(Beer Connoisseur Eric Peters contributed to this post)
We’re back with another review! From Tacoma, WA we bring you…
Harmon Brewing Co.
Located in a very nice part of Tacoma with a view of the port, this brewery was a real treat. It had a large pub area, a game room located in the back and an unpretentious, beautiful nice beer garden. In the field of inconsequential – but nonetheless awesome – amenities, it also had the coolest sinks that Eric and I had ever seen.
Eric started with one of Harmon’s special brews: the Vanilla Porter. It was the same recipe used in their Puget Sound Porter with the addition of vanilla beans. If this sounds good to you, you’re right, because it was excellent. The added notes of vanilla were not overpowering and complimented the roastiness of the porter excellently. The beer itself was very roasty in flavor and texture that lingered pleasantly in the aftertaste. This porter seemed to be more carbonated than many others Eric has tried. There was little bitterness in the beer, which allowed for the creamier notes to merge seamlessly with the vanilla flavors. This porter boasts a good deal of complexity but isn’t overdone, a problem with many beers that try to add flavors. It is a good example of how to make a good porter and infuse it with unique flavors. (Which, if you weren’t paying attention, is carefully and subtly).
My experience at this brewery was an interesting one. I sampled a specialty fruit IPA – more on that later – but opted to go first with the Browns Point ESB. It arrived a rusty copper color and medium-light body; the carbonation was excellent. As I sipped it I tasted mild bitterness, citrus notes and some sweetness, and came to the conclusion that they must have poured me the IPA on accident. It was not until checking with the server after finishing the pint that they confirmed that I had indeed been drinking the ESB. Ultimately this was quite a good beer and I recommend getting it, but it was so far out of the scope of a traditional ESB that I thought I was drinking something else.
After the confusion I did get my hands on their Floridian IPA. This beer made no attempt at subtlety. Even before I took my first drink I could smell the fruit. It was infused with grapefruit, orange and pineapple, though the first was the dominant flavor of the three. The hop profile was citrusy and floral, which played perfectly with the fruity notes. Although the initial flavor of the fruit hit you square in the jaw, the hoppiness became more pronounced as I continued drinking. The beer itself was medium bodied with solid carbonation but very little head. This beer probably is not for everyone, but I definitely enjoyed it.
Eric rounded out the trip with a pint of the Point Defiance IPA. This IPA is dialed in at a bitter 70 IBUs, which is very apparent from the first taste. The IPA had a nice hop aroma that went well with the flavor. The citrus notes hidden in the big hop character were nice and carried over into a subtle but pleasurable aftertaste. The IPA lacked a lot of complexity that other IPAs possess. Eric did not have too much to say about this beer; it was a pretty good IPA, but there are better ones out there.
Harmon Brewing is unassuming and thus easy to pass without second thought, but you most certainly shouldn’t because it’s a brewery well worth checking out. The atmosphere is exceptional and the beer is unique and tasty. In particular, we recommend making the trip for their happy hour, when pints are only $3 each. Eric and I definitely recommend it.