Tides Tavern Finds Fun Way to Pour Away the Winter Blues
It’s a time-honored understanding that drinking beer and watching football go hand in hand. So for many local drinking establishments, this football season was a grand one — with the local favorites, the Seattle Seahawks, dominating their way in the postseason all the way through the Super Bowl.
But with the end of the season, the crowds that pack the watering holes literally disappear and February typically represents a lull in beer consumption. After all, who heads for the bar stool to grab a pint and discuss the merits and skills of the athletes while watching figure skating?
So what’s a local business to do when its normally elbow-room-only establishment runs dry of its patrons? At the Tides Tavern, they’ve found a solution.
Welcome to the annual Tapmaster, a promotion that’s been running the past 10 years every February, much to the delight of their clientele.
“We want people to try something new that they normally wouldn’t drink,” said Michael McManus, marketing director for the Tides.
The premise is simple, “16 beers, 28 days,” he said, noting they put 16 beers on tap, challenging customers to knock back a pint of each one over the course of the month.
“This isn’t a drinking contest,” McManus noted, as the bar limits each customer to four beers per day. It’s more about sampling different brews and perhaps discovering a new and unique taste that can become a new favorite.
The prize? Those who complete the quest earn a coveted T-shirt with the Tapmaster logo emblazoned on the front, along with their name (or nickname) going up on the Wall of Fame above the bar.
“The creativity of the nicknames can be fun to try and decode, kind of like personalized license plates,” McManus said. The T-shirts, he added, are worn proudly by the owners as they cannot be purchased, only earned.
In past years, national brands have been included in the mix, such as Guinness and Coors Light. But, this year bar manager Brett Rafter went with all Pacific Northwest brews, giving the event a truly local flavor.
Some are mainstays on the bar, such as Mack N Jack, Manny’s, Alaskan Amber and the custom brewed Tides Tavern IPA, brewed right around the corner by 7 Seas. Others are seasonal tastes, like 10 Barrell OG IPA and the intriguingly named Elysian Split Shot Espresso Milk Stout.
“You can definitely taste the espresso,” Rafter said. It’s a dark brew with an exceedingly smooth taste, he added. “I try to select a few that people in this area have not had a lot of exposure to.”
One of those would likely be the Deschutes Red Chair Nitro, poured with nitrous rather than CO2, which results in a really smooth beer with no carbonation, he said.
Even though the promotion started Feb. 1, there still is plenty of time to become a Tapmaster for 2014. At the four beers per day limit, those with a hardy constitution can accomplish the task in four days. But even if a beer aficionado enjoys two beers a day spread across eight days or limits themselves to one beer a day (with two on weekends), there’s still enough time to earn the title and put a name up on the wall.
For the Tides, they see it as a win-win-win situation. Their customers get a chance to challenge their tastebuds, while they support local and independent breweries and they keep their customers coming back for more — when only curling and ice hockey are on the big screen.
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