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Beer lovers: Brewery reopens plus three more on their way

A frosty mug of beer.
A frosty mug of beer. Staff file, 2014

Just when you thought the craft brewing scene in the Tacoma area was slowing down for newcomers, here come a few brewery announcements.

I’ve also got an update on a Tacoma brewery that just moved.

SLUGGO BREWING RELOCATES

Two Tacoma businesses have teamed up in a single space. Sluggo Brewing closed its Sixth Avenue taproom last year. This spring, it moved into a portion of the building occupied by Ammar’s Mediterranean Grill, which will continue to operate.

The restaurant menu has been slightly simplified but still offers pub-friendly food such as gyros, kebabs and fish and chips.

Find the brewery and restaurant at 409 E. 26th St., Tacoma; 253-272-1047; ammarsmediterraneangrill.com.

BLACK FLEET BREWING

Black Fleet Brewing borrows its name from a fleet of warships operated by a fierce woman known for her prowess on the water. It’s fitting that the Tacoma brewery is just up the hill from the Thea Foss Waterway, named after another fierce woman who once ruled our waters.

As brewery co-founder Kyle Maxwell tells the story, the Lioness of Brittany was Jeanne de Clisson, a privateer who boldly operated her Black Fleet warships on the English Channel. Maxwell took a liking to the wild story about the underdog who ruled through grit and force. It’s a story he aligns with Tacoma’s plucky spirit.

Maxwell, who will run the Tacoma brewery with business-and-life partner Caitlyn Byce, said his 10-barrel Black Fleet brewery won’t open its doors until late 2017 at the earliest.

It’ll be located at 2302 Fawcett Ave., close to where Gig Harbor’s 7 Seas Brewing expanded last year and a few blocks from where Tacoma’s Pacific Brewing and Malting will expand its footprint this year. Yes, that’s also the same neighborhood that once was home to Tacoma’s historic brewery district.

Construction is just about to begin on a two-story, 10,000 square feet building that Maxwell said once housed The Eagle Bottle Works plant. The top floor, for now, will hold offices but later could be space for a brewery expansion.

The downstairs 5,000 square-feet space will hold the 10-barrel system and a kitchen. That kitchen will be led by Byce, who is a Central Washington University graduate and second-generation restaurateur who has worked in restaurants since grade school.

Maxwell is a home brewer and Pacific Lutheran University graduate. Locals might recall Maxwell from his time spent as an on-air intern, with the nickname Hot Kyle, with radio personality BJ Shea on KISW.

Early plans call for about 80 seats and a menu that will feature food with beer as an ingredient. Maxwell said he’s playing with all kinds of styles of ale, including kettle sours, pale ales and, of course, the requisite India pale ale.

BREWGENIX BREWING CO.

Parkland’s first brewery, Brewgenix Brewing Co., will be a nano brewery tucked into a 224-square-foot building in the backyard of one of its brewers.

Steve Taylor and Frank Owens are home brewers who met while buying supplies at nearby Beer Essentials in Lakewood. The two struck up a conversation about brewery setups.

Owens told Taylor he had been collecting brewing equipment and, of course, that led to a meeting over a beer.

“He had the equipment and I had the space,” said Taylor, who is building the production-only brewery in his backyard.

Production-only means there will be no on-site visiting, but it also means that craft beer fans will see the brewery’s products on the tap lists at local bars and taprooms.

The brewery name is a reference to the science of brewing, a topic Taylor can talk at length about with just the mere mention of water pH.

They plan their one-barrel system to be very small production. The brewery is in permitting now and its owners expect a fall opening.

FOWARD OPERATION BASE BREWING CO.

DuPont’s first homegrown brewery is getting closer to opening. Army veteran Jared Wharton is heading into permit approvals for his Forward Operating Base Brewing Co.

With its proximity to the gates of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the brewery will cater to members of the military and carry a military-inspired theme. Army helmets double as light fixtures and patriotic posters are proudly displayed. Beers are named after military terms or sly military jokes (see: Napalm In The Morning Imperial Brown Ale).

Wharton is partnering with other veteran-owned businesses and plans to raise money for veterans organizations.

He expects to open his five-barrel brewery and 50-seat taproom (but no kitchen) later this summer. Kids and families will be welcome. Find the brewery at 2750 Williamson Place, DuPont; facebook.com/FOBbrewing.

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