Beertown, U.S.A.: Seattle
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Beertown, U.S.A.: Seattle

To soak up Seattle’s percolating beer scene, explore beyond downtown.
CATEGORIES: Beer   Beertown   Travel  
Home Beer Beertown, U.S.A.: Seattle

Beer is as much of an obsession in Seattle as espresso, and microbreweries and taprooms are starting to feel as ubiquitous as coffee shops. You’ll find few of Seattle’s impressive new beer destinations downtown, given the city’s skyrocketing real estate prices. (Blame Amazon’s lightning-fast expansion and the number of well-paid programmers in town.) To enjoy the best of Seattle’s beer right now, you’ll need to venture to neighborhoods like Fremont, Greenwood and South Park. Keep an ear to the ground for the reopening of beer-friendly eateries Burdick and Rooftop, both temporarily closed for makeovers.

COMING SOON: Cloudburst Brewing

While most of the best new beer stops are neighborhood gems, there’s one new downtown pub the city’s eagerly awaiting: Cloudburst Brewing, from Elysian mastermind/head brewer Steve Luke, who revealed his new venture after Anheuser- Busch InBev announced its buyout of the brewery. Cloudburst will be located near Pike Place Market, at 2116 Western Ave., close to Pike Place Brewing—still a worthy lunch if you’re on the city’s tourist track.


Stoup Brewing

Named for a Scottish drinking vessel, Stoup
is a superstar 15-barrel brewery/hangout brimming with energy. Both communal tables and intimate seating attract multigenerational, board-game- playing families, couples and regulars who call themselves Stoupers. It was founded by a chemist and the state’s first female cicerones who’ve combined eight types of hops for T2R, a triple IPA that’s proudly and nerdily named after a type of bitterness receptor on the tongue.
1108 NW 52nd St.,

The Bergschrund

The newest member of Ballard’s beer club, The Bergschrund is no-frills and very Northwest, with wood-paneled walls and the feel of a cabin in the Methow Valley. Think twangy country music, beers named after mountain peaks, and bartenders with elaborate facial hair, nose rings and plaid flannels. 4818 17th Ave. NW,


Holy Mountain Brewing

Holy Mountain isn’t new, but the taproom, opened in late January, is; high ceilings, subway-tiled walls, and silver light bulbs combine for a sleek European feel. Standout drafts include Astral Projection Double IPA and the delicious River of Ash, a saison brewed with Montmorency cherries. 1421 Elliott Ave. W.,


Beveridge Place Pub

Bartenders personally greet everyone who walks through the door and offer individual suggestions (and samples!) from the latest drafts. Washington-made pours are the priority, with a sweet selection of ciders, too, like Finnriver Pear Cider, from Chimacum on the state’s Olympic Peninsula. 6413 California Ave. SW,


Bluebird Microcreamery & Brewery

Bluebird fashions its own ice creams and beers intended to combine deliciously. Don’t miss the Chocolate Milk Stout, made with nibs from Seattle’s Theo Chocolate; it’s even better poured over Bluebird’s vanilla ice cream. multiple locations,

Naked City Brewery & Taphouse

A spacious new beer garden means the crowd’s lively during Sounders and Seahawks games, and any time the sun is shining. The bartenders are just the right amount of attentive, pouring eight house and 12 guest beers with a concentration on Washington and the Northwest breweries. 8564 Greenwood Ave. N.,


Brouwer’s Café

Two bouncers protect one of the biggest and best beer lists in the city: a whopping 300 bottles and 64 taps loaded with Seattle houses like Lantern, Fremont and Spinnaker Bay. (Pick one to pair with the Niҫoise salad with pickled Yakima Valley hop shoots.) With a Belgian theme, the bar’s usually a boisterous good time—though it can veer into overwhelmingly loud. 400 N. 35th St.,

The Outlander

Grab a chalice off the shelves if you dare: Outlander’s are arguably Seattle’s most inventive beers. Once tap-only, the brewery just began bottling Goats n’ Roses, an ale brewed with horny goat weed and rose petals (past concoctions have featured tamarind, holy basil and roasted crickets). The pub’s in a creaky, charming old Fremont house. 225 N. 36th St.,

The Sixgill

An offshoot of Ballard’s Noble Fir, Sixgill is as distinct as the shark for which it’s named, with attentive service, 36 taps and superb bistro food like cottage pie. And no, you didn’t have one too many pints; you really are seeing a huge fiberglass model of Saturn on Sixgill’s roof (glowing at night thanks to solar panels).
3417 Evanston Ave. N.,


Schooner Exact

The beer is bright and steadfastly Northwest (Marionberry Sour, made with berries grown only in this corner of the country, and the King Street Brown, flavored with another regional favorite, hazelnuts). A broad food menu featuring beer-steamed manila clams with caramelized lemon keeps regulars here for hours. 3901 1st Ave. S.,

Machine House Brewery

Housed in the old Seattle Brewing and Malting Building, it offers only English session ales, served traditionally—that is, casked and hand-pumped, never chilled. Crystal Maze (named after a goofy British game show) is a lemon-zesty taste revela- tion. Bonus: Machine House sits across the street from Full Throttle Bottles, a fantastic bottle shop. 5840 Airport Way S. #121,

Lowercase Brewing

With an expansive yard featuring an abstract sculpture garden by a local artist, Lowercase is a great hangout. Just five smart taps pro- vide something for everyone—and the root beer rocks, too. Lowercase also supplies Seattle’s best oyster bar, The Walrus & The Carpenter. 8103 8th Ave. S.,


Outer Planet

The OP’s tucked in the ground floor of a bland microhousing building, but its beers are any- thing but blah: Seven beers corral the usual suspects (IPA, ESB, brown ale), but each is layered and complex, like the saison infused with floral English golden hops to balance the sweetness. 1812 12th Ave. #100,

Pine Box

No need to be spooked; aside from stained glass, clerestory windows and gothic art, you may not ever notice Pine Box is housed in a former mortuary, as the crematorium and mausoleum have been removed. The wait staff appears to have been chosen on modeling potential: The beer selections are noteworthy, too, including picks from Pfriem and Black Raven. 1600 Melrose Ave.,


Toronado Seattle

An offshoot of California’s beloved Toronado bars, Seattle’s is found in the Roosevelt District near Green Lake. It’s worth wading through Seattle’s light-rail contruction for the 40 rotating taps and the standout menu; try the steak sandwich with horseradish crème fraîche. 1205 NE 65th St.,


Kate Bernot is DRAFT’s beer editor. Reach her at kate.bernot[at]

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