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Celebrate Beer Heritage in This Washington Region

Be sure to grab a beer in Puyallup and Sumner, a region that embraces its brewing past while crafting its future.

By Lindsey Hyde on March 15, 2023

For feature about craft breweries in Puyallup and Sumner, WA

Nestled in western Washington state, the Puyallup-Sumner area has a strong brewing heritage that remains a prominent part of the region. What began with the planting and harvesting of hops by Ezra Meeker and his father, Jacob, in the mid-1860s has led to a burgeoning craft beverage scene.

Steeped in history, the region is filled with innovative breweries, bars and tasting rooms where a variety of flavors can be sipped and savored.

The most recent way the region is tipping its hat to the past is with a new development called The Ezra at Pioneer Park, named after Ezra Meeker, who was also Puyallup’s founder and first mayor. The development will include a collection of spacious floor plans (studios up to two-bedrooms) designed with active lifestyles in mind.

Residents will be provided with great amenities, such as a fitness center, gated parking, bike storage and a pet-friendly rooftop deck, among other things. With construction slated to begin in the summer of 2023, The Ezra is expected to be finished in 2024 or 2025.

Heads Up! You’ll Love the Beer Here

While the region is flourishing with beverage creators and sellers, one popular venue has a distinct setup that makes it stand out.

Opened by homebrewers Greg Burd and Chad Cray in August 2021, Top Down Brewing Co. stores its beer in Paul Mueller serving tanks, rather than kegs, and instead of being on the floor, they are situated over customers’ heads. “You’re literally sitting under the beer that you’re drinking, so it’s pouring from the top down,” Burd says.

While this setup complements the brewery’s name, the idea for Top Down actually came from the vertical, three-tier, gravity-fed system that Cray would use to produce beer in his garage – a system that brews from the top down.

In just over a year, the brewery has become a local favorite, serving six core beers, such as Plus One Pilsner and Maduro Stout, as well as a variety of blends that are said to elevate the boundaries of flavor and experience. “We want people to feel part of the family of Top Down,” Cray says.

Raise a Glass at this Great Event

The Women in Business reception is a celebration of the great contributions women have made in the business community. This annual happy hour reception features four dynamic women speakers, a business expo, a scholarship giveaway, a silent auction, champagne and hors d’oeuvres.

In addition to their beers, Top Down serves high-quality red wines and ciders produced by Shiloh Estate Cellars, a winery in Sumner that Burd and his wife opened in 2019.

Burd began experimenting with red wine varietals from different parts of the world back in the early 2000s as part of a Washington State University research project. When he and his family moved to Sumner in 2014, he brought three of his favorite varietals and planted the small vineyard.

“These are very dark red, great varietals that typically aren’t seen or even grown in the U.S.,” Burd says. “And they make phenomenal dark, rich, flavorful red wines.”

Half Lion Brewing Co. in Sumner, WA
Half Lion Brewing Co.

Places To Taste in the Region

In addition to Top Down and Shiloh Estate, there are several places where residents can indulge in the local beverage scene. A few examples include Half Lion Brewing Co., which is known for its flavorful beer and rugged, yet comfortable atmosphere; The Station U-Brew, a microbrewery that not only serves great drinks, but also offers a brew-your-own-beer experience; CaskCades, which sells beer, cider, seltzer and specialty hot dogs; and Cockrell Hard Ciders and Fierce County Cider, both of which craft several delicious ciders.

Next to join the growing list of establishments is Township 20, a soon-to-open dog-friendly taproom.

Brewallup Craft Beer Festival in Puyallup, WA
Puyallup/Sumner Chamber of Commerce

For a little taste of everything, residents and visitors can attend Brewallup Craft Beer Festival, an event hosted by the Puyallup/Sumner Chamber of Commerce and Caskcades, that features tastings from over 30 local breweries and cideries.

Also hosted by the Chamber is Winedown Wednesdays, a live music event at various bars and restaurants – check the Puyallup/Sumner Chamber app for locations.

“There’s definitely plenty of stuff for people to drink and very high quality in terms of the breweries around here,” Burd says.

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