More space, pretty reclaimed wood countertops, and walls of hot rolled sheet metal. Oh, and 24 taps.

Have you ever tried to spend a Saturday traipsing Ballard's new brewery district? When the weather's nice, it can feel a little bit like the French Quarter during Mardi Gras...except with more strollers and decidedly fewer exposed bosoms. Hmmm. Maybe that's not the best simile? What I'm trying to say is things get crazy crowded. Forget finding a table at some of these breweries; it's hard to even wedge your body inside some of them.

Which is why these new developments are especially exciting. Visiting two of the city's best new breweries just got easier (and better), and another new brewing operation opened this week to welcome itinerant drinkers. Oh, and look—the forecast for this weekend calls for optimal beer garden weather.

At Reuben's Brews: A Cool New Taproom
So great is the demand for Reuben's beers that owner Adam Robbings expanded into an entirely new building, a former VW garage at 5010 14th Ave Northwest. Here he has way more room to brew staples like the Crikey IPA and Robust Porter, but for drinkers the real draw is the taproom with twice as many taps and seats as the previous one. The 24-tap lineup has special nozzles for speedy growler fills; growlers get purged with CO2 before each fill so the contents stay fresh longer. An exposed bank of valves and gauges display the level of carbonation in each keg (high for things like Berliner weisse, low for a stout). "We want to show people carbonation is an ingredient, effectively," says Robbings. On a more prosaic note, this taproom has a luxurious two bathrooms, and they're nicely appointed and even have changing tables. A projection screen is on the way, and the patio looks like a prime summer spot. Reuben's original location will be the site of its more experimental brewing, aka the sort of tinkering that drew Robbings to the business in the first place. He hired Dean Mochizuki, Pike's longtime head brewer, to head up the experimental efforts. Patio and taproom debut Saturday at noon. The new taproom will be open every day(!) until 9pm. The Reuben's Brews website has more details.

At Stoup: A Cool New Patio
Speaking of  incredible places to drink beer, nearby Stoup's long-awaited beer garden also opens Saturday at noon. It's got Adirondack chairs (both singles and doubles!), picnic tables and highboy tables, and planters of bamboo. Most importantly, it's got a lot of space. Stoup is releasing its dynamite single-hop Citra IPA to mark the occasion, and calling in the Fez on Wheels food truck and a caricature artist for further revelry. There will also be sodas from Soda Jerk and ice cream from Balleywood Creamery. On Sunday, aka Mother's Day, pints will be $1 off and freshly shucked and grilled Taylor's oysters will be $2 apiece starting at 1pm. Check the Stoup website for hours.

Lucky Envelope: A Cool New Brewery
Ballard's newest brewery is just down the street from Stoup, and opened its doors May 7, just in time for Seattle Beer Week. Lucky Envelope Brewing does everything from IPAs to British styles to nongimmicky flavored brews. Looking forward to checking these guys out; Washington Beer Blog has a few pictures and some thoughts on the Helles lager and Thaiger Mom Trippel, and here's the Lucky Envelope website for hours and other useful details. 

 

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