A Six-Pack of: Taprooms with Great Food
Seattle Met is celebrating Seattle Beer Week with a daily six-pack of brewery or beer recommendations.
Once upon a time, taprooms offered a few perfunctory snacks—maybe pretzels—to wash down your IPA. Then, taproom culture became a thing. We arrived with our kids and our dogs...and we were hungry. A calendar of food trucks is the standard way breweries keep customers fed. But a few spots have developed their own kitchens, or collaborated with local popups or food businesses to set up a menu as distinct as the taplist.
Cloudburst Brewing (Shilshole)
Any brewery can have a food truck outside. But the one parked at this brewery’s Shilshole taproom is unusual for a few reasons. First of all, it’s stationary, affixed inside Cloudburst’s walled-in beer garden. Second, it’s less a truck and more a satellite kitchen for Plenty of Clouds, the lovely Sichuan and Yunnan–inspired restaurant on Capitol Hill. This means customers can wash down Steve Luke’s ingenious beer with dan dan noodles, Sichuan pork wontons, or a stacked rice bowl. The salty rice krispie treats with dark chocolate, peanuts, and toasted sesame deserve their own truck.
An unusual alliance between Weimann Maclise Restaurants (Stoneburner, Poquitos, Rhein Haus, etc.) and Stoup Brewing yielded a handsome taproom with soaring ceilings, some of the region’s most dexterous IPAs, and nachos par excellence. Company chef Jason Stoneburner isn’t a bar food guy at heart, but great things happen when he applies his training (not to mention his ingredient sourcing) to casual fare like soft pretzels, lemongrass beef jerky, and pizzas of the round and square variety. The soft serve and the patio overlooking a big plaza are both great for kids.
Fair Isle Brewing
There’s a line down the street for Outsider Barbecue and a pastry popup by the front door selling s’mores cookies and sticky toffee pudding. Fair Isle’s beer defies Seattle’s convention with its emphasis on saisons and farmhouse-style ales, fermented with a house culture of wild yeast, rather than lots of IPA. The taproom similarly circumvents the usual food truck schedule and instead focuses on popups (Fair Isle’s a rare brewery that has a permitted commercial kitchen). The weekly food lineup reads like a crystal ball of Seattle’s next big names, from Beast and Cleaver’s burgers to Marimakan’s Singaporean-style crabs. Note: Fair Isle is 21 and over.
Metiér Brewing Co.
For his new Central District taproom, brewer and founder Rodney Hines tapped another local Black-owned business to supply the food. Umami Kushi owner Harold Fields makes Japanese-style okazu pan—fried buns filled with anything from short ribs to cajun chicken to black-eyed peas. They’re fantastic drinking snacks alongside Metier’s range of adept brews. Fields does a few more only-for-Metiér dishes like a smoked salmon macaroni salad and housemade pretzel twists.
When the meticulous brewery expanded into a full bar, it added food assembled in a tiny open kitchen. Talented chefs like Jason Stratton and Wiley Frank have passed through here, tweaking and perfecting the concise lineup of (beer-friendly) tacos and sandwiches. We’re talking smoked carrots and chickpea fritters in the veggie taco, and another with hariyali chicken and mint-yogurt crema. Current chef Jonathan Ragsdale has a particular talent for seafood, but his weekly creations (chicken miso soup, roasted bone marrow) populate the specials board.
The food side of the operation began as a quirk of Washington liquor licensing. But over the years, the menu of multi-layered bar food has acquired its own orbit: People are as likely to come in for a blackened salmon sandwich or burger as they are a draft saison. Perihelion now teeters on the cusp of “taproom” and “brewpub” but the rugged room, with its slender covered patio, retains the minimalist feel of a place meant for drinking beer.
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