Now that I'm back from five days away, and have gotten through a weekend indicative of the decline in trade typical of October and November, I'm going through my trip notes. This the first time I've been able to try some new (to me) brewpubs in the Seattle area. Here goes.
Big Time Brewing Company. Up near the University of Washington. Loved it. This is the kind of place you can plunk yourself down and hang out for a while, so I did. As mentioned in previous posts, I really like bar service, and enjoyed being able to drift up to the bar at will to acquire my next sample. Beers were nice. I ran into the head brewer for Pike here, who had just been at my pub a couple of weeks before on his way to Crater Lake, and arranged to meet him at the Pike Brewery the next day. I wished the ABV's were posted on the beer chalkboard.
Hales Ales. I've been wanting to go here for a while. I met the owner up in Portland at a Belmont Station festival, and was eager to give his joint a try. Joy of joys, the beer engine was tethered to a cask of Supergoose, which was superb. The other pint I had there was the H.S.B. on nitro, which was also above average and a real delight. Parking was a real nuisance. Hales has much more of a restaurant feel to it, but the lighting and the wood in the bar area was not too bad.
The Cask. Not open until 4:00. It was 2:00. Drat.
Pike. I've been there before, but not for a brewery tour by the head brewer himself. They dispense a pumped cask ale every Monday, and as there was some left on Tuesday when I was there I promptly tucked in. My British friends would be horrified at the typical cloudiness of the cask offerings in the Northwest, but flavor is not compromised. The 30 BBL brewery is a beautiful piece of engineering, with an interesting spiral staircase that has to be ascended and/or descended 33 times during the brewing process.
Elliot Bay Brewing in Burien. I popped in for a quick bite and pint before heading back south to Portland. Definitely a restaurant that brews its own beer. They used to have two beer engines, but was told one was broken. The working unit was allegedly a permanent fixture, and when I was there was dispensing (another) IPA. Very nice though.
One last stop in Washington was the Fish Brewing Company in Olympia. I've also been here many times before on the way through the I-5 corridor to wherever. They still had a single beer engine pouring, and as has been my experience in the past, the liquid dispensed is spot on room temperature. I slogged my way through a pint of the warm Oktoberfest and wouldn't recommend it. Why can't they spend a few dollars on a cooler and stillage for the cask, and make a nice bitter?
My next trip away needs to be to GMT+0, and soon. I know it's wishful thinking at this point, but I need to hold it out there as a future goal.