Seattle is known for a number of things; Bill Gates, grunge music, coffee, suicide and rain (lots and lots of rain). To many, including Seattleites, you have part of the picture but the whole painting is far from complete with that claim. The Emerald City runs on the life and soul of people that can’t be bothered by the status quo. They having a seeming desire to be as different from the stereotypes of their fair city as possible. For every Starbucks there is a independent roaster like Lighthouse or Cafe Lardo that tell, no demand, that their coffee is better because of the love and small, punk rock nature of their life lines. In essence, people do their thing and don’t give a damn what you think about them.
My six days in Seattle was a mix of walking up and down some hilly streets with the middle parts being accompanied by some of the finest food and most delicious beers that anyone with their six senses could ask for. Couple this with low to mid 70 degree temperatures and mostly sunny skies and there is little more than a massage on Mt Rainier that could be the proverbially cherry on the top of a stay.
Seattle is an extremely walkable city (bring some good shoes) once you are in your spot that you want to be. Ditch the idea of a rental car and use your ride sharing app of choice to get to further away locations and then get lost in the adventure of the neighborhood. Staying in Belltown allowed us easy access to Downtown, Capital Hill, Lower Queen Anne and (if you are feeling extra walky) Pioneer Square. I also recommend a day in Fremont and Ballard as restaurants, breweries, specialty shops galore will entice you through a walk about their neck of the woods.
But since this is a beer blog I must talk about beer, something that Seattle has plenty of, and damn fine beer at that. Holy Mountain in Queen Anne probably takes the cakes for my favorite stop with their wide range of choices from English Milds to Belgian styled Sours. The white, subway like tiles that line the walls to their taproom offer a bright atmosphere for beers that are named and branded with dark meanings like Demonteller and the White Lodge. A Tuesday afternoon saw their taproom full of people from all walks of life enjoying their suds no matter how “metal” or “dark” the brewery may seem. Business men and women brushing shoulders with bearded dudes wearing black t-shirts (you know, the beer type) all for their love of beer.
Cloudburst Brewing, right on the edge of Belltown and Downtown, knows a thing or two about hops and then takes that knowledge makes a joke and then makes delicious beers with fun names like Physical Challege, Dealbreaker or No and Enigma Wrapped. A non IPA drinker might find them off putting by just seeing their tap list but I would make a wager that the most hardcore anti-bitter beer drinker could find an IPA or pale ale at Cloudburst that could make them say “I guess I like IPAs now.” I also truly love the concept behind their Market Saison (not on tap during my visit) which is a rotating series where a saison is brewed with different ingredients from the Pike Place Market right up the road.
Fremont Brewing in, you guessed it, Fremont have outstanding beers with one of the best patios I’ve ever seen at a brewery, maybe even any business. Ruebens Brews in Ballard has, quite possibly, my favorite Gose that I’ve had in a long time. Even Pike Brewing in Downtown offers a historic, old school setting for some of Seattle’s longest made craft beers. In a sense, Seattle knows beer.
For a long time we have judged Seattle. For those that have never been we assume that it is a constantly raining haven for tech geeks and those with no will to live because buckets of rain falling from grey skies. The thing is, Seattle doesn’t give a fuck what you think about them. The people and the businesses will keep on doing what they are doing, regardless of what the outsiders think, and they will reap the benefits. Seattlelites are proud to be from Seattle and are happy to share it with you as long as you want to come into their city with an open mind, love and respect.
Seattle reminds me a lot of my teens. There are certain things that are expected of you that you will do but at the end of the day you want to listen to punk rock or metal, dress in band t-shirts, grow your hair out and do what makes you happy. You don’t care what others think. Seattle is the teen in you but all the time and they make no apologies about it, nor do they have to.