Tapping into Change
Occasionally we are all asked to take a different route than we are accustomed to. Some adventurous people jump at the opportunity, while others can’t understand why they’d change something that’s working so well already. I probably fall in the second category, that’s just a guess, I didn’t ask for anyone’s input. I’d say I find what works and stick to it, every day, every week, every year… Ok, maybe I should reevaluate, a little adventure might be good.
So when I was asked to take a new route around town recently, I decided to approach this change differently. Rather than assume my normal route was better, I decided to look around and take in the new scenery around me. This new route was the North end of Downtown Tacoma. I was surprised at how many new businesses there were; shops, restaurants and tap rooms. Tap rooms? That’s new.
In the Pacific Northwest, we are used to having local wineries, local microbreweries and of course, local coffee roasters. Nothing new here. The term microbrew or craft beer is also not new; it originated in the 1970s and became popular in the 1980s. In fact craft beer isn’t even new to Tacoma, but in the last few years they are flourishing and now they come with Tap Rooms.
Tap rooms are connected to the brewery and give the brew masters a way to introduce their craft beers to the public. You can talk to people who know all about their different brews, taste them and may even be able tour the brewing facilities. Tap rooms are all about the craft beer, most don’t offer food, but they do encourage you to bring dinner in. They have worked with the local restaurants around them to deliver it to you in the tap room, most often without a delivery charge. You’ll find the menus inside the tap rooms, or if you prefer, you can pick up dinner on your way to enjoy with you favorite beer. They welcome it!
Here are some local tap rooms around Downtown Tacoma:
Pacific Brewing & Malting Company www.pacificbrewingandmalting.com
Fun Fact: Began in 1897, shut down for prohibition in 1916. Reborn in 2014 by a group of local beer enthusiasts in the Old City Hall Annex on Pacific Avenue. This tap room offers a wide range of pourings, including an 1897 Pale Lager, a Moon Yard Ale, and A Grit City Porter, all named for the city they came from. This tap room is family friendly and offers growlers to-go.
Odd Otter Brewing www.oddotterbrewing.com
Named after a favorite Pacific Northwest aquatic animal, the silly and playful otter, and a reference to the unique (or odd) community around them. They offer a handful of High Gravity and Low Gravity brews, including their Momma Otter’s Pancake Porter or Strawberry Blonde Otter. All current pourings are available on their website. At times they also have guest taps to try.
Tacoma Brewing Co. www.tacomabrewing.com
Tacoma Brewing offers hard ginger ales and full flavored beers. They keep it interesting, with the names of the brews and the offerings, they change weekly. Look for their Broken Window IPA or their 2014 Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout. They also offer a wide range of guest taps.
Harmon Tap Room www.theharmontaproom.com
This is the third establishment opened by the Harmon Brewery and is now the brewing host for the three locations. It is directly below the Harmon owned restaurant, The Hub, so no need to bring your own food. They offer everything you need, including a Mt. Takhoma Blonde, Pt. Defiance IPA and a Brown’s Point Extra Special Bitter. They recently changed to a family friendly setting which includes outdoor seating to take advantage of those gorgeous Pacific Northwest summers.
This list is not inclusive, there are more to check out inside Downtown Tacoma and outside including Wingman Brewers, Narrows Brewing Co., and 7 Seas Brewing in Gig Harbor.
It’s exciting to see so much life in Downtown Tacoma. I hope you get a chance to take a different route and come down to taste a few craft beers. Be sure to let us know your favorites and next time I take that route, it will be a new adventure and it will be intentional.