Years ago, Derrick and Donna Smith began brewing a quartet of ales together, the steaming vats of barley filling their small facility with steam. They quickly gained the attention of beer drinkers and critics and expanded into a 10,000-square-foot space. There, they invite you to check out new craft brews such as Classic Nut Brown Ale, Bold Belgian Pale Ale, and Seasonal Citrus Wit. Rotating seasonal suds fill the recognizable frog-emblazoned bottles with beers whose flavors vary with the season. Derrick and Donna offer clients a peek inside their operation with tours and tastings.
Occasionally, the ground shakes at Karl's Bakery & Cafe, sending ripples through cups of coffee. These trembles occur throughout the day, but they're not the result of an earthquake or a T. rex playing hopscotch. Rather, they originate from the Everett train tunnel, located just below the café.
Since its inception, Karl's Bakery & Cafe has had a unique relationship with transportation. In the 1960s, it found a permanent home at Wetmore Avenue, earning the nickname "drive-through bakery" courtesy of a driver who crashed through the front window.
Perhaps the driver had a hankering for the café's glazed cake donuts or tightly coiled cinnamon rolls—they're freshly prepared daily according to time-honored recipes. Customers can peruse these baked goods as well as apple fritters, cherry danish, and other buttery delicacies in the bakery's display cases.
In addition to baking sweets, cooks prepare hearty breakfasts and lunches. Stacks of pancakes measure about three fingers tall, and four strips of bacon add a second deck to saucy cheeseburgers. Cooks bundle theses entrees with sweets for well-rounded meals, served in the café or catered to designated locales.
Considering its full slate of signature beers, Lazy Boy Brewing may be a misnomer. That's because the brewery stays busy crafting beers such as the hoppy IPA, the Bavarian-style Hefeweizen, and the chocolate-infused Porter. Beers are more than showcased, they are poured for thirsty patrons inside the taproom. From here, guests can watch brewers as they add malt to their creations or read The Little Engine That Could to fermenting tanks. All of this has helped the brewery earn awards such as the gold medal at 2007's North American Beer Awards for its Belgian Strong Ale and the bronze medal at 2007's Strange Brewfest for its Mistletoe Bliss.
Sassafras, sarsaparilla, and vanilla: above all, these are the flavors celebrated by The Root Beer Store, which is chock-full of root beers from around the country. Owner Corey Anderson grew up making root beer with his dad, generating his admiration for root-beer culture. Anderson was featured on King 5 for his passion for the soft drink, which manifests in his selection of more than 100 types from craft root-beer makers. From Hawaii to Maine to Australia, the creativity of each brewer shines in the collection, which customers browse with visions of ice cubes and ice cream to accompany them. The staff is on hand to help home brewers make their own soda with root-beer kits, extracts from different brewers, and the lyrics to the chant sung to the root-beer lord before starting each batch.
Fremont Brewing Company has all the markings of a big-time brewing operation, but with smaller accents that make the place seem approachable. Just a little bit rustic, with big, wooden communal trestle tables and comfortable chairs in the adjoining taproom, Fremont also holds lots of industrial stainless steel vats and barrels inside their outsized concrete blue building. Seasonal brews on tap help to quaff the thirst of local craft beer fans, and a suppertime urban beer garden routinely fills up on sunny days. Pints are available to enjoy while on the premises, and growlers to go keep the regulars coming back. Each of the brewery’s small-batch artisan beers are made with local ingredients, and range from a handsome India Pale Ale to stouts, porters and assorted ales. The fact that the place is both kid- and dog-friendly also tells you a lot about the business.
Established on the grounds of the celebrated Rainier Brewery a decade after its closing, Emerald City Beer Company restores a rich brewing heritage with its own traditionally minded approach to the craft. Founder and brewmaster Rick Hewitt has been crafting homebrews since his days as a graduate student, surpassing his contemporaries by not including shredded diplomas and tassels in his beer recipes. His brewery’s signature creation, Dottie Seattle Lager, combines four types of grains with Yakima Valley–grown hops for a flavorful lager with local roots. Emerald City is quickly expanding its reach and is available in more than 40 bars throughout the state, as well as in stores throughout Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Idaho.