Elysian Brewing Company Tangletown

This is an ideal location to stop for a beer on a warm summer day trip to Greenlake. The best part of this place is the large garage doors that can roll open on a warm day to provide a nice breeze through the place. You almost feel like you are outdoors while still covered from the ever present threat of rain in Seattle. The worst part of this place is the fact that they will not fill a growler! Originally they had an excuse...an obscure Washington law that prohibits growler fills from places that have a full bar but that law has since gone away. I sent an e-mail to their management complaining about this and they said they just didn't have room to store the glass there....huh? I brought my own! Getting past that...Elysian has some award winning beers and multiple good options for hopheads. I have been there several times now and usually drink the Immortal IPA or the Wise ESB. This last trip I got to try their latest IPA, Prometheus which was a very citrusy nice IPA. Strong grapefruit hop flavor and great orange color, not overly malty but pretty well balanced. The Immortal is a little less hoppy but a standard IPA for me when I go to bars around Ballard and Seattle where it seems quite common. The Jasmine IPA I really don't care for since it tastes too much like IPA and soap mixed together. I love flowery hop tastes but that one is not a good mix and while it could work with certain foods...it doesn't mix well with other beers. The ESB is a good ESB, malty but still good hop flavor. I would still like to find a little more hop flavor in my ESBs. While the food here is not cheap, it is good and you will find some interesting finds on the menu. The wings are good with a very interesting sweet and spicy sauce but pricey for what you get. The chicken sandwich is a good safe bet to go with your IPA...spicey. The Divine Swine is another favorite though I am now a fan of the slaw that accompanies it.



Lazy Boy Brewing

A hidden gem resides in south Everett near the Everett Mall and has quickly become my favorite place to get a growler fill. Lazy Boy Brewing is hidden in an industrial park just tucked out of the way enough to make it a bit of a search to find but once you do, you will keep going back. For $6 you can fill your growler with an amazing IPA, a potent Belgian, or one of the other great flavors on tap at the time. I am not a big fan of Belgians usually but this award winning one with a major kick of over 9% alc. has made me think twice about writing off all Belgians. The IPA is not the hoppiest in the land but it very well balanced and flavorful. Recently they made a batch of "Double IPA" and I was lucky enough to fill some growlers with this limited release! Wow...now this one packed a wallop at over 8% alc. and very hoppy but still amazingly well balanced. The brewer Shawn is a very friendly guy that is more than happy to take a break from his constant brewing to show off his great beers and fill you up a few samples or if Mike is around, he will hang out with you and talk beer while pouring you a very generous sample of whatever you like. These guys will definitely make you feel appreciated and welcome and you can't help but want to spread the word about their great beers. The only bad thing about it is the beer is only to go...they have no pub. You are actually in a working brewery with no frills and if you don't like the smell of boiling wort, you have come to the wrong place! However, if that sort of thing just makes you thirsty, you have come to the right place. Best of all, they do some bottling so you can get it to go even without a growler or keg. That also means if you can't make it to Everett, you may find it in your local specialty beer shop. If you stop by, tell Shawn to start making the "Double IPA" part of his regular brewing priorities. That is going to be my new campaign so HELP ME OUT!



Elliott Bay Brewing

West Seattle's pride and joy is a hop lovers dream come true. Always a favorite at the Brewfest, their standard IPA is a very hoppy yet light in color and short in aftertaste ale. Now hopheads can get a dry hopped version of the IPA that is super hoppy with multiple levels of hop goodness! I am hoping it is a permanent addition to the beer menu and not a seasonal. The less hoppy but equally great choices are the Alembic Pale and Orange Infusion. This place is not just about the beer though...they also have some great food. I recently had the Puerco Del Caribbean, a shredded spicy pork sandwich that was a perfect compliment to the IPAs. Their french fries are well seasoned and very tasty and many of the sandwiches used spent grain buns created from the very grain used to make your beer. Elliott Bay is very family friendly and the kids get very large portions. My daughter loved the fish and chips and most kids would probably leave a little for you to try too with the large size of the plate. The service is fast and friendly with very knowledgable servers that you can tell know about their beer selections. Really the only bad things I can say about this place is the parking can be tough in West Seattle at times and the venue is a little cavernous. It is very dark and the only windows are right at the entrance but after a few IPA's, you may enjoy the dark!



Hales Ales Brewery and Pub


I know I should have put this review in long ago but sometimes I have to choose between drinking a cold beer and writing about it...drinking usually wins! Since Redhook moved out of Freemont, Hales is the only large brewery left in the area. Parking can be a challenge but well worth the search. The main entrance takes you right past the brewery to get you salivating, where you have a choice of the adult only (bar area) or the more family friendly indoor and outdoor dining areas. The food is very good with lots of great choices to be had. Some of my favorites are the Cajun Jerk Chicken burger, (very spicy and perfect compliment to the Mongoose IPA), the meatloaf sandwich is always a favorite as are the pizzas and burgers. Most of the sandwiches come on "spent grain buns" which means, as you would expect in Freemont, they are recycling those great grains from the brewing process. All the sandwiches come with a choice of jojos, potato salad, chips or cole slaw. Enough about the food, the beer is what you should really be here for. If you are lucky enough to get there when they have the Aftermath Imperial IPA on tap, you will be treated to one of the "BIGGEST" IPA's ever! At 8.4%, you may want to go easy but this beer is amazing. It is full, rich, and super hoppy and one of the darkest IPA's you will ever see. I am sure alot of buns were made from the amount of grain it took to make this beer! I was fortunate to get the last one last time I was there so I moved on to the standard IPA the Mongoose. As you know if you have read other parts of this site, I am a big fan of the Mongoose. If you are with a non-hophead or just need a change of pace, Hales has tons of choices for you. The Cream Ale is a big winner and fun to watch (you have to see one to understand), the Wee Heavy Winter is also a great seasonal choice that will warm up any winter day. If you are ever near the self proclaimed "Center of the Universe" that is Freemont, your trip is not complete until you have stopped in at Hales. Sorry it took so long for me to put this in...now go...and pick me up a growler and if you run into Mike Hale, ask him to take me on his bus!



Ellersick Brewing Co. (Big E Ales)


Okay, I'll admit to making fun of Lynnwood, like everyone else...but this place rocks! Though, I might argue that it is really in Mount Lake Terrace. You would never think to look down a scary looking road in an industrial area for this little gem. The place is a small "tasting room" in the front of the brewery with 10 tables or so and a bar. Looks like mostly regular clients and traffic coming in and out to fill growlers and the preferred "Party Pigs". Why not...at $5.50 for growler fills, it is the best deal in town. The IPA is very good with lots of Cascade hop flavor...like a smoother better balanced Pyramid IPA. The Hoppy Redhead is also excellent with a perfect hop balance and better taste than most reds I have had. We had a sampler tray with 6 different beers but these two were definitely the choice for hopheads. The food offerings were pretty much free pretzels (are you listening DK's...free!) or if you are lucky enough to be an old dude Lion's Club member...sandwiches. No really...these old dudes are the only ones that get sandwiches! Too funny! We joked about it and our very friendly server offered to make us one but we told her that was okay. She did tell us that you can rent out the place for parties...sounds like a winning idea! I am sure this place will grow to serve food and a larger following as people discover it. I just hope they can keep the small time feeling and prices that made them a big hit w/ this hophead. Now I must go drink some of my cheap growlers I brought home!



Boundary Bay Brewery and Bistro


Boundary Bay makes some of the best beer in Washington, hands down. The Imperial IPA is a force to be reckoned with and they also make a wide array of other pure quality brews. If you are not up to the Imperial IPA, the regular IPA, ESB or winter brew called Cabin Fever, will all make a hophead feel good. Located in the old downtown Bellingham, they are a neccessary stop on the way to or from Canada. A unique growler option is the gallon growler instead of the traditional 1/2 gallon one which seems to be our favorite to make the trip worthwhile. They also offer a very unique menu with a larger number of vegetarian choices than you would expect from this neck of the woods...though I guess they are considered a college town with WWU not far away. My last trip there I had a Philly cheesesteak sandwich on an amazing bread with an Au Jus dipping sauce, very tasty. They also offer some very good pizzas and appetizers that definitely stray from the fried pub fare you might expect. Now, if they would just open another one a little closer to Seattle or Everett!



Beermann's Beerwerks


***Update Jul 06***Beermann's is gone! Old people are clueless about beer culture and I imagine the rent was crazy on that old building. We will miss your small slice of beer culture in the void that is Lincoln Hills CA....

Though I imagine not too many of my readers will have a reason to be in Lincoln Hills CA., if you are traveling to Sacramento, it may be worth the drive. They feature one of the better IPA's I have had in this neck of the woods and I was actually lucky enough to be there when they had the Double IPA (somewhat seasonal, I understand!) While it was not quite as hoppy as say an Imperial IPA at Boundary Bay or other Seattle brewpubs, it was very tasty and well balanced. A little grapefruit hints and great bitter finish. The most impressive part of Beermanns though is actually the location. The place is an old 3 story theatre/ballroom straight out of the old west. It has a huge ballroom that would make any hophead couple dream of the hoppy wedding they could have in this place! They actually have several private party rooms, a full bar, and a huge dining area. The food is pretty good with some interesting pizza options and basic pub fare as well as full dinners (including great ribs). The place is very kid friendly and if you go at the right time, they can pretty much have run of the house! You feel like you stepped into the old west from the moment you enter and can almost feel the ghosts of drunkards past. So nerds that have business meetings in the area should definitely make the effort to find this place...let me know when you go and you can fill my growler!



Kona Brewing Co.


I grew up in Hawaii Kai, on Oahu the new site of the latest Kona Brewing Co. I had heard they were going to build it for a long time but to finally return for a visit and see it was great. Hawaii doesn't have much of a beer culture, the locals drink Bud or the adventurous ones will drink Steinlager. Microbrews in the stores don't really exist other than the psuedo micros like Pyramid Hefe or Redhook ESB. Well, things are starting to change and having a Kona Brewing Co. in the Koko Marina Shopping Center is a great start. While some of their beers are made for the Lager loving Hawaii crowd, I was very surprised to see an IPA on the menu and even more pleased to find out it was pretty damn good. It was much hoppier than I could have imagined and at almost 7.0 alc, it carried a punch too. They call it Castaway IPA and after a few of these on a sunny day on the deck overlooking the Marina, you will be ready to be shipwrecked on a tropical island for awhile. The only food we ate was "pupus" which consisted of some lame nachos and a drab hummus plate but I the UH area at Pucks Alley. Magoos Pizza has a hell of a tap selection and very cheap! It is worth registering at UH just for that place. Don't know of another pizza place that you can get a Dead Guy Ale and sushi without ever leaving the pizza joint?



Celtic Bayou


***Update April 06***We don't know what is going on with these guys but it looks like they have stopped brewing. They made a last beer appropriately called "Last Call" that is a great hoppy cross between an IPA and a Red. I hope this is not a Flying Pig type thing where they want more space for the restaurant. If anyone knows the whole story...please share.


I have been going to the Celtic Bayou off and on since it first opened. The first few times I went, the beer was good but the food left something to be desired. Then they got the food part together but the prices went up and portions got smaller, so I stopped going for awhile. I luckily decided to give it another try or my short term memory was going and must say they finally have it all working right! The portions are large (or you can get small versions), the beer is great, and the prices are reasonable (especially for Redmond). Now on weekends they have a kids eat free program which is great for us parents with out babysitters! It looks like the word has got out too because the place was packed with parents and kids. The outdoor area is great for the little ones on a nice day with shade and sun in the hop garden atmosphere, you can almost forget you are a stones throw from SR520. My favorite food to order would be the Gumbo or Jumbalaya although my wife ordered the Cajun Chicken with Garlic Mashed Potatos and that was great too. I have had the Bangers and Mash before too but hard to order Irish food when you can get good Cajun. The IPA is called Connaught Ranger IPA and is very nice IPA that will satsify most hopheads. Great bitter hop flavor and nice smooth finish. Best of all the inside is all nonsmoking!



Skagit River Brewery


The first time I went to the Skagit River Brewery in Mt.Vernon, I was not impressed with the beers. Well, that was several years ago and since then they have added a few worthy brews. Of course, the one I am stuck on is the Sculler's IPA. They didn't have an IPA when I first visited but now they make a premium IPA that has kept me stopping here everytime I am in Mt.Vernon (ie. Tulip Festival). You can read more about this beer in the New Brew Review page from the Summer Brewfest but I will say here that it is a full bodied, hoppy IPA that will definitely satisfy most any hophead. The food at the Skagit is very good too...from wood fired pizzas to ribs and sandwiches, you will have much to choose from. My current favorite sandwich is the Brewers Melt, a brisket sandwich with carmelized onions. shrooms, and cheese on a hoagie roll. They also have some amazing deserts like the White Chocolate Cheesecake, Chocolate Mousse Pie, and Snickers Pie. They also bottle some of their brews and have guest taps so you have lots of beer options. Monday's are $2 pints and Tuesday's kids eat free so check the website to see what is happening on the day you plan to visit. Parking can be a pain when events like the Tulip Festival are happening as they recently lost the small parking lot they had in front. You may also be frustrated if you go during these times with the service as I have never seen multiple servers, usually the bartender will come help the frazzled waitress but your patience will be rewarded if you stick it out. Walk up to the bar if you have to and order a beer there so you won't die of thirst waiting for the waitress to finally notice you.



Fred's Rivertown Alehouse


Fred's is an old fashioned alehouse in the heart of Snohomish's main old town. If your wife likes to hunt for antiques, you might want to think about sneaking in here for a few cold ones. As soon as you walk in, you get the feeling that most of the customers are regulars...why not, they have some great ales on tap as well as great food. We started with a Twin Rivers IPA made by Twin Rivers Brewing in Monroe. It wasn't as hoppy as I like my IPA's and had a Saaz or similar hop flavor not usually found in a Washington IPA but it was refreshing nevertheless. I then moved onto a lesser know IPA in the north area, Dick's IPA. The last time I had a Dick's was at the now defunct Rosehill Alehouse when the brewer himself was giving away glasses and pouring his delicious hoppy IPA. I remember that version to be unfiltered, this one was filtered but equally as delicious. My drinking buddy had a 1554 Black Ale from the New Belgium Brewery. While I can take or leave Fat Tire and some of the other New Belgium stuff, I was impressed with this. I also tried a sample of the London Special Ale from Young's Brewing which was a very find strong ale that reminded me of the Orchard Street Stock ale I haven't seen in a long time. Fred's also has some interesting food items you wouldn't expect in this part of the state, like the Thai Chili Quasedillas, which were chicken Quasedillas with a sweet Thai chile sauce. They had some other great things on the menu too but after those beers...I really can't remember what else. Oh well, I guess I will have to go back again for another look. They also were doing some renovations so the cask ale taps were out of order. Another reason to visit on another day.


Tap House Grill


How can a place with 160 beers on tap have nothing new to drink? Well, let me explain. We had heard about this place in many publications and circles but heard beers were pricey. Yes, it is in the middle of yuppy land so that was to be expected but what wasn't was the lack of quality small brewery beers. 160 beers and I couldn't find more than a few beers that I hadn't tasted that I had any interest in. How could this be! It might not have helped that we had just come from a much smaller alehouse with a better selection of obscure hoppy beers and that I was really expecting to find something I hadn't had before. I found a bitter I had never tried called "Tentley's Nitro" that caught my interest but after one sip, I realized that this keg had either been sitting around too long or they don't clean the tap lines very well at this alehouse because the beer was very metalic tasting. At $5 a beer, that pretty much ended my experience at this place...that and the fact that the smoking was getting obnoxious. They do like to hire the beautiful people and it looks like the place to be seen in Bellevue, so if you are into that sort of thing than you might like this place. Sorry, couldn't bring myself to order any appetizers.



Big Time Brewery & Alehouse


Let me just say that it took me way too long to get to this place! Not physically but figuratively! This place is a hopheads dream come true with always multiple IPAs. When we went they had the normal Bhagwan's Best IPA which was deliciously hoppy and addictive as well as one of the best cask IPA's I have ever had called Scarlett Fire IPA. Hoppy, creamy and a citrus hop flavor, this IPA is not to be missed. The problem is they rotate the casks quite frequently from what I understand so you may have to try whatever they have on cask at the time. Some cask beers seem a little flat but this one was anything but flat and had a very lively head. Big Time is located in the U-district which makes for a fun environment but hell parking! The only other thing I didn't care for was that you have to stand in line during the day to order food from a little window which consisted of cold sandwiches or pizza slices. While the sandwich was okay, the chips that came with it were stale and broken. I guess when your beer is this good, food doesn't really matter too much.



Spinnakers Brewpub and Guesthouse


Spinnakers in Victoria BC is an amazing place. This historic looking house overlooking the Victoria harbor would be the ideal place for a hophead honeymoon! Imagine, a brewpub that you can stay overnight in w/out getting kicked out by the bartender? On a recent trip I knew I had to experience this place I had heard and read about since I always find the beer selection in Canada to be too sweet and lacking hops. A short water taxi ride from the main harbor near the Empress and you will be a short walk from Spinnakers in awe of the beauty. The restaurant and taproom are ellegant with some very unique dining and beer options. I tried the IPA, Mitchell's Extra Special Bitter, and the Doc Hadfield's Pale. While I like my IPA's much hoppier and all my ales much colder, this was a refreshing change from the psuedo microbrews I usually experience in Canada. The Pale was very good but again Canadians don't like as much hops as the Washington/Oregon crowd. The food was very good and I had an very unique pork curry and my kids loved the seafood bisque. The service was amazing and I always appreciate how friendly and polite the Canadians are. We didn't get to spend as much time there as I would have liked to try more beers (the choices are great) as we had travel wary kids w/ us but I will definitely be going back...hopefully to report on the Guesthouse portion too! Oatmeal Stout for breakfast anyone?



Diamond Knot Brewery and Ale House


DK's is one of my favorite breweries anywhere. Although I will admit it can be an aquired taste for some, if you are a true hophead, this is the place for you. The same things that will draw many in are the same that will discourage others at DK's but that is okay with them. The service can be great or surly depending on your server and the crowd/stress level of workers. Most patrons are regulars and smokers and you can get dirty looks just for wandering in, especially if you head for the nonsmoking section which they seem to resent. Throwing peanuts shells on the floor is not an option, it is required. While people like my wife find that offensive, I love it! The biggest attraction on the hophead front is the Industrial IPA, the king of hops! While the regular IPA is more than hoppy enough for the average hophead, the Industrial IPA is 7.5% alcohol and 75 IBU's! A few of these and you will be wondering what hit you and have bitter beerface for hours to come. These guys like their beer hoppy and even the ESB and seasonal Industrial HO HO (winter seasonal) are generously hopped. The food is also an experience not to be missed. The Texas Chainsaw Pizza is the hottest pizza you are likely to ever experience with loads of jalepenos and ferocious cajun sausage. Another feature you will either love or hate is the Stonegrill where you cook your own food on a hot rock. While this is fun and you know it will be cooked right, you have to wonder if they did this to avoid cooking as many servers used to hate when you ordered food. I think it is fun and unique but would appreciate if they gave me a little more space to put my food down after cooking it w/out fear of burning myself on a lava hot rock, especially after a few Industrials! Located right on Front Street near the Whidbey Island Ferry dock, if you miss the ferry you need to stop in...if you are a hophead you need to make it the destination. Tuesday is $2 pint nite....save me a seat in nonsmoking!



Scuttlebutt Brewing


Scuttlebutts is a great family owned and operated brewery/ale house. Located right on the docks on the Everett waterfront, this is a great place to go for northwest ales and friendly service. As I have stated in another section, my favorites on the menu are the Texas Toothpicks (jalepenos cut and deep fried like onion rings) and the Hummus platter. My beer choice is the Gale Force IPA, a well balanced IPA that is not as hoppy as some of the other local IPA's but very nice. At only 45 IBUs and 5.25% alcohol, it won't satisfy all hopheads the way a Diamond Knot Industrial will but for the average beer drinker or someone new to the IPA style, this is a great choice. The Tripel 7 (no doubt a Boeing joke) was the hit of the summer at 9% alcohol and having amazing smoothness, this beer could get you in big trouble if you didn't watch out! Not sure if this will be a seasonal or become a standard but lets hope for the standard. Scuttlebutts is completely kid friendly and even has toys for the little ones and smokefree. They have a great beer sampler if you want to experience all of the styles at a reasonable price and if not, they have no problem giving you a taster before you order. Take home a growler as an excuse to return here often.



Waimea Brewing Company


***Update March 06*** Waimea Brewing in Kirkland has closed***

We are guessing it was due to the excessive rent and poor marketing but really have no clue...we will miss the spam musubis and beer.***

The Waimea Brewing Company is just what this Hawaii boy needed. Living in Washington, I can find good Hawaiian food and I can find great beer but to find them together was not possible. That is until Waimea Brewing opened up in Kirkland a few months ago. While they are contracting out beer production at the time of this writing, the beer was excellent. I was told their IPA was being made by Boundry Bay...can't do much better than that! It is a fruity IPA, even more than a Bridgeport but in a very pleasing manner. I hope that they can maintain or improve on this very good IPA when they take over production on there own. I tried a sample of their Pale, Golden, and Wheat beers and all were above average. We ordered the Ahi Poke for an appetizer and were pleasantly surprised by the large size portion served. While it was very good, it was not traditional Hawaiian Poke and was more of a pile of sashimi with wasabi. Hey, I'm not complaining, just stating a fact. The menu was very extensive for a newly opened establishment with lots of appetizers and entrees to choose from. Being a big Ono fan, I ordered the grilled ono. The quality of the fish was very good but even though I asked for medium rare, it was a bit dry. My wife had the Mahi Mahi and hers was almost completely raw (not good for Mahi). We sent it back and it still came back near raw. I would like to believe that these things will be taken care of in time as they overcome the new restraunt growing pains. In any case, I would definitely recommend checking this place out. I didn't even mention the extensive guest tap menu including such hophead favorites as Hop Ottin IPA, Boundry Bay Imperial IPA, and Arrogant Bastard Ale. That in itself was impressive enough to get me to return as it takes guts to offer so many upscale choices that can directly compete with your own brews. Check 'em out brah! Broke da mouth!



Dog and Pony Alehouse


            The Dog and Pony Alehouse & Grill is a hop lovers dream.  This is magnified even greater if you are a hophead that hates smoke as it is a smokefree establishment.  When we went in they were out of a few IPAs but it looked like they usually have around 5 IPAs as well as many other hoppy and unique beers on tap.  Located in Renton, WA., it is a little hard to find for those of us not familiar with this part of the state but well worth the search.  Since it is not too far from the airport, it is definitely worth a stop before or after picking up guests.


            One of the best surprises we found on our visit was that they carried Stone Arrogant Bastard on tap!  I believe it is even possible to get your growler filled with anything they have on tap but you may want to double check this…after a few Arrogant Bastards, I can’t be trusted for accurate info!  The IPAs available included Boundry Bay Imperial IPA, La Conner IPA, Maritime Imperial IPA, and Big Time Bhagwan's Best IPA.  They also made a point of pointing out they don’t serve crap beer like Bud and even sanitized ales like Red Hook.  I consider myself a beer snob and always said if I owned my own pub, I would be much like the “Soup Nazi” and tell people “no beer for you!”, if they ordered a Bud or similar in my bar and send them packing.  While they are not that blunt, the message should get thru…this place is for real beer lovers.


            Knowing we were going to be drinking a bunch of hoppy ales, I opted for the Cajun Chicken Sandwich to eat.  It was a very nice hot mix of spiced chicken breast, chipolte mayo, and pepperjack cheese.  I would definitely have it again although next time I think I will try the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich instead.  Not sure what my buddy had (again, I will blame the beers) but he enjoyed his meal too.


  Next time I go, I hope to meet the owner that I hear was living on Kauai.  Being a former Oahu resident myself and frequent visitor of Kauai, I am sure we will have lots to talk about.  I would like to personally give him a big Mahalo for making one of the best alehouses I have found.  Now if I can just get him to open another a little further to the north…I would have a new hangout!


Check them out on the web for more info and current beer menu: