Great beer in Seattle
My husband and I are heading to the west coast from Philadelphia, and have two full days and three nights in Seattle. I am looking for recommendations for the best breweries/beer bars to visit -- the ones that I shouldn't miss. We are staying at The Maxwell Hotel on Roy Street, so recommendation spots for food/beer near there are also appreciated. Thanks!
A visit to the Pine Box on Capitol Hill would be well worth the short taxi ride; it's a spectacular beer bar housed in a former mortuary. Pike Brewing downtown is a standby, and Elysian's new Elysian Bar should be open just a few blocks away by the time you arrive.
If you want to stay very close to your hotel, Red Papaya is a beer bar slash Vietnamese restaurant. And if you like oysters, don't miss the new Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar near your hotel.
If you want to really wrap your brain around local beers, Chuck's Hop Shop in the Central District lacks in charm, but it has 50 taps and a massive bottle selection. There are also a bunch of breweries in Ballard within walking distance (Reuben's Brews, Stoup, NW Peaks, Peddler, Populuxe, etc.) that can make for a fun afternoon.
Have a great visit!
I'd recommend going to breweries over beer bars. You'll have more unique experiences and unique beers, some that aren't available at bars and stores.
My personal favorites of the moment are Geaux and Stoup. (which gives short shrift to a place like Black Raven which has consistently produced some of the best stuff over the past 5 years)
But honestly, you can't go wrong. Around here, you can pop into any dive bar, and they'll at least have Manny's and Mac & Jack which are very good local brews.
The links provided are great. Highly recommend the Washington Beer Blog.
My current faves (among breweries) are Reuben's and Northwest Peaks. You can include both in an afternoon spent exploring Ballard micro- and (so-called) nano-breweries. Stoup, Peddler, Rueben's, Northwest Peaks, and others are all within a reasonable walking distance.
I'd Second Pine Box as a great beer bar, although decent-to-great local beer can be found in most local bars. The Noble Fir is another good beer bar, although I don't believe they have a full kitchen (they will do a meat and cheese platter).
If you want a truly unique experience, a teeny brewery called the Rooftop is located in an actual garage in an alley behind a 7-11 in Queen Anne. Port-a-Potty in the alley with hand sanitizer is your only restroom. Good beer, a fun little space with some outdoor seating, and all the pretzels you can eat. Not quite walking distance from your hotel (not for most, anyway), but an easy and very short (>10 minute) bus ride.
Do keep in mind that most the breweries we're all talking about are strictly breweries---if there's food it's usually just pretzels. And they are mostly small spaces where seating can be an issue. Sometimes their websites will list local bars carrying their products.
[Edit] Just in terms of proximity, I'd recommend Triumph, a new bar across the street from Seattle Center. Upscale, with only a couple beers (although both are local), but great cocktails and good house-made charcuterie and the like.
We sometimes stop in at Golden Beetle, in Ballard, for their happy hour and get the whole HH menu. Just blocks below there, the Emperor's tour begins with Maritime Pacific for Imperial Pale Ale and another few blocks lead to Hale's for Imperial Stout.
I ramble, but there is also good pizza and a great tap-set at Bambino's on the other side of Seattle Canter. From there it's a short hop to Two Bells for a tavern burger and Top Pot for doughnuts.
Thanks all for this great info. We are putting an afternoon in Ballard on the books. Pine Box and Chucks also sound fun, and my husband is already deep into the Washington beer blog.
I will make sure to let everyone know what we tried. And if anyone is ever out east and looking for Philly beer recommendations, let me know!