It's true that when you think of breweries north of Downtown Seattle your mind usually goes right to Ballard. Lucky for all of us they aren't the only neighborhood up there to have some kickass beer. Spread across the various smaller neighborhoods in North Seattle - think Ravenna and Greenwood - there are breweries working hard to hold their own against all the big ones in Ballard when it comes to quality of beer and atmosphere. Head out on an adventure to find some great hidden spots and enjoy some more of Seattle's great craft beer.
Note: If you're planning a brewery crawl we want to mention they aren't all within walking distance. So, if you plan to go to all in one day, budget for Lyft rides!
Ravenna Brewing Company is nestled on a side street off of 55th Ave and has a small, charming set up. With colorful tiles decorating their taps and small tables scattered around their little tasting room, they offer a funky place to grab a pint. Their patio is great for summertime drinking, and it's also partially covered so even when those pesky rains come, you can enjoy your beer with some fresh air. They usually have some pretty cool beers on tap that aren't your average listings, like unique fruit flavors or barrel aged beers.
And to elevate it a bit, they also have board games and card games to keep you entertained while you sip on their award-winning beer with friends and family, which we always love! They also win extra points for food trucks - usually they have some fine dining rolled up right outside for your enjoyment. Nosh is on Fridays - just sayin.
Our favorite beer: Jalapeño Kolsch
We would have never found this brewery if we weren't writing/researching for the blog - which is one of the reasons we love this job so much! Lantern Brewing is tucked away up on 95th Street, off Aurora Ave. The street definitely leaves something to be desired, it is near Aurora after all, but even though it isn't a traditionally beautiful spot, it actually ended up being our favorite on this list! Why? Well first and foremost they are incredibly friendly, but on top of that their beer is tasty, and they often have food trucks or local food vendors come and serve up tasty grub to have with your beer!
They have a huge space and when it's warm they can throw open their large garage doors and you can sit outside and play cornhole.
The other thing we liked about these guys was they took a step away from what you so often see at other breweries in Seattle - IPAs and Pale Ales - and have a diverse, but seriously Belgian inspired list of beers. Since they have such a good variety we recommend getting a flight of tasters to start!
Our favorite beer: Joliefolie
Naked City is located in Greenwood and is probably the most established spot on this list. With a huge location, it's an easy place to bank on getting a seat during the busy months and they also have a bar and grill with decent enough food if you want a full-service type of place. They lovingly refer to themselves as Greenwood's Town Hall and often represent that well, with a healthy mix of all types of people (kids are allowed - families take note!).
If you cycled through the 34 rotating house and guest taps then you'd feel 1. drunk and 2. thoroughly satisfied. With that much beer there is bound to be an option to please everyone and if you have non-beer drinkers in the your group (which would mean you hang out with the wrong sort) then they have cider and wine as well!
We love the newest addition to their space - a huge mural done by local Seattle artist Henry. It depicts two walruses drinking beer and always makes us smile. And what really drives this spot home for us is that they also have a dine-in theater! Check out their events page for all sorts of fun entertainment from comedy shows to burlesque to football showings!
Our favorite beer: Orange Blossom Special IPA
Flying Bike is one of those places that you feel the love right when you walk in. Do you know those places? The people inside look friendly, the vibe is right, the air is sweet and the beer tastes good! It's probably something to do that it's a coop - which means it's member owned and supports community and collaboration down to the core!
When you walk in make sure to take in all the fun and creative bicycle decorations, including the tap handles that are actually bike handles (verrrrryyyy clever Flying Bike!). Their huge mural and extensive assortment of board games make our hearts sing...and we haven't even gotten to the best part.
They have crazy amazing beer! Their lavender IPA changed the way we thought about beer. One time, the bartender mixed two beers together for us and it was glorious. I mean.. have you ever had anyone do that before? We hadn't. These guys know their beer. And they also know how to have a good time. It's what breweries are supposed to be!
Our favorite brew: Bike Rye'd Saison
This family-run brewery located on the edge of University District near I-5 says their beers are free-spirited and imaginative and we can say that we have to agree. Their Tropical Pale Ale doesn't seem to follow any rules and their cherry sour was unique and delicious for Fall. They also have all the right things to make their space a great place to gather and enjoy company including a giant projector for watching football, shuffleboard, board games (including our favorites Settlers of Catan and Bananagrams), and giant windows to let in lots of natural light.
The staff here is helpful and down-to-earth. If you are look for a non-pretentious spot to enjoy good beer this would be one of our favorites to recommend. They also have one of the biggest tasters we have seen in town. It's in the shape of a bridge and holds five large tasters. We would encourage you to get one of these and sample a variety of what they have to offer on their menu!
Our favorite brew: Tropical Pale Ale
Hellbent Brewing is the farthest north on this list, but totally worth the drive! They are right on Lake City Way and because they are a little bit outside of the hustle and bustle of the city they have a ...wait of it... parking lot for customers! First plus! They also have an extremely cool patio with heaters and TVs to watch sporting events year round and food trucks pulled up to grab some food any night of the week. Second plus! Inside they have a huge space complete with a bar, additional space upstairs with games and comfy couches and lots of TVs. Third plus! We should also mention they are dog friendly so you get to drink while petting all the fluffy buddies. Fourth plus! But wait..one more! They have great beer too.
See totally worth the drive!
Our favorite brew: Hellbent IPA or any of their seasonal IPAs
Alright - that's North Seattle for ya. By the time we post this five more breweries will have opened in Seattle, so we see you all soon with more recommendations! Also - let's all do ourselves a favor and keep an eye out for delicious pumpkin beers, besides pumpkin pie it's the best part of fall!