Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gig Harbor's Seven Seas and nautical trivia

   Drove over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge last Saturday, on a fine sunny afternoon, and found that Seven Seas Brewing's tasting room would not open for a couple of hours.  As I had not seen this pretty town for about 25 years, I strolled around the harbor until I reached the local museum.
The red building in the lower shot is the museum, not a boat storage barn.  Inside, they had curated an exhibition on the Wilkes expedition of 1838-1841, which did an extraordinary amount of mapping, ethnography, botanizing, etc., not just in Puget Sound but throughout the South Pacific, all the way down to Antarctica.  They had compiled a list of how all the places in the Sound got their names--some from the Vancouver expedition in 1792, some Indian names, some from earlier Spanish explorers (how Juan de Fuca has not lent his name to a contemporary rock band I don't know, just imagine Juan and the.....oh, well).  An officer in the Wilkes group opined that this spot was an excellent little harbor, just the size for a gig, and that name stuck.  And many other places in the sound got named by the Wilkes expedition, too.
   Seven Seas opened its doors at 2:00 and had a good crowd by 2:05.
The regular lineup consists of four beers: British Pale Ale, Port Royal Stout, Cutt's NW Amber Ale (named for nearby Cutt's Island, see the museum for who Cutt was), and Ballz Deep Double IPA.  This last is a hairy-chested brew for the hop-heads: 8.4% ABV and 82 IBUs. I had a taste to verify its pizazz, but for a pint I went with the Cutt's Amber.  This poured with a firm creamy head, much like a well drawn Guinness, and a piney aroma. 
   Two packaging aspects were noteworthy.  One is cans: Seven Seas appears to be the first Washington brewer to get its beers into cans (Fremont has been working on the same idea).  They fill 16-oz cans and sell them in four-packs: $10 for the British Pale and $14 for the Ballz Deep. With two people on the canning machine, they can fill about six cans a minute.  The second is their growlers. They sell for $80 each, empty.  The logo comes out raised on the glass, with the big number 7 and the compass rose effects, and then is handpainted and glazed. The cap is of that permanent type that levers down for a tight seal. The server said they sell these growlers pretty much at their cost.
   Seven Seas was started in 2009 by Travis Guterson and Mike Runion and the first plant was destroyed by fire soon thereafter.  They quickly rebuilt and have been running since April 2010, just about a year.
(Visited 3/19/11)

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