Along Puget Sound lies Seattle, a rainy northwest maritime port affectionately nicknamed ‘Emerald City.’ After superb dinner and Alaskan Pale Ale at world famous Space Needle’s revolving restaurant, toured dank underground Pioneer Village, busy waterfront Pike Place Market, and Pyramid Brewery, as well as Red Hook’s Trolleyman, Duwamps, and Big Time brewpubs wife wife, March ‘03.
Bought several Big Sky, Elysian, Full Sail, Pike, and Pyramid brews at different grocery stores. Seattle’s interesting Von’s Grand City Café featured hundreds of brewers’ keg taps along the wall. At 14,000 feet elevation lies stunning stone-capped Mount Rainier, where I drank wheat-y Elysian Bete Blanche. Afterwards, I visited state capitol Olympia’s loud, busy O’Blarney’s Irish Pub to sip excellent Hale’s Dublin Style Stout on tap. At gorgeous Mount Olympus, I tried spice-hopped Fish Tale Wild Salmon Pale Ale and Elysian’s tar-thick Perseus Porter. All reviews are in Beer Index.
Made journey to Northwest corridor once again, December ’09, visiting Seattle’s sundry brewpubs for a few rainy days. The Emerald City’s first brewpub, BIG TIME BREWERY, located at the University of Washington’s downtown village, retained a rustic saloon appeal. Inside a yellow brick building with red-green sign, its old wood bar had large wood mural. Beer trays, memorabilia, and a large antique beer can collection lined wood-paneled walls.
Indie rockers Animal Collective and TV On The Radio played in the background and the Boise State-Nevada football game was shown on the front bar and backroom televisions while I ordered half-pint selections. Replete with moderate-bodied libations that never hit quaffers over the head, Big Time’s year-round offerings proved to be efficiently sufficient. A few college students grabbed pitchers of local favorite, Prime Time Pale Ale, a buttery corn-sugared crystal-malted grapefruit-embittered session beer with twiggy hop dryness and melon-pineapple-tangerine conflux.
Hopheads rejoice! Four worthy India Pale Ales will whet hearty Big Time appetites. The mildest, Bhagwan’s Best IPA, had leafy hop-spiced apple-orange-peach-grapefruit tang and floral-herbal nuances. Creamier crystal-malted Perspective IPA brought dry wood tone to sullen yellow-orange fruits. Even creamier, Scarlet Fire IPA, received tingly alcohol-burnt spicing to override yellow-orange fruiting and creamed corn dalliance.
Best bet: Jeezum Crow Brown IPA, a dry-hopped honey-malted full body with ripe apple-peach-tangerine tang.
Offbeat winter seasonals included spice-hopped nut-shaded fig-date-soured coffee-iced Yulefest X-Mas Ale and its nuttier cask-conditioned version, which draped mild tea-like sedation atop peanut-oiled Brazil nut, hazelnut, dried fig, praline, and pumpernickel.
Mild red-yellow-fruited brown-sugared wheat-honeyed phenol-hopped Atlas Amber and unassuming tangerine-rotted lemondrop-soured grassy-hopped Barking Dog Scottish Ale didn’t match better offerings such as mild black chocolate-y hazelnut-centered fig-prune-soured stove-burnt coffee-finishing Coal Creek Porter and candi-sugared cotton-candied banana-bruised peppery-hopped pastry-like Malaprop 8 Belgian Abbey Ale.
Ancient beer cans along wraparound wall shelving included defunct lesser-known macrobrews such as ABC Beer, Barbarossa Bock, Budweiser Malt Liquor, Drewry’s, Drummond Bros., Engel Wolf Lager, Falls City, Fort Pitt, Golden Crown, Golden Grain, Iroquois, K & B Pilsner, Lucky Lite, Mizzou Beer, Old Dutch, Pfeiffer, Pickett’s, Prinz Brau, Regal Bavarian, Rhinelander Lager, Seven Springs Mountain, Simba Lager, Tudor, and Wisconsin Club.
Five miles north of midtown Seattle on Route 99, outstanding pint-size bar, Uber Tavern, offered huge microbrew bottle selection and fabulous tap beers. A diminutive hole-in-the-wall with eight-seat front patio garden, cozy L-shaped left bar and open stone-flamed fire pit, Uber’s varied Belgian ale and mead choices had my head spinning. West Coast brewer’s ad stickers and banners lined the low ceiling and walls. Wish I had a few hours to spend at this true godsend for brew hounds. Sucked down middling Chuckanut Pils and bought bottled versions of two award winning brews: Stone Kona Coffee Macadamia Coconut Porter and awesome Russian River Pliny The Elder (a renowned IPA many beer snobs drool over) while watching Family Guy and listening to Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main Street, December ’09.