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Pub Visit - USA/Canada

Tuesday 21st June 2011

Bob Thompson

This morning I travelled south on the morning Amtrak Seattle to Portland train from Tacoma, and alighted at Vancouver, WA. This town is on the north side of the Columbia River, opposite Portland. After about thirty minutes I was heading back towards Tacoma. This reason for this was the train itself. It was pulled by locomotive 4449, built for the Daylight express between San Francisco and Los Angeles, entering service in July 1941.

tacoma pv 1 hb locomotive 4449The train was run to bring more delegates from the Portland area to the convention. I travelled club class in the rear coach which was a round-ended Observation car. Once into the journey I walked through the train. There were two dome cars, one a full length version, and other luxury privately owned vehicles.

The coach (normal seating) section of the train was hired from Amtrak and I was pleased to see one of their Café cars, which enabled me to partake of a bottle of Pyramid Brewing Hammerhead IPA whilst watching the beautiful scenery slip past. Pyramid is a large West Coast brewer with beers coming from Portland and several sites in Northern California. Just after 14.00 it arrived in Tacoma with the rest of the day left for beer explorations.

From Tacoma Amtrak station I walked the short distance (less than ten minutes) to Tacoma Dome station. This is the terminus of the Sounder commuter rail service to and from Seattle. However I wasn't yet ready to catch a train. It is also the terminus of the Tacoma Link, a 1.6 mile free tramway that connects the station with downtown Tacoma. I alighted at Tacoma Union station. This iconic and beautiful station closed in the 1980s when the present-day premises were opened. It's now a Court House, see the article on a 2009 visit for more details.

Abotacoma pv 2 harmon brewery 5 regular beersut 200 metres back from the tram stop is the original Harmon Brewery at 1938 Pacific Avenue.

I ordered a sampler of the five regular beers listed below but, please notice the different abvs in comparison with the Harmon Tap. Same beers, different strengths! Mount Takhoma Blonde Ale (3.8%), Pinnacle Peak Pale Ale (4.2%), Browns Point ESB (5.6%), Puget Sound Porter (5.4%), Point Defiance IPA (5.8%).

There were another five seasonals: Vanilla Porter , Rajah's Royal IPA, St Humulus Belgian IPA, White Pass Wit, Summer Solstice Saison. I had a sampler tray simply because they were different beers from those at the Tap. I would have liked to do a comparison test, but not possible, I finished up with Rajah's Royal IPA and it was superb.

tacoma pv 3 harmon brewery 5 seasonal beersNow it really was time to catch a train so I went on the tram to the Sounder station. On the front of the tram the destination is shown as Tacoma Dome, which is the large covered stadium behind the station.

There are only two Sounder trains towards Seattle in the evening as it is a reverse commute. There are nine from Seattle and, of course, it's the opposite in the morning.

I went north on the first of the evening and returned on the last. My destination was just twelve minutes away, the small(ish) town of Payallup.

On the journey on this sunny late afternoon there were magnificent views of Mount Rainier, almost entirely covered in snow. So, please see my two articles on pubs in Payallup.

Important Information:

Harmon Brewery, 1938 Pacific Avenue S, Tacoma, WA. 98402. Tel: 253 383 2739

Open: Mon to Thurs 11.00-23.00; Fri 11.00-24.00; Sat 09.00-24.00; Sun 09.00-22.00

Harmon is situated just south of the downtown area and is about 200 metres south of the Union Station stop of the Link (Tramway). This stop is also served by many bus routes.