In the age of accessibility, availability and occasional oversharing (*ahem), it’s only reasonable that our little community should have opportunity to partake in good beers that don’t originate right here. Transporting imbibements, and beer specifically, is an age-old tradition that is responsible for the trendy hop-love born from IPAs, originally English ale with extra hops added to preserve freshness on the long voyage from Great Britain to colonial India. Now days, beers are moved in refrigerated trucks and other evolved transport technology, with extra hops added just for fun, and because it’s a lot easier to share good beers from coast to coast, a phenomenon known as the “tap takeover” has taken over the beer-serving establishments nationwide.
Here’s how it works: A local bar or restaurant invites a specific guest brewery, sometimes local, sometimes more remote, to take over all of their beer taps for an evening, forcing patrons to try a sample of the guest beer or go dry. It’s a great way to expose wary stick-in-the-routine-mud types to new styles and flavors, and it’s a win-win for establishment and brewer alike to figure out what works for specific demographics and what doesn’t.
For St. Patrick’s Day, Backyard BBQ had Rogue Ales & Spirits from Oregon up to takeover their taps, and one of Rogue’s local reps was on hand to give away Rogue gear and talk up the product. Backyard almost always has Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale on tap, and it’s one of my personal favorites. The takeover was a big hit, packing out the back room at Backyard, and winning over more than a few coors light drinkers to the wonders of small-batch brewing. In addition to Dead Guy, Rogue brought their crowd-pleasing Honey Kolsch, a Hazelnut Brown Nectar and Outta Line IPA.
Colville Pour House has tap takeovers on the regular, one recent installation was Iron Horse Brewing out of Ellensburg, famous for their dark-but-mild Irish Death Ale. The Iron Horse rep at the Thursday night event was able to educate the Pour House clientele about the brewery’s other offerings, including the High Five Hefeweizen (a hit among the Coors Light crowd - you know who you are), Hand Cannon IPA and the Double Rainbow India Red Ale, which was an interesting mix between a red and an IPA with a twist of tartness. This Thursday (May 16) Ninkasi Brewing is taking over the taps at Colville Pour House. Known for their fearless hoppery, including the infamous Total Domination IPA, the Eugene based brewery is the master of the IPA lover’s IPA.
The best part of tap takeovers, other than (obviously) the great beer you might not have another chance to try, is the SWAG that you’ll have a chance to nab. Most takeover reps come with pint glasses and stickers for handing out and tons of raffle prizes.
Colville Pour House has a regular lineup of tap takeovers that you can find out about on their Facebook page. Backyard BBQ has more planned in the future, and a handful of other spots around the area feature them from time to time. Make sure to check out the next tap takeover near you, we promise you won’t regret it!