The Absolute Best Breweries in Seattle

Where to find the best IPA, sour, or pale ale in town.

Sometimes it feels like you can’t walk more than two blocks in Seattle without running into a world-class brewery—and while obviously this is a good problem to have, it can often leave even the seasoned beer drinker overwhelmed by choice. That said, let’s narrow down your beer crawl list just a tad. While 174 might be a great number to brag about at family gatherings, it’s simply too many breweries to visit in one day (or one year). Ahead, 12 Seattle breweries that are a must-visit the next time you’re jonesing for a brew.

Ballard is without a doubt the most dense neighborhood in terms of breweries, and it would probably take you hours to visit just the ones within these few city blocks. That said, start with Stoup: home of the Citra IPA, a “Greenhouse” (i.e. private garden space), and general good vibes. There’s almost always a food truck parked outside, too; check the schedule here.

This family owned brewery opened its doors in 2009—like, at the height of the recession—and is now the busiest spot in the neighborhood, which is, if nothing else, a testament to the power of really good beer. Nowadays, Fremont Brewing is all about local ingredients, sustainability, and special releases; check this calendar for a schedule of the latter.

Reuben’s has the kind of outdoor space that feels like a home away from home—if your home has 24 beers on tap, that is. Check here for the taplist, food truck schedule, and information about Thank You Thursdays, a program in which Reuben’s hosts a different charity every month and donates $1 per beer to their cause every third Thursday.

For a short, adventurous, and always delicious tap list, look no further than Holy Mountain Brewing. Tucked away with very subtle signage (don’t miss the turn!) on Elliot in Interbay, the taproom is the result of three Seattle beer veterans putting their heads together and coming up with some of the most interesting beers in town. FYI, this spot is not really the right one for your rowdy family gathering—it’s 21+ only and no pets allowed.

Rooftop Brewing famously started as a “nano-brewery” in a garage behind a 7-11 in Queen Anne, the neighborhood they still call home today. Since then, the operation has obviously grown a hell of a lot, but the commitment to good beer sans frills remains. Plus, now the rooftop is not just a pipe dream, but a reality. Brews and views: the ideal combo.

Cloudburst Brewing

Belltown & Ballard

When Cloudburst opened its doors back in 2016, it was one of the most talked about debuts in recent memory. Five years later, it still lives up to the hype: The beer is still boundary pushing, and founder Steve Luke is still feeling very creative when it comes to new recipes. Oh, and we’re not the only ones singing his praises—the Great American Beer Festival just named Cloudburst “Brewery of the Year” and crowned Luke “Brewer of the Year.”

Standard Brewing

Central District

Standard Brewing is the microbrewery with the trappings of a much larger operation: cocktails, an expansive food menu, a covered, heated patio, and, of course, lots of beer. Come for the sours, which are delectably funky, and stay awhile for less niche, very drinkable lagers and stouts.

As the largest independent brewery in Washington State, Georgetown consistently produces, in their own words, “darn tasty” beer. In this town, Bodhizafa is everyone’s go-to easy IPA, and Manny’s is just as ubiquitous, named after co-founder Manuel Chao, who moved to Seattle in the 1990 to attend UW and, lucky for us, hasn’t stopped thinking about beer since.

The unofficial home of the haziest IPA in Ballard, Urban Family is (mostly) all about two different beers: the aforementioned hazy, cloudy, citrus-y IPA, and the sour, slightly funky farmhouse ale. Try one of each, grab some food truck food, and settle in for an afternoon (or evening) or pure deliciousness.

Machine House Brewing specializes in cask-conditioned ales, meaning beers are room temp, unfiltered, and very British. Some say it’s the best way to drink a beer, at least compared to a keg—since the latter is essentially one giant beer can, and the former is undergoing a second fermentation in the barrel—but that's for you to decide. Browse four seasonal ales and three signatures here.

Tin Dog Brewing

South Park

Small-batch, Belgium-inspired brews are the name of the game at Tin Dog Brewing, and you can’t (or rather, shouldn’t) exit this establishment without drinking a saison. Expect pours “inspired by pre-modern European Farmhouse brewers of the past” at their South Park taproom and bring the whole family—dogs and kids welcome.

Redhook Brewlab

Capitol Hill

You might be more likely to visit Capitol Hill for your favorite dive bar rather than brewery, but hear us out: if Redhook isn’t already on your radar, it should be. Established in 1981, it’s been around long before lots of folks even knew what craft beer was—and, like a fine wine (or, rather, fine brew), Redhook’s ales seem to only get better with time. Visit their new-ish taproom and pub to try the latest releases on tap, like the Storm Surge Hazy IPA.

Emma Banks is a contributor for Thrillist.