The Pacific Northwest is widely known for its beautiful scenic views and handcrafted beer. Luckily for those of us that live here, it is possible to experience both all at once at the Narrows Brewing Company’s Taproom and Brewhouse. Located right at the Narrows Marina on the far western end of 19th Street in Tacoma, Narrows Brewing Company can be reached not only by car, but by boat as well.
The Narrows Brewing Company began in 2012 when Scott Wagner and four other partners got the idea to open a brewery in Tacoma. “We wanted to share our passion for great beer,” Wagner says. “We wanted a location in Tacoma because of its rich brewing history. We thought the waterfront location was a perfect spot.”
From the taproom windows, visitors are able to see the vast expanse of the Puget Sound, Fox Island, and the Olympic Mountains. In the center of all of this is a postcard panorama of the Narrows Bridge. “The view of the Sound and the Narrows Bridge from our taproom will knock your socks off,” says head brewer Mike Davis. “Even on the worst weather day, it is fantastic.” Because of this one-of-a-kind view, Wagner and crew thought it was only fitting to name it the Narrows Brewing Company and adopt the original 1940 Narrows Bridge as their icon.
When you finally tear yourself away from the window, you’ll find there are three taprooms in the building, with two that are available to rent for private parties. The interior is aptly maritime themed with vintage pictures adorning the walls. While food is not currently offered, Narrows Brewing encourages guests to bring in outside food from their neighbor, Boathouse 19, as well as food trucks like the Smokin’ Zees BBQ and Los 3 Hermanos. They even have a binder full of local restaurants.
If the view is what gets you there, the beer is what keeps you there. Led by Mike Davis, whose extensive experience in the brewing industry includes the Harmon Brewery, HiFi Brewing, and Elliott Bay Brewing, expect to find anywhere from 8 to 12 beers on tap at any given time. Staples include the Galloping Gertie Golden Ale, the Giant Pacific Octopus IPA, and the Orca Mike Red Ale, as well as a host of seasonal options that rotate. Growlers and bottled beer are available for purchase, as well as a host of pretty nifty swag with some rather creative logos.
“We do also offer some guest beers on tap,” says Davis, “unusual for a brewery taproom.”
Most recently, Davis and crew are most excited about their winter IPA, Ring of Fire. Named after the volcanic rim of the Pacific Ocean, Davis obtained ingredients from countries that reside in that volcanic and “shaky” part of the world. This includes hops from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Washington, and Oregon, grain from Patagonia, Hawaiian red sea salt, and purple mountain rice from the Philippines. “This is a very unique tasting IPA,” says Davis, “and I’m very proud of it.”
Perhaps what is most unique about the venue is the ability to get there by boat. “We have many customers that visit by boat,” says Wagner, who also serves as the marina manager. “We have become a destination in the South Puget Sound. We have a guest dock for approximately 30 boats and allow moorage free of charge for brewery visitors. Many people choose to stay overnight. The Boathouse 19 Bar and Grill is located next door and all amenities you would expect in a full-service marina are available.”
The Narrows Brewing Company is also no stranger to doing their part for the community. Aside from hosting events that helped support the Emergency Food Network and the NW Furniture Bank, they also periodically release beers where a portion of the proceeds go to support veterans and their families. For example, the Lead the Way IPA benefits the Pointe du Hoc Foundation, which supports the 2nd Battalion Rangers and their families. There is also the Release Point IPA, a beer brewed specially for the Night Stalker Association West, a non-profit that supports soldiers of the Army’s 4/160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne).
So whether it’s by land or sea, be sure to check out the Narrows Brewing Company Taproom and Brewhouse.
“I think the high standards and creativity of our brewer, Mike Davis,” boasts Wagner, “coupled with the experience and passion of our taproom manager, Mary Asami, set us apart.” Head brewer Mike Davis agrees. “If you like good solid beer,” he says, “a great view, and actually have a conversation, this is the place.”
Narrows Brewing Company Taproom and Brewhouse
9007 South 19th Street
Tacoma, WA 98466