Seattle: The Ballard Beer Experience

[Part 5 of the Series Where I Catch You Up on My Drinking Doings Since December.]

BALLARD.

That’s where the beer lives.

But seriously, it’s true. The beer lives in Ballard and I have been there to drink it. Ballard is a crazy place. They have, like, 15 breweries. And only like 200 people actually live there.

(That is a gross exaggeration. The people, I mean. There are 15 breweries. More than that, maybe. But probably more than 200 people also.)

ANYWAY.

My point is, the breweries per capita in Ballard is insanely high. The beers are also insanely good. So that’s why, on a rainy Saturday in February, I went there with my friend Aiva to drink those beers.

The Washington Beer Association was actually hosting a special beer “Open House” on that day, which was part of the impetus for going beer tasting. Said open house involved hundreds of breweries across the entire state hosting special events and tapping special, rare brews from noon to 5pm on the same day. It’s kind of an awesome idea.

We figured that in order to take full advantage of this special event we should go somewhere where there are a ton of breweries within walking distance of one another. So, Ballard. Because that’s pretty much the only place in the whole city where that’s true.

We started at Northwest Peaks Brewery, a nanobrewery that I actually hadn’t been to before. They had some sort of special beer on tap outside, but we decided to cozy up inside the super-tiny space and order taster trays. I drank 4 beers: Eldorado Pale Ale, Redoubt Red, Challenger IPA, and Snowfield Winter Ale.

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(Also, the table was made of maps!)

Our next stop was to trek a few blocks through the rain to one of my favorite Ballard beer spots: Reuben’s Brews. And the place was HOPPIN’. There was barely standing room, let alone places to sit. We decided that since we were already there we should drink something. Aiva ordered a taster tray, and I went for the special release: a Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Russian Stout.

Yuuuummmmmmmmmm.

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Oh, did I mention that it was 11% abv? Granted I only got a 6oz pour, but still. If I weren’t feeling it after brewery #1, I definitely was after this beer.

At this point, we had 2 options. We could go to Stoup Brewing for more new beers, or we could go to Jolly Roger Taproom (Maritime Pacific Brewing) for happy hour and snacks.

Snacks are good. Especially when you’ve been drinking. So we did that. (And we also drank more.)

That’s where we met up with Kurt.

Kurt is a 60-something man who I met at a bar last fall. He is a Ballard local and loves beer, so he asked me to let him know next time I was in the area. So I did. And he came and drank beers with us. He also regaled us with stories of his youth, when he would get high and and go to crazy parties and hook up with girls. (Or wait, that story was about his trip to Iceland. Last year.)

Basically, Kurt never really grew up. And it’s sort of awesome.

At this point, it was 4:30pm. We had half an hour until the beer events would end. We could hit up one more brewery, or we could not. Then Aiva suggested we go to Populuxe Brewing, which wasn’t on the event list but is super awesome so we went there anyway. (Aiva also really loves this place, and she is cool so I trusted her.)

It was a very cool place. Well done, Aiva.

Also, Kurt bought us beers! (He said he was very thankful that we gave him an excuse to stop folding laundry. We are so nice.)

I was pretty tipsy at this point. I also had dinner plans at a friend’s house, so I purchased a growler (whee!) and somehow clumsily made my way south to a neighborhood far, far away from Ballard.

The best part of this day was the fact that I drank tons of beer. The worst part is that there were still, like, 10 OTHER BREWERIES that I didn’t get to go to. So…I guess I have to go back to Ballard. Very soon.

P.S. You will notice that I did not tell you what beers I drank at Jolly Roger or Populuxe. That is because I don’t remember. And I was inebriated enough that I forgot to write them down on Untappd too. La dee da.

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