Gateway: Living

Fox Island Brewing introduces its new beer at Zog’s

Brewer Jim Dignam looks over hops growing at his Fox Island home Monday afternoon. Dignam owns and operates Fox Island Brewing.
Brewer Jim Dignam looks over hops growing at his Fox Island home Monday afternoon. Dignam owns and operates Fox Island Brewing. Staff photographer

A new brewing company is coming to the Gig Harbor area — yes, another one.

Fifty-seven-year-old Jim Dignam is opening Fox Island Brewing and will have his beer on tap at Zog’s on Fox Island, initially.

“I’ve been a home brewer for over 20 years,” Dignam said. “I’ve always tinkered and toyed with the idea of having a small taproom or have my beer available to the public, and do it legally, instead of just handing it out at parties. When Zog’s opened up, it was a perfect marriage to be able to brew small batches of beer and serve it at Zog’s.”

The brewery is based of out Dignam’s garage, which isn’t unusual for a small-time brewing operation. But the unique part of the Dignam’s operation is that he also grows his own hops on site. Most hops are grown on the eastern side of the state.

“I have well-drained, sandy soil,” Dignam said. “That’s exactly what we have on Fox Island. They grow fine.”

Fox Island Brewing will initially roll out two beers: a Belgian wheat beer, finished with strawberry; and a session IPA, which boasts the typical IPA hoppiness and citrusy aroma without the high alcohol content that accompanies some IPAs.

The Belgian wheat beer is called Island Heritage Belgian Wit.

“I wanted to make something that tied to the island,” Dignam said. “I was trying to find something that could pull it together. One of the earliest settlers of the island had a 17-acre strawberry field.”

The beer is similar to a Shock Top or Blue Moon. The Wit is his wife’s favorite, but the IPA is Dignam’s favorite. The brewery will have a launch party Thursday (Sept. 3) evening at Zog’s.

“I’m excited to let the public taste it,” Dignam said. “We’re going to be doing some special things with Zog’s. We can do things other breweries can’t. On Thursday night, everyone who has one of my beers, they’ll get to vote for the next beer I brew. At the end of the night, that’s what I’ll make next. I’ll custom make that beer for the crowd.”

Dignam said he’s open to bottling beers at some point down the road, but as of right now, will be sticking with shipping out kegs to local spots.

Jon Manley: 253-358-4151

jon.manley@gateline.com

@gateway_jon

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