TNT Diner

DIY Oktoberfest: A South Sound brewery guide

A pint of Ottzel Quatzel sits on a table at Tacoma’s Odd Otter Brewing, with the bar’s glasses illuminated in their display behind the counter.
A pint of Ottzel Quatzel sits on a table at Tacoma’s Odd Otter Brewing, with the bar’s glasses illuminated in their display behind the counter. Staff photographer

Just call this report a do-it-yourself Oktoberfest tour.

From Tacoma to Olympia, find 25 breweries with taprooms to explore. With fall seasonal releases well underway, October proves an ideal time to visit a neighborhood brewery.

Some are expansive 200-seat working breweries with glossy menus and pub eats aplenty. Others are squished into a warehouse space or in the middle of an industrial business district.

I’ve covered broad territory. This guide spans both sides of the Tacoma Narrows and stretches along Interstate 5 from Tacoma to Tumwater.

You’ll want to bring two things: a map and a designated driver.

TACOMA

DUNAGAN BREWING CO.

1126 Commerce St., Tacoma; dunaganbrewing.com, dunaganbrewing@yahoo.com.

Opening: November.

Downtown Tacoma’s newest brewery expects to open in November, with beer it describes as Northwest-style beer mixed with Southern California craftsmanship. Here’s something new for Tacoma: a brewery that advertises organic beer.

ENGINE HOUSE NO. 9

611 N. Pine St., Tacoma; 253-272-3435; ehouse9.com.

Hours: Open at 11 a.m. Monday-Friday; open at 8 a.m. Saturday-Sunday.

The brewery has a broad beer focus, but lately has been specializing in sour beers. More than 100 diners can fit in the brewery’s dining room, which is friendly for all ages. Breakfast is served on weekends, with lunch and dinner daily.

GIG HARBOR BREWING CO.

3120 South Tacoma Way, Tacoma; 253-474-0672; gigharborbrewing.com.

Opening: Fall.

Owner John Fosberg couldn’t find a suitable Gig Harbor location for his brewery named after that city, but he wound up keeping the name even though his brewery will operate in Tacoma. His delayed summer opening is turning into a fall opening after an electrical permit issue is resolved.

HARMON TAPROOM

204 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma; 253-212-2725; theharmontaproom.com.

Hours: Open at 11 a.m. daily.

The Harmon Taproom is where Harmon beers are brewed in an on-display brew room, but there are four brewpub restaurants under the ownership of Pat Nagle and Carole Ford. Diners under 21 allowed in back room and patio, but not the front bar.

More Harmon locations: Harmon Brewing on Pacific, The Hub restaurants in Tacoma and Gig Harbor. Every location serves Harmon beer and food, and kids are allowed.

NARROWS BREWING

9007 S. 19th St., Tacoma; 253-327-1400; narrowsbrewing.com.

Hours: 2-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; noon-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday; noon-6 p.m. Sunday.

Founded in July 2013 by a group of friends, this taproom has a fetching view of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and an on-display brewery operation. No food is served, but food trucks visit occasionally and outside food is welcome. 21 and older only.

NORTH 47 BREWING CO.

1000 Town Center, Tacoma; north47brewery.com.

Opening: Fall.

Northeast Tacoma will get its first brewery this year in the Browns Point Town Center. This is the first brewery for Carl and Stephanie Leach. Check their website for an update on an opening date.

ODD OTTER BREWING CO.

716 Pacific Ave., Tacoma; 253-327-1680; oddotterbrewing.com.

Hours: 2 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Friday; 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturday-Sunday.

Five friends founded this taproom in downtown Tacoma that’s known for its broad taplist and constantly rotating beer list. No food is served, but outside food and kids are welcome at this working brewery.

PACIFIC BREWING AND MALTING CO.

610 Pacific Ave., Tacoma; 253-272-2739; pacificbrewingandmalting.com.

Hours: 4-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; noon-midnight Friday-Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday.

Head brewer Steve Navarro and co-owner Brent Hall opened this downtown Tacoma brewery in September 2014 in a historic city building. The brewery is named after a brewing company that operated in Tacoma pre-Prohibition. No food served, but outside food welcome at this all-ages taproom.

RAM RESTAURANTS

Visit theram.com for locations and hours.

This Lakewood-based brewpub chain went national many years ago, but still brews beer at three Pierce County locations, each staffed with an on-site brewer. Brewery operations are at the Ram’s Ruston Way, South Hill Mall and Lakewood Towne Center locations. An extensive menu is served at these family-friendly brewpub restaurants.

SLUGGO BREWING

2712 Sixth Ave., Tacoma; 253-327-1894; facebook.com/Sluggobrewing.

Hours: 1-8 p.m. daily.

This taproom doubles as a bike shop, with skateboard repairs, too. It’s the recently opened companion business from Josh Norris, owner of Half Pint Pizza, which delivers to the brewery. The taproom allows kids and dogs.

TACOMA BREWING CO.

625 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma; 253-242-3370; tacomabrewing.com.

Hours: 4:20-9 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and 2-9 p.m. Saturday.

Born out of a coffee house, this nano brewery opened in 2012 by Morgan Alexander and assistant brewer Tristan Litke. The St. Helens taproom doesn’t serve food, but outside food is welcome at the all-ages taproom.

WINGMAN BREWERS

509 1/2 Puyallup Ave., Tacoma; 253-256-5240; wingmanbrewers.com.

Hours: 2-9 p.m. Thursday; 2-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 2-9 p.m. Sunday.

Four friends founded the tiny Wingman Brewers in 2011, but quickly moved to a bigger facility in the Dome neighborhood. No food is served, but outside food is welcome. 21 and older only.

PIERCE COUNTY

ELK HEAD BREWING

28120 state Route 410, Buckley; 360-829-2739.

Hours: 3-7 p.m. Monday, noon-7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, noon-6 p.m. Saturday.

Elk Head’s low-tech operation is tucked into a warehouse-style space inside a business park. There is plenty of seating inside; no food is served, but outside food is welcome. 21 and older only.

LAKE TAPPS BREWING CO. AT RIVERSIDE

13704 Valley Ave. E., Sumner; 253-750-0869; laketappsbrewingco.com.

Hours: 4-8 p.m. Wednesday; 4-9 p.m. Thursday and Friday; noon-8 p.m. Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday.

Head brewer Craig Martinson and friends Lee Martin, Glenn Adams and Vance Hanbidge turned their garage brewing experiment into a modest taproom built into the old Riverside Tavern. No food is served except for food truck visits on Fridays, but outside food is welcome. Dog and kid friendly.

M.T. HEAD BREWING CO.

27307 159th Ave. E., Graham; 253-208-8999; mtheadbrewingco.com.

Hours: 3-7 p.m. Friday-Saturday.

It’s quite a trek to the Graham brewery. Tim and Renee Rockey opened M.T. Head in 2009 at their home, but they open the taproom to the public on weekends. Check out the view of Mount Rainier on the drive there. 21 and older only at this cash- or check-only taproom.

NORTHWEST BREWING CO.

1091 Valentine Ave. SE, Pacific; 253-987-5680; northwestbrewingcompany.com.

Hours: Noon-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; noon-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday.

This working brewery’s beers are in wide distribution throughout the Northwest with bottles in most major grocery stores. Kids and outside food are welcome at this brewery.

POWERHOUSE RESTAURANT AND BREWERY

454 E. Main, Puyallup; 253-845-1370; powerhousebrewpub.com.

Hours: Open at 11 a.m. daily.

This downtown Puyallup brewpub is built into an old power station that supplied the current to the Interurban Electric Trolley. The brewpub has an extensive lunch and dinner menu. All ages welcome.

STATION U-BREW

211 W. Stewart, Puyallup; 253-466-3721; on.fb.me/1VzClWk.

Hours: 1-8 p.m. Tuesday; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. (or later) Wednesday-Saturday and 1-6 p.m. Sunday.

You can brew your own at this brewery, or sit down and sample a pint of what’s fresh and new on tap from owner Steve Samples and other brewers. No food served, but outside food welcome at this family-friendly taproom.

7 SEAS BREWING

3006 Judson St., Gig Harbor; 253-514-8129; 7seasbrewing.com.

Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday-Tuesday and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday.

This 6-year-old brewery relocated to Gig Harbor’s old QFC in 2012. Mike Runion and Travis Guterson have collected nods and beer medals for their lineup of craft beers. All ages are welcome. A food truck attached to the brewery serves food on site, but outside food is welcome.

WET COAST BREWING

6820 Kimball Drive, Gig Harbor; 253-432-4966; wetcoastbrewing.com.

Hours: 3-9 p.m. Thursday-Friday; noon-9 p.m. Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday.

Firefighters Bryan Copeland and Aaron Johnson have kept their day jobs with West Pierce Fire & Rescue as they run their Gig Harbor brewery that opened in June. No food served, but outside food is welcome.

OLYMPIA

CASCADIA HOMEBREW

211 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia; 360-943-2337; cascadiahomebrew.com.

Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday, Monday and Thursday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday.

Chris Emerson’s homebrew store in downtown Olympia is a destination for home brewers, and it’s a brewery and taproom. The brewery opened in 2014 and keeps limited hours that occasionally change. No food is served on site, but outside food is welcomed at this all-ages taproom.

FISH TALE BREWPUB

515 Jefferson St. SE, Olympia; 360-943-6480, fishbrewing.com

Hours: 11 a.m-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-midnight Friday; 9 a.m.-midnight Saturday; 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday

Find a menu of well-executed pub fare at Fish Tale Brewpub, which opened in 1993, but you won’t find a brewery operation on site. That’s across the street. On tap, find plenty of Fish Tale brews. Here’s something new at the brewery, children are now welcome.

MCMENAMINS SPAR CAFE

114 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia; 360-357-6444, mcmenamins.com/spar

Hours: 7 a.m.-midnight Sunday-Thursday; 7 a.m.-1 a.m. Friday-Saturday

The all-ages brewpub that’s part of the Oregon-based family of McMenamins restaurants, has a working brewery on site. Sort of. Its Spar-Tesian IPA is the only beer brewed there. Find other McMenamin brews on tap, as well as a full menu of pub eats.

THREE MAGNETS BREWING CO.

600 Franklin St. SE, Olympia, WA 98501; 360-972-2481; threemagnetsbrewing.com.

Hours: Restaurant open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily; bar open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Friday-Saturday.

This downtown Olympia brewpub opened in 2014 by Nate and Sara Reilly, known in Olympia for their Darby’s Cafe. Find elevated cuisine here, easily the best menu of any brewpub in the region. All ages in restaurant.

TOP RUNG BREWING

8343 Hogum Bay Lane NE, Lacey; 360-915-8766; toprungbrewing.com.

Hours: 4-9 p.m. Thursdays; 2-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday; and noon-5 p.m. Sunday.

Firefighters Casey Sobol and Jason Stoltz opened their taproom and brewery in 2014 and already have collected several beer medals. The all-ages taproom doesn’t serve food beyond snacks, but outside food is welcome.

PRODUCTION-ONLY BREWERIES

These five breweries have no taprooms, but you can find their beers around town.

FOX ISLAND BREWING

facebook.com/FoxIslandBrewing.

This brewery just got its start in September. Find its beers on tap at Zog’s on Fox Island.

HOH RIVER BREWERY

360-705-4000; hohriverbrewery.com.

John Christopherson is just now getting his Tumwater brewery up and running, but expect to see his beers on tap sometime this year, or early next.

O-TOWN BREWING

360-701-4706; facebook.com/OTownBrewing.

This brewery is a conglomeration of two former breweries run by Bryan Trunnell, Matt Smith and Neil Meyer. Find their beers in Olympia at Northwest Beerwerks, Gravity Beer Market, Skep and Skein, Iron Rabbit and elsewhere.

PUYALLUP RIVER BREWING

253-268-0955; facebook.com/puyallupriverbrewing.

Owner Eric Akeson closed his downtown Puyallup taproom this summer, but he still operates his brewery out of a production facility at his South Hill home. Find the beers at The Forum in downtown Puyallup, and Gordon and Purdy’s in Bonney Lake, with plans to be in stores everywhere in 2016.

TRICERATOPS BREWING CO.

facebook.com/triceratopsbrewingcompany.

Rob Horn’s brewery is so tiny, it can be called a nano-nano brewery operation. It operates out of his home, but his beers are on tap at Olympia’s Three Magnets Brewing Co., Eastside Club Tavern, Rhythm and Rye, and elsewhere in Olympia.

Sue Kidd: 253-597-8270

sue.kidd@thenewstribune.com

@tntdiner

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