Wingman Brewers to Open in Downtown Tacoma

January 10th, 2011 · 8 Comments · Washington Breweries

Tacoma residents will soon have another local brewery to choose from when buying beer at local bars. Wingman Brewers is planning to open in “the next couple of months”, and they will be located in downtown Tacoma on Fawcett Avenue, just on the edge of the old brewery district. They will start off strictly as a production brewery with keg distribution, and they will brew on a 2bbl brewing system. According to their website, “Inspired by Tacoma’s legacy of honest hard work, Wingman Brewers strives to create a strong selection of spirited, full-flavor Beers for the South Sound region.” Their initial beer lineup looks to include Ace IPA (7.1% ABV, 83 IBU), Pocket Aces Double IPA (10.4% ABV, 96 IBU), Pin-Up Pale Ale (6.1% ABV, 40 IBU), and P-51 Porter (8% ABV, 31 IBU).

I was able to get ahold of Ken Thoburn, one of four principle owners, and he was kind enough to answer a few questions:

1) Who is Wingman Brewers? Introduce yourself/yourselves!
Wingman Brewers is a collective of four principle owners with a love for craft beer. This is the first time any of the four of us will be involved in the production side of the beverage industry. Our main focus is creating a great variety of specialty beers to benefit the local food and drink spots in and around Tacoma.

2) Where in Tacoma will the brewery be located, and will there be any retail presence or is it purely production? Do you plan to bottle or can your beer?
We are located in downtown Tacoma on the edge of the old brewery district. We’re not planning on having any retail beverage sales on location. For right now we are concentrating exclusively on kegs.

3) Where are you at in the opening process, and when do you think you might be open?
Hopefully we’ll be opening up in the next couple months (pending remaining licensing processing time). Our brewery is complete and ready to go as soon as the approval process is finished.

4) What size system will you be brewing on?
We’re starting out with a 2bbl system. Since we’re new to the industry we want to start out with a bantam brewing system where we have lots of flexibilty to change as we grow. We want to be able to sustain a focus on creating great beer and avoid a need to meet sales goals out of the gate. With a small system we hope to learn how to survive, thrive and eventually grow.

5) How would you describe your brewing philosophy and what your goals are for the beers you produce?
We believe that beer is the most versitile beverage in the world. What one person loves about a beer another may not. Our goal is to continously create beers that we love. When you see our beer on tap you can be certain that we think it’s a damn good beer.

6) Is there a story behind how you decided to open your own brewery?
The four of us came together slowly as we decided to build a team with all the skills, education and experience to open a new business. We saw the room for a local Tacoma centric production brewery. After lots of meetings about vision and direction we decided to open up small and test our ideas.

7) What are some other commercial breweries that inspire you?
Russian River- their inovation and creation of consistantly great beers is unparrelled in the industry. Russian River embodies the versitility of beer and inspires the stretching of boundaries.
Sierra Nevada- their commitment to environmentalism and sustainability is really something every industry should take note of and attempt to emulate.
Dogfish Head- Coming from humble roots and having the guts to get out there are try something new no matter the obstacles.

Visit their website to sign up for their newsletter, and you can also follow Wingman Brewers on Facebook.

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8 Comments so far ↓

  • Alex

    With the Harmon Brewery already in place, and McMenamins opening soon, downtown Tacoma will continue to provide have some fine local beer offerings!

  • Jim

    Great that there will be another craft brewery in T-town, but too bad their beers are so high in ABV….what ever happened to lower-alcohol “session” beers? Two or more of their beers, and give somebody your car keys….

  • joe

    I agree with Jim on the ABV, which is why Ninkasi Spring Reign is my favorite beer and I tend to avoid all Rogue’s beers (although otherwise wonderful). A new brewery opened in Graham–MThead. I caught a great session IPA the Mint had on tap, but I don’t see it listed on the MThead website, but more are needed like that–plus a good Scottish. The last thing needed is another double IPA and 10.4% is 3 or 4x an IPA.

  • low bar

    4x an IPA? why not just eat grass?

  • adam

    I think the base line-up sounds great to my taste in beers, at least statistically. As long as the DIPA isn’t too hot or bitter, you can definitely make a tasty, robust DIPA within those guidelines. More room for error, but more room for success. I’m an admitted beer pig though, and don’t enjoy burping up a bunch of watery English style IPAs. Alexander Keith’s anyone?

  • Chris

    Jim, at 6.1% ABV, Pinup Pale really isn’t that much higher than Budweiser’s 5%. It’s a price that craft brewers (and drinkers) have to pay for the better flavors that come from using larger quantities of high quality malts. Then again, I drink a lot of Belgian beers, and even 8% sounds low to me these days. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lower-ABV beer show up as a seasonal once the 5 core beers are flowing, either.

    Joe, a lot of breweries (Wingman included) define double/triple IPAs in relation to the “single” IPA they’re based on. In this sense, Pocket Aces has 50% more malt and 100% more hops than Ace.

    As for flavor, I can only attest to the fact that my first taste of Pocket Aces changed my opinion about hoppy beers 180 degrees for the better. Ken’s beer is one of the main reasons I got involved with the brewery when the opportunity presented itself.

  • Ken

    Hey it’s really cool to see the comments on here. I have to agree that we are not opening up with a low abv session beer. Our beers are designed to fit into a particular flavor profile and a certain abv comes along with that.

    If a great session beer is what you’re looking for I would have to recommend Foggy Noggin Brewing.
    Their English Bitter is about the best session beer I’ve ever had. Until I come up with something that good I’ll keep having to make the beers I know best. Cheers

  • New breweries continue to surge |

    […] Wingman Brewers is planning to open in “the next couple of months”, and they will be located in downtown Tacoma on Fawcett Avenue, just on the edge of the old brewery district. They will start off strictly as a production brewery with keg distribution, and they will brew on a 2bbl brewing system. – Seattle Beer News […]

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