Who says you need to leave town to go wine-tasting? Sure, there’s a romantic allure to driving through the vineyards of Eastern Washington (or even the perimeter of Puget Sound), but there are more than enough wineries, distilleries and brewpubs to turn your head without leaving Seattle’s city limits.
There are hundreds of bars that serve beer on tap, and even a few that call themselves “brewpubs” without actually brewing beer on the premises. But almost two dozen breweries in Seattle do have a tasting room where you can sample the wares; many of them qualify as full-fledged pubs, with real kitchens and table service.
Here are a few of the more interesting ones.
Big Time Brewery started it all, in 1988, in the University District (at 4133 University Way N. E.), with a dozen or so beers on tap, pizza from the kitchen and a no-nonsense attitude (it’s called “Grumpy Hour” for a reason). It brews about 1,500 Sips in a year and sells almost all of it on the premises.
The Pike Brewing Co., founded in 1989 and located in the Pike Place Market (at 1415 First Ave.), is also one of Seattle’s largest restaurants. Most importantly, there’s also a highly informative microbrewery museum. A baker’s dozen brews on tap, notably Kilt Lifter and XXXXX Stout.
Elysian has three brewpubs: on Capitol Hill (at 1221 E. Pike St.), in SODO (across from Safeco Field at 542 First Ave S.) and in the Tangletown/ Green Lake neighborhood (at 2106 N. 55th St.)
Elliott Bay also operates three brewpubs, though only two of them are in Seattle. They’re in West Seattle (at 4720 California Ave. S. W.) and in Lake City (at 12537 Lake City Way N. E.).
Gordon Biersch: Yes, this is a big
chain, based in Texas. Yes, it produces many of the specialty beers you find at Trader Joe’s. But it also does a good job, at its 500-seat Downtown Seattle brewpub (at Pacific Place, 600 Pine St.), of German-style sausages.
How’d the copper kettle and fermenting tanks get to the fourth-floor location? Lowered by helicopters before the roof was finished.
Hale’s, along the corridor between Fremont and Ballard (at 4301 Leary Way N. W.), remains one of Seattle’s most popular brewpubs.
I’m going to make an exception for Fremont Brewery’s lack of a restaurant because its beer is so damn good, especially the Summer Ale (tangerine flowers in a glass).
It opens the industrial space (at 3409 Woodland Park Ave. N.) to the general public four afternoons a week, but if you want more than pretzels, you’ll need to bring your own food.
Boy, are there ever a lot of these — literally two dozen! Your best bet might be to try the multi-winery tasting rooms.
The Washington Wine Tasting Room in the Market (at 1924 Post Alley) is a cooperative venture of half a dozen small, local wineries (Camara-