Bottle Shop Tales: Seattle’s Most Shiny and New
I might as well stick with it. Let’s call it a trend. Today I hit up 2 Seattle area bottle shops [sic] that I have never visited before. One is very new, the other is newish, mostly “under new management”, or so I understand.
First up was Chuck’s 85th St. Market. I have been following these guys for a little while now via Twitter (am I obsessed?). They go by @chucks85th in case you’d like to follow. I noticed that they have been having a lot of tastings lately and that they seem to get most of the coveted releases, though often a bit later than the big(er) guys. They just tweeted that they got Firestone Walker Double Jack in and I have been in need of that ever since it hit the Seattle market. I had seen the place on many occasions, but never really believed that it would be worth a damn as a bottle shop. In fact, I used to run past it on a daily basis when I lived on Cleopatra Place NW, one block north of The Dray.
Speaking of The Dray, please check out this article at Seattle Beer News about the soon to be opened bar called The Yard by the same owners. I’m super excited!
Back to the bottles. Chuck’s is oddly similar to the Lake Stevens place that I posted about yesterday. It’s a god damn convenience store with a more than normal bottle collection. In this case, unlike that of Norm’s, the selection is, as Tim Webb may say, “smart”. There’s significantly less refrigerators at Chuck’s that are designated to beer as are at Norms, but there is much, much more excitement. Yes, you will find six packs of your standard, slightly cheaper micro varieties, but you will find almost equal parts eye poppers and “trendy” offerings. I walked away with a North Coast Twentieth Anniversary, a HOD Blue Dot and 2 Double Jacks. Great Success!
After a brief stop at 74th St. Alehouse to grab a pint of Two Beers cask Evo IPA dry hopped and infused with D’anjou pears and Pink Lady Apples (drool) I headed over to Seth’s (of Collins Pub/Hudson New American Public House fame) new bottle shop, The Last Drop.
I must admit that I’m massively jealous of what Seth has created here. From the first moment that I walked through the doors of Belmont Station in Portland I knew that pubs and bottle shops were meant to live in harmony, side by side. I promised myself that my bar/brewpub would have an adjoining bottle shop. I stand by that, and you know what, fuck it, you should do it too. The more options the better. Let us beer nerds take over the world…of commerce.
I digress. The Last Drop is a bit stark at the moment, but I have a strong feeling that Seth has made it this way to allow for it to grow organically with time. He was a lot of space to work with, which excites me. I want to work for him and help fill the voids, both figuratively and literally. There is a lot of potential there.
TLD has about 7 (I forgot to count) beers on tap behind the register for growler fills. Some solid offerings, no doubt. There’s a few wine options available as well, but beer is clearly the motif here. If it’s not clear by now, I’m a cranky old snob when it comes to bottle shops. If I want something cheap I’ll go to Safeway and buy a 12er of Rainier. When I go to a bottle shop I want the newest releases and I plan to spend $50. I want to build my cellar or I want to get something that I have never had before. I also work for a living and find it very challenging to arrive on the doorsteps of Bottleworks when this shit gets released. The Last Drop, at least as of now in its infantile stage, fucking rules my life.
It’s clear that Seth was buying/cellaring beers for his bottle shop long before the doors opened. I love him for that. Though some of the rarer offerings have been sicken with an up-charge, it’s to be expected, and honestly, it excites me because it inadvertently offers monetary fortitude to what I’ve cellared in the past 6 months. This is far different from offering horrible out of season beers like Norm’s does. This is offering a virtual get out of jail free card to the lazy or the busy (like myself). If I didn’t already have a 2010 Black Xanthus I’d have picked one up. If you don’t have one, get over to Last Drop now!
Allow me to state, for the record, that I know I can sound highly narcissistic at times when I write these articles. Please understand that that is my role here at beerblottter.com. I’m the uber-nerd that plays to the sensibilities of the Northwest beer connoisseur. For those that are not connoisseurs, please feel free to mock me, mostly for spending nearly all of my meager earnings on beer that I horde away and rarely actually drink. One day, most likely very soon, I’ll die and leave a god-awful amount of amazing beer to some lo-life that has zero respect/understanding for what I have and it’ll be all for naught. I repeat, mock at will.