breweries

Seattle Brewery Tour: North Seattle

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  

Ravenna Brewing Company

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

Lantern Brewing

Lantern Brewing

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 Brewery and Taphouse

Naked City Brewing

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 Cooperative Brewery

Flying Bike Brewing Cooperative

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. 

Flying Bike Beer

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

Floating Bridge Brewing

Floating Bridge Brewing

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 Company

Hellbent Brewing IPA

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! 

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?)

Seattle Brewery Tour: Downtown

Downtown Seattle. It's a love hate relationship we have with you. On one hand you are the epicenter of our city. You house Pike Place Market, our favorite place in the city. On the other hand you also smell kinda bad and lack the fun atmosphere so many other neighborhoods have in Seattle.

Luckily, if you are in downtown and are overcome with the smell of urine or just need to get away from that man on the corner trying to convince you the end of times are indeed upon us there are a few breweries you can duck into for sanctuary. 

Pike Brewery Company

The big hitter downtown. The George Clooney of the downtown breweries. They have been around awhile and know what they are doing. They have it down, they rarely create something that isn't good (cough cough.. Batman...cough cough). They have a big location, good for groups, a large food menu, and offer brewery tours. 

Our Favorite: The Space Needle IPA, but if it goes off the menu the Scottish Kilt Lifter is a year-round goodie.

Old Stove Brewery Co.

Another brewery in Pike Place Market? What??!! Yep. It just opened this year and is set to expand into the new MarketFront building next year. They have communal tables in a true beer hall fashion, large windows that open to bring in fresh air and don't forget about the beer. It's pretty good too. We attended the Grand Opening and did a full write up here

Our Favorite: Galaxy Smash Pale Ale (you had us at citrus aromas).

Good color palette plus good beer equals happy bloggers.

Good color palette plus good beer equals happy bloggers.

Cloudburst Brewing

We saved the best for last, like the red skittle or the pink starburst. This brewery was born at a time of turmoil in Seattle, when Elysian sold out to The Man (aka InBev), and we were all crushed, but from the ashes rose something beautiful, from the ashes rose Cloudburst Brewing. There is not a bad beer on the menu. Everything is different in a delightful way. Exploring this menu is like exploring a beautiful utopia where you encounter something better at every turn. It's really that great, we are not hyperbole-ing here people. 

Our Favorite: It is so hard to pick one but if we MUST...Happy Little Clouds... or maybe the Clickbait IPA... but then there is the....crap. ok. stopping before this gets embarrassing

Need to find breweries in Ballard? Check out our first post in this series.