Friday, March 13, 2015

Tacoma's north downtown beer scene part I: Pacific Malting & Brewing reborn

Start this tour at the Spanish Steps--no, not the original Scale Spagnuole in Rome but the copy faithfully built by Tacoma boosters in 1916 and recently restored.  To the left, behind the monkey puzzle tree, is a wall of the Elks Club building now being restored by McMenamins, to be another hotel/brewpub.  The steps lead down to the old city hall, the five story red building, and the white building to the left, the former city hall annex.  The annex was originally the old Pacific Brewing and Malting Company, built in 1897 and of course shuttered by the state prohibition law in 1916.  Annexed to city hall, the building was used by the police as a jail, a garage, etc.
    O happy days for historic preservation, esp. when the result is a return to the original purpose of a building.  Reopened for brewing last July and serving in the taproom since September, Pacific has revived a fine old name from the pages of beer history.  One of their best sellers in tavern-bound kegs is Grit City Porter, bearing one of Tacoma's more positive nicknames in a rich, malty (five malts, including Black Prinz) ale of 6.2% abv and a moderately hoppy 37 IBUs.  Steve, the brewer, touts the porter's second life: as an ingredient in a House of Donuts recipe, the donuts sold right on the taproom bar.
  Another tasty treat I enjoyed was the Belgian Abbey Ale, a nice, dark Dubbel at 7.9% abv and 28 IBUs.  A malty aroma and flavors like dates in the finish.
  Other than the donuts and some bags of chips, the taproom lacks food service at the present.  The system is on full display through the interior windows, a pair of 15-bbl fermenters and another half-dozen 7-bbl tanks.  With a central location in the nascent craft brewing scene in this neighborhood, and some well-made beers, Pacific's second lease on life looks secure.

(Visited 03/12/15)

1 comment:

  1. Oh the Northwest. Beer and Donuts! What harmony. Also, McMenamins is on fire! Glad to hear they're also restoring a building in the area. Tacoma is going to be the new Brooklyn!