When the Harmon Brewery and Restaurant opened in 1997 in downtown Tacoma, Bimbo’s was still operating and the University of Washington had just opened its campus.
Oh, how things have changed.
Today, the Harmon Brewery anchors a bustling strip of restaurants and retail businesses.
Since opening, the Harmon has grown right along with its downtown Tacoma neighborhood. The restaurant group and brewery run by Pat Nagle and Carole Ford is now a family of four restaurants in Tacoma, Gig Harbor and Puyallup.
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Handily, the business’ 20-year anniversary coincides with something that works out well for a beer-making company — Oktoberfest.
To commemorate 20 years of business, the restaurant plans an epic week-long party. With fancy beer, of course.
Harmon head brewer Jeff Carlson has been working on special-release beers. Those beers will be served at a special brewers dinner (details below).
Here’s a look at the anniversary beers and a week’s worth of events for the restaurant’s celebration.
Platinum Pilsner: Like most breweries around here, the Harmon is known for its ales, which is why it’s so unusual to see a pilsner, which is a lager, in the brewery’s lineup.
“It was a project we did in collaboration with Skagit Valley malting,” explained Carlson. “They’re a malting company that gets their grain locally and does all the malting in house.”
Carlson used the specialty malts and specialty German hops to make the lager. Because lagers do take longer to make than ales, this is a beer that “has been going for a month or so,” said Carlson.
Harmon Hefe: “This is the third time we’ve done it,” said Carlson. “We’ve always done it with our hops, but we brought in some German hops this time.”
He also sourced a Bavarian strain of yeast for the beer.
Vladivostok Russian Imperial Stout: “It’s named after Tacoma’s sister city,” said Carlson.
The name was the idea of a member of the brewery’s Mug Club. Carlson queried the group for a fitting name for the imperial stout. It’s actually a beer that was made last year, but has spent many months aging.
“Letting it condition mellows it out,” said Carlson. He described the flavor as “a big beer” with a more aggressively hoppy style that is tampered after aging.
More details on each event at facebook.com/HarmonBrewery or call the restaurant at 253-383-2739.
Monday (Oct. 2): A special menu item with bratwurst on a pretzel roll.
Tuesday: Wienerschnitzel night.
Wednesday: Oktoberfest trivia.
Thursday: 20th annual Brewers Dinner (reservations required)
Friday: Live music from The Yeowees, a stein-hoisting contest, fill any mug up to 24 ounces for the price of a pint.
The event is by reservation only with room for 60. It begins at 6:30 p.m. and includes five courses with a price o $50 per person. Reserve a seat at 253-383-2739.
The menu: First course will be cheese, cured meats and pickles. Second course will include a sausage-and-sauerkraut fritter with mustard-caper sauce. Third course will include an asparagus-and-beet salad with blue cheese. The fourth course will be pork schnitzel with cream sauce, warm German potato salad and braised red cabbage. The dessert course will be apple crumble. Each course will be paired with beer.
Paired beers: Harmon Platinum Pilsner, Vladivostok Russian Imperial Stout, White IPA, Harmon Hefe, Super Samurai Barley Wine.
Harmon Restaurant and Brewery
Where: 1938 Pacific Ave., Tacoma; 253-383-2739; facebook.com/HarmonBrewery.