Seattle’s coffee gets all the love. The birthplace of the coffee empire Starbucks, Seattle has since grown to produce numerous small-batch, coffeehouses. While coffee snobs run rampant in the Pacific Northwest, a new rival has emerged: craft beer-lovers. The bar and beer culture in Seattle has expanded greatly over the last decade and has brought about the creation of numerous craft breweries. Below, we outline our top picks for the best breweries in Seattle in honor of April 7’s National Beer Day. And jokes aside about bearded fellows who “would rather drink water than a Bud Light” — we much prefer the demeanor of beer snobs than the tweaking coffee fiends.
Machine House Brewery
Housed in an old industrial building in the Georgetown neighborhood, Machine House Brewery has been specializing in high-quality beer made through traditional British methods. Machine House’s best beers are cask-conditioned ales, which subject the beer to a second fermentation when the barrels are stored in a cold space. In keeping with their UK leanings, Machine House is the best place in the city to catch any English Premier League football (soccer) match.
Try This: Dark Mild, it looks like Guinness, tastes light-bodied.
Odds are if someone has heard of a Seattle brewing company, it’s Fremont. Having started in 2009, Fremont Brewing has made a name for themselves by producing artisan beer made from locally-sourced ingredients. Their urban beer garden is one of the most popular places to go in Seattle on a sunny day, and expect not just to see aficionados but also “artists, fisherpeople, tradespeople, technology geeks, and lots of beer lovers.”
Try This: We love their seasonal Summer American Pale Ale or the Brother Imperial IPA.
A true Seattle product, many of Cloudburst’s ingredients are purchased at the famous Pike Place Market. Part no-nonsense beer-making and part silly-marketing, Cloudburst is an interesting place to visit. Don’t expect flowery descriptions, however, currently one of their on tap beers is simply described as a “Bastardized German Pilsner”. Meanwhile, other beer names are nods to cultural icons like Bob Ross, Kenny Powers, and Michael Scott.
Try This: The bastardized, Bob Ross-inspired Pilsner we mentioned, goes by the name Happy Little Clouds.
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Started by a couple of scientists and a foodie, Stout aims to have beers that are meticulously crafted, but always delightfully drinkable. Located in the brewery-heavy Ballard district, Stoup makes their taproom standout with food trucks. Nightly, from 5 pm-8 pm, expect a different food truck to be parked in front of Stoup’s outdoor murals.
Try This: Skagit Malt Charity IPA; on tap and benefits Leukemia and Lymphoma research.
Two Beers Brewing
Originally brewed in a 140-square-foot storage unit, Two Beers has graduated to a full brewery and a taproom known as The Woods. The Woods has one of the more laidback atmospheres in the city, where dogs are welcome and pizza is served. Besides the advantage of sipping a beer in the place it is actually made, The Woods also has darts, billiards, and shuffleboard for additional entertainment. Founder Joel VandenBrink gives a philosophical meaning to the company’s name, saying, “life is just a little more honest after two beers”.
Try This: Immersion Amber, a Northwest-style Amber Ale, inspired by Washington’s outdoors
Holy Mountain Brewing Company
Some people may see Holy Mountain on lists like these and be infuriated that people are letting the secret out. Still definitely not on the mass production scale, Holy Mountain Brewery operates out of a building backed up against the train tracks. Their taproom has been described as a garage (though inside is modern and comfy), however, their oak barrels beers are fantastic. Holy Mountain constantly rotates their brews and doesn’t have any year-round available varieties.
Try This: Demonteller, a Foudre Aged Saison currently on tap.
Only recently Georgetown has expanded its company to canning their full-time beers rather than being a “draft-only” operation. Because of this, they do not have a traditional “sit down and have a pint” taproom but do welcome in fans to pick up growlers, cans, and kegs. Luckily, Georgetown is a local favorite and folks won’t need to wander around the neighborhood for long before they finding a watering hole.
Try This: Manny’s Pale Ale, Georgetown’s signature beer, described as “darn tasty”.
Urban Family Brewing Co.
After a solid run in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle, Urban Family will be relocating and joining the party in Ballard’s “brewery district”. Good news for everyone looking to do a brewery crawl. Urban Family draws a lot of their inspiration from fresh ingredients and many times fruit flavors. Brewed in a European style, many beer-enthusiasts say their specialty is sour ales.
Try This: Oracle, Boysenberry and Buddha’s Hand Sour Ale.
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Reuben’s Brews is potentially the most accomplished brewery in Seattle. Now in their seventh year of operation, Reuben’s is a multi-award winning brewery. Individual beers have won titles at the Great American Beer Festival, the US Open, and the World Beer Cup; plus was named the Mid-Sized Brewery of the Year at the 2015 Washington Beer Awards. Reuben’s has two tasting rooms, The Taproom which is open daily and has food trucks, and The Brewtap a Thursday to Sunday establishment off the Lake Washington canal.
Try This: Hot Tropic, the 2018 National Grand Champion at the United States Beer Tasting Championship. Flavors of passion fruit, mango, grapefruit, and guava.
While their neighbor Rueben’s has been named Mid-Sized Brewery of the Year, Populuxe was the winner of the Small Brewery of the Year Award at the 2018 Washington Beer Awards. It may be little but Populuxe’s beer garden is one of the most fun in Seattle. With corn hole, food, and arcade games and pinball, it is easy to understand why they have such a consistent crowd. Their beers adhere to the motto contained within the brewery’s name, a combination of “popular” and “deluxe”.
Try This: Beer Snob Brown or the Burke-Gilman Bitter, winner of the Gold Medal at the Best of Craft Beer Awards 2017.