Every Friday I’m going to do a quick five question interview with someone in Tacoma so that they can tell their Tacoma Story. For the first installment, I have co-owner of Wingman Brewers Inc., Ken Thoburn. Wingman Brewing is a new microbrewery located in downtown Tacoma on Fawcett Ave. Given my love of Tacoma and my love of beer, I’m happy to share his Tacoma Story.
1. How did Wingman Brewers get started?
While in college Derrick Moyer (one of our owners) and I started homebrewing. We quickly became obsessed with making beer and with perfecting our recipes. During that time one of our other friends (Jason Sabol also an owner) started brewing with us as well. Our beer became very popular amongst our friends and we kept finding our kegs empty the same day we tapped them. We love making beer and sharing it with people. That prompted us to bring on Daniel Heath and start moving our hobby toward becoming a business. We incorporated in Jan. 2010 and after many months of searching for a building, going through city, state and federal licensing and finally testing our new equipment we’re finally close to sharing our beer with Tacoma.
2. Why Tacoma?
All four of us would be exceedingly happy to have lived and worked in Tacoma primarily from the cradle to the grave. We love this city. Between the four of us we’ve gone to many of Tacoma’s public and private schools including PLU, UPS, and UWT for college. We met each other as kids in the youth group at First Presbyterian Church Tacoma down on 20 Tacoma Ave. Tacoma has so much to offer and not only as a beer market. Part of each of our keg sales goes to benefit a Tacoma charity. This is our community as residents and business owners we want to see Tacoma thrive and continue to be the great place we grew up in.
3. What sorts of beers are you planning on releasing?
We’re releasing three beers. They are all a bit of a cross between English and northwest styles. We pack the citrusy hop forward flavors into our beers that everyone in the northwest is familiar with but we also include strong malt and yeast characteristics into our beer that are more commonly found in English style ales. Our current line up includes P-51 Porter which is a robust dark ale with hints of coffee, chocolate and tobacco. We also have Ace IPA that has great fruity flavors to balance against its hoppy bitterness. The last beer in our line up is Pin-up Pale Ale which is again a mix of malty fruit and citrus with just a hint of bitter.
4. Where and when can we expect to see Wingman Beers on tap?
The where is primarily Tacoma and a few surrounding areas from time to time. The when is soon and very soon.
5. What’s your favorite non-Wingman beer and why?
Asking a beer maker what his favorite beer is, is a bit like asking a parent which of their children is their favorite. It all depends on the mood I’m in and what my last experience with a particular beer was like. Beer is more than a tasty beverage it’s social, and drinking a great beer alone is not the same as drinking a good beer with in the company of friends. For that reason I’d have to say my favorite beer is the beer I enjoy with some dogs and my buddies at The Red Hot, or maybe my favorite beer is the one I’m trying not to spill on myself while playing big buck hunter at The Parkway, or maybe it’s the one I’m having while catching up with a friend at Magoos after a long day. Whether it’s Ale, Lager, American, Belgian, Sour, Bitter, Light or Dark my favorite beer changes with the moment I’m drinking it in. Sometimes I want shell out $20ish for a Cascade Kriek and sometimes I just want a PBR.
I’d like to thank Ken for being a part of 5 Question Friday. I’m looking forward to having a Wingman Beer in the near future. Given my taste in beers, I’m betting the Ace IPA is going to be a new favorite.
For more information on Wingman Brewers, got to http://wingmanbrewers.com
– Jack Cameron