Photo by Hilary McMullen; Syled by Callie Meyere

Winter’s Ale

On a brisk day or a blustery evening, nothing warms you from within quite like a robust winter beer. Get to know these malty, satisfying seasonal ales and the Seattle taphouses that specialize in them.

By Amanda Zurita

Winter Ale, Fremont Brewing

1050 N 34th St;

Tasting notes: You’ll feel inspired to curl up with a book under a warm blanket while sipping this roasty, subtly spicy dark ale with hints of brown sugar and dried fruit.

Taproom vibe: At this beloved brewpub near Lake Union, gather around the indoor fireplace or have a seat out in the heated, covered beer garden. The bar serves satisfying sandwiches with cured meats from Salumi Delicatessen.

Barleywine, Machine House Brewery

5840 Airport Way S;

Tasting notes: This heady, high-alcohol ale is crafted with barley for a malty sweetness—think dark fruit with caramel, leading to a velvety finish.

Taproom vibe: Set in a stately old factory building in Georgetown, this dog-friendly space with stained-glass windows exudes charm. You can bring food from one of the many restaurants within walking distance.

Kilt Lifter Scottish Ale, Pike Brewing Company

1415 First Ave;

Tasting notes: Sweet malt with toffee flavors along with peat-smoke accents give this full-bodied ale an earthy, piney-hop finish.

Taproom vibe: Antique bicycles, vintage steins and mugs, colorful pennants and flags, and eclectic beer memorabilia hang from the walls and lofty ceiling of this upbeat pub by Pike Place Market. The Dungeness crab chowder will warm your soul on a chilly afternoon.

Robust Porter, Reuben’s Brews

5010 14th Ave NW;

Tasting notes: Brewed with eight malts for a deep caramel flavor, this lightly toasty brew features notes of coffee and chocolate on the nose.

Taproom vibe: Friends and strangers rub elbows and hoist mugs at the communal picnic tables in this timber-ceiling beer hall in Ballard. Covered seating makes the spacious patio a welcome option even on cool winter days. The new Reuben’s Eats food truck provides sustenance.

Dragonstooth Stout, Elysian Brewing

1221 E Pike St;

Tasting notes: Elysian’s creamy version of the mightiest of winter beers offers hints of oatmeal and warm bread in a midnight-black brew with a light-tan head.

Taproom vibe: The acclaimed brewery’s stylish Capitol Hill beer hall features soaring floor-to-ceiling windows, cozy wooden booths, and 20 rotating taps. Try the poutine topped with Beecher’s cheese curds.

Pint and Gather

Two of Seattle’s many annual beer events celebrate cool-weather sipping. Held in Magnuson Park in December, the Winter Beer Festival taps into the spirit of the holidays, offering tastings from more than 20 breweries. And in early February at Seattle Center, raise a glass of tripel, dubbel, saison, or wit while toasting Belgium’s brewing prowess during Belgian Fest. Visit for details about both events.


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