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7 Seas will open second brewery next week in downtown Tacoma

Check out 7 Seas Brewing's new Tacoma digs

Get an inside peek at the new 7 Seas brewery and taproom in downtown Tacoma.
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Get an inside peek at the new 7 Seas brewery and taproom in downtown Tacoma.

In the same downtown Tacoma building where Heidelberg beer once was bottled, a South Sound brewery will produce its own sour ales, India pale ales, pilsners and a broad lineup of other craft beers.

Gig Harbor craft brewery 7 Seas Brewing will open its new brewery and taproom Wednesday in a building previously home to part of the Heidelberg Brewery.

The building at 2101 Jefferson Ave. once housed the Jet Equipment company and more recently stored artwork for Chihuly Studio.

This will be a second brewery and taproom for 7 Seas and the second time co-owners Mike Runion and Travis Guterson have expanded production of the brewery they founded in 2009. In 2012, they moved to a former QFC store near the Gig Harbor waterfront, but quickly maxed out the 11,000-square-foot building.

Runion said the brewery’s never been able to meet its demand. The brewers also couldn’t find a building in Gig Harbor big enough for their ambitious production plan, so they wound up in Tacoma’s historic brewery district.

While 7 Seas produced 8,000 barrels in 2015, Runion expects the 80,000-square-foot building will allow the level of production they wanted.

“This site will allow 80,000- to-100,000-barrel production,” he said.

Much of the building will be used for just that, but it has enough space to hold 500 visitors in its taproom, which is family-friendly. There’s seating for about 200, Runion said.

And beyond that taproom, “There are glass windows looking in on the whole operation,” he said. “You can see the whole brewery up and running.”

Although the brewery will open with a restaurant, 7 Seas will not operate it. Runion said the brewery partnered with Tacoma restaurateurs Jaime Kay and Jason Jones. The couple own the McKinley Hill neighborhood bar, Top of Tacoma, and previously owned the high-end bistro Marrow before selling that restaurant in 2014.

The restaurant — whose name is pronounced Built, but spelled 3uilt — will include a menu of charcuterie plates with cured meats and cheeses sourced from Northwest businesses such as Seattle’s Bavarian Meats and Willapa Hills Cheese in Chehalis. Deli and panini sandwiches and salads will be served as well. A shucked-to-order oyster bar will be in operation.

Later this year, Tacoma’s Valhalla Coffee will open a roastery in the building, Runion said.

A basement, which Runion believes previously held Heidelberg’s coolers, will become an aging room for the brewery’s sour and wild yeast beers, both gaining momentum nationwide as more brewers explore the old-style form of brewing.

Runion said that by the end of the year, the brewery will release four of its aged beers in 375 milliliter bottles. The beers began aging three years ago in their Gig Harbor facility.

“It’s a long process,” he said. “The beer decides when it’s ready. You’ve just got to be patient.”

Another brewery operation is also headed for downtown Tacoma.

Earlier this year, The Ram Restaurant and Brewery bought the old Nisqually Power Station building at 2416 S. C St. and plans to open a taproom in the space.

7 Seas Brewing Tacoma

Where: 2101 Jefferson Ave, Tacoma;

Opening: Wednesday

Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily.