Bars surely have their charms, but beer becomes personal when it’s consumed in the very room where it was created, poured by the person who coaxed it into being. Brewery taprooms are traditionally lacking in niceties—like food or ambience—but many let you bring your dog, your kid, or your dinner, often from a food truck parked out front. One amenity you will find at most brewing spaces: some sort of outdoor seating (usually used for production during brewing hours).
8103 Eighth Ave S, South Park,
A friendly crowd assembles around a butcher-block bar top that could be the kitchen at your hip friend’s loft, minus the giant projection screen, picnic tables, and brewing tanks. Beers don’t stray far from the classics—blondes, IPAs, reds—but they’re uniformly good, and one is always on nitro.
DRINK Order something lightly hopped, which is almost everything on draft.
DRINK OUTSIDE Burdick shares an outdoor space with neighbor Lowercase Brewing.
8103 Eighth Ave S, South Park,
Within these cramped quarters flow thoughtful beers, like a brown ale made with cold-brewed coffee to drive home its toasted, malty notes. There’s a TV, a few bar snacks, and lots of back-and-forth between the staff and patrons here and at adjacent Burdick Brewery.
DRINK Not many places do Mexican lager, but this one is perfect for sunshine.
DRINK OUTSIDE The front garden is large, inviting, and amply decorated, thanks to a landlord who owns a garden sculpture company.
Rooftop Brew Company
6 Dravus St, Queen Anne, 206-276-4091; rooftopbrewco.com
This has to be the most charming possible configuration of a tiny, converted garage and a shipping container. The taproom, with its slanted roof, exposed rafters, and hodgepodge of brewing equipment, has a garretlike quality more common to nineteenth-century children’s literature than beer production facilities. Creativity rules the beer list, from a steam lager to a rye IPA to a porter made with a roast from Makeda Coffee.
DRINK The Hoppin’ Honey is a mead-beer hybrid called braggot that tastes of honey and dates back to medieval times.
DRINK OUTSIDE Even on rainy days—the secluded entrance is covered, heated, and strung with white lights.
1108 NW 52nd St, Ballard, 206-457-5524; stoupbrewing.com
The taproom is just the right blend of industrial (actual brewing equipment) and retro (cool seats and light fixtures, an even cooler wall of vintage beer posters). The beer list pulls off a similar balance of classics and underappreciated styles, but both are proof that the brewers, a chemist and a cicerone, love to tinker until they nail it.
DRINK Weissbier, German-style wheat ale, is having a local moment, and Stoup’s version is a great entree into its banana-fragrant charms.
DRINK OUTSIDE There’s outdoor seating in front, but the big news is the plan for a 5,000-square-foot beer garden—with its own taps—in a side yard. It will hopefully be open by the Fourth of July.
West Seattle Brewing Company
4415 Fauntleroy Way SW, West Seattle, 206-405-0972; westseattlebrewing.com
On a prominent corner near the West Seattle Bridge, a former mini mart is being slowly, painstakingly reverted to its former wide-windowed, aged-brick charm. Decor remains sparse, but you’re here for the beer: The tasting room bar pours well-crafted staples (especially the American wheat) and some more adventurous outings—a tripel, an imperial stout aged in a bourbon barrel.
DRINK The Ratteburg, a Northwest riff on German dark ale. The name sorta means “Rat City” in German.
DRINK OUTSIDE As soon as the owners get city approval for some sidewalk seating.