A toast to Tacoma's craft brewing scene

There's a whole new reason to visit Tacoma: the resurgence of the city's 120-year-old brewing scene.

Tacoma may be the best-kept secret in the Northwest.

“A lot of people say ‘Tacoma? Oh I would never go there,'" said Pacific Brewing and Malting Co. owner Steve Navarro. “And I always say, ‘Well, it's clear you've never been here.'”

Now there's a whole new reason to visit: the resurgence of the city's 120-year-old brewing scene.

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“We just love the excitement going on and the new breweries opening up,” said Harmon Brewing Company’s Pat Nagle. “It creates a tidal wave of goodness.”

Among the most recent additions: the new 7 Seas taproom and production facility located in the historic Heidelberg brewery. Patrons can have a pint--or work through a plate of oysters--in the same spot conveyor belts once ran.

“We've had a lot of people say this is just as comfortable as our own living room, and that's a great compliment because you're never more comfortable than when you're in your own living room,” said Mike Runion, co-owner of 7 Seas Brewery.

For more thirsty-quenching history, check out the Pacific Brewing and Malting Company, a boutique brewery owned by Steve Navarro.

Formed in 1897, the original Pacific was once one of the largest breweries on the West Coast until Prohibition shut it down. Now, Navarro owns the name and all the challenges that come with it.

“There's a lot of competition,” he said. “There's a lot of new breweries coming in. There's a lot of really good beer out there, so we have to stay on top and consistent in what we're making. “

At Wingman Brewers, owner Ken Thoburn likes to get creative with his seasonal specialties. We tried the Coffee Chocolate Chili Stout.

“I love the creation of new products and doing some stuff different that people haven't done before," Thoburn said.

For the next stop on Tacoma beer run, we're going old school. The Harmon was here first, serving up microbrews for 20 years with names like Pinnacle Peak Ale and Mt. Tahoma Blonde.

“We try to bring that genuine hospitality every time, whether you're visiting from out of town or you're a local yokel,” Nagle said.

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Our final stop is Engine House No 9, where house-brewed ales are sold in an old Tacoma firehouse.

So if you’re thirsty for a good time and a good beer, try Tacoma.

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