FEDERAL WAY The Pacific Northwest is home to one of the largest concentrations of local craft beers in the world. But only in select locations can you find most of them under the same roof. A few mom and pop stores in the South Puget Sound offer that opportunity. Located no farther than 20 miles from the base, three offer hundreds of bottled selections, tasting, and rotating growler taps.
Federal Ways 99 Bottles is just one of the South Puget Sounds true beervanas for brew fanatics.
Opened in 2007 by Tiffany and Craig Adamowski, both beer lovers who always enjoyed tasting new products and sharing them with friends, the store offers more than 1,200 specialty beers, meads, and ciders available at any given time, and eight rotating beer taps for take-home growler fills. Today, 99 Bottles is one of a few couples-owned hotspots for craft and import beer in the vicinity of Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
In Tacoma sits Pint Defiance, a specialty beer market that also doubles as a taproom where visitors can sit and have a pint as as they browse the stores nearly 1,000-beer selection or simply chat with owners Barry and Renee Watson.
The Watsons opened Pint Defiance, located just down the street from Tacoma Community College, in September after selling a café the couple ran together for almost 10 years. With warm lighting, colorful and vibrant walls, ample seating, a long draft list of about 10 beers at all times, and friendly owners who like to talk, Pint Defiance makes its mark on the local specialty beer scene with its uniquely social atmosphere.
From the onset we designed our store to have a more social vibe, said Barry, who started out as a home brewer and has now been in the craft beer industry for two decades. South of Pint Defiance, in Olympia, is Gravity Beer Market, owned and operated since 2007 by Jeff and Roma Bert, who have a collective 25 years in the beer industry. Their store features about 900 craft beers, ciders, and meads.
All three stores maintain a steady flow of Facebook and Twitter posts to update customers on new additions, both to their bottled collections and draft lineups, and upcoming events. On websites, through social media, and in person, the three stores owners express a love for serving their communities.
But for 99 Bottles co-owner Tiffany Adamowski, the chance to serve a community that includes military men and women is a unique pleasure.
Service members often come in to Tiffanys store in search of beers they had during their time at other duty stations. Almost always, she said, the memories of places in their past come flowing back.
When they see a beer that they drank in that other location they get excited and want to share their stories and memories, she said. Their excitement can be contagious. It also proves true the saying, Every beer has a story.
If you go
99 Bottles, Federal Way
Hours: Noon to 5 p.m., Sunday; noon to 8 p.m., Monday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.
Growler fill hours: Noon to 4:45 p.m., Sunday; noon to 7:45 p.m., Monday; 10 a.m. to 7:45 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.
Features: More than 1,200 U.S. and import beers, ciders, and meads. Eight taps, five of which regularly rotate. Counter-pressure craft beer taps that guarantee four to six weeks of shelf life for beer. Flight of Four beer sampler from noon to 4:30 p.m., Sunday; noon to 7:30 p.m., Monday; 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Customers can mix a six-pack. All bottles are priced individually.
More online: www.99bottles.net; www.facebook.com/99bottles.
Pint Defiance, Tacoma
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday.
Growler fill hours: Same as regular hours.
Features: Close to 1,000 U.S. and import beers, ciders, and meads. Taproom and seating for customers having a pint. Brewers nights hosted twice each month, in which hard-to-find beers are typically featured. Sampler Sundays, a flight of four beers available from 11:30 to 4 p.m., Sunday, that changes weekly. Samplers follow common regions, styles, or breweries. $1 off all pints on Mondays.
More online: www.pintdefiance.com; www.taplister.com/).
Gravity Beer Market, Olympia
Hours: Noon to 5 p.m., Sunday; noon to 8 p.m., Monday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.
Growler fill hours: Same as regular hours.
Features: Around 900 U.S. and import beers, ciders, and meads. Three growler fill taps that rotate approximately every other day. Tasting events on the last Friday of every month with local brewers on site. A rapidly growing cider selection. Keg fills for parties available by request via phone. Store emphasis is put on local products.
More online: www.gravitybeermarket.com