeBenedetti 

WHAT:      The Great American Ale Trail Book Signing Event

WHEN:     Thursday, December 1 from 4 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.

WHERE:   1415 First Avenue, Seattle, WA




The Best of Tacoma (part 2) November 13, 2011

Part two of my Best of Tacoma series starts off at a little hole in the wall just about five minutes up the road from the Parkway Tavern: Magoo’s Annex Ale House & Eatery. Located in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Tacoma and operating almost continuously since 1943, Magoo’s offers great microbrews, a nice pool table, and the best jukebox in the state of Washington! The Jam, Ramones’s, The Clash, -X-, and other alternative and punk rock legends are queued up to be played while you toss back some fine microbrews from around the country. Eclectic decor on the inside this is another great pub that gives a nod to Tacoma’s history and the microbrew beer culture. A bit more rough around the edges than the aforementioned pub in my last posting, but Magoo’s has an old school rustic charm about it that makes it laid back and cool, and the beer is really cold and fresh.

Changing the pace a bit I would like to take you down town to a little Irish pub I fell in love with the moment a crossed the threshold: Paddy Coyne’s Irish Pub on Pacific Ave. Paddy Coyne’s is not only one of my favorite Tacoma pubs, but it is one of my favorite pubs period. Warm and inviting dark wood-paneled walls and hand carved antique bar really gives me the feeling of being in a pub in dear old Ireland. The best Irish and English beer on tap a long with a couple of guest brews are always fresh. The best Irish and Scottish whiskeys line the back of the bar and are carefully guarded by the old souls carved into the back bar. If you are into rustic Irish pub food (Lord knows I am) then look no further. Traditional fish and chips, banger’s and mash, ploughman’s lunch, shepherd’s pie,  and other UK favorites are done up right and served up with fresh Irish soda bread. It’s a great place to visit on a cold, rainy day. The fireplace in the middle of the restaurant will always be on. Paddy Coyne’s has two other locations: Seattle and Bellevue.

So I know many of you are thinking about some great bars and pubs that were not mentioned. Let’s be honest, Tacoma is a potpourri of great bars, taverns and pubs. Talk to the locals, they know best where all of the hotspots are.



Magoo’s – 2710 N 21st St, Tacoma,WA 98406




The Best of Tacoma (part 1) November 12, 2011

I often get asked “PNW Beer Chick, where are the great pubs in Tacoma?” Well kids, there are more than a few great places  to have a pint that are in ideal areas, have great atmosphere, and rotating taps. So I decided to write about them in two parts.

First on my list of the Best of Tacoma: Red Hot. If I were to own my own pub, the Red Hot would be it! Located on 6th Ave

Red Hot

in Tacoma, this retro pub has been featured on the Food Network. The inside is decorated with everything micro-brew and historical Tacoma. You won’t see a Budweiser flag in this joint! Awesome beers are constantly rotating both on tap and in the bottle. As for grub, who doesn’t love a hot dog? Red Hot offers the most unusual selection of hot dogs in town along with childhood favorites like Frito Pie and Moon Pies for desert. You haven’t lived until you have taken a bite of the brightest neon green relish ever made! Micro-brews such as Russian River, Dogfish Head, Stone, Hales, Rogue, Anchor Steam, Bear Republic and tons of others and constantly shuffling through so you are assured to get the freshest beer in town. Undecided about what type of beer you want? Just ask Justin, owner Chris, or any of the staff. These folks know their beer stuff! Red Hot is one of my favorite Tacoma hangouts.

Travel about five minutes up the road and turn left onto “I” St for the Park Way Tavern. Housed in a renovated Craftsman bungalow, the Parkway offers 30 rotating taps of the best micro-brews from around the world. The decor gives a nod to Tacoma’s
history and the micro-brew culture. In the back you can enjoy playing pool, air hockey, or take a load off in the zebra room with the corner fireplace. There is a patio out front for one to sit and enjoy the view of the gorgeous “painted ladies” in the neighborhood. The food is fresh and delicious. Try the chef salad, salmon burger, nachos or fresh quesadilla.  The staff is very friendly and knowledgeable about what they are pouring. There’s nothing like enjoying a beer in one of Tacoma’s prettiest historic neighborhoods.

Coming soon…part two of The Best of Tacoma.



Information for Red Hot and Park Way Tavern can be found on Facebook.


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