Fav Rare/Obscure Beers On Tap--Where To Find?
- kaleokahu Jun 28, 2011 08:29 PM
Obviously, to make economic sense, a pub or restaurant has to empty or sell enough out of a keg withing a certain freshness window, or they're not going to carry it long. Sometimes that need can be met through sheer volume of beer sold/handles pulled (e.g., Brouwer's, Fred's Rivertown Alehouse, etc.), or some national or ethnic focus (e.g., Proust, George & Dragon).
This post is intended to collate info on where to find excellent draft beer that is not on every distributor's list . For example, where could I find Czechovar on tap, or Lindeman's Pech Lambic.
Totally open as to trying anything that is a favorite of yours, but to try, you have to find. So what is your fav and where do I find it in Seattle?
[Please, Mods, leave this one alone here, rather than exile it to Beer?]
The Dray (will update their list online occasionally), the Yard cafe, the Noble Fir (more frequent updates online but not always accurate), Naked City, Duck Island and Uber will be the ones to look at on the North end (and Brouwers).
The Stumbling Monk clearly has to make the list of specialists. Their Belgian (and Belgian-style) selection is unmatched, even by Brouwers - and unlike Brouwers, the prices are reasonable.
Not a huge number of taps, but they rotate through some pretty obscure stuff beyond the staples. Also, usually a cask on Thursday.
Edit: pre-fire, I used to go down to Hooverville from time to time and drink my fill of Krusovice Cerne (dark lager) - but it rotated off. They've usually got something good (and always something drinkable.) Great bar, even if you're not guaranteed to find the most obscure things there.
Die Beirstube will have your German seasonals along with Proust. Back when I lived by Elysian's tangletown brewery, they always had Czechovar on tap because the manager was a fan. Zayda Buddy's in Ballard has a collection of midwestern microbreweries on. Sully's Snowgoose Saloon has a surprising number of microwbrews on tap, it used to be one of the only reliable places to find Stone IPA on consistantly. Speaking of Stone, Bambinos in Belltown seems to have gotten some inside line on some of their more rare kegs (Double Dry-Hopped Ruination? Yes please!). Oh, and the Ravenna Alehouse always keeps a California style IPA on. I also second all of BallardFoodie's recs. Uber is great and puts some of the more obscure beers on tap.
Quinn's is known for its beer variety, but I am not enough of a beer-ie (heh) to provide any detail. I think it has a Belgian/German focus?
Already mentioned, Bambinos has a surprisignly strong rotation of beer on tap. And at $2 per glass during happy hour the value is there too (you need to purchase some food to get that price on beer, but their pizza is solid).
Super Deli Mart in West Seattle / White Center is INCREDIBLE. It's a mini-mart with an incredible focus on beer. They have 5 (I believe) taps and offer some amazing selections you won't find anywhere else. I currently have growlers of Great Divide Brewing Rumble Oaked Aged Imperial IPA and Dortmunder Actien-Brauerei in my fridge. Their turnover is very quick so nothing stays on too long. Follow them on Twitter to find out what's on tap. I've purchased Dogfish Head, Bear Republic, Victory, Two Beers, Firestone, Maui Brewing, etc from there. Their bottle selection is amazing too.
And they've tried to recreate the old Hoagie's Corner Cheesy British (not quite as I remember, but nice try!)
I cannot recommend this place enough.
I'll second Bambino's Pizza for the $2 HH beer. They often have Pliny the Elder. Last time I had a really great Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout. The margherita pizza is a bargain at $13 for a 15 inch pizza. While they don't have huge selection of taps the ones they have are excellent. I'm also a fan of the pizza though they don't make it quite as dark as they used to it's still really good.
You may want to journey to the Parkway Tavern in Tacoma which was just listed by Esquire as one of America's best bars/pubs. They get rare beers in quite often and have tastings including obscure Belgian beers. They will never be Brouwer's, but they're trying.
313 N I St Ste 1, Tacoma, WA 98403
Bottleworks often has beers I've never seen on draft anywhere else. However, I've sometimes gone in looking for a new experience only to find five different Seattle IPAs. Check the draft list online first. Malt & Vine is another beer store with taps, and the selection is probably better than Bottleworks.
Expanding on the Quinn's suggestion: not only is the draft selection very good (they've even got a tap dedicated to sour beers), but there's a large Euro-centric bottle list. Note: it is always a good idea to ask if there are any changes to the draft list before placing your order.
I'll also add a note about visiting various tap rooms in the area where many breweries offer beers that are incredibly difficult to find. Hours can be limited, but if you can make it, usually a good find.
My favorites include:
I was not aware with the Two beers and Epic Ales tasting rooms locations and open hours. Together with Georgetown and Schooner Exact, this makes for a possible Friday or Saturday afternoon beer tour of SoDo/G-town, all within a safe distance of one another. Thanks for this Yoshi.
Bottlewerks in Wallingford has 5 or 6 interesting beers on tap every day-- they rotate every so often, always good. I've found the staff to be very knowledgeable. Plus, a great selection of lesser-known beers in the fridges. We go there for parties and a treat every now and then.