Tacoma will have its first dedicated craft beer bottle store later this summer and the owners are two familiar Tacomans - Barry and Renee Watson, who owned the Rosewood, a popular Proctor cafe they sold in January.
The Watsons expect to open Pint Defiance in James Center near 19th and South Mildred later this summer - Barry is betting on early September, Renee thinks they can be ready by late August. The liquor control board has the final say. The Watsons applied for licensing last week.
The opening of Pint Defiance is great news for beer lovers in search of hard-to-find bottles in Tacoma. While Tacoma boasts several stores with decent craft beer selections - Tacoma Boys, Metropolitan Market, MSM Deli and Tacoma Pipe's World Beers - the city has yet to attract a specialty bottle shop something like 99 Bottles, a widely known Federal Way beer store, or Gravity Beer Market, a craft beer bottle shop in Olympia.
The 1,400 square-foot store will be the hybrid love child of a tavern and a bottle shop. Barry Watson described the store yesterday by phone, “I’m calling it a specialty beer store with a focus on Northwest craft beer and import beer. We also will feature a 25-seat taproom that can serve a couple of functions - the biggest is to fill growlers and sample beer. We’ll hold tasting events, all that fun stuff.”
And here’s something amusing, Watson said that the way his licensing will work, a customer can sip a pint while shopping at the store. “You could get me into Nordstrom a lot easier if you handed me a Lagunitas,” cracked Watson.
Packing 500 beers into 1,400 square feet is going to be a challenge, but Watson has a plan - he’s going vertical. The coolers will be a display of 13 doors that stretch seven feet high.
Fill-and-take growlers are an increasingly popular way for craft beer drinkers to bulk buy and Watson intends to offer a revolving selection of taps - with many growlers priced around $10.
Watson has a reputation for his love and broad knowledge of craft beer and has worked at some of the city’s most respected beer emporiums. Lately, Watson has been tending bar at the Red Hot, the city’s destination tavern for craft beer taps.
I asked Watson what kind of beers he’s anxious to share with Tacomans at Pint Defiance - the name is a funny spin on Point Defiance, of course - and he consulted his beer journal, a book of notes he’s been collecting that he calls the “ultimate in beer geekery”:
7 Seas Brewing Company: This Gig Harbor brewery self distributes and has a small taproom, but it’s about to move into a bigger facility on Judson Street. Watson said he’s eager to share 7 Seas beers he loves, like Rude Parrot, a seasonal IPA.
Elysian Brewing Company: This Seattle brewery has some unusual brews, namely this year’s 12 Beers of the Apocalypse series. Watson said he was a big fan of their March release, a cardamon ale, as well as the releases for April and May - a chocolate chili ale and a rosemary-agave IPA.
Fort George Brewery: This Astoria brewery is a favorite for Watson. He wants locals to try the Sunrise oatmeal pale ale, which he calls “light, refreshing and slightly hazy.”
Deschutes Brewery: “We’re drinking a lot of beers down there,” said Watson of this Oregon brewery known for its Inversion IPA and Black Butte Porter.
Uinta Brewing: This Utah brewery produces high-end beers that remind Watson of the best Northwest craft beers.
Pint Defiance Specialty Beers and TaproomAddress: 1816 S. MIldred St., Tacoma (near Starbucks and L.A. Tan)Contact: facebook.com/PintDefianceOpening: Planned for the end of August or early September