Welcome to Seattle, homebrewers! Okay, welcome to Bellevue at least.
Almost 2,000 participants will descend on the Bellevue Hyatt Regency for the 34th Annual National Homebrewers Conference, which takes place this Thursday through Saturday. The days will be filled with educational seminars to expand homebrewing knowledge, while the evenings will be filled with events showcasing beer from homebrewers and professional breweries. Expert professional brewers and authors will be on hand throughout the conference to cover a wide array of topics. The keynote address for the conference will be given by Charles Finkel, who has been a driving force in the beer industry since founding beer importer Merchant du Vin in 1978 and then Pike Brewing in 1989.
Many attendees will be in town early this week to enjoy several bus tours to breweries across the region, and hopefully to explore some of the finer establishments that Seattle has to offer. If you are one of the attendees reading this and you are staying at the conference hotel and don’t have a car this week, don’t let that stop you from exploring Seattle.
Just a few blocks from your hotel you can catch the #550 bus from the downtown Bellevue Transit Center, and then it is just a 30 minute trip over to downtown Seattle. From there, it would be easy to explore beer spots that are walkable from downtown, such as Collins Pub, Pike Brewery, Pyramid, Whiskey Bar, Bambino’s, The Pinebox, Stumbling Monk, Quinn’s, Elysian and more. Or, you can catch another bus to explore a Seattle neighborhood such as Ballard, Fremont, Wallingford/Tangletown/Greenlake, Phinney Ridge, West Seattle or the U-District. All have plenty of options for finding great local beer, and you can easily visit some of the best beer bars in the country. If you have any questions about where to go and how to get around, feel free to shoot me an email and I’d be happy to help point you in the right direction.
If you’re going to stick to Bellevue, your best two options close to the conference hotel are the Tap House Grill and Rock Bottom. Both are worthy of checking out while in the area. Don’t skip the Rock Bottom just because of the name and their corporate association. The Bellevue Rock Bottom and head brewer Brian Young always have some great beers flowing unique to this location, including their multi-GABF-award-winning Hop Bomb IPA. You’ll want to get some of that, assuming they have it on tap.
Whatever you do this week, I’m sure you’ll enjoy hanging out with your fellow homebrewers. Cheers to all of you and have a great time!