Where to Drink Beer in Seattle This Fall
You could probably use a drink.
It's been a difficult year for Seattle breweries. The pandemic you may have heard about and a general decline in craft beer sales has meant a bit of a rough patch, and with so many suds-makers closing and opening, it's almost impossible to keep track of them all. That being said, you could definitely use a beer, and the best thing you can do for a brewery, whether old or new, is drinking a few. So go do the right thing -- you've earned it.
Fair Isle Brewing
After several delays, this long-awaited brewery opened its stunning, vaguely (and appropriately) farmhouse-inspired taproom earlier this year to much acclaim thanks to their funky Farmhouse-style and wild beers, mostly saisons and sours that are made almost exclusively with Northwest ingredients, many of which have actually been foraged by the brewers. Highlights include the oak-aged Elenor ale fermented on blue elderberries, and IPA-ish Bobbi made with three kinds of hops and barley/malt from the Skagit Valley.
How to order: In their taproom/beer garden
Stoup's beautifully balanced beers have made it a local favorite, and a stand out even in a neighborhood bursting with breweries. It was founded by a chemist and a former biology teacher (with some help from a certified-Cicerone), whose science background can be seen throughout their no-frills taproom, including the beaker-style measurement systems on their glasses. You can fill said glasses with any of a dozen beers they've got on tap, including the Citra IPA, which tastes like sunshine in a glass.
How to order: The taproom is open daily, but you can also order online for pick-up or delivery.
Opened in a converted warehouse by a 2012 National Homebrew Competition/2013 US Open Beer Championship winner, this Kickstarter-funded taproom is serving some seriously sweet small-batch suds, all of which are posted on a stat board listing things like price, ABV, IBU, and OG. If that sounds too complicated just take our advice and go for one of their awarding-winning year-round offerings, like the American-style Crikey IPA or the Robust Porter that harkens back to Reuben's homebrew roots.
How to order: In person in the taproom, or online for contactless pick-up.
The word "populuxe" is a portmanteau of the words "popular" and "deluxe," which are exactly what the homebrewers behind Populuxe Brewing want their nano-suds to be when they first opened in a tiny blue house over almost eight years ago. Well, they certainly got their wish, moving into a 4,000 square foot space next to the original one, and increasing production to the point they've gone from "nano" to just "small" -- a category for which they won first place at 2018's Washington Beer Awards. Their beers rotate regularly, but look out for refreshing American Blonde, or the Beer Snob Brow, which they playfully named after one of the regulars at their taproom.
How to order: Visit the taproom
Urban Family Brewing Co.
This brewery has moved across the ship canal to Ballard and into a modern new black-clad space, where they host food trucks and pour two dozen interesting, often distinctly European-style beers with Northwest ingredients. Try their Perpetuation, a sour made with three kinds of berries, or if you're feeling really bold, the 15% ABV Celestial Enlightenment, a stout aged in Westland Whiskey barrels.
How to order: Visit the taproom, or order online for pick-up.
Rooftop Brewing Company
One of Seattle's best rooftop bars, RB features 10 taps pouring a rotating selection seriously good brews, including five IPAs, a creamsicle pale ale, and an impressive variety of other styles, all of which taste just a little better each time you catch a glimpse of Salmon Bay and the Fremont Cut between the buildings across the way.
How to order: A limited number of cans and bottles are available via curbside pickup or local delivery.
Fremont Brewing Company
Ahhhhh, Fremont, center of the universe. And arguably the center of Seattle's brewing universe, thanks to its series of small-batch artisan beers made with local ingredients made by a long-time environmentalist/community organizer in a seriously sustainable way. Highlights include the Universale Pale Ale, a distinct Northwest twist on the classic pale ale, and the Interurban Pale, which is named after Fremont’s most famous outdoor sculpture. They also brew a slew of seasonal beers and make the occasional "wonderbeer" that they only sell at its Urban Beer Garden, or UBG.
How to order: The Urban Beer Garden is open, and you can order beer to go at FremontBeerToGo.com.
Holy Mountain Brewing Company
Located in a garage that backs up to a railbed, this pristinely white/comfortably modern brewery & taproom is one of the city’s most beloved brewers, despite doing things a bit differently than most of their Northwest counterparts. They have a special focus on yeast-driven beers including saisons and farmhouse ales, and most of their brews undergo secondary fermentation, which means they’re aged until the brewers think they're ready, so you’ll just have to show up and take what you can get. Happily, of course.
How to order: The taproom is temporarily closed, but you can order online for drive-thru pick-up.
Cloudburst is helmed by a former Elysian brewer who cares way more about beer than anything else (like comfortable chairs), but it's totally cool, since the result is a collection of impressively inventive small-batch beers often inspired by seasonal ingredients sourced from Pike Place Market down the street from their original location. Current highlights include a big and bold dark beer ironically called "Muh Freedoms," and their first Fresh Hop style of the year.
How to order: Both locations are open for pick-up, but the beer garden at the new Shilshole location is open for your outdoor drinking pleasure as well.
In just a few years, Standard Brewing has gone from a tasting room just barely big enough to a hold half-dozen customers, and making suds the same way you beat Donkey Kong (hint: one barrel at a time), to taking over the entire building and serving both cocktails and selection of sandwiches, to go with its constantly rotating list of seriously good beers.
How to order: They are currently open at limited capacity, and offer curbside pick-up.
Opened after an argument settled over guess how many beers, this SoDo beer-slinger... um, slings a selection of year-round brews and close to a dozen other seasonals on shelves/in bars throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, Vancouver, BC, and Michigan, as well as from its rough-hewn taproom, The Woods.
How to order: They currently offer free delivery in Seattle every Thursday.
Georgetown Brewing Company
What would we do without our beloved Manny’s? This incredibly popular pale made for "normal people," and all of Georgetown's other beers are crafted in an industrial 'hood south of town, where they haven't opened a brewpub quite yet (or maybe ever?), but where you can usually drop by for all the samples you need to decide which one you’d like to take home in a growler. Which is a pretty good move since it's hard to find bottles/cans of this stuff anywhere.
How to order: Growlers available to go from their taproom.
Machine House Brewery
Named after a specific portion of an industrial space in Georgetown that housed Rainier way back in the day, today MHB uses said space to turn out cask-conditioned ales in the traditional English-style, including a surprising light Dark Mild, the Best Bitter brewed with British Crystal malts and First Gold hops, and several seasonal brews, all crafted on site by a guy who learned his trade in the Norfolk that's definitely not in Virginia. What makes these beers different is that a secondary fermentation happens in the barrels/kegs, which are stored in a cold room, like the one anyone making Norfolk jokes invariably has to face.
How to order: The taproom is open with limited capacity, but curbside pick-up and once weekly delivery options are also available.
Tin Dog Brewing
Until a few years ago, who knew that a relatively unknown dive in this working class 'hood was turning out one of America's best burgers? Well, we did, obviously. And who knew a relatively unknown brewery in the same 'hood was turning out some of the city's best beers? Clearly, that question is rhetorical, so we'll just skip to telling you about their boundary pushing brews, like the barrel-aged Melange Deux, which just won a gold medal at the Washington Brewers Choice Awards, or their flagship farmhouse style Saison. Just don't count on finding 'em at your favorite bar -- their taproom is basically the only place to get their beers.
How to order: Their taproom is open, and a limited number of bottles & cans can be ordered online for pick-up.
WSB started a few years ago, and almost immediately opened a second location -- the Tapshack -- in the shingled beachside space that used to be Slices pizza. It only has a half-dozen or so seats inside, but boasts a sprawling patio overlooking the Sound outside, featuring a deck and even its own "beach" with a row of red lounge chairs. Oh, and the best part? It still serves pizza, only this time you can pair it with the solid lineup of craft suds, like the smooth Avalon Way Amber with just a hint of hop, or the full-bodied Sounders Stout, though if you're watching the Sounders you might want to go with the Triangle Tripel 'cause at 8.2% it's got the higher ABV.
How to order: In person at both locations.