In Seattle we’re proud of our beer culture. Seattleites love great beer and we have great places to drink it, but sometimes this blog fails to give proper respect to the city to the south that also embraces fabulous beer. It is a beautiful city, one of the jewels of the northwest, with a serious passion for superior suds. I am talking about Tacoma, of course.
You might have thought I was talking about Portland, but this blog is not one of the many, many online forums dedicated to Oregon beer worship. We are, after all, the Washington Beer Blog. We have already showed Hood River some love, naming that lovely town and the surrounding area one of our favorite things, so now we are keeping it north of the border. We hereby declare that Tacoma is one of our favorite things.
Admit it Tacoma, You are Beautiful
Tacoma, you were once pretty ugly. You smelled awful. Your smelter belched toxic death-clouds into the sky and your rampant gang violence stained your hilltop with blood. Your downtown looked more like a deserted ghost town.
That is all behind you now. As the new century unfolds, you are reinventing yourself. Your air is clean and your neighborhoods are cute and inviting. Your historic downtown is enjoying a rebirth. Your streets are safe. Your beer is delicious.
Admit it Tacoma, you are beautiful. You are one of our favorite things.
Our Favorite Places
Whenever we are heading home on northbound I-5 from some beer adventure, it is hard for us not to make a detour to the Parkway Tavern, the Red Hot, Harmon Brewing, the Engine House No. 9, or one of the other fine establishments serving good beer in The City of Destiny. Other times, when a weekend afternoon presents itself with no obligations, we head south to the city of my birth to enjoy a visit to the Spar, the Swiss, or maybe even Katie Downs Waterfront Tavern. So many choices.
But if we had to choose two favorites it would probably be the Red Hot and the Parkway.
The Red Hot – To begin with, we love the Red Hot motto of “cold beer, hot dogs, no jerks.” The beer list is unquestionably impressive, featuring a delicious, thoughtful, rotating selection of craft beers from near and far. The hot dogs are sourced with the same passion, brought in from across the country. Seriously, the hot dogs will blow your mind. These are gourmet dogs dressed to perfection. My favorite is the Tideflats, which features two beef dogs on an open bun smothered in mustard, ketchup, sour kraut, chili, nacho cheese, and what-all-else I do not recall. (They have more conventional offerings for the faint of heart.)
The Parkway Tavern – This is the ultimate neighborhood pub. The Parkway is committed to serving great beer. Lots and lots of great beer. The Parkway doesn’t have a website because it doesn’t need one. Everyone who needs to know about the Parkway already does. You are always welcome, but you are an outsider. Respect that. The memorabilia hanging on the walls always fascinates me. It is like a history lesson or a walk through a museum. Most important, the beer list will not disappoint even the most finicky drinker. It amazes me how many Seattle-area beer lovers have never heard about the Parkway. Actually, no it doesn’t.
Hit the Ground Running
The Tacoma Craft Beer Festival is only two years old and it is already one of our favorite festivals. They came out of the gates swinging and didn’t pull any punches. We love the location for the event, in a historic building on the Foss Waterway. The addition of Friday Night Firkins was awesome.
The TCBF is a testament to the rising beer tide in Tacoma. We look forward to what the future holds for this young festival.
Likely, some hot-blooded Tacoman will take issue with the fact that I even mentioned the odor of Tacoma or any of the other elements of the city’s past. I know how touchy current Tacomans are about that kind of stuff. They are irrationally defensive about certain subjects – a testament to the love they have for their great city. Although I do not currently live in Tacoma, my family’s roots run deep under the Ruston soil. I’m entitled to my opinion. You are entitled to yours.
Tacoma, you are feisty and you don’t take no crap from nobody, goddammit. We love that about you. Tacoma, you are one of our favorite things.