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Real Ale in Seattle

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An interesting place to visit for a variety of reasons, not least the variety of good fresh locally brewed cask beers. A warning, however. Trade is not always sufficient to support the 24/7 availability of real ale, so it often makes an appearance only over the weekend. If in doubt, call ahead.

Local websites are helpful especially the Cask Ale Guide to Washington whose guidance we gratefully acknowledge.

A flying visit in September 2008 was all too brief, but enabled a visit to a handful of the more easily accessible outlets, and this is what we found;

City Centre

Elysian Brewing Company website

1221 East Pike Street
Seattle, Washington, 98122-3910
Phone: 1 206 860 1920
[MAP] Hours: 1130-0200 M-F, 1200-0200 S/Su.
This is walkable from the city centre, but as it is uphill, we chose to take a cab up the hill and walk back later.

The exterior is attractively lit at night. The big windows reveal a modern interior with a buzz of conversation from the crowd enjoying an evening meal and watching sport on the TV screens.

When we visited one cask beer was available from a beer engine visible at the back of the bar. This was The Wyse ESB (Extra Special Bitter) (4.9% alcohol) and like all the beers I found in Seattle that week, it scored a creditable 4 on the CAMRA scale.

Elysian Fields website
542 1st Avenue South
Seattle, Washington, 98104-2804
Phone: 1 206 382.4498
[MAP] Hours: 1130-0200 daily.

Owned, you will not be surprised to hear, by the same folks who run the Elysian Brewing Co. This is not far from the Seattle Mariners baseball ground and has a dark rather trendy atmosphere.

Two real ales are available (some of the time at least) on a couple of handpumps at the back end of the central bar. Make sure you walk round so you can spot them and see what placards are on the wall above them to indicate the beers available.

On our first visit, there was no cask ale on. Disaster! We were assured that it would be put on the next day, so we returned the next evening after a hard day sight-seeing.

We were rewarded with the news that two real beers were on sale. The Wyse ESB (4.9% alcohol) and a beer called Prometheus, an IPA style (5.5%) both scored what was rapidly becoming a standard high quality score for this trip; 4 on the CAMRA scale.

A very pleasing visit, and one that I would be delighted to repeat.


Pike Pub and Brewery website
1415 1st Avenue
Seattle, Washington, 98101-2017
Phone: 1 206 622 6044
[MAP] Hours: 1100-late Daily.

This is the most centrally located outlet for the real thing adjoining the famous Pike Place Market. It takes a little faith and persistence to spot, as the entrance is not directly from the street, but is through a shopping mall.

It has a good atmosphere with a variety of distinct areas breaking up the space. Lots of brass rails, polished wood and brewery memorabilia combine with the discreet lighting to make for a cosy feel.

It has a solitary beer engine. On my visit, the cask ale was an IPA (India Pale Ale) with a gravity of 6.4% alcohol by volume. This scored an impressive 4 on the CAMRA beer quality scale.

The menu offers a typical range but I recall that it included burgers and pizzas as well, as you might expect, as a number of fish dishes.

Pyramid Alehouse, Brewery and Restaurant
1201 1st Avenue South (opposite Safeco Field, baseball ground of the Seattle Mariners).
No longer sells cask ale, so you can miss this one off your itinerary


Jolly Roger Taproom (Maritime Pacific Brewing Company) website
1514 NW Leary Way in Fremont
Seattle, Washington, 98107-4739
Phone: 1 206 782 6181
***Closed Sundays***
[MAP] Hours: 1100-2300 M-Th, 1100-2400 F/S.

Situated in a bit of an industial area close to one of the bridges from the city centre, the Ballard Bridge. This bar is the "brewery tap" for the adjoining Maritime Pacific brewery.

It has something of a maritime, piratical theme to the decor, but not over the top. At the back of the bar you can spot a trio of traditional-style English beer engines. We visited in the late afternoon and the place was busy with the after-work crowd, many of whom looked like office types. I recall that the food was good.

I was able to sample two of the beers and wish I could have made a return visit. I had the Flagship Red Alt Ale (5.2% alcohol) and an Imperial IPA at a whopping 7.5%. Both scored a deeply impressive 4 on the CAMRA beer tasting scale.


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