Seattle Brewpubs and Bars

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A weekend visit gave me the opportunity to sample first-hand, some of the excellent micro brews that only rarely leave the Pacific Northwest. Although they have since grown beyond the traditional "micro" classification, Redhook's Trolleyman Pub at 3400 Phinney in Seattle, Washington was smaller than your average brewpub. The rear of the building contained the brewery while the front hosted the bar and lounge. The light food was excellent and the large sofas and armchairs offered the perfect opportunity to meet friendly people. In a noticeably progressive move, management has designated the whole pub as smoke-free.

The Ballard Bitter was a golden yellow color, medium-bodied, and with a light hop bouquet and flavor. the Wheathook was also medium-bodied and gold but left a noticeably lactic aftertaste. The Blackhook Porter had nicely balanced flavor of hops and tasty malts. The cozy atmosphere offered a setting for finding good company and a reasonably priced pint. The next visit will definitely include a tour of the newly expanded brewing facility.

A sunny day in Seattle is not to be wasted indoors and Duwamps Café at 301 Queen Anne Ave. offers the perfect outdoor setting for combining renown food with their very own beer. According to brewmaster Dick Cantwell, this compact brewery makes 7 bbl. batches using two yeast strains and a natural carbonation process. A glycol chiller is utilized and the lagers get two to three weeks in storage. The Pier 66 Pale Ale was golden, smooth, light-bodied, and mildly hopped with Tettnanger. The Red Ale has an even malt\hop balance, medium-body, and was hopped with both Chinook and Cascade. The Raven's Dark Lager had a malty aroma and a rich, almost chocolate flavor. the combination of beer, food and setting made this "brew café" well worth a visit. Unfortunately, since my visit, this business has ceased to exist.

The Pike's Place brewery at 1423 Western Ave. was under renovation the day of my visit but I found their beer on tap just up the street at Cutter's Bay House. Their Pale Ale was brown in color and had a flavor balance tipped toward the hops. Also on tap was the Redhook ESB with its deep golden color, smooth, light-body and a mild hop flavor. The Widmer Hefeweizen had clarity true to style, opaque white. It was medium-bodied but with a very light palate and no assertive wheat flavor. The Kemper Lager was light gold in color, crisp, with a dry, almost tart aftertaste.

The Big Time Brewery and Alehouse is located at 4133 University Way, a few blocks north of the University of Washington campus. The interior design is a deja vu-inspiring replication of the Tripple Rock brewpub in Berkeley, California. from the open seating area the glass-walled brewery can be observed. Only ale yeast is used and the batch size is 434 gallons, supplying the 200 gallon serving tanks and, ultimately, the polished brass taps. The Slam Dunce Weizenbock, at 4.2% ABV, was medium-bodied with a nice blend of chocolate malt and wheat, and finished with a dry aftertaste. The Prime Time Pale Ale, deep golden in color, had a pleasant hop bouquet, taste, and aftertaste. The Atlas Amber Ale, 3.4%, was evenly balanced and medium-bodied. The Cooper's Rye was straw-colored, hazy, well-carbonated, medium-bodied and presented a interesting "tangy" flavor. The Porter was opaque and yielded a foamy head, medium body, and rich flavor that went down well with the typical Seattle weather. The cask conditioned Amber was a deep amber color, had an outstanding fine white head, and was extremely smooth. Dry-hopped using whole hops, this beer was unfiltered yet stood very clear. a great place for good music and conversation, Friday nights host a new cask conditioned brew weekly. If you can't get enough at $2.25 a pint, you can always get a gallon to go.

The Latona, at 6423 Latona Ave. seemed non-distinctive from the outside; mostly one story with a long bar and two dozen tables, I found its main attraction to be the 11 taps. The Alaskan Pale Ale, straw-colored and well-carbonated had a medium body and very mild hop flavor. The Grants IPa was light gold and pleased the tastebuds with its strikingly tart hoppy palate. The Pacific Crest Ale poured light brown with plenty of carbonation and a malty flavor. The Flagship Red Ale from Maritime Pacific Brewing Company was deep amber in color, of good body and began with a malty flavor that was overridden by the hops. I found the Hale's Pale Ale hazy, hoppy, aromatic, and definitely thirst quenching. The Widmer Altbier was light brown and produced a malty, very full palate. The Rouge Oatmeal Stout displayed a creamy head that topped its sweet and smooth body. The malty flavor was followed by an alcoholic, dry aftertaste. This modern neighborhood bar has a monthly calendar of musical events and happenings that adds to the attraction of a great selection of $2.50 pints.

Cooper's Bar, at 8065 Lake City Way NE featured darts, TV, music, food, 21 taps behind a long bar, and clean air. All of the Hale's Ales were dark amber in color with the Moss Bay light in body, malt and hop. the Special Bitter expressed hop overtones in the flavor and the Irish asserted both malt and hops in its flavor profile. The trio from Grants included the Springbok, with its mahogany color and intense aftertaste; the Scottish Ale, tart and fruity; and the Imperial Stout; straw-colored and noticeably hoppy. The Sierra Nevada Pale Bock, at 9%, was gold colored, malty, and offered a pronounced alcohol flavor.

Washington Trivia: A tavern license requires a "wall" between the restaurant section and the bar. A Fire Marshall can decree a building not wide enough to allow for an interior wall. As a result, no one under 21 is allowed on the premises, including infants and children accompanied by their parents.

Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - March, 1996

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