Seattle is not at a loss for breweries and beer bars. That perfect place to have a pint is just around the corner. But what happens when you want to enjoy a beer at home, purchase a beer souvenir or contribute to your ever growing beer collection? That’s right, you visit a bottle shop.
Although here in Seattle, your local corner store will have a decent selection of micro-brews, a worthy bottle shop is about location, price, rotation, organization and of course, inventory. There are many bottle shops in the greater Seattle area, but I am going to focus on four, each with a very different reason for making the mention on this post.
Best Bottle Price
5909 Airport Way South
Seattle, WA 98108
Befriend this reasonably priced bottle shop on Facebook- cause that is what all of the cool kids are doing…
Full Throttle Bottles is located in the off beat neighborhood of Georgetown. Comprised of warehouses, biker bars and other edgy establishments, Full Throttle gives this neck of the woods a great selection at very reasonable prices. Although their inventory is smaller than several other bottle shops, you can’t beat their prices. I have acquired several special bottles for $1-$3 less than other places. An added bonus- spend over $10.00 ten times and you will get 11% off of a purchase. This Saturday, November 13, 2010 is Georgetown’s Art Attack- a great opportunity to support the local arts and grab some bottles to-go!
Best Selection and Most Knowledgeable
1710 North 45th Street #3
Seattle, WA 98103
Bottleworks is owned by the same people that created, built, own and manage Brouwer’s Cafe, so you can imagine this bottle shop has an amazing selection. If there is a release that makes its way to Washington State, then you better believe, Bottleworks will get it and get it first (and probably sell out first). Located in the Wallingford neighborhood among quirky store fronts, Bottleworks is the place you can go and enjoy a beer while you shop. Within this past year, Bottleworks installed 4 or 5 rotating taps. Grab a tasty beverage and peruse the store looking for your favorite IPA or the new release. From Belgium to Japan, sours and stouts, Bottleworks will meet your beer needs, every time.
A Bottle Shop for the Commuter
16851 Redmond Way
Redmond, WA 98052
As you may know, Seattle is home to Microsoft. After living here for about a week, you are bound to meet someone who works for Microsoft. The “campus” is located in Redmond, WA about a 20 minute (without traffic) drive from downtown Seattle. So what do you do after work in Redmond? And more over, why would a Seattlite who works in Seattle go to Redmond for beer? Well let me tell you. Malt and Vine not only offers a well-rounded, ever changing inventory, they always have amazing beers on tap- 10 or so at any given time. On a sunny day, you can sit down with a beer on the back patio or just window shop among the glass coolers. Just down the road is Black Raven Brewing Co., another reason to head to Redmond. But Malt and Vine makes the list for their selection and their approach to organizing the inventory- by brewery. Its quite the site to see 10 Midnight Sun beers all in one area glistening below the cooler lights. The staff here are very nice, knowledgeable and lovers of craft beer.
The Place to Go When Visiting Seattle
1926 Pike Place
Seattle, WA 98101-1013
Located in Pike Place Market- Seattle’s #1 tourist destination is the Pear Delicatessen. Although this specialty grocery sells fine cheeses, wines and simple groceries, they have a great selection of beers from the Western part of our country, mainly Colorado, California, Washington and Oregon. This is perfect for a local to stop by and grab some beers and snacks for guests and perfect for the visitor looking to take back a taste of the Pacific NW.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Brouwer’s is the best beer bar that I have ever been to in America, and believe me, I’ve been to quite a few good ones. There is a lot of reasons for my confidence in that stance, but one of the larger ones is the fests that they host. Yes, there is a decent number of bars in the country that host barleywine fests, and probably even more that organize IPA fests. It seems pretty doubtful that there would be many that put on sour beer festivals or stout festivals, but I’m sure there are a hand full out there. But, the question is, how many bars in America do all of those, and do them so well that beer nerds like myself take off of work to attend them? I’d say that the answer is probably very, very few. I love pretty much everything about Brouwer’s and HopFest is surely no exception.
So you know that I love Brouwer’s, you know that I love HopFest, you know that I will be there at the moment the doors open, and you know that I will imbibe many an IBU packed brew, but one more question need be answered: what will I be drinking? That’s where the guide comes in.
First, check out the full list that we posted on the 1st. After much consideration, I have developed a game plan. Granted, there is going to be a few additions and most likely, a few exciting surprises come Friday. If these surprises include Russian River Pliny the Younger or Firestone Walker Double Jack, you are going to want to forget the entire remainder of this article and just drink those until the kegs kick.
Top 10 beers to try:
10.) Russian River Blind Pig – I hear more and more people say “Pliny isn’t even their best IPA” in reference to Blind Pig. I personally don’t agree, but everything that Russian River makes is good…damn good. Blind Pig shows up in Seattle from time to time but I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a decent contingent of folks out there that haven’t gotten a hold of it yet. Here is your chance.
9.) Black Raven Dry Hopped Trickster – My boss at Lazy Boy always gives me shit for my blog claiming that Black Raven is the best brewery in WA. I’m sure he will also give me shit for not putting our Imperial IPA on this list (sorry boss, I feel a little weird self promoting. It is a damn good beer though.) Well, we stand by our claim about BRB. The people spoke over at The Bev when they voted it in as the house IPA. This brew is super solid in it’s regular form, I can only guess that the dry hopped version will be even better. If you have cheated and looked down at number 1 already, you have seen another reason why we are confident in our claim.
8.) Elysian Idiot Sauvin – I honestly don’t know what this beer is. That is precisely why I want to try it. Elysian and experimentation go hand in hand, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this one had some peculiar adjuncts added. No matter what, Elysian makes great beer and this will likely be worth your money.
7.) Midnight Sun XXX Black Double – When Cascadian Dark Ales, or CDAs took over the craft beer world a little while back, we all knew that it was just a matter of time before the Imperial black IPAs would show up. Well here it is, and I must say, I’m intrigued. I’m even more intrigued knowing that Midnight Sun is behind it.
6.) Boundary Bay Imperial – There are two Imperial IPAs produced in WA that are head and shoulders above all the rest. This is one of them. This is a beer that, if it were distributed with greater reach, would bring some much needed respect to Washington state in the beer war for state supremacy. This is one of the very few beers that, if I hear that it is on tap somewhere close by, I will do all in my power to make it there immediately to get a pint.
5.)Hub Ace of Spades – I have only had this beer once before and it was at last year’s HopFest. I can’t believe that that was a year ago, I remember it so well. It was probably my favorite “new” beer (new to me) of the event. As it turns out, it was voted the second best beer of the fest behind Pliny the Younger. Now that Hub is distributing bottles in WA it may be easier to acquire this one, but I will still be ordering one and bathing in it’s brilliance.
4.) Mikkeller Single Hop – This is actually three beers in one (Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook), sorry to cheat. You probably don’t have to try all three, but it sure would make a fun experiment. I absolutely love the concept of single hop beers and I love Mikkeller for making this series happen. As a fledgling brewer I feel that spending time with these brews will help me gain a better understanding and appreciation for various hop varietals and their impact on scent and flavor. You can sometimes find these brews in 12oz bottles around town , but they are often over $6 a piece. I don’t think I have ever seen them on draft – this is pretty special and definitely a good opportunity to taste them for, potential, a little bit less dough.
3.) Moylans Wet Hopsickle – Hopsickle is a triple IPA and it’s huge. When you add the word “wet” before it, it means that fresh hops were used. I’m getting emotional just thinking about the potential that this beer has to be mind-blowing. God damn, I can’t believe it’s fresh hop season already! Yet another reason why living in the Northwest is spectacular.
2.) Green Flash Palate Wrecker – Green Flash is masterful when it comes to hops. Their West Coast IPA and Imperial IPA are both among the best made in America. Like the Elysian above, I don’t really know what this beer is, but I know I need to have it.
1.) Black Raven Wisdom Seeker – This beer walks around town with a hype attached to it that is so massive and heavy that I’m amazed it can even stand on it’s own two feet, but boy does it ever. When this beer hits a handle in the Seattle area, there is an instant buzz, and 20 minutes later (or less) she is out the door…gone…kicked. Black Raven has clearly taken cues from other perennial buzz junkies (like Pliny the Younger) in seemingly stunting production and causing such a skewed supply and demand curve that on the rare occasion that is it available, people freak out to get a taste. It would be silly of me to suggest that anything different will happen at HopFest. This should go very fast so get there early and order 2 at once.
Yesterday was the 27th birthday of our editor and fearless leader – Jessica Reiser. We all really appreciate her dedication to BeerBlotter.com and her amazing thirst for excellent beer at home and abroad on our many beer excursions!
We celebrated this joyous event with a weekend full of camping in Southern Washington’s Seaquest Park, topped off with a day in Seattle drinking beer at Collins Pub, dining at Cafe Campagne and having a nightcap supplied by cellar treats! There was some good beer along the way….
On the way down south, we stopped for a lunch over at the Nothwest Sausage and Deli, the home of Dicks Brewing Co. This place is a mecca of smoked meats, cheeses and of course Dick Young’s famous beers. A more substantive article will appear this week in our 52 Weeks column – but this place is simply amazing and should never be missed by any beer lover.
Lazy Boy Brewing supplied a jockey box and 1/4 kegs of its new Pale Ale and its Imperial Red for our camping trip over the weekend. New Lazy Boy assistant and Beer Blotter writer Timperial Stout helped create what we are calling a “dixie cup randall” filled with fresh smoked wood chips, soaked in Makers Mark. We used the mini-randall to create a bourbon wood infused imperial red (we kind of wish we had used the Pale Ale, but this was still a damn good beer).
Yesterday, Seattle’s Collins Pub supplied some exciting beers with pours of Boundary Bay’s Imperial IPA, Midnight Sun’s 3767 Belgian-style IPA, New Belgium’s Eric Sour Peach Ale and Allagash’s Trippel. We are all such big fans of 3767, an IPA wort engineered by Ballast Point Brewing (San Diego) and infused with 3 different yeast strains (Brett included) and bottle conditioned by Midnight Sun (Anchorage). Its amazing beer in the bottle – and better on the tap.
We enjoyed an incredible dinner at Cafe Campagne, comprised of escargot, country pate, roast duck, steak and fine grenache wine. But we finished up with a nite cap filled with some cellar favorites that had been pushed back for a special occasion. Avery Brewing‘s Brabant Wild Ale was a splendid surprise. The beer has the body of a Cascadian Dark Ale, but the Belgian undertones of a Jolly Pumpkin Bam Noire. The beer is fermented with Brett and conditioned in Zinfendel barrels. Very impressive, though not as sour as we hoped.
We also enjoyed a special beer from Brussels’ Brasserie Cantillon. Cantillon’s Grand Cru Bruscella was a beer that we first enjoyed during a meal at De Gans, a quirky house/restaurant on the outskirts of Ghent, Belgium. After visiting the Cantillon brewery back in March, we decided to take a bottle for the road. The beer is a simple 3 years old lambic with virtually no carbonation and little body – but bursting with flavor. This particular bottle was from the 2006 vintage and is from the “Bio” series of beers made with organically grown ingredients. We very much enjoy this beer, as its flavor develops down to the last drop.
Again – Happy Birthday to Jessica! Expect to see an article reviewing her night with Tomme Arthur during Seattle Beer Week at Brouwers Cafe, later this week.