The Seattle brewing scene is all about community with big-name brewers like Elysian Brewing Company leading the pack. But the industry isn’t completely cutthroat. In fact, it’s built on sharing. Ideas are shared between brewing friends. Equipment is shared between breweries. Beers are shared and analyzed in low-lit haunts around town. The throughline of everything is the amazing beer you get to drink.
For our dollar, you can’t go to Seattle and not hit one of Elysian’s four locations across the city. Our favorite is The Elysian Taproom in the historic Georgetown industrial district. It’s a rollicking good time where beer is made, drunk, and pondered. You might even run into Elysian’s head brewer Josh Waldman there, sipping on a pint of the good stuff after a shift brewing up some delicious suds.
That’s exactly what happened to us on a recent trip, and we came away from our convo with Waldman’s favorite beer haunts in Seattle etched into our notebooks. The beer-scene star gave us a full scoop on where to grab a frothy pint. It’s no wonder that the city is one of our top picks for a beer trip in 2019.
Classic Brewery/Taproom Experience — BIG TIME
I have to go with Big Time here. Though I don’t go as often as I should, it is a legendary Seattle brewery with a stable lineup of great beers. Getting a good Bhagwan’s Best or Coal Creek Porter and sitting at the bar is a great reminder of some of the all-time classic brewers that have helmed that brewhouse.
Experimental Brewery/Taproom — HOLY MOUNTAIN
I make it over to Holy Mountain whenever I can. The people are great and the barrel and oak aged Saisons are nuanced and restrained, yet still assertive. They brew delicious beers outside the mainstream and cultivate a unique and fiercely loyal following.
Neighborhood Brewery/Taproom — STOUP BREWING
Stoup Brewing is a few blocks from my house. They’re kid-friendly, which is nice for those with kids. Most importantly, the beers and the people are all fantastic. Every beer I’ve had from Stoup has been reliably good. The Mosaic Pale is one of the best “New American” Pale Ales around. It’s light, clean, and packed full of punchy, tropical, and catty Mosaic aroma.
Beer Bar (that’s not a brewery) — (Sorry, it’s a secret)
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Shhhh….Pssst….over here….Today we’re brewing a super secret collabo IPA with @holymtnbrewing & @futureprimitivebeer and @slowboattavern, too. Don’t Tell Rob is being brewed for the Stumbling Monk’s 20th Anniversay later this year (Dec 19). Why is it a secret? Because Rob has no idea we’re doing it. And since Rob and the Stumbling Monk have zero online or social media presence – and like not even an email address – we intend to keep it that way. But as an important and deeply endeared Seattle institution for drinkers and brewers alike – we wanted to let you, all of you, in on the secret. Just Don’t Tell Rob – or you’ll be 86’d from all 4 of our establishments. For life. #shhhhh #shitjustgotreal #donttellrob #ipa #collab #stumblingmonk #twentyyears #amazingbeer #sketchybathroom #diveondive #shush #weareallinonthesecret #dontfuckingtellrob #justdont #keepitlikeasecret #becauseitisasecret #looselipssinkships #andgetyoubanned
I’ve got to play this one close to the chest. There’s a beer bar in Capitol Hill that specializes in Belgian beers and has been a haven for brewers and beer lovers for over twenty years, and they’re not looking to change. So it needs to go unnamed.
Dive Bar for Beer — 9LB HAMMER
I’m not entirely sure what qualifies bars as “divey” anymore. If I’m looking to drink a beer in near darkness though, I’m always in favor of heading to the 9lb Hammer in Georgetown. It’s close to work and a great spot to kick-off a Friday night with a post-work beer. The bartenders move in lock-step treating regulars like family and newcomers with the transactional attitude that befits a fish out of water in a bar like the 9lb.
Hotel Bar for Beer — HOTEL SORRENTO
At Hotel Sorrento you can hit either the Dunbar Room if you’re hungry or grab a beer and pretend you own land while lounging by the fireplace in the Fireside Room. It’s cozy and fun, and definitely not my norm. It’s a good change of pace.
Fancy Restaurant for Beer — RISTORANTE MACHIAVELLI’S
Do we have fancy restaurants in Seattle? Most people dress so casually here that patrons at even the finest restaurants can be wearing hoodies. That said, the food and experience may still be upscale. When my wife and I get a date night, we love Machiavelli’s. It’s a kind of raucous Italian restaurant with a 10 seat bar/lounge. I like to start with a beer or two in the bar while we wait for a table before moving on to Negroni’s or some house red. It’s good food with a nice, fun atmosphere to drink beer in.
Place To Eat Pizza and Drink Beer — TRAILBEND TAPROOM
My favorite spot for pizza and beer is another spot close to my house. Trailbend Taproom has a big local beer selection with some creative cocktails, making it a good spot to roll up and enjoy a few drinks. The simply made delicious pizzas with a perfectly salty crust seal the deal.
Brewery/Taproom Run By A Friend — FUTURE PRIMITIVE
One of the newer breweries in Seattle (technically White Center), Future Primitive is run by a great group of beer industry long-timers. I’m excited that they are bringing good beer back to White Center and they’ve built their business with the support of their friends and community. It’s a great spot in a very fun neighborhood with outstanding presence and beer. I’m really proud of my friends there and the work they’re doing.