When traveling to a new city, I am often surprised by the differences of each metropolis across the United States. For example, the nearest major urban center to Digital Draughts HQ is Washington DC. In this capital city, the influence of national history and the business of politics are made clear, from the Neoclassical architecture to the Metro stations crowded with federal employees. Deliberately planted deciduous parks wax and wane with the seasons, while restaurants of all sorts import ingredients for their various dishes. All of these characteristics to which I have grown accustomed were nowhere to be found as I visited the Pacific Northwest.
Landing in Seattle for the first time, I immediately noticed the influence of the flora and fauna of the region. Evergreen trees seemed to sprout throughout the city, while local seafood markets ensured an abundance of coastal delicacies. The architecture of Seattle is just as varied as its denizens. Massive skyscrapers loom from the city center, with the more open floor plans of tech giants dotted in between. The multitude of shops and stalls at Pike Place Market line the coast of Elliott Bay, and urban art projects of varying media decorate the whole of Seattle.
The neighborhood of Fremont lies in Northern Seattle. Here, buildings of reclaimed materials showcase a variety of eateries and small businesses. Stationed just down the street from a massive troll sculpture, Fremont Brewing crafts its beers.
Upon first entry to the brewery, we were very pleased to find a warm and welcoming atmosphere to contrast the cold and rainy outdoors. Fremont Brewing’s Urban Beer Garden features two bar rooms, each with plenty of comfortable seating and bright wooden furniture. The premises are pet-friendly, so a few Happy Puppy Patrons™ padded around the garden. To top off their hospitality, the brewery offers giant bowls of pretzels and green apples for any visitors looking for a palate-cleanser (or a quick snack).
As we sat at the long wooden tables to catch up with good friends, my wife and I sampled a range of beers, along with a guest cider:
–Wandering Wheat: Hazy, golden-yellow color with a fizzy white head. Aromas of wheat, lemon zest, and a hint of spice. A crisp lemon bite leads to a light clove and wheat body, finishes with a hint of buttered toast. Very refreshing.
–Finnriver Sparkling Pear Cider: (pictured above, left) Guest appearance from the Finnriver Cidery on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington. Clear straw-yellow color with slight effervescence. Soft nose of underripe Bosc pear and oak. Semi-sweet pear start leads into an off-dry green apple finish.
–Dark Heron IPA: (pictured above, right) Official beer of Emerald City Comicon. Honey-colored ale with a funky nose of sourdough bread and a resin hop backbone. A tart grapefruit-hop start gives way to a malty body, with notes of black tea with lemon.
–The Dark Star Oatmeal Stout (Nitro): (pictured below) A special nitro version of Fremont Brewing’s imperial stout. Foamy beige head cascades upward from a cola brown body. A rich nose of coffee grounds, bittersweet chocolate, and dried fruit. There is a bitter start of nut bread with raisins, followed by a smooth body of baker’s cocoa and a dry oatmeal finish.
Fremont Brewing turned out to be a perfect start to our first visit to Seattle. As we stretched out after a long flight from the East Coast, the delicious beers were an ideal tonic for our cramped muscles. The open and community-driven layout of the Beer Garden provided an opportunity to observe the locals coming in for a weekly pint. Just as their website noted, Fremont is “home to artists, fisherpeople, tradespeople, technology geeks, and lots of beer lovers.”
It is that love of good beer that drove much of the conversation with our friend who hosted us during our visit. In between stories of friends back home and new adventures since last we spoke, my buddy evangelized the decadent double-IPAs in his new home city. Even with the difference of environment and a 2,000 mile journey, I felt welcome and comfortable in this novel place.
So if you are planning a trip to Seattle, or simply in the general vicinity of the Pacific Northwest, be sure to take a break and sample the beers at Fremont Brewing. Their tasty brews and comfortable Urban Beer Garden make for a perfect first experience of the joys Seattle has to offer.