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.
With the help of his uncle Tom Campbell, who just happens to be a seasoned enologist and viticulturist, Bijal Shah and his wife Sinead founded The Woodhouse Wine Estates in 2004. The winery's vintages are brought to life by Jean Claude Beck, whose winemaking genes reach back to Alsace, France, where his family estate has been crafting wine since 1579. The team at Woodhouse focuses on expressing the unique terroir of each grape’s origin, yielding balanced, mature wines marked by full flavors. Inside the tasting room, chandeliers sparkle over a long bar, where visitors can sip pours of any number of select wines.
With more than a dozen years of beer-crafting experience to his name, brewmaster Rande Reed infuses Snoqualmie Brewery and Taproom's eight year-round and four rotating seasonal beers with flavors that combine timeless recipes and contemporary innovations. When they're not making batches of their core concoctions, Rande and his brewing team fills the taproom's Belgian-style Brewer's Choice tap with one-time-only creations. Those craft beers—along with an original root beer—wash down bites from the delectable menu served in the 180-seat taproom restaurant. Chefs whip up pub classics such as barbecue-chicken fingers, roast-beef sandwiches laced with chipotle mayo, and German-style bratwursts simmered in the brewery's amber ale. Snoqualmie Brewery and Taproom further entices patrons with weekly entertainment including live music, open-mic nights, and a game night with favorites such as cribbage, Clue, and chess played with actual knights.
Big cities have a wealth of entertainment, but the options can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. Luckily, the founders of Festivals Inc. have established several events that gather the Seattle region’s diverse food, drink, and music all in one place. Their flagship shindig, Groupon Bite of Seattle, attracts over 400,000 people with healthy appetites to try cuisine from more than 60 eateries alongside craft beers and live bands. During the fall, Oktoberfest Northwest celebrates the German beer festival, while the Taste of Tacoma rings in the last weekend of June with culinary offerings from its titular city.
The bracing Italian-style brandy known as grappa flows from a vintage hammered-copper still and into oak barrels for aging at Soft Tail Spirits, a craft distillery that gathers its grape pressings from local Washington wineries. An Old-World still's 58,000-BTU burners boil up fresh batches of grappa, with characters of pear and apple-tinged Giallo and the pleasingly grainy sangiovese. Meanwhile, a multistep distillation process whips up batches of Soft Tail Spirits' sipping vodka, the slightly rebellious offspring of Washington State apples that took home the bronze at the 2010 World Spirits Competition in San Francisco. Lead distiller Matthew welcomes visitors to the distillery for tours in which he shows off the facility, including the hammered-copper alembic he affectionately calls “Maggie,” before doling out samples and bestowing grappa converts with souvenir glassware for future bacchanalian feasts or Flat Earth Society meetings.