Monday, September 6, 2010

Engine House 9, a gem in Tacoma

  Not far from Tacoma's downtown, one comes across an architectural treat. It was built as a firehouse in 1907, toward the end of the era of horse-drawn fire trucks. The building's exterior has a lot of detail typical of the time.
Inside, the decor continues to celebrate the building's past. From the ceiling hang several safety nets, those circular things the firefighters once held by the edges to catch people jumping from the upper stories of buildings.  A collection of foot long hose nozzles adorns a room divider. Old photos of firefighters answering the call are on some of the walls. Many of our micros are in old buildings created for a different use (transit barns, automobile dealerships, etc.), but it is rare to see the original occupants saluted in such a fine way. A plaque states that the building is on the National Register of Historic Places.
   It has been a restaurant and pub since 1980, though the brewery was added later, in 1995.  From the get-go, they must have had a wide selection of other folks' beers, because the back walls are lined with little plaques naming customers who joined their beer club by tasting 47 different brews there. The oldest plaques date to 1983.  They are still adding names for the same accomplishment, 47 brews listed on their card, 26 taps and 21 bottled brands.  Nine of the taps are their own. The others will from time to time dispense a Ninkasi, a Full Sail, Diamond Knot, Schooner Exact, etc., even Coors Light or Bud Light for those whose tastes run to such.  The taps must rotate, as I don't think I saw more than a dozen on my visit.
   I tried the Potion No. 9, a blonde ale that finishes very dry and citrus-y, and the Fire Engine Red, a rich malty amber. The website up at the moment did not list their own beers.
(Visited 8/27/19)

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