Monday, August 13, 2012

Beer at Ballard's Breweries

Last Friday I decided to call it a day a bit early; it had been a long week, I had a three-day weekend on the horizon, and it was gorgeous in Seattle.  As I returned to my humble abode in Seattle's up-and-coming Ballard neighborhood, a few friends and I decided to check out the local brewery scene.

Hyperlocal, that is.

As good fortune would have it, within a 1 mile radius of my condo you'll find at least five breweries.  You can never go wrong with walking to a brewery.  On this particular day, we chose to stick within a half-mile, exploring the brand-new Reuben's Brews taproom, and, NW Peaks Brewery.

When I say good fortune, I mean that I picked a damn awesome place to live.

Reuben's Brews

The first stop for the afternoon, I was excited to check out Reuben's Brews as they had just held the grand opening for the taproom on August 5. Self-described as a small, family owned and operated brewery, Reuben's is named after the brewer/owner's son who was an inspiration in the beginning.

Seeking to produce "Brilliantly Tasty Artisan Ales", the owners describe their mission:

We at Reuben's Brews really enjoy pouring our beers to people and sharing our passion - making great beer. We readily admit, with a smile on our face, that we have a beer obsession. An obsession to produce tasty ales.

Being good a responsible journalist, I promptly ordered a sampler, allowing me to taste all six brews on tap. You know, for science. As Rick astutely pointed out when I sent him a picture, it was nice that you could not see through more than half of the beers.

Two of the beers at Reuben's were particularly memorable:
  • Roggenbier:  A german-style rye ale utilizing the same strain of yeast as hefeweizen, this beer came in at 19 IBU and 5.3% ABV.  It was a nice starter beer.  There was a nice banana note on this one that become more prominent as the beer warmed up a bit.   
  • Robust Porter:  A bit more boozy at 6.0% ABV and 30 IBU, the porter was my favorite of the day.  Jet black and silky-smooth, the chocolate and caramel notes hit the spot for me.
I'm excited to check back in with Reuben's over the next few months as they rotate beers on tap.  It looks like they have room for up to 12.

Reuben’s Brews
1406 NW 53rd Street, Suite 1A
Seattle, WA 98107

NW Peaks Brewery

A "nano-brewery" making no more than one barrel per batch of beer, NW Peaks releases two new beers each month which are only around until they are gone. The most popular beers will make a return visit, but in a way, everything they do is a seasonal.

NW Peaks is a nod to the mountains surrounding by avid-mountaineer and head brewer Kevin Klein, and they emphasize a community supported brewing mentality.

I'll admit, my palate was marginal at best after Reuben's, however, it did not stop me from enjoying the four-beer sampler at NW Peaks.

I particularly enjoyed the following two beers, for vastly different reasons:
  • Redoubt Red:  At 5.25% ABV and moderate+ hoppiness, this red is cool, refreshing, and easy-drinking. It was perfect for sitting out on the patio on this sunny summer afternoon, and it's the NW Peaks beer that I've seen on tap at local venues.
  • Ingalls Ginger:  Described as a ginger ale, just not for kids, this beer has a nice ginger flavor and a nice 4.75% ABV.  It was a nice surprise for me because I can find "flavored" beers to be hit or miss, but this was true to style and very enjoyable.
With 2 new beers on tap every month, I know I'll be back to NW Peaks.

NW Peaks Brewery
4912 17th Ave NW Ste B
Seattle WA 98107

Next time you are in Ballard and want to try some of the local flavor, these are two great places to check out. You may just find me bellied up to the bar.


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