by Allecia A Vermillion - 2 Reviews - 20 List
It's easy to become a beer snob in Seattle, where small local breweries produce excellent beers in a huge range of styles, including the Northwest's signature India Pale Ale. And while local bars and restaurants offer plenty of brewed-in-Seattle taps, the best place to sample the goods is at a brewery's on-site tasting rooms, drinking beers you can't find anywhere else. Just be warned that many keep limited hours, and don't serve much in the way of food, so call ahead to confirm they're open and serving. (Photo: Black Raven Brewing by Allecia Vermillion)
Updated: September 14, 2011
Owners Charles and Rose Ann Finkel are the matriarch and patriarch of Seattle's beer scene, and their brewery offers a broad range of beers, including the Kilt Lifter red ale and Old Bawdy barleywine. Sample both classics and seasonal brews at the brewery's pub near Pike Place Market. It offers a full pub menu and sampler flights of beers.
Don't let the nondescript industrial park location fool you: This Redmond brewery makes some of the best beer in the region, and it's not easy to find outside of the tasting room. The space has a comfortable pub vibe, but there's no food outside of pretzels. You can, however, order delivery from a few nearby restaurants.
Stop by this small brewing facility to fill your growler or order a draft and hang out in the urban beer garden, a no-frills seating area near the building's large garage-style doors. Seattleites love the brewery's Interurban IPA and Universale pale ale, but here you can sample cask-aged beers and small-batch releases available only at the brewery.
This tiny brewery is finally adjusting to popular demand, meaning its Persnickety pale ale, Evolutionary IPA and other favorites are showing up more often in local bars and shops. However, this is still the place to sample lesser-known but equally impressive brews like the well-balanced SoDo brown and seasonal Pumpkin Spice ale.
Do you prefer easy-drinking beers to hoppy IPAs and dark, boozy brews? Georgetown Brewing Company makes the city's ubiquitous Manny's pale ale and Roger's pilsner, named after the brewery's founders. The brewery recently relocated to a new, larger facility in the SoDo neighborhood. The new space includes a retail store that offers kegs, growler fills, and some special small-batch beers, like the Donkey Deux Belgian-style dubbel, available in bottles.
In an otherwise drab industrial area, you'll find the tasting room for one of the city's best microbreweries. The room is by no means fancy; patrons sit near the actual brewing tanks or spill out onto the front patio in nice weather. Unlike more elusive breweries, this tasting room is open five days a week. Sample the six drafts and two rotating taps individually or order the tasting board.