Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Narrows Brewing taste update, Octopus battle tonight

Ron Swarner

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There have been two high-profile changes recently at two Tacoma breweries. Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. assistant brewer Bethany Carlsen left for a head brewer job at Gig Harbor Brewing Co. Former head brewer for RAM Restaurant and Brewery Andy Kenser joined the Pacific Brewing’s sales team freeing up co-founder Steve Navarro to concentrate on brewing. Before Pacific’s change, Narrows Brewing head brewer Joe Walts, who helped build and open the brewery back in 2013, moved back home to Madison, Wisconsin, to be closer to his family and resume his old quality control job at Ale Alsyum. Stepping into the Narrows head brewer job was Mike Davis, who grabbed numerous Great American Beer Festival medals and multiple North American Brewers Association medals during his many years as head brewer at Harmon Brewing Co. before leaving for a Hi-Fi Brewing head brewer job.

Long story short, I dropped by Narrows Brewing for a taste yesterday

Galloping Gertie Golden Ale has a slight taste change. The Golden was Davis’ first tweak using Walts’ San Diego Super yeast strain — a yeast that ferments fast and clean. The Golden is similar to a German Pilsner, but the ale yeast adds more flavor than the typical lager yeast. Expect a dry finish. The Golden will be served during the U.S. Open in the hospitality tents.

Released May 1, The Blackberry Wheat is a delicious, full but soft bodied beer with a purple hue, bready undertones and a mildly sweet blackberry finish. It’s a beer for the true dog days of summer — fruit feels and with a light and natural taste, not sick sugary goop.

Narrows’ Extra Special Bitter is still a special American interpretation of the English version — a copper colored, softly carbonated ale.

Dry Hopped Pale Ale tastes like an IPA, with a dank nose and crisp bite. The hops steal the show.

Released May 8, the medium bodied One Hop Lemon Drop IPA has a big, clean lemon zing, ringing in at 6.9 percent alcohol by volume.

Last fall, the 115th U.S. Open brain trust selected Narrows’ Giant Pacific Octopus to be the IPA for the golf championship June 9-14 at Chambers Bay. Currently, the Octopus is on nitro, which has mellowed it out quite nicely.

Speaking of the Giant Pacific Octopus, the first GOP IPA recipe will battle the latest GPO IPA recipe in a taste off in Narrows’ taproom tonight.

NARROWS BREWING CO., 2-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, noon to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, 9007 S. 19th St., Tacoma, 253.327.1400