Tacoma's Pacific Brewing & Malting Co - Status Update
June 9, 2014 - 11:08 AM- by Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog -
Saturday afternoon I stopped by Pacific Brewing & Malting Company, the soon-to-be open brewery in downtown Tacoma, to check-in and get a status update. The short version, owner/brewer Steve Navarro hopes to open the taproom sometime around the end of July or the beginning of August, though he hesitates to make any promises at this point.
The Blog's South Sound Bureau Chief, Casey McClain, first told you about this project back in October 2013 (read it). Navarro’s vision represents the rebirth of a brewery from the Pre-Prohibition era. The original Pacific Brewing & Malting Company opened in Tacoma back in 1897. Like most breweries in America, it failed to survive Prohibition. The new brewery bearing that name, and sporting the same logo, occupies the lower level of the historic Old City Hall Annex Building on Pacific Avenue, near the corner of South 7th Street (map).
Pacific Brewing & Malting sits within Tacoma’s Old Town Hall historic district, so developing the property presented certain challenges. Whatever happens inside, the building's exterior must maintain its original, historic facade. For example, upgrading the garage doors on the front of the building, to make them safe and functional by today's standards, required finding acceptable replacements for the original 100 year-old carriage doors. Navarro turned to Real Carriage Door Company of Gig Harbor to create something that Tacoma’s history buffs deemed appropriate.
The building’s age presented certain challenges that lead to delays, as is to be expected when building a brewery in 100 year-old building, but Navarro says he also jumped through plenty of regulatory hoops, mostly related to the city's process for approving the architectural plans. Now, at last, the new Pacific Brewing & Malting Company nears fruition. The building may be old, but the brewhouse is brand spanking new. Within a week or two, Navarro hopes to fire up the 7-barrel system and start producing beer. While the initial batches of beer ferment and condition, construction crews will put the final touches on the tasting room. I’ve chosen not to share any pictures of the tasting room because construction continues.
The brewery’s beer lineup will include a signature Pale Lager designed to emulate the original brewery’s flagship product. I believe the old brewery originally called it an Extra Pale Lager but it eventually became known as simply Pacific Beer.
“I’m not going to brew it like a real Pre-Prohibition lager,” Navarro told us. “The original used corn, rice and six-row malt. Ours will be all malt—two-row malt. We need to make that beer first if we want to have it ready for our opening; it will need enough time to properly condition.”
As Navarro said in our previous article, “I live in Tacoma, I love Tacoma, I’m not going anywhere. We’re going to be here for a while. In this business, Pacific Brewing & Malting, we’re all Tacoma people who love Tacoma.”
Pacific Brewing & Malting is an homage to the past and also a nod to the future. Consider the company’s logo: the original Pacific Malting and Brewing logo now represents a modern craft brewery. Stay tuned to the Washington Beer Blog; we certainly plan to announce the opening as soon as the date is firm. Also, find them on Facebook.