Take a Brewery Tour of Seattle
Seattle’s urban microbreweries serve as impromptu indoor parks in the winter and block parties in the summer. Everyone comes to drink beer, and it’s some of the country’s best. But the breweries are also where neighbors gather, children and dogs mingle underfoot, and the smell of the nearest food truck manages to spark hunger any time of day.
Touring Seattle’s breweries gives a taste not only of some of the best beers in the country, but of Seattle’s casual brewery culture and its best food trucks. To sample the full spectrum of the city’s tastiest brews safely and efficiently, use Uber to arrange rides from one location to another in Seattle. The Uber Fare Estimator can help you plan rides and this guide can help you find the best beers in town:
Schooner Exact Brewing
SODO’s warehouses beg for growing breweries to fill the big, empty spaces and Schooner Exact does it with style: the back half holds the beer-making operation, while the front holds a brewpub. The doors opened at 3901 1st Ave. S. in 2012, though the beer has been around since 2006—which makes it part of the leading edge of Seattle’s latest wave of brewpubs. Décor is spare, but the beers are adventurous and exciting. Grab a tasting flight and mix their year-round favorites such as the 3-Grid IPA and Profanity Hill Porter with seasonal specials, one-offs, and their fascinating barrel-aged beers. If you’ve started out hungry, order a bite from kitchen. The gastropub-style food is infused with local, seasonal ingredients, house-made sauces, dressings, most everything else, and the creativity of a smart chef. The brave can snack on blistered jalapeños with golden ale goat cheese and bacon breadcrumbs. Tamer tongues can go for the chilled asparagus or beer-steamed clams.
From a leader to the rookie on the block: Cloudburst Brewery began making it rain West Coast-style IPAs at 2116 Western Avenue in Pike Place Market just at the beginning of 2016. But there’s a world of experience behind the aggressively-hopped brews on tap: Steve Luke previously held court at Elysian, where he led the experimental brewing program. In the taproom, you’ll see that experience in the Fingersnap (infused with lemon ginger tea), collaborations with other local breweries, and a Market Fresh Saison, which incorporates whatever looks good from the iconic neighboring Pike Place Market.
Holy Mountain Brewing
Continue your journey northward with a stop in the awkward no-man’s land of Interbay. At 1421 Elliott Ave., Holy Mountain isn’t your average Seattle brewery. Their trio of experienced brewers (including time at Schooner Exact, among others) confirmed a maverick reputation by forgoing a flagship IPA and creating limited-run, cultish brews that thrilled the vast community of beer nerds in town. Seasonal beers, secondary fermentations, and small batches mean that nothing sticks around here too long—their website is simply a series of blog posts about what saison, farmhouse, or pale ale is coming out next.
Finally, you’ll land in Ballard, a brewery mecca. Here, there are more than a dozen breweries within a few miles and the options are endless. So why not start with the best at Stoup Brewing? The recently remodeled taproom at 1108 NW 52nd St. is bright and warm inside, with wide garage doors that open it to the outside, plus a side patio for extra outdoor seating. Parked in front is a rotating cadre of the city’s best food trucks, from frybread tacos by Off the Rez to Uncle Paulie’s Meatballs. And Stoup is the platonic ideal of a Seattle brewery (bring your kids and dogs) that pays true honor to hops. The menu calls out hop varietals the way trendy restaurants call out their farms: proudly, specifically, and precisely. You’ll find at least ten different hops on the list, woven into a variety of truly Northwest-style IPAs and various hoppy, pale ale cousins.
From here, if you’re somehow not yet ready to collapse in the back of your next Uber (or uberX, or uberPOOL— check out your options) while your driver whisks you home, you can continue on foot: around the corner to the award-winning Reuben’s Brews (and the burger truck out front), up the street to the sprawling outdoor seating at Populuxe, or to nearby Northwest Peaks for super-niche experimental ales.
Photo credit: Jerry Meaden