We got suckered into the Olympics. And by “we” I mean “Justy and his friends”. Sure it’s interesting to watch in passing, but I’m not a big Olympics person. As a result, the first beer I drank in Seattle was pulled out of Justy’s fridge, while the guys discussed how amazing and attractive Lindsay Vonn is.
Of the beers I tried last night, this was my favorite. It’s a flavorful porter – strong tastes of chocolate and coffee, with fruity prune taste that develops as you drink it. The aftertaste was one of the best I have encountered, like sipping a well roasted coffee (I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that Seattle beer reminds me of good coffee). I am surprised it isn’t actually an espresso porter, but the flavor is derived from chocolate, brown and crystal malts, or at least that’s what the website tells me. That being said, it was lighter than a lot of the porters I’ve been drinking, something I could consistently drink through a night. Part of this may relate to the ABV, which is only 5%. For comparison, my favorite espresso beer, Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Stout, is 9.5%. I’m not sure how much that affects the flavor, it’s a question I’ll leave for another post; I am on holiday after all. (Rico, if you’re reading this, you have any answers?)
Eventually the boys managed to pull themselves away from Lindsay Vonn’s post-winning-the-gold freak out and we headed out to my first Seattle bar. Brouwer’s Café is, from what I can tell, like Falling Rock, only not in Lodo and with a strong Belgian theme. Once I recovered from the fact that there were no Colorado beers on tap (Justy assures me this is not usually the case), I stopped to take it all in. The website says they have 64 beers on tap and over 300 bottles. From what I could see, this was indeed the case. (Again though, 64 beers on tap and not one of them is from Colorado? All right, I’ll settle down.)
The atmosphere of the bar certainly appeals to me: big stone wall, industrial styled coolers – an overall cave-like feel. But it was too big. I can understand that, as a restaurant, it needs to accommodate a lot of people, which could explain the size. Maybe I’ve been spending too much time at the Meadowlark, or expect a bar with that sort of beer selection to be more intimate like the Brickskeller in D.C., but something about this bar just felt so manufactured. The Macaroni Grille as a lovely décor, until you realize that every other Macaroni Grille in the country looks the exact same. Something about Brouwer’s felt like there were more Brouwer’s out there that looked the exact same. It didn’t feel unique.
A side note that may have affected my opinion of this place and then I’ll get back to beer. The bartender took awhile to decide if my ID was actually me. Yes, I understand he’s doing his job. But just because my ID is from Colorado and my hair is no longer black (he should be happy it’s not purple), does not mean that I’m not me. ::sigh::
I did like this bar though. Any place that has as nearly many beers available as days in a year is good in my book. And a place that frequently rotates their taps makes me want to return. Plus they had a GABF sticker (Great American Beer Fest, for those of you who haven’t heard me refer to this festival a million times over already) above the bar. That helped to compensate for the lack of Colorado beers on tap.
I let the boys decide on my beer. As long as it was from Seattle, I was happy. Well, from Seattle and good, but Justy knows better than to order me bad beer.
After much discussion, primarily of beers the boys wished were on tap, I ended up with Schooner 3 Grid IPA. Turns out, this is the flagship brew of West Seattle’s Schooner Exact Brewery. The website describes it as “fine tuned…to have the hop aroma and flavor to please true hopheads, but balanced enough to enjoy all night long.” My take on it was that it was too bitter without any additional flavors to balance it out. Near the end of the glass I started picking up on more of the floral citrus taste, but a beer shouldn’t take that long to taste good.
Justy ordered an IPA from Oregon that was significantly better. And, let me just say, he’s lucky he’s not David, otherwise I certainly would have swapped the beers – without his permission.
Tonight it’s Libby’s turn to show me the wonders of the beer in this city (as well as some other non-beer related things). Tomorrow is brewery tours and more beer with Justy. If you have suggestions of particular beers I should try, leave them in the comments or email me. Remember, though, I leave on Saturday.
By the way, has anyone noticed that I haven’t mentioned the Nuggets in two posts? Crap, screwed that up. And yes, I will be the awkward girl in the bar tonight asking that one of the TVs be changed from the Olympics to the Nuggets/Cavs game. But Coach Karl did once coach the Sonics; so really, the people of Seattle should be on my side on this one.
(Note about the photos: I forgot to bring the cord that connects my camera to my computer and didn’t think to take photos with my blackberry last night. So, until I get home, the photo for this post is not of Seattle or bars here, it’s of Justy playing with an oven mitt. Those of you who know him will at least be entertained. The second one is a photo of IPAs from the Six Shooter last month)