Photo: Kate Borkowski

Breaking Down Seattle’s Beer Scene

Malt. Hops. Yeast. Water. Four simple ingredients put on this earth to serve a much larger purpose together than apart. A combination so powerful, men and women have been drawn in groups to lowly lit chambers to experience this magical infusion in person, often pairing these concoctions with a salty wafer or deeply fried vegetable.

In the Emerald City, our brew masters elevate the process with flavors so robust, rich and local – and with such a variety of choices, I thought I could drop some personal knowledge to help you Hop down the path to beer greatness. See what I did there? Beer Pun, for the win.

According to this recent report, Seattle has the most breweries (174) of any city in America, and 10th most breweries (4.6) per capita. So you’re probably thinking, how do I even dive in? Well, let me be your Wendy Peffercorn and save you from yourself.

Beer Treks:

If you would like to hop around Seattle and explore our beer culture utilizing your own senses and selections, may I humbly recommend the following treks:

  • Ballard Breweries – With 11 breweries within 5 miles, this neighborhood is the ultimate urban hike with the reward of incredible pints and tasters. A few to check-out include Stoup, Lucky Envelope, Bad Jimmy’s, Peddler Brewing, and Reuben’s.
  • Pike Place Market – Sure you want to throw a fish and snap a selfie at the original Starbucks store, but you can also nuzzle up to some solid pints courtesy of Old Stove Brewing. Their new location in the MarketFront has sweeping views of Elliott Bay, the Olympic Mountains, and downtown Seattle. Then swing by the legendary Pike Brewing for another pull of the Pils, or perhaps their Space Needle Golden IPA (when in Rome, right Mr. Burgundy?). Then finish off your trek with the mad scientists from Cloudburst Brewing. No frills in this joint. Straight flavor.

Tastings and Taprooms:

The Taproom at Pike Place along First Avenue is another great place to taste a variety of craft brews from Washington State – and beyond. Rob Leslie

Perhaps your idea of trekking is shifting from one bar seat to the other. No worries, I got you. Seattle has some phenomenal locations that allow you to minimize calf injuries by focusing efforts on 16oz curls. Here’s a few recommendations for your seated pleasure:

  • Beer Junction, West Seattle – Not only is West Seattle one of our city’s finest neighborhood gems, but Beer Junction simply brings it with an unbelievable collection of local and rare craft beers.
  • Chuck’s Hop Shop, Greenwood – As if the name didn’t say it all, but Chuck’s is the true epicenter for beer geeks. With over 50 tap handles and coolers on coolers on coolers of local and national craft beer, your time will not be wasted. Oh, and food trucks. They have rotating food trucks on the daily.
  • Latona Pub, Green Lake – This 30-year-old neighborhood landmark continues to pour some of the best local craft beer around and has an outstanding kitchen to match. Fair warning – kids are not allowed, and as a father of a 6-year-old, I curse them and thank them in the same breath.
  • Seattle Beer Co., Downtown – Back towards Pike Place Market we go for a very cool taproom that exclusively features Washington beers and ciders. Seattle Beer Co. is a great place to challenge your palate to a wide variety of seasonal and year-round selections. And if you still need more hop in your life, jump aboard a Road Dogs Brewery Tour that conveniently leaves daily from SBC.
  • The Pine Box, Capitol Hill – SBW Founder, Ian Roberts, is more than an esteemed beer aficionado. He converted a former mortuary that once held the funeral of Bruce Lee into one of the city’s best taprooms, with an unreal list of local and national selections. It’s two parts swanky, one part creepy, which is all the ingredients for an epic night.

Well friends, I’ve taken you as far as I can go. It’s now time for you to jump into the Seattle beer scene and experience the ride for yourself. Just remember, Seattleites are wonderfully passive aggressive… until it comes to our beer. In other words, Go Hop Yourself!

Courtesy Seattle Beer Co.

About the Author

Rob Leslie

Rob Leslie is Director, Partner and Visitor Services at Visit Seattle. He adamantly believes Edgar Martinez should be inducted into the Hall of Fame, Singles is greatest soundtrack ever produced for a film, and life is always better with a Seattle brew in hand.

More Posts By Rob Leslie


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