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.
What makes it great: $5 tours of the massive stainless-steel vats and smooth bottling line, including souvenir glasses for (of-age) tour participants; pub food and live weekend music at the Forecasters Pub; outdoor Moonlight Cinema Series during summer months
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.
Pyramid Alehouse pours a flavorful cascade of handcrafted draft beers, passing straight to the mug from the on-site brewery. Whether guests prefer a malty amber ale or a hoppy, Thunderhead IPA, Pyramid Alehouse’s vast menu of succulent cuisine and beer-infused bites are specially designed to complement every frothy glass. Pair down the sweetness of fruity apricot ale with a spicy platter of wheat-battered chicken wings served with extra spicy hot sauce and blue cheese ($11). Or, absorb a double dose of unfiltered Bavarian ale by pairing the Haywire Hefeweizen with a hearty helping of alehouse fish and chips, featuring Alaskan cod marinated in Haywire ($12). Though football and cheese-rolling season have finished, Pyramid Alehouse boasts a daily rotating lineup of food and drink specials to keep sports fans well fueled until the championship line-dancing semi-finals makes its triumphant return to prime time.
What to Drink
Where to Sit: Grab a table near the floor-to-ceiling picture windows that recall the building’s early days as an automotive showroom.
When to Go: during one of two happy hours, which take place every day from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. to close
While You’re Waiting
While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: See art inspired by Star Wars, War of the Worlds, and other pop-culture staples at Ltd. Art Gallery (307 E Pike Street)
After: Catch an independant play such as Urinetown at Balagan Theatre (1524 Harvard Avenue)