Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

Craft Beer Crosscut 12.5.17: A Flight of Repeal Day

Ron Swarner


Peaks-and-Pints-Tacoma-Beer-FlightFlash back to the Roaring Twenties, when America was in the midst of the Prohibition: Booze was banned, stealthy speakeasies adorned Tacoma, and the Paramount Theatre sat in Tacoma’s Proctor District, which last year became Peaks and Pints bottle shop, taproom and eatery. Prohibition, the law that prohibited the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol in the United States, was ratified as the 18th amendment on Jan. 16, 1919, and went into effect on Jan. 16, 1920. In other words, 97 years ago was a very sad day. Dec. 5, 1933, passage of the 21st Amendment, brought an end to Prohibition. You might think there are already enough reasons to party in December. You might think there are enough holidays prominently featuring the consumption of alcoholic beverages. You would be wrong. The anniversary of the day Prohibition was repealed, today, is fast becoming a favorite holiday. We think that deserves a beer. In fact, we think that deserves five beers. Cheers to Repeal Day and our Craft Beer Crosscut 12.5.17: A Flight of Repeal Day.

Rainier-beer-TacomaRainier Beer

4.73% ABV, 10 IBU

In 1883, Andrew Hemrich and partner John Kopp established Bay View Brewery in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood. Ten years later, Bay View Brewery joined with the breweries of Albert Braun and Claussn-Sweeney to form a new association, the Seattle Brewing & Malting Company. The brand name eventually chosen for the company’s flagship beer was “Rainier.” The Bay View plant continued to operate, and in 1906 added a bottling shop and additional refrigeration. By 1905 production of Rainier Beer reached 300,000 barrels per annum. The company employed more than 300 men, and there was room to build worker homes beside the Duwamish River that then still curved through Georgetown. Kopp and Hemrich produced Rainier beer in Washington until 1916, when the state of Washington enacted its own prohibition, four years before the 18th Amendment enacted the nationwide prohibition. Following the repeal of the Prohibition, the brewery was purchased by Lethbridge, Alberta brewers Fritz and Emil Sick, who then repurchased the Rainier brand and began brewing Rainier back in Seattle in 1935. Today, Pabst Brewing Co. brews Rainier Beer with a satisfying malty flavor over a slightly fruity background, spiced with Chinook, Mt. Hood, and Willamette hop notes.

21st-Amendment-Fireside-Chat-Tacoma21st Amendment Fireside Chat

7.9% ABV, 45 IBU

In 2000, Nico Freccia and Shaun O’Sullivan touched down in San Francisco’s historic South Park neighborhood and called it 21st Amendment Brewery (the 21st Amendment, as any dedicated drinker would know, is the one that repealed Prohibition). The brewery produces a line of very tasty brews including Fireside Chat, a winter ale with a nod toward Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Depression-era radio addresses. (Franklin Roosevelt won the 1932 presidential election based in large part on his promise to repeal the 18th Amendment. He did so incrementally, beginning by legalizing the sale of beer, and ending with the 21st Amendment, the first and only time an amendment to the Constitution has ever been repealed.) On the nose, all the typical winter warmer flavors are accounted for: roasted malts, cinnamon, ginger, caramel, clove and a smidgen of orange peel. Big notes of cinnamon and ginger lie in wait up front, with a touch of subtle orange peel and some clove with a big ginger sendoff, washing in some cinnamon, bread notes and subtle chocolate, too.

Pacific-Brewing-and-Malting-Company-Espresso-Milk-Stout-TacomaPacific Brewing & Malting Company Espresso Milk Stout

7% ABV, 31 IBU

In 1897, The Milwaukee Brewing Company in Tacoma gave a warranty deed to the Puget Sound Brewing Company for its brewery and all property connected therewith for a consideration named in the deed of $1, and the Pacific Brewing & Malting Company filed articles of incorporation, with a capital stock of $500,000 to carry on the business of the two breweries. The trustees of the new company were William Virges of the Bonney Drug Company, treasurer; Anton Huth, president of the Puget Sound Brewing Company, president; S.S. Loeb, president of the Milwaukee Brewing Company, secretary. Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. grew to become the second largest brewery in Washington state, until shut down by Prohibition in 1916. In 2014, head brewer Steve Navarro and financial businessman Brent Hall reopen Pacific Brewing and Malting Co., not in its original location in Tacoma’s Brewery District near 25th and Jefferson, but rather down the street in the lower level of the historic Old City Hall Annex Building on Pacific Avenue, near the corner of South Seventh Street. For the last two years Pacific Brewing has teamed up with Manifesto Coffee to produce its Espresso Milk Stout featuring rich flavors of chocolate and roasted malts combined with the sweetness of oats and lactose that compliment the coffee to make for a perfectly balanced beer.

Backwoods-Big-Cedar-IRA-TacomaBackwoods Big Cedar IRA

6.5% ABV, 50 IBU

The popular image of the Prohibition era consists of gangsters with tommy guns racing around city streets in big cars. However, Prohibition also provided rural Americans with an opportunity to make money in the illegal effort to quench the great thirst for alcohol. Prohibition brought some prosperity to the backwoods. Blue-collar workers found the tending of stills or the sailing of rumrunners more profitable than the cultivation of the overworked soil. It seems appropriate to include a craft brewery that brews in the backwoods of the Columbia Gorge: Backwoods Brewing Co. The Carson, Washington brewery brews a mighty fine Big Cedar IRA. Salute Repeal Day with this amber loaded with toffee, caramel, pine and big fruity hops.

GoodLife-Secret-Stash-Experimental-IPA-004-TacomaGoodLife Secret Stash Experimental IPA #004

6.5% ABV, 50 IBU

Mark Twain once said, “It is the prohibition that makes anything precious.” The United States learned that lesson the hard way during the national prohibition of alcohol (1920-33) — the “noble experiment”— as it was undertaken to reduce crime and corruption, solve social problems, reduce the tax burden created by prisons and poorhouses, and improve health and hygiene in America. It didn’t. As a result crime soared, tax revenue plummeted and the United States limped along into what became the Great Depression. Smuggling alcohol during Prohibition became its own industry. If it hadn’t all come to a fortunate end in 1933, hiding liquor might have become another major industry. Speaking of experiments and secret stashes (stay with me here) GoodLife Brewing in Bend, Oregon, has a Secret Stash Experimental IPA series, that, yes, is experimenting with alcohol, but it’s not so secret, especially since it brewed three previous “Secret Stash Experimental IPAs” to fanfare. Secret Stash #004 is a Tart IPA. With big up front hop aroma, followed by a refreshing and thirst quenching tartness due to the souring of wort with Lactobacillus this experimental IPA is brewed with 2-row pale, Pilsner, Vienna and a handful of Caramel malt. Mosaic, Meridian, and Galaxy give the beer intense hop aromas of citrus and tropical fruits.