Tacoma Beer Has Been Very Good to Me

As much as I love Tacoma, the place of my birth, my visits to the City of Destiny are too infrequent. Today the Washington Beer Blog introduces Casey McLain, the Washington Beer Blog’s new South Sound Bureau Chief. Casey is better known as a sports blogger on his own sports blog (North and South of Royal Brougham) and as a contributor to Prospect Insider, but he also harbors a deep passion for beer. That said, here is the first installment from Casey: a quick tour of what’s happening around Tacoma these days.

Tacoma Beer Has Beer Very Good to Me
by Casey McLain, South Sound Bureau Chief

When it comes to Washington beer, there’s no doubt that the city of Seattle receives most of the credit. Most of the state’s biggest, most successful, and most famous breweries come from either Seattle, or suburbs in the general vicinity.

That’s not to say, however, that the south end beer scene isn’t similarly rich and deep in terms of both choice and quality. With mainstays like Harmon Brewing Company and Engine House No. 9, Parkway Tavern, The Swiss, and Tacoma Craft Beer Festival, Tacoma has been a longtime contributor to the south end beer scene. In recent years Tacoma has seen substantial additions to a scene that could eventually rival Seattle’s:

wingman brewersWingman Brewing Company

Barely two years ago the doors opened at Wingman, except, they didn’t open to the public. Brewing from a one-barrel system, Wingman Brewers started out as a keg-only brewery, supplying to local bars and restaurants. The brewery has since moved to the Dome District in Tacoma, near the Tacoma Dome, and across the street from the Tacoma Sounder Station. Located in a rustic and unique building, Wingman Brewers has a taproom open three days a week (Thursday-Saturday, 2-11PM). If Wingman is on the tap handle, even in their own facility, make sure to show up early, as their beers tend to sell out very quickly, most notably at local beer festivals where their lines are long and their beer is popular, and often scarce come the midpoint of any festival session. Keep your eye out for a Wingman expansion, which should make their highly sought after beer more available to prospective consumers.

509 1/2 Puyallup Ave
Tacoma, WA 98402
(253) 651-4832

Tacoma Brewing Company

I first got a taste of Tacoma Brewing Company’s wares at the Big Beer Festival, held on Dock Street in Tacoma. Their Four-Banger IPA rivaled IPA offerings from Diamond Knot and Georgetown, putting them among our state’s elite IPA’s. Located inside of Amocat Cafe, with a taproom open from 5-9 PM on Fridays only, your window of opportunity to taste Tacoma Brewing Company’s offerings may be limited (though they’re already looking to expand), but they’re a worthy stop if you’re spending time anywhere from the North End of Tacoma to the Theater District, and should be a destination for any beer enthusiast traveling through the south Puget Sound area.

625 St Helens Ave
Tacoma, WA 98402
(253) 242-3370

Pint Defiance

Located on the border of Tacoma, Fircrest, and University Place, and across Mildred Street from The Alehouse, Pint Defiance is arguably Tacoma-adjacent. No Tacoma resident would dare disown Pint Defiance, however, which has 10 tap offerings from which they’ll serve pints or fill growlers, literally hundreds of bottles and cans available to-go, and if you want to drink your bottle or can on the premises it will only cost you a slight corkage fee.

2049 Mildred St. West
Tacoma, WA 98466
(253) 302-4240

Broken Spoke

Tacoma mainstay and bike enthusiast Ben Davis opened Broken Spoke last year in Tacoma’s revitalized Hilltop neighborhood. Broken Spoke operates mostly as a bike and coffee shop during the day, but at night the crowd shifts, and Broken Spoke offers mostly-craft, and some domestic beer in cans, and in cans only. With local, West Coast, and international offerings, there may be no better selection of craft cans available in Western Washington.

Broken Spoke on Facebook
1014 Martin Luther King Jr Way
Tacoma, WA 98405
(253) 219-7746

MASH Home Brew Supply

For years Tacoma homebrewers, especially those in the north end, were faced with a trek to either Lakewood or Kent if they needed ingredients or equipment to create their own beers. What MASH, and owner Jason Trujillo may lack in floor space is made up for with a variety of ingredients, and a never-ending supply of advice. MASH makes their home on 21st Avenue, just a short trip west from Parkway Tavern, and only a couple blocks North East of University of Puget Sound.

2714 N 21st St
Tacoma, WA 98406
(253) 759-4908


Casey McLain is the founder of North and South of Royal Brougham, a replacement-level Seattle sports blog, a contributor to Prospect Insider, and can be found tweeting about beer and baseball @CaseyMcLain34.


  1. Great to see some Tacoma coverage!

    Tacoma brewing tap nights recently expanded to include Thursdays & Fridays (5-9pm) and Saturdays (3-9pm) – as well as Amocat Cafe hours during the day 🙂

    Check our Facebook page for more hours coming soon!


  2. @Joe: This is only about new Tacoma beer spots. It’s definitely well into the upper-echelon of the best beer destinations in Tacoma, but it was founded in 2007.

    @Morgan: Good info! You’ll see more of me now!

  3. Great to have some coverage of the Tacoma Brew scene!! We love what you guys do at the Washington Beer Blog. Harmon Brewery, the first microbrewery in Tacoma, was awarded Best Amber over the weekend at the Leavenworth Brewfest – 2nd year running – for our Expedition Amber! Our Harmon Tap Room beer garden opens up today for summer dining and tasting – don’t forget to try some of our seasonal brews up there! Thanks again for helping put Tacoma’s beer scene on the map!!

  4. Tacoma is a great beer hiking town. Super-easy to get to/from Seattle on the SoundTransit 594 bus, too. We recently did a fantastic UBH down there, but couldn’t fit everything in. We’ll be back soon.

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