A Six-Pack of: Great New Breweries
Seattle Met is celebrating Seattle Beer Week with a daily six-pack of brewery or beer recommendations.
Ballard's brewery district makes its own weather, but at this stage of Seattle's craft beer evolution, nearly every neighborhood has a brewery to call its own. Even more impressive—the beer is uniformly good. These six newcomers display the depth and breadth of what it means to be a brewery in Seattle right now.
Project 9 Brewing Company
Just a few months in, it’s already the platonic ideal of a brewery: A handsome vintage auto shop offers indoor and outdoor seating—and a row of retro video games upstairs. The IPAs, pale ales, and pilsners embrace modern hops, but Project 9 isn’t too cool to have fun with adjuncts (that's the term for flavors, like chocolate and peanut butter, you can add to beer). A recent PB&J sour was weirdly compelling; others play with flavors like key lime and rainbow sherbet. Out front, a non-mobile food truck outpost of Oregon’s venerated Sammich offers its signature Italian beef, plus other sandwiches that are big in flavor and just plain big. How odd Maple Leaf didn’t have a neighborhood brewery before this—and how lucky it is to host such a formidable new arrival.
Fast Fashion Brewing
It got off to a rather enigmatic start. Fast Fashion is a joint effort between Matt Storm (owner of the Masonry pizzeria) and brewer Brian Strumke, who earned national attention as a nomadic brewer before settling down with his own operation, Stillwater. Now Fast Fashion has its own taproom near Climate Pledge Arena and another about to open at its actual brewery in SoDo. As the woman running the taproom explains to customers one evening, “We make hazy IPA and some beer for everyone else.” She’s joking, mostly. Fast Fashion is so new it has barely brewed any repeat batches, but those plush, cloudy IPA styles share emphasis with lagers that lean into hops.
23rd Avenue Brewery
Part of a taproom’s appeal is the direct engagement with a cool local business. None so direct as a visit to 23rd Avenue’s bedroom-size headquarters in the Central District. Mario Savage—one of four brothers who own this nano-enterprise—will demonstrate how he brews, kegs, cans, and receives customers all in this same tiny space. 23rd, one of only two Black-owned breweries in Seattle, has just a handful of options at a time, but brews like the pineapple-peach IPA and the hazy, excellent Hellcat Energy IPA prove they can pull off range, even in tight environs. Right now the taproom is more for retail and growler fills (and cool events like comedy shows) but the brothers plan to add more seating this summer.
Here Today Brewery and Kitchen
Overlooking the waterfront—and a 10-minute walk from Seattle Center—you’ll find a brewery conceived by Chris Elford, who devised nearby bars Navy Strength, Vinnie's, and Tradewinds Tavern, and seems to love beer and cocktails in equal measure. He and brewer Mario Cortes embrace German styles and IPAs with very different personalities. Somehow the resulting beer balances complex with crushable, like a saison made entirely with Mexican ingredients. This taproom exceeds the bare-bones model, with cool booths from a vintage McDonald’s and cocktails and bar food that hold their own. The patio will be a force come summer.
You know the formula: food truck, patio, a floor you can clean with a hose. But brewer Derek Brown embraces beer with lower ABVs; he and partner Collette Boilini want this to be a place where you can catch up with friends over a couple of beers and not lose your mind the next day. The couple’s resume includes some of Seattle’s most impressive breweries (Cloudburst, Holy Mountain), so clearly lower alcohol doesn’t equal weak sauce. Every beer on the taplist is deeply interesting and displays serious depth of flavor. That list generally includes a bevy of lagers, various hopped ales, and radiant rarities like a smoked altbier.
The Good Society Brewery and Public House
Guide to Local Beer
Here's what's on tap for the rest of Seattle Beer Week
Best of the Beer Aisle | New Breweries | Local Lagers | Breweries with Food | Family-Friendly Taprooms