Road trip time again. This time we headed to some of the breweries in Pierce County. There are far more breweries than can safely be tasted down there, so we picked four with a stretch goal of six.
First up was the newest of the bunch, Narrows Brewing, located at the Narrows Marina. Since opening in July, the brewery has established itself as an upscale destination to complement its neighbor, Boathouse 19.
The beers on tap this day were a bit on the lighter side; blonde, pale ale, ipa, red, rye and a black saison. The brochure mentions a stout as a regular beer, but was not available today. Part is still under construction what appears to be a stage for live performers. Window seats are a premium, offering a gorgeous view of the marina and the Narrows Bridge.
A short drive to the East was Engine House #9. They had eight E9 brews on tap and 15 rather impressive guest taps. Although we did not eat there, I am advised that they have some of the best food in Tacoma, in particular the nachos. Next time. I had the E9 Belgian White. It was a very nice beer, just what I had in mind.
I was a bit disappointed in the way they do their samplers. First off, you have to have a flight of six and they all must be E9 beers. Secondly, THEY pick which six you are going to get, and two of them are going to be IPAs. I asked the server/bartender for some tastes of the other beers. After a couple of them, he gave me the impression that he was way too busy to keep going back and forth from my table to his bar just for sips. I said I would be more than happy to buy a six taster flight if he would let me pick six from the list of 23 that they had. That was so NOT going to happen. Ah well, we left and headed down to Wingman Brewing near the Tacoma Dome.
Wingman is a funky tasting room in the midst of a production brewery, true working man ambiance without the peanut shells on the floor. But they have good beer there. The stout and porter are my favorites. I was surprised to see virtually no production activity on a Saturday, just the one guy who poured the beers and did various tidying up sorts of stuff.
I really like this brewery. You see them at all kinds of brewfests, both large and small. They help support and promote the craft by making collaboration beers with other local breweries. One and done (I had the Oatmeal Stout) and on to adventure number three.
Our next stop found us in Puyallup on our way to the Puyallup River Alehouse. The plan was to stop for a quick one here, head out to the Powerhouse and finish the day at Elk Head Brewing in Buckley. However, Eric Akeman, PRA proprietor extraordinaire, managed to waylay our last two stops by filling us up with great Chicago-style gourmet hotdogs, popcorn and a bevy of fine ales.
It was a great day for beer touring. But knowing when enough is enough is an essential part of the experience. We missed quite a few good places – or should I say saved them for the next Pierce County road trip. We will be sure to visit Harmon Brewing, the RAM/Bighorn, Tacoma Brewing and other fine spots around the sound. Maybe even find some DUO somewhere. How’s that taproom coming along?