beer

Seattle Brewery Tour: Georgetown

Georgetown

Georgetown: Seattle's oldest neighborhood and a hot bed of amazing breweries. The rent is cheaper down south and there is more space to brew, which makes this location great for a brewery tour (they are kind of spread out, so you'll want a DD or to plan on a couple Uber/Lyft rides). Grab some friends and head down!

Two Beers Brewing 

With the philosophy, "Life’s a little more honest after two beers," this brewery takes the prize for our personal favorite in Georgetown. Two Beers has been on the scene since 2007 and because of the size of their operation, they have been able to build a pretty amazing taproom compared to other craft breweries. The taproom, named The Woods, has pool, darts, shuffleboard, and a local food truck, Bread and Circuses, has set up shop permanently serving great, greasy food to patrons. They have all their beers on tap along with all the offerings of their sister company, Seattle Cider Co. Plus, dogs are allowed and they have a patio (winning)! There isn't a whole lot they don't offer for someone looking for a cozy place to have a great beer or hang out with friends. 

Our favorite brews: Wonderland Trail IPA and when it's in season their Day Hike Summer Session Ale hits the spot!

Georgetown Brewing

Georgetown Brewing is only a tasting room, so that makes it a different kind of stop on on a brewery tour. Don't get us wrong though, there is a certain appeal to being able to get free beer, even if they are only 2 oz. tasters! Their location is in a large warehouse that also serves as their brewing operation. Walk up the ramp and through the large sliding doors. You can head over to the far end of the counter, show your I.D., and sample up to seven of their beers, without ever taking out your credit card! If you have a growler you can fill it with your favorite pour, but don't expect to be able to catch a buzz or drink a pint at the location. 

Note: On the weekends they are only open until 4:00 PM, so plan accordingly. 

Our favorite brews: Mannys, duh! This is the beer of Seattle and has so many memories attached to it. 

Lowercase Brewing

Lowercase Brewing is located just south of the main drag in Georgetown making it a great spot to stop after exploring the neighborhood. They just opened last year and have a pretty great taproom, equipped with games, a patio, and a comfy couch section for large groups. We are big fans of their beer and their commitment to the community. They also allow dogs and children at their taproom and also serve up their delicious lemonade for any underage guests, which makes it a great spot for families. And to make this brewery even better they hand out free popcorn to help soak up some of the alcohol so that's nice!

Our favorite brews: Their iPA and Honey Wheat win by a landslide, but definitely check out their seasonal tap for rotating goodies.

Machine House Brewery

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This spot wins on the list for vibe. Machine House Brewery is located in a portion of the old Rainier Brewery from way back in the day and has giant windows that let in tons of light and a big open taproom that is great for sharing a pint with friends. They brew english-style ales and serve them up in their taproom from rad, old traditional hand pumps. You'll probably notice your beer isn't quite as cold as some others, but don't worry that is traditional as well. Go with it, they know what they are doing here. 

Our favorite brews: Their Golden Ale is good for any occasion, light and refreshing. A great seasonal is their Double IPA, at 9.4% it packs a serious punch and tons of flavor! 

Counterbalance Brewing Company

Counterbalance: The quirkiest of the Georgetown breweries. Their balancing, one legged duck will greet you as you come up the ramp into the industry building that houses their brewing operation. Unfortunately, it isn't a real-life mascot, but it still lends to a pretty fun backdrop to your drinking. Pull up a seat at the bar and get a sampler to experience the wide variety of beers they have on tap. The staff is welcoming and there are games to enjoy. They also let you bring in food from outside places, so we recommend grabbing a pizza to-go from Stellar Pizza beforehand. We really enjoy this spot and hope you will too!

Our favorite brews: The Abigail Blonde Ale is our favorite, but they have some great stouts and IPA's on rotation usually as well! 

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FYI: A new spot, Jellyfish Brewing, is set to open sometime this year. Keep an eye out! 

Seattle Brewery Tour: Interbay & Magnolia

Interbay/Magnolia are sister neighborhoods that have Seattle institutions like Fisherman's Terminal, Red Mill Burgers, and Palisade. In the past few years it has also gained a few new spots that add to its charm and community. And they just so happen to be our favorite kind of spots, breweries.

There are four breweries in the Interbay/Magnolia area, all with a little bit different atmosphere and flavor profiles. Today we take you on a little tour to check them all out. 

Urban Family Brewing

Urban Family Brewing is located on a quiet street close to Salmon Bay in Magnolia. They brew French and Belgium inspired beers in their taproom and often have food trucks around on the weekend. 

If you like sour beers, this is the spot to go. Their Sour Bog (currently on tap) was refreshing and tart. Want to know what will make it taste even better? Drinking it while playing Pictionary, which you can do because Urban Family totally got the memo about stocking up a games cabinet! Holla at your girls! 

The tables are long for big groups, so bring your friends and order one of everything!

Urban Family, everyone is welcome!

Urban Family, everyone is welcome!

Figurehead Brewing Co.

New kids on the block! Figurehead is a small brewery in Interbay that opened up in 2016. Fun fact, they were officially Seattle's 60th brewery (do we live in the best city or what??), and we think they will have a nice, happy life here. The staff is friendly, the beer is diverse, and the logo is super cool. We would totally buy a t-shirt with that ship on it. These are the important things people, t-shirt design potential.

Golden and delicious

Golden and delicious

12 taps of Figurehead

12 taps of Figurehead

Taster at Figurehead. 

Taster at Figurehead. 

Holy Mountain Brewing

Holy Mountain is the brewing child of male duo Colin Lenfesty and Mike Murphy. They opened their space in Interbay in 2014 and have become a favorite spot for beer drinkers because of the open space, large booths, and the oak-inspired beers. They have had some pretty spectacular beers on tap recently, including the Astral Projection Double IPA and the Bourbon Barrel Aged Kings's Head.

Insider tip: If it's your first time visiting we would recommend plugging the address into your GPS. The front door is actually around back of a large warehouse building on 15th Ave. 

That middle one might look like OJ, but it's was actually a juicy Double IPA

That middle one might look like OJ, but it's was actually a juicy Double IPA

They really try to make sure you can't miss it once you find it! 

They really try to make sure you can't miss it once you find it! 

The door is clearly labeled so you don't accidentally go into the employee entrance of Dog Lounge next door. 

The door is clearly labeled so you don't accidentally go into the employee entrance of Dog Lounge next door. 

Rooftop Brew Co.

We saved the best for last. This is our favorite brewery in the neighborhood because of its cozy space and amazing sense of community. It's hard not to make new friends in this spot and the awesome beer on top of everything else makes for a great afternoon. 

Rooftop is located right by the Ship Canal bike path and is a great spot to ride to if you are out and about. The patio is a wonderful place to drink beer during any season (heaters are out in the colder months) or you can grab a spot inside and sit close to the popcorn machine, which is kept full of the (free) salty treat all day! If you need something more substantial then wait until after 4PM and Curbside Burgers and Brats will pull up. 

So, what beer should you drink? There is always a tap list full of great options, but we recommend always getting at least one pour of the Beer Trumps Hate IPA. All the proceeds go to non-profits that "fight hate by advocating for people of all races, religions, genders, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic statuses." It tastes good and helps the community. Can't do better than that. 

Our beer family. Papa, Momma, and four babies.

Our beer family. Papa, Momma, and four babies.

Nice pour.

Nice pour.

Free popcorn, yes please! 

Free popcorn, yes please! 

The Tallest Drinks in Seattle

The Smith Tower's Temperance

The Smith Tower got a facelift this year! For those of you who haven't been to the new and improved Observation Deck yet, we highly recommend it. Along with the all-time favorites like the lever-operated elevator, The Wishing Chair, and the incredible views at the top, the experience now includes a much higher amount of educational content and a speakeasy style bar! Seems so obvious now that the space was always missing a bar, how did we not figure this out sooner?!

The staff was incredibly friendly and helped us land on a delicious cocktail named Serenity for our drinking pleasure. In true speakeasy fashion it was strong, but good. And you can sip it in comfy chairs as the sun sets on Seattle. It really is a beautiful space with a wonderful view.

The Smith Tower is 35 stories tall (462 ft.), placing it in 3rd place on the list. It might not be the tallest, but something about standing amid all the buildings that have sprung up since 1914 is pretty magical. 

cocktail at Temperance Bar Smith Tower
view from the Smith Tower with Space Needle

Space Needle's SkyCity

SkyCity is the high-end, rotating restaurant at the top of the Space Needle. The restaurant is the shape of a donut, wrapped around the Space Needle right beneath the observation deck. When you exit the elevator you are led to a table along the outer edge; definitely try to get a table against the window -- watching the city circle below you is a ton of fun! When you eat/drink at SkyCity you also get complimentary access to the Space Needle's observation deck, so make sure to factor in time to head up before or after dining.

At over 500 ft. tall, SkyCity sits in second place on our list of tallest drinks in Seattle! 

Insider Tip: Going to SkyCity does comes with a food and beverage minimum. Dinner is a tad pricey at $35/person, but they have a promotion right now for Sunset Hour with a lower minumum of $25. For comparison a ticket to just the observation deck is $22, so we think this is the way to visit the Space Needle! From 2:30 - 5:30, Monday - Friday, you can go to the top, have a drink while the sun goes down over the city, and visit the observation deck. It ends December 16, 2016 though so hurry on over! 

Columbia Center's Sky View Observatory

Columbia Tower is the tallest building in our skyline and also has the highest observation deck in Seattle (we covered it here). Your ears will pop as you ride the elevator up to the 73rd floor. When you arrive, you will be granted beautiful 360-degree views of the entire area and this is the only observation deck that includes unobstructed views of the Space Needle and the floating 520 bridge. On clear days you can see as far as Mount Hood in Oregon. 

Their cafe/bar is a bit lacking compared to the other places on this list. It's the Panera Bread to the Space Needle's McCormick and Schmick's. But, they have local beer and wine and happy hour, which is exactly what we were looking for when we visited after work at 5:00 PM. We sipped on a Naughty Nellie from Pike Brewing Company and a red blend from Chateau Ste. Michelle.

At 900 ft. this is the tallest you can be in the city while sipping on an adult beverage! 

The Tallest Geographic Point- 35th and Myrtle

Well what do you know? The tallest geographic point in the city is not in Queen Anne, it is in West Seattle in the Delrigde neighborhood at 35th and Myrtle St. We wouldn't recommend drinking here though (do as we say not as we do), as the city frowns upon opening beers on street corners, but we found a really great bar, The Westy, nearby where you can enjoy a nice taplist along with wine and cocktails.

This one is obviously a bit off trend from our previous three, but we thought it would be a fun one to include-- now you know a little piece of Seattle trivia! 

Standing at the tallest geographical point in Seattle!

Standing at the tallest geographical point in Seattle!

Alright folks. That concludes our drinking in tall places post. it was random. It was fun. We raise our glass to you for reading Rain or Shine's recommendations! 

Cheers!

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?)