When it comes to discussing Seattle neighborhoods that boast a lot of options for drinking great beer, you typically hear people mention areas like Ballard, Fremont, West Seattle or Capitol Hill. You likely won’t get many people pronouncing that Lake City, Ravenna, Maple Leaf or Pinehurst are the craft beer center of Seattle. But, this is just another thing I love about Seattle. There are a lot of worthy bars that go a bit under the radar to many of us because we don’t live near them. A few Saturdays ago a group of us decided to explore the northeast Seattle neighborhoods for a lengthy urban beer hike on a perfectly sunny Seattle spring day. While the official Urban Beer Hiker wasn’t able to make it, he fully approved of our plan.
This hike was 3.7 miles altogether, with several of the bars coming in clustered bunches. Many beers were sacrificed for this beer hike. Visit Flickr to check out photos from the hike.
We kicked things off with lunch at Hudson Public House. Owned by Seth Howard, who also runs the Collins Pub located just off Pioneer Square, Hudson offers around 15 taps of beer to go along with a food menu that is definitely a step above your average neighborhood pub. The beer selection is well-curated and is typically more exciting than some places that have twice the amount of taps. The lunch menu focuses on simple, light sandwiches, salads, and their popular burger. You are always sure to find a few good hoppy beers at Hudson, but the style selection is varied with a concentration on West-coast beers. I started off with a Cascade Spring Gose, which at just 4.5% ABV seemed like a good way ease into the day. If you are not familiar with the style, a gose is a German style of wild ale that traditionally has additions of coriander and salt. They are typically refreshingly low in alcohol while packing a lot of flavor into the sour/salty profile. Also worth checking out if in the neighborhood is The Last Drop, a bottle shop run by Howard right next door to Hudson that has a great selection of bottled beers, as well as several selections on tap for growler fills and pints (wasn’t open yet when we were there).
Our next stop on the hike was the shortest walk of the day right across the street at Cooper’s Alehouse. One of Seattle’s oldest alehouses, Cooper’s does a nice job of featuring a great selection of beer in a bar that reminds me more of a Midwest sports bar (in a good way) than a NW beer bar. We visited during their IPA Festival, which they hold every April. Quite a few great beers were on tap, but the highlight was a flight of 4 blind IPAs. We also took advantage of their ping pong table and dart boards, and the competition definitely got a little heated. Cooper’s is a place that any fan of sports and beer should love to have in their neighborhood, and I’ll be back sooner rather than later I hope.
Just a pleasant walk slightly uphill brought us to our next destination, The Reservoir Tavern, located in Maple Leaf. The Reservoir is definitely not a beer bar, but it’s always fun to throw a dive bar or two into the route. Plus, even Seattle’s dive bars typically have a few solid beers on tap or in bottles. We grabbed a couple pitchers of the always-enjoyable Manny’s Pale Ale from Georgetown Brewing and headed out of the dark, slightly depressing bar to their back patio. And what a back patio it is. Despite being completely empty on this beautiful, sunny day, The Reservoir’s patio is pretty awesome. It’s almost more like a back yard, with a few picnic tables in the sun, a few under cover, a little heated hut for the smokers, a big screen TV for watching games, and a BBQ for bringing your own meat to grill. What is there to not like about drinking Manny’s in the sun? After getting lucky on a few pull tabs and then losing those winnings on more pull tabs, we figured we should tear ourselves away from the sun and be on our way.
Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of our Northeast Seattle Beer Hike.