Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. will toast its long brewing history Saturday, Sept. 24. We’re talking 1897 history. We’re also talking 2014 history.
Pacific Brewing & Malting Co., actually Tacoma too, has a long brewing history. Here’s a condensed version. …
In 1865, Civil War veteran Job Carr stirred wort on his Old Town Tacoma cabin porch scheming how to launch Northern Pacific Railroad Brewing Co. Twenty years later New Tacoma Brewery launched in what would eventually be known as Tacoma’s Brewery District, quickly changing hands and renamed United States Brewing & Ice Co. In 1888, John D. Scholl and Anton Huth built their Puget Sound Brewery near United States Brewing & Ice Co. with the hope of brewing 260 barrels of lager per day. In 1891, Samuel “I Wished I Lived In Milwaukee” Loeb bought United States Brewing & Ice Co. and renamed it The Milwaukee Brewery, producing 50 barrels per day. Within three years, The Milwaukee Brewery became one of the biggest producers on the West Coast, producing 60,000 barrels a year. The same year, Scholl and Huth incorporated their brewery as Puget Sound Brewing Company. Huth bought out Scholl in 1894. Then, in 1897, Huth took on a business partner, merging The Milwaukee Brewery with his Puget Sound Brewing Company to form the Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. at 2525 S. Holgate St. The ink wasn’t dry on the Pacific Brewing merger when Columbia Brewing opened its doors a few blocks away.
Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. sold Tacoma, as well as popular lager. The company brewed one beer labeled two ways: Pacific Beer for locals and Tacoma Beer for markets across the western United States and the Pacific Rim with the slogan “Best, East or West.”
Then Prohibition hit in 1920. Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. actually closed shop in 1914 when Washington state jumped the gun and ratified prohibition six years before it was mandated by federal law. Columbia Brewing kept its doors open by producing non-alcoholic beverages. When Columbia came out the other side of forced temperance, it eventually changed its name to Heidelberg Brewing.
Beer making survived Prohibition, but faltered between the 1950s and 1970s. A consolidation in the industry forced the closure of many local and regional breweries. In 1978, the United States had a scant 42 breweries producing just a few types of beer. Consumers were limited to mostly European-style lagers and Pilsners. Beer making had become more of an industrial operation, rather than a local and artisan craft. The Heidelberg brewery closed in 1979.
That all changed in the 1980s. The second brewing rebirth started on the West Coast and eventually moved east, thanks to craft beer pioneers such as Ken Grossman and his Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.
Today, the US has nearly 4,300 craft breweries, and hundreds of different beer styles to choose from. There’s been a return to the early days of crafting locally produced flavors — and, of course, the return of Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. to Tacoma.
Re-founders Brent Hall and Steve Navarro (Navarro also wears the directory of brewery operations hat) were surprised when the name “Pacific Brewing & Malting Co.” was available to tag on their downtown Tacoma brewery, in a 10-year-old building next to Old City Hall — several blocks north of where the original brewery operated. Pushing through the new Pacific Brewing’s spectacular carriage-ish doors Huth’s 1897 brewery lives on through historic photos gracing the handsome wood and brick taproom.
To say Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. has returned to prominence is an understatement, from increasing its brewing capacity to purchasing American Brewing Company in Edmonds. Feel free to use this website’s search function to review the new Pacific Brewing’s two-year accomplishments. According to Navarro, year three will bring more one-offs and specialty beers from the Tacoma facility, with the flagships brewed on American Brewing’s much larger system. He also said Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. owes much of its success to head brewer Bethany Carlson and sales/marketing executive Andy Kenser.
Speaking of specialty beers, Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. will unleash their barrel-aged brews Saturday, Sept. 24 during the brewery’s 2nd Annual Anniversary Party. Bourbon Barrel Aged Tacomatose Barleywine, Bourbon Barrel Aged Milk Stout, Tequila Oak Aged Vienna Lager joins a long list of Pacific party beers, including Anomole Porter, Alpine Belle Pilsner, Wild Berry Kettle Sour, Peanut Butter Stout on Nitro and Hollow Sidewalk English Pale Ale. Their flagships, all wearing a reference to the original Pacific Brewing on their labels, will also be on tapped. Sotaria, The Dain Norman Band and DJ Dodo supply the soundtrack. The beer garden will be full of smiles, if not from the beer then from the 15% discount on all merchandise. Brew Dog will offer gourmet beer brats, Polish sausage, beef and veggie dogs. It will be an all-ages affair with prizes and giveaways, too. Find the brewery at 610 Pacific Ave., Tacoma; 253-383-2337 or pacificbrewingandmalting.com.