This is the first installment of the 2012 Seattle Beer News list of the Top 10 Beer Spots in Seattle. Many great bars, pubs, and breweries won’t make this list; that doesn’t mean they are not outstanding places.
#10 Beer Spot in Seattle: Big Time Brewery & Alehouse
When I moved to Seattle a few years ago, I was renting a place near University Ave and walked by Big Time Brewery on my very first day in town, right after driving 2 days straight from Chicago. I knew very little about beer in the NW at that point, and I wandered in not knowing what to expect. They had 4 of their own IPAs on tap that first trip into this wonderful brewpub. Are you serious? 4 IPAs? For a guy from Chicago, where it’s hard to find a brewpub, this blew me away. Several pints later, I stumbled out with a huge smile on my face. So, this is what I moved to Seattle for. These days, it’s still not uncommon to find 4 IPAs on tap when you visit.
The Beer: I’ve never had a truly bad beer here. That is hard to say for any brewpub. Not everything is head over heals amazing, but most range from good to great.
Drew Cluley took over as head brewer from Bill Jenkins last year, and both have a reputation for making great beers. Whether you are having Bhagwan’s Best, Scarlet Fire, or one of their many other special hoppy elixirs, you are in for a treat with Big Time’s IPAs. One of my favorite beers ever made is their summer specialty, Old Sol Wheatwine. Most brewpubs release a summer beer that is light and good for drinking in hot weather, maybe a Kolsch. But, Big Time brews a summer barley wine style ale that packs in lots of citrus hops, sweet malt and a good dose of alcohol. Big Time is definitely a hophead’s brewery, but their Coal Creek Porter and Old Rip Oatmeal Stout will satisfy your malt craving.
The Food: I usually get the pizza when here. It’s pretty good, as are the sandwiches. They also do nachos, chili, baked potatoes and soup (I can’t vouch for any of these). Nothing fancy here – just a few decent options to help soak up that beer. The steal of the century is on Sunday nights when you can buy a large pizza and get a pitcher of beer for just $1. Now that’s a deal and a half.
The Atmosphere: Relaxed. Perfect place to belly up at the bar by yourself, or come with a group of friends. There are plenty of tables to accommodate most crowds. Music is usually pretty good, and is at the whim of the current bartender’s IPOD selection. You’ll see students and professors in here with their laptops typing away over a beer.
They have several flat screen TVs, which make it nice for a game when the Mariners are on.
The bartenders are friendly, the regulars are friendly and the beer is good. What else do you need?
Overall: The beer and atmosphere at Big Time are tough to beat. It’s a great place to spend a Sunday afternoon, or a Friday night. Hop on in for a pint, or you can get beer to go in growlers and a limited selection of bottles. It’s worth coming in on a regular basis as the beer lineup changes fairly often.
Keep up the good work, Big Time….you rock.
Big Time Brewery & Alehouse
4133 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105