There are two ways in which Seattle and Portland bars and restaurants outperform just about any other city’s: 1. They play better music. 2. They have better beer. Sure, other cities have bars and restaurants where good music is played and where good beer is served. But here, it’s par for the course. Expected. If any bar or restaurant has bad beer, and plays crappy music, we are surprised.
I remember my first few months here learning these two truths, and how happy this knowledge made me. And now I realize how much I take these two things for granted, and how much I’ll miss them both next time I walk into a bar where some horrible Billy Joel song is being unironically blasted and there’s nothing but Bud Light on tap.
But forget the music for a minute. Let’s talk about beer. Here are the five local brews I’ll pine for from the other coast.
1. Elysian Jasmine IPA: The floral notes in this beer always remind me of sucking on honeysuckle as a kid. Eat with Thai food; be happy.
2. Ninkasi Total Domination IPA: I was a late bloomer to the superhoppy IPAs out here, but this
Portland Eugene brewery converted me.
Jubilation Ale Jubelale: Another Portland Bend brewery, Deschutes’ seasonal is a beer that I now associate closely with Christmas.
4. Alaskan Amber: I’m not even saying this is one of the world’s greatest beers. And it’s not made here. But it’s a beer I closely associate with Seattle coziness. It’s a Saturday afternoon, no-big-deal, let’s-play-Scrabble-because-we’re-nerds-but-are-old-enough-not-to-care beer. Alaskan Amber is also—trade secret—the perfect hair-of-the-dog brew.
5. Fremont Brewing Summer Solstice: If my Seattle summer 2011 was summed up in a beer, it’d be this guy.
Two other breweries I can’t not mention: Chuckanut in Bellingham and Silver City Brewing in Silverdale. Check them out if you haven’t. Great stuff.