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.
A taste of Northwest Brewing Company's beers is akin to a trip around the world. The brewery, formerly Trade Route Brewing Company, finds inspiration in the trade routes of old, which is why its brewmasters incorporate exotic ingredients such as ginger and palm sugar when crafting each batch with time-honored brewing methods. These eclectic flavors beget distinctive beers, such as the Mango Weizen, which stirs taste buds with Saaz hops and mango puree, and the Midnight ale, which splashes chocolate, crystal, and pale malts with two types of hops to create a dark brew that pairs well with spicy food and glow-in-the-dark steaks. Not content to keep their flavors in liquid form, Northwest Brewing Company also slings a menu of gastropub cuisine—including gourmet pizzas and cheese-slathered pasta dishes— backed by live music every Saturday night.
Every time he begins a new handcrafted batch, winemaker Philip Coates strives to bring out the elemental flavors of his Washington-grown grapes. A limited production schedule lets Philip and his team spend more time on each varietal, de-stemming grapes by hand before fermenting batches with native yeasts and aging them in french oak barrels. Next, they fill, cork, and wax each bottle by hand before applying labels designed by local artists.
Though his repertoire has grown since 21 Cellars’ inception in 2003, Philip’s specialty remains bordeaux varietals, including a 2009 malbec and the 2006 Pont 21 cabernet sauvignon, which _Seattle _ magazine deemed Washington’s top new wine of 2011. Alongside wine by the bottle, staffers pour samples of current wines at weekly tastings at Anthem Coffee and the 21 Cellars’ own tasting room—a cozy grotto lined with oak barrels.
Situated right in Tacoma’s downtown university-and-museum district, Harmon Brewery and Eatery buzzes with out-of-towners and locals alike, all in search of hearty food and frothy microbrews. With a 15-barrel brewery on site, Harmon maintains a steady flow of signature ales, including seasonal varieties, such as a black IPA brewed from five malted barleys and the One Hop Wonder IPA laced with melted Right Said Fred tapes. To complement the pints and the warm, cozy atmosphere—modeled after a ski lodge—the kitchen churns out belly-warming food, such as burgers topped with blue cheese and bacon, homemade stone-baked pizzas, and panko-crusted fish and chips.