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.
The enthusiastic tour guides at Road Dogs Tours love Journey, standup comedy, and snowboarding—but on their three tours, their love of Seattle and its signature beverages is what really shines. With a focus on creating a lasting, unique memory, the staff crafts fun and engaging tours based on tips and information gathered from locals, research, and their own personal experiences. On the company’s namesake brewery tour, a guide whisks tourists to three breweries in three hours, where they sample craft beer, learn about the brewing process, and brush up on Seattle’s brewing history since the first beer tree was tapped in 1892. Distillery tours offer a similar selection of behind-the-scenes tidbits and local history, and feature samples of vodka, gin and whiskey. Morning coffee tours, meanwhile, stop at bean roasters, cafés, and bakeries, celebrating the city’s caffeine addiction.
At The Grape Adventure, a wine bar and restaurant that was recognized by the Washington State Wine Commission as a Grand Award winner in 2010, the menu of inventive tapas and upscale American cuisine teams up with a sprawling list of imported and domestic wines to sate hunger and thirst. The tapas-style avocado-hummus plate serves as a pool in which pita chips and tomatoes play ($8.95) and the steak bruschetta drapes seasoned steak and tomato salad over a warmly toasted baguette augmented by a gorgonzola spread ($9.95).
At The Scotch and Vine, owners David and Jill Pritchard blend upscale, artisan American cuisine, fine wines and scotches, and local, seasonal cuisine. The staff pours libations from more than 210 single malts, blends, bourbons, and ryes, as well as from a wine list that earned an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator. With that deep selection to work from, friendly, knowledgeable tenders help diners pair their dinners with the ideal wine, craft beer, or whiskey. In the kitchen, meanwhile, expert chefs sizzle hearty elk burgers, juicy sirloin steaks, tender seared chicken, and roasted beet salads. This cuisine helped Scotch and Vine earn a spot on King5 Best of Western Washington's 2013 list of the area's five Best New American restaurants.
The strains of Spanish guitar and live blues bands form a classy soundtrack to wine tastings or seminars on Scotch-crafting, while plates of fine cheese from regional farms complement the flavors of smoky spirits, frosty brews, and rich red wine. The bistro's cushy leather booths, accents, and soft lighting evoke the image of a grandfather's cozy study or a precocious 6-year old’s tree fort.
Emerald Downs possesses all the beauty, glory, and betting that occurs at America's classic horse tracks. Jockeys ride thundering horses toward victory as families picnic on the manicured grounds or view the action from grandstand seats or tables at The Rainier Restaurant. Yet there's more to do than watch and wager. Every Saturday, facility managers conduct free tours of the stables during the races. They can also point visitors toward The Gift Horse, a shop in which to pick up equestrian related souvenirs.