Friday, April 24, 2009

Twenty-Twenty-Twenty Four Hours to Go

About two weeks ago, a trip west to Seattle for the first time ever left me with just about 24 hours on the ground there in which to explore the beer culture of the city. Subtract time for meetings and sleep and my already limited time in town became that much more scarce.

After a quicker than expected cab ride into town, my first stop was the Pike Pub & Brewery. It's essentially a part of the Pike Place Market yet a touch beyond it by a block or so, I'd say. I only stopped in for a quick pint (a tasty but not necessarily memorable Pike Kilt Lifter Scotch Style Ale) but noticed that while there was a pretty decent locals crowd soaking up the Mariners game, there was a definite touristy vibe to the place. I wasn't completely sold on it and would like to hit up places like Elysian or the Pyramid near the sports complex for comparison, but would come back nonetheless.

A stroll down the road brought me to the Pike Place Grocery and Deli, which had an arsenal of Northwest and West Coast brews available from the coolers in the back of the store. Nice selection indeed that had me tempted to make some purchases, but I had neither the time to drink them at my hotel that evening nor the luggage to bring them back in as I was armed only with my carry-on bag.

The final stop for the evening was at a non-craft beer dedicated restaurant called Cutter's, yet I was still impressed with the loyalty to and selection from the local craft scene. Tap list included offerings from Mac and Jack's, Pyramid and Georgetown to name a few, plus other local and regional offerings. I enjoyed tasty Manny's Pale Ale with my dinner and called it a night.

Perhaps the best part of the trip beer-wise was the airport and the return flight home. Nothing stellar in terms of rare finds, but the airport itself offered three quality bar selections (The Alaska Lodge, Seattle Tap Room and Anthony's Restaurant) and may have had the best overall selection that I've ever seen at an airport. Locals and regionals dominated the tap handles once again, and after a quick bite and an Alaskan Pale at the Lodge I was off to catch my flight on Alaska Air.

Capping the trip was the option to purchase bottles of Alaskan Amber on the flight. A couple of swipes of my debit card later (cash free only on board Alaska, which I found to be quite convenient) and my return trip cross country was made that much better by a few bottles of said Amber. This alone has sealed the deal for me to book any future flights into Seattle with Alaska Air.

In all, Seattle made a nice first impression on me as a city that is well versed in and dedicated to it's local breweries. I hope to make it back soon to explore even further...