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.
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.
Today’s Groupon gets you $30 worth of beer tasting, a pint of your favorite house beer, and a nifty T-shirt at Two Beers Brewing Co. for $15. Beer tasting will incorporate your hands, torso, and palate for a full-sensory tastezone.China, 5,000 BC: Alcohol was used in China to celebrate a variety of important events like births, conference championships, and the invention of gunpowder.
The Beer: No bottles. No cans. Georgetown Brewing Company specializes in draft beer only. That means your options inside the brewery’s retail shop are limited to kegs or growlers. But if you’re lucky, you might get to sample the brewery’s latest beer before it’s released.
Kegs by the Numbers
When to Go:On Saturdays, when the brewery hosts tours.
Inside Tip: Check this list of area festivals, concerts, and other events where Georgetown Brewing Company’s beers will be on tap.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: Flip through comics at Fantagraphics Books (1201 S. Vale Street).
After: Order lunch at Lect’s Soup Stop (5327 Denver Avenue S.), a small takeout restaurant with an ever-changing selection of housemade soups.
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: One of the many bars in the area that have Georgetown Brewery Company on draft; for example, 9 Pound Hammer (6009 Airport Way S) showcases the Georgetown Porter.