Sunday, March 14, 2010

Seattle, Last Call

She likes to think/she likes to drink

We managed to fit in one last brewery visit before I had to go to the airport on Sunday: Big Time Brewing Company. Judging from the website, I expected this place to be like the Wynkoop. Instead it had the feel of a worn in country bar, complete with old advertising signs and aged wood paneling. I couldn’t quite figure out why the bar's logo is an elephant, nothing about this place seems remotely Asian/African or safari like. However, there was a giant dinosaur head mounted on the wall, so it’s pointless to try to make assumptions about this place. (Take a moment to pause and consider the idea of a dinosaur head mounted on the wall in a country-style bar. How great is that?)

I ordered the Atlas Amber Ale. (For some reason, I think my brother would like this beer. Someone must have said something about it sometime.) I wish I could remember the Atlas better, but all I have is what’s in my notes: “Amber’s good, fruiter than most. Weak fruit smell, relatively weak taste – but not necessarily a bad thing.”

It did make me realize that there was some underlying similarity among all the Seattle beers. No matter what I drank – stout or hefeweisen, there was some characteristic that unified all the beers. Justy suggested it was the water and he could very well be right. All I know is, there was something that connected all these beers together, some sort of underlying taste, and thinking about it further, I would say the same is true of Colorado craft beer.

As we discussed this, our conversation turned to beer culture. Justy (cautiously) asserted that Seattle has a stronger beer culture than Colorado. To his surprise (and relief), I agreed with him, but considered Seattle to be more of a beer community. Seattle, as a city, has the feeling of community running through it. Coloradans, while certainly friendly, are too independent to have a cohesive community. Even Denver is too sprawling too diverse to feel completely unified. And that applies to the beer culture as well. Picking up one of the beer newspapers available around Seattle left me feeling like I had tapped into (no pun intended) the Seattle beer community. There’s no equivalent to that back home – The Westword and 5280 are great publications and offer endless amounts of Colorado based information, but they don’t leave you feeling like you are necessarily a part of Colorado culture. Leaving Seattle I felt like I had experienced their beer community. And while there was still plenty of this beer culture for me to explore, I felt connected to it.

Someday I’ll be back for more.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous here writing from my midwestern girl room - upstairs at my parents farmhouse...
    Okay, my friend who is smart and good looking and has spent a lot of time in Seattle says he is relieved that you did go to Big Time. He raves about the care and crafting - also good food. He too has no clue about the elephant.

    As to Seattle beer culture - he says this is a thing that goes all the way back to the early 90s or even before. He says that you are shrewd describing it as more of a city culture than just beer. In fact, he actually prefers Colorado beers on average to Washington State beers!
    But Denver doesn't have the same gritty underground feel that Seattle does.
    There's something about the tight city, rain, music style, coffee houses, and beer that all go together there. The culture is definitely a thing unto itself - the beer is very much a part of that.

    The beer in Denver is somehow more a part of the mountain culture and less the city culture. And you are right that somehow there's less cohesion to it.

    Well, I have to go to bed. I have to milk tomorrow before I go to my classes at Midwestern College.