At first glance, a casual beer drinker would think Portland is the beer mecca of America. But, the reality is, in sheer number of breweries Seattle is king. With over 170 breweries and counting, the city is bursting with craft beer! That’s an overwhelming number of breweries for any drinker, so we’re here to help. Here’s ten essential breweries, in no particular order, to visit the next time you’re in Seattle.
Fremont Brewing is one of the foundational pillars of the craft beer scene in Washington. Started in 2009 they are now the 3rd-largest brewery in Washington State by volume, all that and they are still family owned and operated. Head in for the classics like the Universale Pale Ale, a Northwest twist on a classic pale ale, or the Interurban Pale, which is named after Fremont’s most famous outdoor sculpture.
Stoup is one of the best breweries in the Ballard area without question. The beer is incredibly well balanced, as they should be considering one of the founders happens to be a certified Cicerone. Their Citra IPA is a must try, as is the award winning Robust Porter which is rich and decadent.
Another award winning brewery in the Ballard area, Reuben’s Brews has an impressive amount of hardware. Since opening in 2012, Reuben’s has won awards at the Great American Beer Festival, the World Beer Cup, the US Open and was named Mid-Sized Brewery of the Year at the 2015 Washington Beer Awards. Not bad for a kickstarter funded brewery. They also have a Robust Porter that will knock your socks off.
The word “Populuxe” is a portmanteau of the words “popular” and “deluxe”, and that’s a great way to describe the beer coming out of here. The co-founder’s practically DYI’d the entire original nano-brewery, of which they have since outgrown. They won Washington’s Small Brewery of the Year in 2018, so they clearly are doing something right. They have a refreshing American Blonde and an award winning Burke-Gilman (English) Bitter.
Ghostfish Brewing makes the list not only for the taste, but because they specialize in gluten-free brewing. Rather than using traditional ingredients, Ghostfish opts for things like millet, buckwheat, and brown rice to make sure there is no gluten byproduct in the beer. They of course also have a menu of gluten free food to go along with the beer. The Grapefruit IPA and the Cranberry Gose are nice choices.
Rooftop Brewing has grown from a a nano-sized operation stuffed inside a garage in an alley to a much larger operation near the Queen Anne side of the Ballard Bridge. As the name implies, there is a large all year outdoor patio. Their beers are constantly rotating amongst their ten or so taps, but their single hop IPAs are excellent.
Cloudburst Brewing took over a space that was a former bikeshop, and has been cranking out small-batch beers ever since. It definitely helps head brewer and founder Steve Luke is obsessed with beer, and has some pedigree as a former Elysian brewer. There’s a heavy focus on IPAs, but plenty of other styles make the cut as well. Head in with a taste for something unexpected, and probably never again made.
Tin Dog Brewing
Tin Dog Brewing may be a bit off the tourist map, but it’s 100% worth the trip. They brew their beers in small batches and that means you’ll be extremely hard pressed to find them anywhere beyond the walls of the taproom. That being said, they use local grains from the Skagit valley and have a interesting sour beer program. In fact, their Melange Deux and Mandala sours recently took home some awards, so that’s a good place to start.
Georgetown Brewing doesn’t have a taproom per say, but you can drop by the brewery six afternoon’s a week for all the samples you need. There’s good reason to do so too; Manny’s Pale is one of Seattle’s original craft beers and still arguably its favourite. They have plenty beyond that as well, including some heavy hopbomb double and triple IPAs.
Machine House Brewery
Machine House has had its share of success and now boasts two locations. The original location opened in 2013 in the Georgetown neighbourhood in an old historic building, and immediately had a focus on English ales. The majority of their beers are fairly sessionable, meaning low-alcohol content, so you can spend a fair amount of time sampling their wares. The Dark Mild and Best Bitter are safe choices.