Seattle Brewery Tour: Capitol Hill

By now you probably know we are working our way around the city to taste all that our local breweries have to offer. Here are the results from our trek around Capitol Hill. 

Optimism Brewing 

 Quote by the bar at Optimism Brewing

Quote by the bar at Optimism Brewing

Optimism is an intriguing new addition to Capitol Hill breweries. This open beer hall is the creation of a Microsoft/tech power couple who were tired of software. Naturally, they decided the next step in their lives would be to open a humble, 16,000 sq ft. brewery in one of Seattle's hottest neighborhoods. 

When you walk into Optimism you feel the openness of the massive space, their brewing operation is front and center and they have communal seating. The yellow paint and large windows give off a light feeling. Perfect for drinking a beer with some friends. 

Many beer enthusiasts will pause in confusion when reaching the bar to order though. Optimism's owners have been clear they want to bring beer drinking back to the "every day (wo)man." So instead of calling it a Stout, they describe and label their beers with more general names (Ex. Black: bold, coffee, nutmeg). 

They state beer is "not something that should be intimidating, pretentious or expensive. For this reason, we try to make beer approachable to everyone by describing our beers in ways that everyone can understand without beer-geek jargon."  

It's a nice thought. Not sure if it really works though.

Regardless of how they name the beers, we've found that they do indeed know how to create beer that tastes good, which is more important than anything else. Dive into a sampler and you'll agree with us.

 Sampler at Optimism Brewing

Sampler at Optimism Brewing

In addition to the good beer, the no-cash checkout is speedy which means you'll never wait in a long line and the food truck pod in the back brings delicious food to their door. You can also bring your own food in to enjoy with their beers. 

And can we just get on a soapbox for a minute and say that the way they've done their bathrooms is how EVERYONE should be doing bathrooms. Seems so obvious. Thank you, Optimism.

Our favorites? Amplify and Zest

Elysian Brewing Company

 Night Owl Pumpkin Beer at Elysian 

Night Owl Pumpkin Beer at Elysian 

Elysian. Ohhhhhh Elysian. We used to all love you without question. You made great beer. You were Seattle's pride and joy. Then you sold to Anheuser-Busch. You went corporate. And now we are all confused. 

We will try to put on our unbiased reporting hat for this review though.

Capitol Hill is Elysian Brewing's original location, which opened in 1996. For the most part, it's your classic brewpub (their food is decent). There isn't any trendy logo or minimalist design like these hot new kids on the block. It's a more traditional atmosphere with exposed timber and dark, heavy curtains hanging in the windows. 

As for the beer. It's delicious. They might have sold out, but they didn't change the recipes that have made them big enough to gain interest from the largest beer company in the world. Right now they have their famous pumpkin beers on tap, which go well with the rainy, chilly weather!

Our favorites? Space Dust and Super Fuzz

Outer Planet Brewing

 A "One of Everything" sampler at Outer Planet 

A "One of Everything" sampler at Outer Planet 

Another new brewery to Capitol Hill! Outer Planet opened in 2015 and is a small operation, but it has a great vibe and some good beers. With their live music performances and huge pile of card and board games you can always bank on entertainment while you drink. 

Their taps are also fun to say, with names like The Meddling Monk and Galaxy Girl it will make you spark up a conversation with the brewery owner to find out what inspired them. 

Oh, and did we mention they just recently started serving pizza? I mean why wouldn't you go check this place out? 

Our favorites? Kumbaya Supernova IPA and Spacetrucker Brown

Standard Brewing

 Photo from Instagram by @ nathaniel.stott

Photo from Instagram by @nathaniel.stott

This small brewery up on Jackson St. is wonderful. It might technically be the Central District, but we wanted to include it here because it's not too far and you gotta know about this place!

With what seems like a million breweries opening up around the city it's hard to accomplish a unique vibe. So many are starting to blend together in look and feel. We think Standard's ability to do something a little different is what drew us in. And fortunately for us they are doing a pretty good job on the beer front too. 

With 12 beers on tap you'll have plenty of options, regardless of what you like you'll find something good here. If you need help choosing a truly exceptional one though, they have two award winners from the WA Beer Awards this year, the Imperial IPA (bomb.com people) and the Brett Earl. They don't serve food but allow you to bring it with you, so hit up a food truck and head on over. 

Our favorites? Imperial IPA and West Coast IPA (We like IPA's okay?)