Week 49 of 52
8519 15th Ave NW
(between 85th St & 87th St)
Seattle, WA 98117
Mon-Fri 2 pm – 2 am
Sat-Sun 11 am – 2 am
Type of Establishment: Dive, sports bar, pre/post-strip club home of intoxicants.
Visit: On Wednesday of this week, DSR, Amateur Hour and I decided to do a quick, impromptu dive bar crawl down 15 Ave. NW. Amateur Hour and I have lived in the neighborhood for over a year now but there were three bars practically within walking distance that we had never been to before. We decided that it was time to get to know our local haunts a little bit better.
Beers on Tap (at time of visit):
Three Skulls Poison
Sam Adams Lager
New Belgium Fat Tire
Georgetown Manny’s Pale Ale
Mac & Jack’s Amber
Sam Adams Winter Lager
Rogue Dead Guy
There were a few bottles on display behind the bar but nothing to speak of in this forum.
We had, unfortunately, decided to eat at Sweet Lou’s just prior to arriving here. The food was terrible there if I do say so myself. Luckily the beer and atmosphere redeemed that joint, but we are talking about Goofy’s here, not Sweet Lou’s. I didn’t even get a chance to glance at the menu while we were there (like I said, it was a quick bar crawl…it was a Wednesday people!) but they do have their menu on their website. I did notice that a young lady seated at the bar had ordered and received the Wednesday special, complete chicken dinner for $4.99. It wasn’t a very large portion but it looked just like home cookin’ and that made me comfortable.
Prior to this visit, I had only ever known 2 people who had been to Goofy’s. The one guy, that mind you, was only a mere acquaintance, told me that he would always go there for drinks after tossing some (many) ones at the fine ladies of Centerfolds. Since Seattle strips clubs are 100% a joke, I didn’t really put too much weight to the complimentary words of this fellow. The other is a friend that’s from WI and often goes to Goofy’s to watch Green Bay Packers games. Apparently, Goofy’s is a Packers bar. Odd. Considering that I care very little about American Football and even less about the Packers, I cared not about any complimentary words that were spoken about the place.
But…despite all that, I did feel that there were three legitimate reasons to check out Goofy’s. The first is that the place is called Goofy’s. I just really want to be able to tell people that I’m hangin’ at Goofy’s. I want friends to ask, “Who the hell is Goofy? Some fat, jovial drunkard that is always getting into crazy situations? Some ne’er-do-well high school dropout with a mild cocaine problem and a pension for the outlandish?” I’d quickly respond, “No you silly son of a bitch, it’s a bad-ass dive bar that I just walked to from my house!”
This brings me to my second reason, it’s in my neighborhood and I had never been there before. I was recently talking to a friend of a friend that I had just met and in describing what I had done that day I mentioned that I had gone to Lunchbox Lab for the first time ever. I also related to him that I found it to be ridiculous that I had never been there before, not only because it’s awesome but also because it’s about three blocks from my house. He responded, “Yeah, that always seems to happen.” Does it? Maybe I’m not alone on this one after all. Obviously, we here at BeerBlotter.com are highly interested in trying new places. That is why this column, 52 Weeks exists. So given that, why is it that there’s many places right around the corner from me that I have never before visited? I always seem to hop in the car and drive to some back-country destination to visit a new place when I could just walk up the block and be enlightened near instantly.
The third reason is that I needed to write one more 52 Weeks article before the end of the year and the idea of having the word “Goofy’s” in the headline really excited me. Hmm… maybe I should talk about the actual bar.
It is really easy to be overwhelmed the first time you step into Goofy’s. It’s kind of one of those neighborhood bars, where everyone looks at you if you aren’t a regular. That’s always a little awkward. Then there is the huge fire pit in the middle of the room. This puppy is something to behold! I immediately thought of the fire pit at Uber, but that one is small and modern and actually looks like it belongs indoors. The pit at Goofy’s looks like it should be in the back yard of a medieval castle. You could roast an entire pig over that beast! Then there is the massive wall of random paraphernalia and beer signs and pull tabs behind the bar. It’s quite busy. I think if I was on drugs I would have needed to huddle in the corner and suck my thumb, but no…just beer in the system this night.
I was quite amazed by the size of the place. There is another room at the rear of the establishment that houses the 2 pool tables and various arcade consoles. There is a few tables and high tops spread about the place…it’s a pretty laid back joint, which I wasn’t expecting. It’s quite pleasant in fact. The fire really sets the cozy mood. The beer list left much to be desired, but none of us had ever seen the Three Skulls Poison on tap before. We gave it a try, as well as a few pints of the Bridgeport IPA. We sat and chatted and had a good time. Amidst it all, there seemed to be a DJ or musician unloading some gear in the back room. We didn’t stay long enough to uncover the mystery, but I was intrigued. I think I’ll be heading back to Goofy’s another day.
Week 47 of 52 (Only 5 to go!)
Three Creeks Brewing Co.
721 Desperado Court
Sisters, OR 97759
11:30am – 9pm Sunday-Thursday
11:30am – 10pm Friday-Saturday
Type of Establishment: 10 bbl brewery and brew pub, gorgeous cabin at the foot of the Cascade Mountains.
Visit: After spending Christmas with my mother in Bend, OR I chose to head home via Rt. 20 to I-5 in order to bypass some, potentially, more hazardous mountain pass conditions. This route took me through the small tourist town of Sisters, OR. Sisters is home to one of Oregon’s newest and brightest production breweries. They also happen to have a killer pub. I had to stop to fuel up (in more ways than one) before my intrepid trek across the Santiam Pass.
Beers on Tap (at time of visit):
Old Prospector Pale Ale
Hoodoo Voodoo IPA
Five Pine Chocolate Porter
Cripple Creek Cream Ale
Rudolph’s Imperial Red
Left Behind Barley Wine
Bottle List (all 22oz):
Hoodoo Voodoo IPA
Five Pine Chocolate Porter
Rudolph’s Imperial Red
I didn’t eat here, but after glancing at the menu I immediately wished that I had a much smaller breakfast. The menu was, for the most part, as far as content goes, pretty typical for a up-scale brewpub… apps, soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches, etc, but everything seemed to have a little extra panache. The most notable item that I saw was found on the specials menu – a reuben pizza. I actually had to ask the bartender if it was really a reuben pizza or two separate items. Holy shit! Pastrami and kraut and thousand island on a pizza. How on Earth did I not order it?!
I really like this place. The end.
Just kidding. Immediately upon pulling my car into the parking spot out front of TCB I felt a sense on comfort. I knew that I liked the place before I even entered. It wasn’t so much the brewery that I was standing outside of (though you can tell from the picture above that it does look pretty cool from the outside), it was just such a pretty, pleasant, calming situation I was in. My stomach and heart were full from the recent Christmas festivities, there was fluffy snow on the ground, I was in a cute little town right on the cusp of a beautiful mountain, I had just driven through pristine fields full of horses and cattle… everything was right as rain.
As I entered, things seemed to only improve. Just within the doors, the foyer housed the hostess and the “gift shop”. I was overwhelmed. The hostess wanted information from me – was I alone? Was I eating? Where would I like to sit? But alas, I was most inattentive, after all, there was beer and brewery merchandise to ogle. Eventually I regained my composure and asked if there was a bar that I could sit at. There was, just through the door to my right.
I guess the bar area is where the unsavory folks tread. That’s why they had to build a wall to separate that area from the more family friendly dining room to my left as I entered. Sucks to be a family because that area was seriously weak in comparison to the bar, with the great exception of a very luxurious leather couch adorned alcove around a blazing fireplace in the rear of the room that is.
Once I got situated at the bar it became evident that there was nothing unsavory about any area within TCB. The bar portion was uber clean, cozy and comfortable. There was wood everywhere, which is an attribute that I adore in a Northwest bar. There was a huge bay window on one side of the room that revealed the shiny new brewing equipment. There was a pool table, a Christmas tree, several free-standing tables and a gorgeous leather chair surrounded copper topped bar. The tap handles seemed to be all hand carved and burnt wood. The lighting was inviting, and so was the staff. Wow! Really impressed!
Sadly, considering that it was snowing and chains were required on the pass, I was both slightly in a hurry and very conscious of my alcohol consumption. Because of this I inquired on the sampling situation. TCB does offer a flight of all of their standard offering and a flight of every beer that they have on tap. I was only really interested in getting three samples so I negotiated a pay as you go deal and the bartender was happy to appease me. I had the IPA, the barley wine and the chocolate porter. All three were tasty, but the barley wine really stood out. I asked if they were pouring growlers of it to go, but it was a little pricey so I stayed content with things as they were.
I took in my surroundings one last time and hit the road. If there is one thing that I know for certain it is that I will make it back to TCB, hopefully sooner rather than later. If TCB’s brewpub bar was in Seattle it would, without a doubt, be a regular visit for me. If you are ever in or passing through or near Sisters – maybe you’re heading to the rodeo – do not miss this precious little beer filled cabin in the woods.
Week 46 of 52 (6 More!)
4300 Leary Way NW
Seattle, WA 98107
Mon-Sun 11 am – 2 am
Type of Establishment: Pool hall, sports bar, arcade game laden divey joint with over 30 taps.
Visit: After grabbing dinner and a handful of wax dipped bottles of barrel aged quad from Hale’s, I figured, why not grab a pint at the bar directly across the street? I’d never been there, so I changed that.
Beers on Tap (at time of visit):
Maritime Pacific Jolly Rodger
Maritime Pacific Imperial IPA
Emerald City Beer Dottie’s Lager
Ninkasi Total Domination IPA
Elysian Men’s Room Red
Big Sky Moose Drool
Big Al’s Winter Warmer
Red Hook Winter Hook
Deschutes Mirror Pond
Deschutes Black Butte Porter
Rogue Dead Guy Ale
Mack & Jack’s Amber
Stone Arrogant Bastard
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
New Belgium Fat Tire
New Belgium 2 Below
Georgetown Manny’s Pale Ale
…and other macros.
Bottle List: Nothing exciting.
The “Grill” portion of the name is pretty accurate. The menu boasts a decent selection of burgers, sandwiches and apps. It’s bar food. Nothing too crazy, but it will surely do you right if you are looking to lay down a nice foundation for a long night of boozin’ and hustling the tables.
The bartender informed me, as I was scribbling down the taplist (no website), that BG&AH always has three rotating taps. It seemed as though the bartender said it in a way that would imply that I should be impressed with that. Only three rotators isn’t very impressive to me, but the more I thought about it, it actually is sort of impressive in this case because it means that they have a pretty decent number of darn delicious permanent taps. In hindsight, I’m perplexed with myself that I didn’t think to ask which ones where the rotators at the moment. I was in an anti-social mood. It happens sometimes.
I ordered the Dottie because, believe it or not, I had yet to try it. It’s an amber lager, not something that I’m ever excited to drink, but I do respect craft brewers that make a solid lager. It’s not easy to do, and I’m happy to say that Emerald City Beer hit it out of the park with this one. Seriously, if ECB had some serious dough to invest into making massive amounts of Dottie, canning it in pounders and selling it for cheap, I think every Seattle hipster would leave their precious PBR or Ranier behind. Easy drinking and flavorful to say the least.
As the bartender poured my Dottie he mentioned that they had just tapped it for the first time. Rotator? You would think, but you would also think that the seasonals like Jolly Rodger and Big Al Winter Warmer and Winter Hook and 2 Below would be the rotators. Wait that’s 4 winter beers right there that are obviously not available year round. I think there just might be more that 3 rotators. Never-the-less, even if just Arrogant Bastard and Dick’s IPA and Moose Drool and Maritime Imperial IPA are full-time handles here, that’s pretty solid.
BG&AH is pretty spacious inside, and though I was there in a Thursday night around 8 p.m., there was enough people there to prevent it from feeling cavernous. But even it you were there completely alone, there’s plenty to keep you occupied. It may be slightly challenging to play on one of the 6 pool tables by your lonesome, but you could easily work on your dart game, or shoot some hoops, or some guns on the various arcade games available. This is definitely a place to bring your insatiable appetite, your lustful, unquenching thirst for fermentables and a pocket full of quarters.
Week 26 of 52
4201 Fremont Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98103-7221
(but not for long; look for their new address on N 36th Street starting in late September!)
Type of Establishment: Straight up – bar. no fancy stuff.
Visit: Wednesday evening from 9:00 PM-12:00 AM.
BEERS ON TAP
Wow. I was quite surprised to see the bevy of beers. As I will explain below, it used to not be this way. They have really stepped it up.
Diamond Knot IPA
Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA
North Coast Old Rasputin Imperial Stout
Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale
Deschutes Black Butte Porter
Elysian Immortal IPA
New Belgium Fat Tire Ale
….and plenty of others. We would estimate that there are a total of 25 taps.
Beers are either 3.50 or 4.25 – yep even the good ones.
Again, I was surprised to see the bottle options. Nothing rare or shocking, but a lot of good options. Specifically, Chimay Red & White, Stone Arrogant Bastard, Duvel, & Unibroue Trois Pistoles.
If you are going – stick to the tap list, though. Its damn good.
HA! You wish I would just say: “none.” But alas, I cannot. The Buck has a monstrous jar of hot pepper pickled eggs behind the bar. This is a necessity for any bar, in my mind. If you don’t have a jar of something pickled back there – you might as well be a bistro. Try these guys out.
They also have some snack items, including free popcorn!
Out of nowhere last night, my buddy decided we should walk down to the Buck. Now, I have to give full disclosure: I have been here before. Unfortunately, I do not really remember my visit and it had been quite some time. Based upon my new perspective, it really fit the mold for discussion here on 52 Weeks.
The Buck is a legendary institution. If a friend says: “lets go to the Buck,” you should freaking go. It has a similar aged luster to it that can make you feel at home, comfortable in your inebriation.
The Buck first staked its ground over 72 years ago! This truly makes it one of the oldest bars in all of Seattle, and certainly the most aged in Fremont (we believe).
The remains of nights gone awry are visible on the Buck’s walls, booths and wooden bar back. They have not changed it; they have not improved it. It remains the same wondrous place it was many years ago.
The Buck is a place where locals remain and ponder their days. This is the quintessential “regulars” bar. If you were to take a time-lapsing photo of the movement at the front door, you’re quite certain to catch the same case going in and out each day. This is how the bar has thrived for over 7 centuries.
So, when I woke up today and saw that even Voracious had caught wind of the sad news that I am about to report – I knew it was time for a write up here on Beer Blotter. Wait for it: The Buck is closing. Relax: it will return.
The Buck has lost its lease, after two rich kids decided to use family money to purchase the building and turn it into – an Eastern European Restaurant!?!? The concept alone boggles my mind. Have these owners actually been inside of the Buck? No building could personify the term “bar” better than the spot on Fremond Ave N. But alas – they made up their mind and the Buck is being booted in mid-September.
One of the worst parts of the article that was run today on Voracious is that it omits the uplifting news: The Buck is returning.
What’s best is that its returning in full force, complete with all of the booths, wooden wall coverings, and bar back. In fact, it appears that much of what makes the Buck so wonderful will actually be transported to the new venue. The new location is rumored to be on N 36th Street, somewhere between Stone Way and Fremont Ave N. Can’t wait to check the new digs.
But for now, the Buck is rolling on, serving cocktails, great beer and amazing service. We had an excellent time at the Buck last night. Our bartender went above and beyond to serve us; he even poured us a few on the house.
One of the troubling parts of the Buck is that its cash only (don’t forget that!). What makes it a bit more of an issue is the fact that the ATM was broken and there is not another one for a few blocks. But do not despair – our wonderful bartender let us relax, order beers, have a pickled egg, and enjoy our surroundings – all while not getting paid. I love a bartender who trusts his clients. A good bartender can spot the guys who will pay and the guys who will be a problem. We weren’t the latter, and he gave us a great honor.
So the progress went like this – Union Jack, Diamond Knot IPA, Old Rasputin (at this point we think we are leaving). Then some great conversation with the bartender about the Buck’s future, and another Union Jack (at this point, I’ve told my wife on heading home). Additional great conversation ensues – and its met with a Union Jack on the house (thanks guys).
The atmosphere was great, filled with oodles of kickballers, fresh from another game. The bartender could not have been better and the price was impeccable. We love it.
Take some time in the next 6 weeks and get over to the Buck before it moves. You will need to get a glimpse of the greatness before its replaced with a heartbreaker.
The Buck will be having a big going away party lasting 3 days. The party will likely center around the September 17th “move out” date. So keep your eyes peeled and chat up the bartender. Hope to see you there.
Week 25 of 52
6504 20th Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98115
Type of Establishment: Pub
Visit: A lazy, summertime, Sunday evening called for a cold beer at a new bar. We found the perfect one for ultimate relaxation.
BEERS ON TAP —>
North Coast Old Rasputin
Hale’s Cream Ale
Mac & Jack’s Amber
Rogue Dead Guy
Three Skulls Blood Orange Wit
Maritime Pacific Hefe
Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar
Georgetown Manny’s Pale Ale
Diamond Knot IPA
Boundary Bay IPA
Hacker Pschorr Munich
Diamond Knot Possession Porter
It’s all explained, in detail, below. Read on.
Just over five and a half miles north of the Beer Blotter home base, in the beautiful neighborhood of Ravenna, lies a wood-clad fantasy land that we have never before visited. On this day, we changed that.
So here’s the deal – the building is owned by a guy. The guy owns Third Place Books. The bar beneath Third Place Books is called The Pub at Third Place. The Pub at Third Place is owned by a different guy. The restaurant attached to Third Place Books is called Vios Cafe. Vios Cafe is owned by the same guy as The Pub at Third Place. Vios is a Greek restaurant. You can order food from Vios while at Vios. You can order food from Vios while at The Pub at Third Place. There is a small “library” in The Pub at Third Place that has books. Third Place Books has books. Third Place Books has really nice wood shelves. Vios has really nice wood furniture. The Pub at Third Place has really nice wood EVERYTHING! Do you follow?
This place is amazing! This place is beautiful and majestic! This place defines comfort! This place epitomizes the Northwest! This place may have once existed in The Shire!
Can you tell I liked it? With this inaugural visit, I immediately placed it in my top 10 bars in Seattle. I can’t believe I didn’t visit this place ages ago!
The moment I approached the door (the freaking door!) I knew I loved it. Look at the picture above and tell me that’s not inviting. It looks like it should be the entrance to a grand tree house mansion of some kind. Once I opened the door and stepped in…it was all over. My mouth dropped and all of my senses tingled. I felt like a visitor in a Hobbit Hole. So much elegant wood, from floor to ceiling, back to front, top to bottom.
I headed straight for the bar and pulled up a very comfortable, leather-clad stool with a back. I was immediately greeted by the bartender and I ordered myself a Boundary Bay IPA. Honestly, I was surprised that the beer wasn’t delivered in a wooden mug. I soon came to realize that the bartender was the only one working the entire establishment, which wasn’t dead by any means. He was on top of his game, yet incredibly relaxed…tis the way of The P@TP.
Just behind me, a large bookshelf full of classics, reference books, atlases, board games; all sorts of goodies to keep the lonely drinkers occupied. Obviously, this element plays allusion to the bookstore just above. On the top of the bookshelf sits the one and only item in the bar that doesn’t belong: a big screen T.V. showing a baseball game. Luckily the sound was off, and since my back was facing it, I was able to keep its intrusion in the very back of my mind. In place of the play-by-play – the soothing tunes of Blonde Redhead – pretty much perfect for the mood of the place.
Most of the gorgeous wooden tables that fill the “dining” area between the bar and the front door are designed for anywhere between 2 to 6 people, with the exception of 2 epic banquet tables. One in the very front as you enter (slightly fenced off from the rest of the room) and one in the back, behind the bar toward the bathrooms (also a bit removed from the main area). These tables are long and thin and seem to be a single piece of wood cut from one massive, gnarled tree. The one in the front seems to seat 8 and the one in the back, 12. My goal is to one day visit P@TP with a large group and eat at one of these tables. Quite possibly I’d nibble on some Lembas bread.
Speaking of food, I didn’t partake in the Mediterranean delights offered via Vios, but the menu looked good enough to lure me back in the near future. Babaganoush anyone?
Ultimately, words can’t describe the serenity of this place. To be wrapped up in wood like that, well, it’s something you have to experience for yourself. Head to Ravenna, buy a book upstairs, take it down to the bar, grab a local cold one and sip while you read in a wood cabin forged from the mighty forests of the Pacific Northwest.
Week 22 of 52
130 S. Lincoln St.
Port Angeles, WA 98362
Type of Establishment: Beer Bar and Brewery
Visit: Our first stop back in civilization after 3 days in the wilderness, drinking warm beer and soaking up the sun. A cold beer was all we wanted! That and a nice hearty meal of solid food – burgers sounded wonderful.
BEERS ON TAP —>
Wanda Fuca Gold Pale Ale
Ed’s Big Ass Red
Mt. Pleasant Porter
21st Amendment Brew Free or Die IPA
Oskar Blues Old Chub Scotch Ale
Port Townsend Hop Diggity
Left Hand Sawtooth Ale
Deschutes Inversion IPA
Humbolt Hemp Ale
Surprisingly, these guys have a pretty amazing bottle selection. Not only can you purchase beer to drink at the bar – you can take it home with you. At the prices we saw, you might actually beat the grocery store prices.
Goose Island Bourbon County Stout
Lagunitas Undercover Shutdown
Stone Ruination IPA
Oskar Blues Collective: Ten Fidy, Old Chub, Gubna, Gordon, Dales and Mama’s Lil Yella
Lets get it straight: I’m from the Midwest. You don’t have to throw me a big menu to make me happy. If you own a bar and you have wings and burgers – you did your job.
Peaks has a small menu but they cover all the bases. Wings, chili dogs, soups, burgers, chicken sandwich and chili. That will fill a menu, and any hungry man’s stomach. Add to that a veggie burger and you make almost everyone happy (except hip Seattle people who can’t handle traditional pub fare – we had some of those with us).
In any event, I went with the mother of all menu items: the works. Double beef patty, four cheese slices (swiss and american), onion, pickle, bacon, tomato – all on a beautiful crusty kaiser roll (seriously the bun is really good).
Verdict: The burger did the trick. Wish I had tried to the wings though.
Full disclosure: I like dive bars. I even like crappy bars. As long as you have some kitchy decor, interesting cold beer, and food from the grill – you will probably keep me happy.
Peaks hit all of those things on the head, even if not so squarely. But, as an added bonus, they have a brewing setup right in the pub, pumping out hand crafted ales! Can’t beat that.
The bar owner is also a brewer. They have pumping out beer for a number of years now. While some are pretty bad, there are a few bright spots on the house tap list.
Lets start with the bad. The Porter was basically an amber of sorts. It had little flavor, almost no smokiness and actually tasted like it had gone bad. The same could be said about the Pale Ale, which lacked significant flavoring. I would not recommend giving either a try.
The Big Ass Red is worth a flyer if you are looking for something with a punch. It has a aged malt flavor that is almost tart. The hop character is identifiable and the alcohol hidden quite well. Not an outstanding beer, but worth a go.
The Trainwreck IPA is the best in show. In fact, I would actually recommend this beer to many an IPA fanatic. A sweet, viscous bodied ale, the beer is dry hopped with the neighbor’s back yard grown hops. The ABV on this one is unknown – but its pretty high. If you intend on sitting around and eating, start with this one. If you like it, I would recommend sticking with it for the balance of your meal.
The bar itself is well-decorated. The kitchy feel is supported by a bevy of old images strewn across old coolers, mirrors and walls. The vast collection of church keys invites the eye for at least a good half-hour.
The brewery is located in the rear of the pub. Its enclosed with two glass sides facing the customers. So, you can get a great look at real-time brewing. The brewer was on the premises the whole time we were there, making a batch of our favorite – Trainwreck IPA.
Peaks has a nice-sized TV (though we were stuck watching women’s soccer -hmmmm…) and a full-sized pool table on the premises. There is quite a lot of space, including large tables that can accommodate at least 15 people.
The bar staff was excellent. I was so very impressed with the way Becky (I did catch her name) was able to juggle the task of handling all beer pouring, order taking, cooking and babysitting the couple drunk middle-aged guys sitting at the bar. She managed to get us beer as we needed it, deliver our food quickly, cook it thoroughly, and keep the drunkies at bay. She gets an A+.
In sum, Peaks is a worthwhile stop. I have been to Port Angeles a few times and have never found a place worth visiting. This is it. When we are in the town again – we will make another stop.
Week 19 of 52
6644 S. 196th St, #T-100
Kent, WA 98032
Type of Establishment: Brewery Taproom
BEERS ON TAP (at time of visit) —>
T-Tail Blonde Ale
Jet City ESB
First Class IPA
FOOD OPTIONS: I was very surprised to see anything other than a bowl of peanuts or hard pretzels, but they do offer landjager and soft pretzels.
BAR OPINION: Roughly 17 miles south of the Beer Blotter home base, in a beautiful (haha) business park in Kent, WA, lies a brewery that we have never before visited. On this day, we changed that.
South-Enders rejoice, there is a new brewery taproom in Kent, WA! And it doesn’t suck!
You must admit, Kent is a very strange place to be… for any reason. I would imagine that owners Alex (brewer as well) and Dione (taproom manager as well) Dittmar got a pretty good deal on the brewery/taproom space. Lucky for the Kent residents I guess (what are there, like 27 of you?). Well, at the time of my visit, it was packed, so either every single Kent resident was there or there were a few travelers, like myself. If they got the impression that I did, it was well worth the visit for all in attendance.
Once within the doors of Airways Brewing, the look and feel of the place bares a shocking resemblance to that of Black Raven Brewing’s taproom in Redmond, WA. The bar area is just slightly off to your left as you enter, with seating in an “L” shape, creating a square area against the left and rear walls for the bartenders to roam and serve. The merchandise, mostly t-shirts, are hanging on the far left wall. Then there is a fairly small open area opposite the bar, on your right as you enter, that contains a few tables. Then there is a bathroom and a backdoor leading to the brewery (or so I assume, I didn’t get a tour). With the exception of Airways small outdoor seating area, and the lack of a backroom (additional seating), the space is identical to BRB’s. Must be a fairly generic architectural schematic for the Seattle outskirt’s business parks, but that’s quite alright, the small space works just fine. In fact, it seems to lend itself to relatively large social gatherings at strange hours of the day.
I say this because my visits to both occurred in the early afternoon on a weekday. Both times, there was sizable attendance. Both times there was a great bit of socializing amongst bar-top strangers. Both times I had a blast and drank good beer with good people. Nigel at Black Raven and Greg at Airways are both great barkeeps, both with tangible abilities to include everyone at the small bar into one single conversation. It’s a microcosm of big city bars, in a microcosm of a big city, and it’s just right for me.
I had the distinct privileged of meeting and chatting with Dione. I just missed Alex. After questioning Dione about the size of their brewing system, I was answered with the stunning words, “1/2 barrel”. This means that they can brew one keg at a time. 15.5 gallons. My friends, that is the definition of nanobrewery. Nan-frickin-o!
My dismayed look prompted an explanation. Airways has a great deal of their production contract brewed by a local brewery with a 7 barrel system. Now that makes a lot more sense. I must say, I was relieved. I’d love to be able to get more of their beer without having to drive down to Kent.
This brings us to the beer. Airways’ four standard offerings are clearly English influenced. They are well constructed and easy to drink. I ended up ordering a full pint of the IPA after my sampler, but it wasn’t an easy choice. The blonde was a bit too subtle for me at the time, but each of the others could easily have been chosen. Everything was reasonably priced as well, which is always appreciated. Like I said before, they have t-shirts for sale, as well as pint glasses and growlers to go.
One of my favorite parts about Airways Brewing is the imagery that they use. It’s really simple, but it’s cleaver… and sleek. It reminds me of the mind-blowing opening credits to the movie Catch Me if You Can. I had to take a pint glass home with me.
Airways was at last weekend’s Washington Brewers Fest. They had a Triple Chocolate Stout that I was unfortunately unable to acquire. I did, however, get to meet Alex. These guys are really kind and we are proud to support them as one of the newest breweries on the block.
Take a trip down south of the city and take a gander, drink a beer, and enjoy.