Engine House No. 9

The day after the monsoon ride to Dirty Bucket, I headed down to the south Sound with Jonny to do a little paddling on his inflatable catamaran thing.  We had a late start leaving Seattle, and then while pumping up the boat on the beach by the Anderson Island ferry dock, we discovered one of the chambers had two small leaks.  We’d left the car on the mainland, so we walked and hitched our way to and from the Anderson Island general store, where we found a tube of sealant goo and, more importantly, duct tape.  The goo/tape combo seemed to hold in the air, and we launched the boat into the Sound, our fingers crossed.

Duct tape to the rescue!

Good as new!

With the even later start, we only really had enough time to paddle to Eagle Island, where we walked around and failed to poach some beer from other visitors’ coolers.  Then we paddled back.  Luckily for us, the goo/tape patch lasted the whole trip, but I don’t think I’ll be paddling on it again until Jonny implements a permanent fix.  On the drive back to Seattle, we stopped at Engine House No. 9.  I’d heard something about barrel-aged beer, but otherwise didn’t really know what to expect.  Have to say, there were a lot of surprises.  I’m not used to college crowds in brewpubs, and the one here seemed like fraternity/sorority types, but with a Jersey Shore influence.  Then there were the middle-aged folk dressed as if they were still in the Greek system.  And not too long after we ordered, the 6′ 6″ 50ish guy sporting a ZZ Top beard and a kilt powered up the karaoke machine.  He warmed up the crowd with a couple Elvis Costello songs (well-sung, I must say).  Just another Saturday night in Tacoma, I guess.

Update! January 17, 2015: Okay, so it’s been 2.5 years since I wrote this post, and while I have not been back to E9, they have started bringing their beer to a few select places in Seattle, including the three beer bars I go to the most (Pine Box, Stumbling Monk, The Masonry). Kind of nice when the beer comes to me. Also in the past 2.5 years I have not been back in Jonny’s inflatable catamaran thing.

Engine House No. 9

Taster tray at Engine House No. 9 — Tacoma, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Deux Cinq Trois – 6.5% – Belgian Pale Ale. Saison-like funk/bubble gum plus smooth pale ale. Some caramel malt but not much hops. Pretty nice.
  • Tacoma Weisse – 3.7% – Light, lemon tartness, a little bit bready, with some subtle egginess. Touch watery but very drinkable and refreshing.
  • Verre Violet Currant Sour – 7.6% – Awesome berry aroma and flavor with solid sour character. Red wine barrel aspect. Pretty wonderful sipping beer.
  • Nameless DIPA – 9% – Batch #11, I think. Big citrus, pine, bit of tropical. Just enough caramel malt. Little bit of lingering bitterness. Much better than previous batch I had. Hope they name this one!
  • Dark Passenger – 11.5% – Bourbon barrel imperial stout. Aged in Heaven Hills barrels. Fairly thick. Bourbon, chocolate, coffee, vanilla swirl with lovely lingering finish. Sweetness builds up a bit, but otherwise solid.
  • Golden Berry Wild – 5.9% – Raspberry and sour aroma. Good medium sourness with just enough golden raspberry flavor (from Streino farms). Underlying funk balance. A touch syrupy but very fun to drink.
  • Nameless IPA – 8% – Pine and citrus up front with fairly big malt backbone. Finishes with some caramel and biscuit malt flavor and medium lingering bitterness. Nothing great but pretty solid.
  • Cabernet Bramber – 7.8% – Big cab aroma and flavor. Bit of tartness, generously tannic, some spiciness on the tongue, and subtle oak. Mellows out to fairly smooth finish.
  • Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged Imperial Red – 8% – Whiskey aroma. Good spicy rye whiskey alcohol flavors that go really well with the big biscuit malt. Subtle oakiness, too.
  • Rhubarb Sour – 6% – Fruity sour aroma. Sweet rhubarb up front, with great lingering sourness. Kind of like candy. Almost watery towards the end but the flavors make up for it.
  • Belgian White – 4.1% – Nice and light.  Good crisp breadiness, subtle bitterness.  Lemony aroma, bit of flavor.  No need for that lemon wedge.
  • Tacoma Brew – 5.1% – Sweet and crisp, with light maltiness and floral hoppiness.  Slight oaky/bourbon finish.
  • Rowdy Dick Amber – 6.2% – Pretty dark amber.  Really smooth, not so hoppy, and also with a nice oaky/bourbon flavor.  Really drinkable.
  • Fire Engine Red – 7% – Solid maltiness and hops with alcohol flavor and subtle oaky finish.  Pretty big and aggressive.  Not as smooth as the others — reminds me of drinking a single malt scotch, in a way
  • IPA – 6.6% – Pretty light and smooth.  Not crazy hoppy, with good maltiness.  Quite drinkable.  I’d prefer hoppier, but I like it.
  • Chocolate Stout – Thick and rich.  Good coffee flavor, but not so strong.
  • Parky – seasonal – Lighter in color than the Red, not as aggressive.  Good maltiness and oaky/bourbon kick.  Little spicy on the tongue, too.
    The Rest

  • Golden Raspberry Tacoma Weisse – 3.2% – Raspberry aroma and flavor. Light, tart, refreshing, but a little too watery. Raspberry flavor really good, though, not syrupy at all.
  • Snow Cru 2013 – 10.5% – blend of Dark Passenger stout, Thunder Buddies barley wine and Holy Diver. Interesting mix. None of the three take over, so good balance. Some malt booziness, some bourbon, some raisin. Kinda sweet. Pretty solid but not really my thing.
  • XPA – seasonal – Much hoppier IPA, but too much floralness for me.
  • Gose Rhymes with Rosa – seasonal – Really light for a sour beer.  A bit watery, too.  I prefer a more aggressive sour.

With all the cognitive dissonance going on, I forgot to ask if they had logo glasses available.  So I’ll be returning to E9, but I’ll make sure it’s a weeknight.

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