Thursday, July 20, 2017 This Week's Paper

Local Restaurants: A new brewery explores old territory

After only a few short months, Narrows Brewing Company is already experimenting with some long-term goals. Head Brewer Joe Walts is exploring personally uncharted territory as he ventures into the world of barrel aged brewing. Running full-speed ahead, this young craft brewery is trying its hand at this seemingly ancient but highly celebrated method of brewing with two exciting releases expected for 2014.

Walts will be using wooden barrels sourced from Gig Harbor’s Heritage Distilling Company and Lakewood’s Stina’s Cellars for the two unique brews. Up first is a strong British-style beer that he will ferment in wine barrels from Stina’s Cellars. Using brettanomyces, Walts intends to give this beer a rustic character reminiscent of the aromas you might encounter stepping into an aged and weathered barn. Using the hybrid method of yore, in one year’s time Walts plans to combine this barrel aged British beer with a younger, spicier brew. The blended result will be a pumpkin style old ale. It won’t be until next season that craft beer lovers will get to delight in this slowly crafted masterpiece, but the young British ale that doesn’t make it into the barrels will be available on draught at the Narrows Brewing Company’s taproom as soon as the double India pale lager runs dry.

Simultaneously in the works is a black saison. Using barrels from Heritage Distilling Company, Walts explains that the wood from these barrels will give the beer an oaky character, similar to the aromas and colors you find in whiskey. The barrel aged version may take anywhere from three months to one year to achieve fermented perfection, but the saison that doesn’t make it to the barrel will replace Narrows Brewing’s stout.

As the Pacific Northwest embraces this trending brewing method dating back hundreds of years, this young brewery hasn’t hesitated to jump in right there with the rest of them. Enjoying experimenting with different brewing styles, Walts explains that, “Narrows Brewing is always going to be doing adventurous things. We want to challenge ourselves.” This advantageous attitude mixed with Walts’ talented brewing skills landed the brewery a silver medal earlier this summer at the Tacoma Craft Beer Festival for their Belgian Blonde.

For more information on seasonal releases, events, brewery tours and more, visit

A recent addition to Washington’s craft brewing community, Narrows Brewing Company opened in July. The entire Narrows Brewing crew invites you to visit their beautiful taproom and brewhouse, located on the shores of the breathtaking Puget Sound. Enjoy a pint from a selection of six rotating craft beers as you visit with friends while enjoying scenic views of the Pacific Northwest. Narrows Brewing also offers a variety of weekly and special events, including brewery tours every Tuesday at 7 p.m., Thursday Pizza night with Sammy’s Pizza from 5 p.m. to closing time, trivia and Jenga tournaments, brewers dinners, and more. Since opening, Narrows Brewing Company has also been featured and served at a variety of local bars and restaurants throughout the South Sound. Narrows Brewing is located at 9007 S. 19th St. in Tacoma.