Pictured: Machine House Brewery. Photos by David Mulvihill
With summer almost here, many will be venturing to various destinations for some RR&B (rest, relaxation and beer).
If your travels bring you to the Seattle area this reporter has you covered, at least from a craft beer perspective. Commuting to the area quite often for business, I have become more than familiar with destinations in close proximity to SeaTac Airport, as well as Seattle proper. We’ll cover a few of them here.
SeaTac Airport is located approximately 15 miles southwest of Seattle’s City Center. Directionally from the airport, Interstate 5 North will take you into the city. To the NE, Interstate 405 circles the east side of Lake Washington, through Renton and Bellevue on its way north. Due west from the airport is Burien, with Des Moines and Kent south and southeast.
Downtown Renton is home to Four Generals Brewing Company. Founded by owner/brewer Ross Hudspeth and his parents, Mary and Mike, this little brewery definitely can. This former homebrewer crafts some amazing lagers and ales in his petite brewhouse. Taking the necessary time and striving for perfection, no beer is tapped until it is ready, resulting in crisp, clean and stylistically spot-on classic styles (like helles, schwarzbier, altbier, English bitter and Mexican lager). Ross also brews a couple of IPAs for the IPA inclined.
Family and community are definitely key components of Four Generals. Regulars and newcomers are made to feel welcome and at home. Ross’ talents as a brewer become evident at the point of first tasting his beer. The classic beer styles that are prominent take both time and painstaking skill and shine in the glass. Mary wears many hats in the managing of the brewery’s business side and tasting room. Prior to her immersion into the brewery, she was a school teacher. Dad Mike is a former Air Force pilot, now commercial pilot. During his service, Mike was stationed in Germany. Mike’s love for German-style beer may likely have rubbed off on Ross. Mike also has a hand in perfecting the water chemistry for the beers Ross brews.
Food in the area: Melrose Grill, recommended for its aged steaks, is one block south. Other choices nearby include Marianna (Italian) and Cedar River (BBQ).
In southeast Bellevue, Resonate Brewery + Pizzeria is located in the Newport Hills neighborhood. It deserves notice both for its pizza and phenomenal beer.
Siebel Institute-trained founder/brewer Mike Ritzer, also with home-brewing roots, brings much to the table. Mike and his talented co-brewer possess the chops necessary to brew a wide selection of beers. There is always an ample variety of tasty house-brewed IPAs, ales, lagers and Belgian-inspired brews, supplemented by a few guest beers. No matter how selective one’s palate is, there is something to enjoy.
And beer isn’t the only product fermented at Resonate. Resonate’s pizza is unique from a crust perspective. Its pizza dough is old-school fermented for 72 hours. This results in a crust that’s not only healthier than other widely available over-processed gluten bombs, but also imparts a light crisp airiness.
Catering both to adults and families, Resonate’s staff also radiates a welcoming patron-focused at-home atmosphere.
The Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle, just south of the city, is home to an eclectic mix of shops, restaurants, bars and breweries. Housed within the machine house section of the historic Seattle Brewing & Malting complex, Machine House Brewery is Seattle’s real-ale brewery.
Since 2013, owner/brewer Bill Arnott and Alex Brenner have been turning out genuine British-style cask conditioned ales. From seven half-pull beer engines, imperial pints and half pints of best bitters, dark milds, stouts, porters and IPAs are pulled. An additional CO2 tap is reserved for rotating guest beers. This is one tap in Seattle that you can often find a coveted lager from Chuckanut Brewing.
The Southside Bluegrass Jam happens every first and third Wednesday at Machine House. All-comers are welcome to come and listen or bring their instruments to join in.
For food in the area, consider Fonda La Catrina (just across the street) for excellent home-style Mexican food. Sisters and Brothers bar is the place for Nashville-style hot chicken. Slim’s Last Chance does great chili. A couple of miles north of Slim’s is Seapine Brewing.
Last July, Machine House opened a second taproom in the Central District, adjacent to Seattle University. There, nine beer engines pull Machine House and guest brews. Four non-cask taps are also flowing. The Central District location offers food.
Ballard and Stoup
One of my favorite breweries in the neighborhoods north of Downtown is located in Ballard. Stoup Brewing’s beer board typically displays 20 draft beer offerings, inclusive of IPAs, stouts, porters, reds, pilsners, hefes and more. All of Stoup’s beers are well crafted and finished, exuding the utmost in flavor and experience. During my last visit there were 10 different IPAs being offered. Nearby breweries include Obec (within a stone’s throw), Populuxe and Rubens. If you are in the area on Monday night, Tandoozy alternates between Stoup and Populuxe. It is a pop-up serving delicious Indian food (naan, chicken tikka masala, lentil dhal, basmati rice). Come for the beer and Tandoozy, stay for Monday night trivia.
There are many places to eat, both in Ballard and Fremont. Consider The Walrus and the Carpenter for small plates and the freshest shellfish and seafood I’ve ever had, complete with full bar and craft taps. Bramling Cross has wood-fired burgers. In Fremont, Paseo’s counter service Caribbean sandwiches and plates are an appealing choice for picking up food on your way to one of the neighborhood breweries.
Other breweries: Holy Mountain (for Belgian-style creations) and Cloudburst within the city, and on the east side (405 Fwy close), Chainline, in Kirkland. Cloudburst earned a bronze medal for its Easy Breezy Beautiful, American-style wheat beer at the 2018 Great American Beer Festival. Chainline scored bronze at the 2018 World Beer Cup awards for one of its staples, Cerne, a Czech-style dark lager.
No matter where your travels may bring you, beery discoveries