Perhaps the only thing easier than finding a coffee shop in Seattle is locating a pint of delicious beer. Seattle is a beer haven, trying to keep pace with its little brother, Portland, and thus any competitive bar in the area will feature at least a couple locally produced favorites. The trick is to find a joint that compliments its draft lineup with something you’re in the mood for, or, of course, offers a product not easily procured elsewhere.
Beer with a side of…
…Sports. There is a surprising lack of stellar sports bars in Seattle. A bright spot for fans, though, is found in Ballard neighborhood at The Loft. This unassuming bar pairs 2-stories of industrial feel and design with a plethora of panel TVs, so no one misses the game. Patrons are hydrated with a selection of 12 taps, including the (formerly) local classic Olympia, as well as beers brewed literally blocks away (Also, try the sliders). To the south, right next the stadiums is Sluggers, a thin rectangle shape bar with seats on one side, alcohol and televisions on the other. To counter its impressive collection of memoribillia, Sluggers boasts 18 handles ready to dispense locally crafted goodness.
…Dog. Man’s Best Friend should be welcome wherever Man seeks solace from life’s problems. Norm’s Eatery and Ale House not only allows your four-legged companion, it celebrates him. Dog art decorates the walls, while draft beer flows from behind the counter. Norms can always be counted to carry fresh, local brews, and the burgers are delicious. In West Seattle, dogs find shelter at the Beveridge Place Pub. The offers guest amenities such as foosball, shuffleboard and a beautiful antique back bar, home to 25 draft beers. As you relax on a comfy couch in the lounge, nursing your 7th local draft, get Fido’s opinion on calling in sick the next day.
…Imports. Seattle locals appreciate products produced just down the road, but they don’t shun quality from elsewhere. Good beer is good beer, after all. Seek out the poorly marked Brouwer’s Café for an excellent Flemish experience. The outside looks like a warehouse, but you’ll quickly feel at home with the beer-hall like interior. The bar features 64 beers on tap, about half from Belgium. Be warned, the price can be steep for the imports, but worth it considering the rarity of tasting these beers the way they were meant to be, straight from the tap. If the Belgium beer has too many ingredients for you, check out Prost, 1 out of a chain of 4 German bars in Seattle (just opened a new location in Portland as well). They feature quality, German beer on tap, pretzels, authentic wurst and of course, taxidermy.
Of course, if you really desire the freshest froth, you should head straight to the source. Supplying Seattle’s bar scene is a bevy of brewpubs and production breweries. Get a sampler, take a tour and you might even learn something (like your tolerance level for high-alcohol beers). Check out some of our favorites below.
The Elysian Brewing Company has three locations in Seattle where thirsty patrons can satisfy their thirst and hunger – Capitol Hill, Stadium District, and Tangletown. Elysian is known for making flavorful, big beers. A trip to any of their pubs will reveal a number of seasonal selections, with styles you have likely not tried. A totally rad addition to their beer list is a description of not only the beers, but the ingredients that go into making them, something most brewers keep guarded. We said you might learn something.
If you are downtown, head to the famous Pike’s Place Market, where you’ll find, you guessed it, Pike Brewing Company. A Seattle mainstay for over 2 decades, this brewpub has a lot going for it. First, much of the brewing equipment is visible in the center of the restaurant, which is not only nice to look at, but allows the wonderful smells of brewing waft through the room. The back room doubles as a museum, full of brewing memorabilia, large and small, old and new. The walls are plastered with artifacts and trinkets. Finally, the brewer’s Scotch Ale, Kilt Lifter, is delicious, packing enough alcohol you may actually lift your kilt, but enough malty sweetness that you won’t mind the consequences.
So many great beers, so little. South of Seattle resides Georgetown Brewing Company. This relatively young brewery is the father of Manny’s Pale Ale, a brew so popular it is literally found everywhere in Seattle. If happen to get lost and stumble into a joint that only serves 3 beers, 2 of them being bud and bud light, the other will probably be Manny’s. You can swing by the historic building the brewery sits in to get your growler filled or take an entire keg if the evening calls for it.
“Live your dreams drink ours,” is the slogan of Big Al’s Brewery. See, Big Al was a homebrewer, and decided to make a career of it. His brewery is another recent addition to the Seattle beer-scape. When you meet Big Al, and you probably will if you visit the tasting room, you find he’s not that big. Perhaps the moniker refers to his brewing prowess. The company’s flagship drink, an Irish Red, is an easy drinking session beer that goes well with, well, life.