We love craft beer, but sometimes it can be quite intimidating trying to figure out where to find it. OK, finding it isn’t the problem. The problem is figuring out which brewery – out of the 8,000 in the US – to visit. No, we’re not visiting all of them…yet. The logical first place to start is the region you are in. Great, but what if you are in a city of 4 million people and 60 breweries – like Seattle? That’s where we come in. We’ve done the research for you, so all you have to do is get there. This is where to drink craft beer in Seattle.
One Day, One Night, and One Morning
Sometimes you just need somebody to tell you exactly where to go. So, yes, we are recognizing that there are many neighborhoods and places to visit while in Seattle and the surrounding area: coffee shops, eclectic shops, big breweries, nano breweries, shopping malls, taco shops, street carts, restaurants galore, waterfront stores and more upon more upon more. And if you’re vacationing here with time to check out everything, please explore to your heart’s content.
We had one day, one evening, and one morning, and knowing where to go with our limited time was a wonderful gift. So, without further ado, our gift to you is telling you exactly where to go to drink craft beer (and eat a bit of food and drink a bit of coffee and experience a bit of shopping) in Seattle.
Starting in the Ballard District, a trendy waterfront neighborhood centered around historic Ballard Avenue, we strolled the awakening streets on a rare sunny fall day. With many breweries here not opening until late afternoon, we felt quite lucky stumbling upon Reuben’s Brews on 14th Ave NW, just opening its doors for the day at noon. But not before we noticed a fair bit of RVs parked casually up and down several streets throughout the neighborhood.
And while we are quite the fans of stealth camping, residing in our 24 foot camper, these RVs were definitely not stealth. With tarps draped over many of them (presumably to keep out leaks), chairs hanging out on the city lawns with trash bags to keep them company and plenty of other little pieces of home that one would normally find in a backyard, these campers were here to stay for a bit.
Scenes like this in a city may make you a bit wary; however, we were never approached by anyone who seemed less than friendly, and every person, masked up and all, had a smile to give us as we passed by.
Wondering if the recent events here could have caused this large population of RV’s to pop up overnight or if they’ve been here long before COVID and recent issues, we felt quite subdued, rather than excited to check out our first Seattle brewery.
The Brewery Block
As the sun shone on, and the beertender offered us a smile, our conversation turned more towards the beer and where to go next. We were, after all, on a tour of where to drink craft beer in Seattle.
So, let’s get down to it. The Ballard District has around ten breweries, with many of them being within a mile of each other. Obec, Stoup, and Urban Family, for example are all on the same block. I know what you’re thinking. Hit ’em all up. Duh! And these are all less than a mile from Reuben’s where we first started. And one must not forget about Fair Isle Brewing, a mere two blocks south of Urban Family.
Just remember, you’re drinking alcohol. Eat some food from the food trucks. Take it slow – order small pours or a few sample sizes – you don’t always have to go for that full pint. Save those big ones for when you are staying awhile – as in those RV’s parked quite comfortably on the street.
Speaking of streets in Seattle, while there are a few places to park your small RV or van, the streets here are quite hilly and many of them are narrow, so be aware of those side streets when looking to park. Maybe just take an Uber or a Lyft – you are after all drinking the day…and night away.
Where to Drink Craft Beer in the Ballard District
- Reuben’s Brews – Family owned and focused on community, they brew from the glass backwards designing each beer with intention.
- Stoup Brewing – Their craftsmanship is a testament to their commitment to the art and the science of beer with a vibe that proves it.
- Obec Brewing – building community around beer and a great patio
- Urban Family Brewing Co – family and dog friendly and specializing in fruited beers
- Fair Isle Brewing – small rustic brewery specializing in small batch farmhouse style brews
Pike Place Market
I don’t think you can say you visited Seattle, unless you pay a visit to Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle. Only around five miles from the Fremont and Ballard neighborhoods, we drove, but with Seattle’s public transportation, taxis, and Uber and Lyft Drivers, it’s fairly easy to get there if you don’t want to or should not drive there.
Pike Place Market is normally comprised of hundreds of farmers, craftspeople, restaurants and a variety of other small businesses on its nine acres of historic buildings and surrounding area.
COVID has changed a lot of that. So while Pike Place Market is still open to the public, it is not what it once was. The halls reverberated with echoes from the many closed stores. The people that were there seemed lost in their own worlds, closed off to anyone passing by – maybe trying to hide from what the world has taken away.
The ghosts of the market whispered to us as we wandered the empty halls. The stalls were void of the fresh produce that once provided vital colors of emanating energy to the shoppers, excited to be out in the world. Now seemingly in despair hidden by masks and newly painted graffiti upon the once grand walls of the market and the city that houses it.
Again, finding ourselves being sucked into the negative vibes of a city ransacked by the world today, we looked beyond the surface of the vandalism, sought out the positive vibes that Seattle is truly known for and found our way back to the waterfront, where the boats come off the water, sparkling with dewdrops and jewels of the reflecting sun, restoring our faith in the beauty of the world that still lies within. Back to the beer, baby
The Space Needle
But first, the Space Needle. I suppose you could say the same thing about not seeing Seattle if you didn’t visit the Space Needle, or at least see it. Knowing that it was downtown close to the Market, we were satisfied with simply seeing it and felt no need to spend the $35 for an elevator ride. Our money is spent on craft beer! Ok, now back to the beer.
The Fremont Neighborhood
We went from Ballard to downtown to Fremont, only because we didn’t time it wisely. We suggest you go downtown, then to Ballard then to Fremont. Or downtown, then Fremont then Ballard.
I wish we would have spent more time here – in the Fremont Neighborhood – as compared to the Ballard District. While Ballard has many breweries and it is fun to stroll around and explore, it felt more industrial to us and not as alive with activity as the Fremont Neighborhood felt. Maybe you’ll have a different experience. That’s what makes the world and its inhabitants so wonderful, the differing experiences and perspectives. So, yes, we’re telling you what to do, but in the end, you need to do what you need to do. We’re just guiding you along.
The Fremont Neighborhood, located on the North Bank of the Canal, about a mile and a half from the Ballard District, was inviting, colorful and energetic. Known for the infamous troll under the bridge (unfortunately we missed the troll), Fremont Brewing, Outlander Brewing and its many eclectic bars, restaurants, shops, and coffee shops, Fremont should not be missed.
Where to Drink Craft Beer in the Fremont Neighborhood
- Outlander Brewing Co – small-scale brewery specializing in foreign and unique beers and eats
- Fremont Brewing – family owned focused on sustainability and solid beers
- Fremont Mischief Distillery – fresh local foods and hand-crafted cocktails made from spirits distilled on site
Sustenance and Caffeine Found in Fremont
One must eat. And we love food almost as much as we love craft beer. We munched on some appetizers from food trucks in the Ballard District. One to mention was the food truck parked casually outside of Stoup’s. While I cannot remember the name (nor find it online), if you come across a little food truck that serves Fife’s (fingerling French fries) – buy them…with your money. Very delectable; you won’t regret eating these fries.
More food was desperately needed in our bellies, so we could continue drinking, and I could remain human, not a hungry-ass monster. So with several Thai restaurants in the area, we took our chances with one in the Fremont District, Kaosamai Thai Restaurant, just a block away from Outlander. Worth it – go there, eat food there, or take it out to eat while you head to another brewery. It is all about the beer, you know.
With the night waning, and nightlife almost nonexistent these days, we joined the not so stealth campers and did some camping of our own on the streets of Seattle.
The next morning dawned chilly and foggy. Coffee needed to invade our systems. And we weren’t just looking for any old Starbucks; we wanted more of the Fremont Neighborhood. With several unique coffee shops, including the one we patronized, Cafe con Todo, a partner with a dance studio next door, you can’t go wrong with coffee here. The shops are comfortable, quaint, and cozy, indoors and out. It was the perfect place to work the morning away.
Coffee & Eats
- Kaosamai Thai Restaurant – a Fremont staple restaurant based on family and food as a labor of love
- Cafe con Todo – healthy foods, super food lattes, full coffee bar, handcrafted drinks
- Fremont Coffee Company – the classic neighborhood coffeehouse experience complete with coffees, pastries, and sandwiches
Seattle is Struggling, but its Scars Will Become a Part of its Beauty
Seattle has definitely had its struggles recently, evidenced by its large homeless population, scores of trash upon its beautiful city streets, and graffiti tags almost anywhere you look. But the beauty still lies under the scars it has recently incurred. We’re hopeful that the Seattle we saw is only temporary. That the scars help to rebuild her character. That she resumes her vibrancy with full force, returning to the bustling, spirited nature that defines her.
So, when you find yourself wondering where to drink craft beer in Seattle, remember this. Drinking in Seattle is not just about enjoying your beloved beer; it’s about enjoying the culture, the community, and the connections that surround it.
Need to keep track of all the beer you drank? What it tasted like, looked like, where you drank it? We’ve got you covered with the Craft Beer Adventure Journal. Order yours today.
The Craft Beer Adventure Journal
Want more craft beer travel advice on where to go? Need to visit all the breweries? Check out our brand new map, getting you the info you need on the breweries and places you want to visit.
The Craft Brewery and Mountain Bike Trail Finder Map
Washington is one of the largest producing states of the hops in the Northwest. We’ve got everything you need to know about the hop harvest and fresh hop beers.
PRO TIP: When possible, please check ahead anywhere you go. Many places are re-opening, but some may not be. Due to the C-word, you need to be prepared for restrictions and closures. Be flexible.