Seattle Beerventure Pt. 7 – The New & Far Out

No Plan

If there’s one thing I learned on the Seattle Beerventuring, it’s that there are so.many.breweries.  And they are everywhere, and constantly closing, opening, reopening, moving…good grief!!!  But it keeps things exciting and honestly, as long as there’s a beer in my hand at the end of the day, I don’t really care.

Below are all the breweries that I had to make specific beerventures to get to; a couple I was able to group together, but for the most part, it was one at a time.  Burdick is the only brewery I currently* have left to hit on the Seattle Beerventure Challange (they had closed for renovations when we did the West Seattle trip, but recently reopened for 7 days a week…I’m coming for you on Wednesday!!  …also West Seattle Brewing got a new brewer, and I really really really want to give them a second try…)
(*Ravenna Brewing is opening soon…the beerventure is never ending)

There is no order to the below breweries…I just plugged them in as I found the photos on my phone, and then found them in Untappd.  Wahoo!

Check out the total progress we’ve made HERE!

N/A miles/hella minutes/8 breweries/36 beers/9 badges

Standard Brewing
Hellbent Brewing Co
Spinnaker Bay Brewing
Flying Lion Brewing
Outer Planet Brewing
Urban Family Brewing
Holy Mountain Brewing
Lucky Envelope Brewing

Standard Brewing

Beers I Tried:

1. Cascadian Dark Ale
2. Beet Ale Juice
3. Wheated Red
4. Bee’s Wine Ginger Beer

Really nice brewery down in the Central District…super small, I was very impressed with what they did with the space brewing-wise, and I would love to see this place move to a larger place.  The beer was very palatable, and I’d be curious to see what they did in different seasons.
The CDA was hella strong and the wheated red was very drinkable though not necessarily anything special.  I was glad I was able to hit Standard while they were brewing their beet ale; very odd, very respectable, not particularly my cup of tea, though honestly it didn’t not work.  I’d definitely recommend a taster of it if you love beets like I do!  The ginger beer however is worth the trip alone.  It was amazing!!!  So sweet, so refreshing.  Loved it.

Hellbent Brewing Company

Beers I Tried:

5. Olympic Hills Spring Ale
6. Jasmine Wheat
7. First Born IPA
8. Funky Red Patina Red Ale

Yes yes yes yes yes!!!!  All the yeses.  This brewery is super new (literally opened early June, maybe?), it has an AWESOME space; great couches, great patio.  It’s right up the street from Elliot Bay in Lake City (we hit the West Seattle EBBC), so not too hard to get to, and there’s more good beer & food down the street when it closes.  Check it out ASAP!
$8+tax/4 tasters
Honestly loved them all.  Even the IPA was drinkable for me.  Really can’t wait to see what they do in the coming seasons and what they are going to do with all those taps they have…

Spinnaker Bay Brewing

Beers I Tried:

9. Riptide Rye
10. Amber Ale
11. Black High Heel CDA

Cool older tasting room.  A bit far south, but within walking distance of Columbia City.  They were out of a lot of beer which was a bummer, but the folks at the bar (I assume they were regulars) were super chatty and fun to listen to.
$2/taster
Spinnaker Bay puts out some decent beer.  I’ve had a few of their things at festivals and bars and am always pleased with my choice, but never super impressed.  Of all three of the beers, the CDA was probably the most flavorful.  The other two were fine but nothing mind blowing.

Flying Lion Brewing

Beers I Tried:

12. Single Hop Pale
13. Another IPA
14. Oat Pale Ale
15. Imperial Rye Stout
16. Double IPA
17. Bière de Garde

This brewery was part of a warehousey-strip mall.  About a 15 minute walk from Spinnaker if you want to mini-Beerventure.  Small space with a patio; bartender was a younger guy who was super friendly and I really appreciated his enthusiasm for the brewery (maybe the brewer?).
$12/6 tasters
They are a newer brewery (opened in the last year) and I think they’re still trying to get their feet under themselves.  Good beer that I think is on the way to being great.  The Oat Pale was really refreshingly light; I don’t think I’ve ever had a Bière de Garde but that was definitely my favorite of the bunch.  The Double IPA was kind of chemically, though I am not a double IPA fan, so I may not be the best judge (this was a solo beerventure, I didn’t have the Toby tastebuds to gauge the stronger beers!).  The others were extremely drinkable.

Outer Planet Brewing

Beers I Tried:

18. Bohemian
19. Rye Saison
20. Oatmeal Brown
21. ESB
22. IPA
23. Barleywine

A brewery on the Hill!!  I know, I know, we have Elysian and Six Arms, but this is a small new craft brewery and it just feels different, OK!?  And it’s within walking distance from my house!  Cute little hiding spot on 12th Ave, easy walk to the Pike/Pine area, and a decent amount of indoor seating.
Again, another new brewery I think is still trying to get their feet under them, but a really solid start.  I enjoyed everything we tried with the exception of the Barleywine (not my thing).  My favorites of the night were the Oatmeal Brown and the IPA, though everything else was still really good.  Excited to keep tabs on this brewery, especially since it’s so close!

Urban Family

Beers I Tried:

24. So West It’s East
25. 1885
26. The Velvet Edge
27. Year 1
28. Wheat Pale Ale

I was sad our Ballard beerventuring got screwed up when this place moved (I had balanced everything out! #evertheplanner), though truth be told, this was one of the Seattle breweries I didn’t hear great things about.  But I waited and waited for it to reopen only to be really freaking impressed.  Kicking butt, Urban Family!  I don’t know what was going on before or if I just had some negatively opinioned friends, but I definitely say check it out if you can make it out to Magnolia.
$2-3/Taster
Really dug the Velvet Edge, but the Wheat Pale Ale was definitely my jam in this sampler.  The other three were enjoyable; I could enjoy a pint of any of these beers.  Glad to see a small brewery getting into a large space and flourishing.

Holy Mountain Brewing

Beers I Tried:

29. King’s Head Double Oat Brown w/ Coffee
30. Wayward Black Beer
31. Watchman’s House Oaked Lager
32. The Ox

Out in Interbay, this brewery was a little hard to find (we definitely drove by and had to turn around…also parking…), but DAMN.  DAAAAAAAAAMN.  If there’s A brewery that craft beer snobs have to hit in Seattle, it’s this one.  If I remember the conversation, they’ve been brewing since October and only recently opened the tap room.  Very spacious.  Also a short walk to Number 6 Cidery, which I’ll be talking about in another post (because JUST GO).
This beer is great.  It’s flavorful, smooth, different.  We’ve been selling their Wit at a few of our pizza locations, and it’s become one of my standard go-to’s already.  If I see their handle, unless it’s one of their oak-aged, that’s usually what I’ll pick.  The King’s Head and Ox were so smooth and flavorful; rich, but not too heavy.  Black Beer and the Lager were definitely Toby’s choice, but he gave them very high marks.  I’ve been meaning to go back ever since, but have made sure to recommend them to all my beer-loving friends.

Lucky Envelope Brewing

Beers I Tried:

33. Helles Lager
34. Citra IPA
35. British Stout
36. Fog Dart Pale Ale

Another great addition to the Ballard beer family!  Right in the heart of Brewery-ville, Seattle, it’s in a warehouse/office building type place.  Patio & indoor seating, big open garage doors, and really spacious while maintaining a cozy feel.
Really solid beers; while nothing really jumped out, I admit I picked the safe beers.  I really need to start being braver with my choices when solo-beerventuring, though the options I passed over were the Thaiger Mom Trippel and the Two Pepper Pale.  Definitely going to go back with the boyfriend and give this place a second go-round.  The Citra was my favorite and really, really great…the Lager and Pale were both refreshing and something I’d order pints of.  Great start!

Seattle Beerventure Pt. 6.2/3 – SoDo again!

The Plan

We still had breweries to hit in SoDo!  Because whatever, FINE, brewery hours, you’re making life difficult.  Luckily, we found a Tuesday night that worked!  Called up the Spees, and Toby was able to join after work.
Let me say folks, work up an appetite.  Ghostfish has a completely gluten free vegan food group that will deliver food, and their beer-battered avocado tacos apparently are amazing.  We were saving our appetites for Epic, so we decided to wait, but we weren’t disappointed by what we waited for.  Still…really want to try those tacos…

Check out the total progress we’ve made HERE!

1.9 miles/37 minutes/4 breweries/21 beers/6 badges

Georgetown Brewing Co
Ghostfish Brewing Company
Epic Ales
(Bonus! Seapine Brewing)

Georgetown Brewing Company

What the fudge does Jesus have to do with vacuums?

Beers I Tried:

1. Bob’s Brown Ale
2. Johnny Utah Citra Pale Ale

This is more of a growler filling/brewery tour type tasting room.  No pints, no tasting samples, so I just awkwardly sidled up to the bar and asked for my stamp and the opportunity to try a couple beers they had.  No pictures, just some quick shots of beer and a look around the gift shop.
Georgetown is a Seattle staple on taps all over the city, most commonly Manny’s Pale Ale.  It’s become a staple for a reason; it IS darn tasty beer.  However, I am Manny’s/Lucille/Chopper ‘d out.  It’s good, but I personally have never found anything notable about what they’re doing.  I tried two beers that I have never seen on taps and was pleased with my choices, as both the Citra Pale and the Brown were exactly what I expected them to be.  Reliable beers that are darn tasty.

Ghostfish Brewing Company

Beers I Tried:

3. Elderflower White Saison
4. Shrouded Summit Wit
5. Experimental Grapefruit IPA
6. Vanishing Point Pale
7. Watchstander Stout

The space for this was awesome.  Lots of wood, lots of room, right in the heart of SoDo.  Food is provided by a nearby vegan gluten free food truck kitchen which, like I said above, I’ll definitely be hitting up when I bring Ariana back here next time she visits!  Seriously, beer battered avocado tacos?  I gotta eat me some of those!
But beerwise…I just…you guys.  I get it, I do.  But every time I tried a beer, my response was my general GF statement of “It’s good for gluten free…”.  They are doing hella good, hella impressive work, and I definitely acknowledge and admire that.  I appreciate that they are taking a market of people, a lot of whom probably used to be beer lovers only to have their beloved beverage taken away, and are giving it back to them in a form their bodies can process.  But if I were to try these beers in a line-up of non-GF beers, I wouldn’t particularly care for them.  However, I definitely would rank them higher than Omission and MUCH HIGHER than New Planet (<–SO GROSS).  If you’re GF or have GF friends & family, definitely check this place out; if you’re a craft beer nerd, it’s worth checking out to see what’s happening in the GF beer world.  Watchstander was my favorite, the grapefruit IPA was skippable (though experimental when we were there, so maybe they’ve made it better a month later?).  Everything else was good and worth trying.

Epic Ales

Beers I Tried:

8. Mojito Pale Ale
9. Fleur de Ble Hefeweizen
10. Rosy Cheeks Pale
11. Horchata Saison
12. Ale Iain Cream Ale
13. The Wildest Mild Rauchbier
14. Hope Farmhouse Saison
15. Solar Trans Amplifier Witbier
16. Party Time!!! Ale
17. Single Barrel Sour #1
18. Sea-Oak 500

Guysguysguys.  This was on Toby’s list of “Meh” breweries, only for him to have his mind completely changed.  We ended up at Epic on the night they were auditioning a new chef, so we got to try some amazing food.  The mashed potato dumplings with chicken “gravy” sauce were so yum, but I couldn’t believe how mind-blowing the (above) squid crudo with a quail egg was.  GAAAH SO GOOD.  Don’t know if he got the job, but especially since it’s right down the street from Toby’s office, I know we’ll be back.
$3-5/taster
Because the Spees joined us, we were able to justify trying every single one of their beers they had on the list that day.  HOLINESS!  I gotta rave about the Mojito Pale, the Fleur de Ble, and the Rosy Cheeks; they were right up my alley with lightness and sweetness.  I even enjoyed the Hope Farmhouse Saison, and that’s a leap for me.  Party Time was a great sour, couldn’t handle the Sea-Oak 500 (we passed that along to the boys…so much barrel-y goodness for them).  The Horchata Saison was good, but honestly, mixing those great rice milk cinnamon flavors with those of the saison didn’t mix for me.  I’d stick with a pint of the Mojito Pale, no question.  Check it out!

Seapine Brewing

Beers I Tried:

19. Sea Witch Milk Stout
20. IPA
21. French “C” Saison

We had to hit Seapine on a different day due to weird hours for those of us in the service industry.  A small tasting room with four taps in a warehouse/office building.  Adam was pouring and was just the nicest guy; tips on how to enjoy Washington Brewers Fest, beer chat, etc.
$5/4 tasters
Dang, that milk stout!  If the hours ever open up a bit more, I would definitely go back just for that.  I liked the Saison and the IPA a lot, and want to check out the Pale Ale they were out of when we were there.  Even Toby, the hardcore IPA drinker, preferred the Saison!  Worth a trip, and walking distance to Costco if you need that.  :-)

Seattle Beerventure Pt. 6.1 – SoDo

 The Plan

We’re in the home stretch, friends!!  Only a few more breweries to go and we will have completed the Seattle Beerventure Challenge of Summer 2014 (sssssssh…just…life happens, guys).  We planned this beerventure based on what was open on Sunday (only four), and luckily got to try some really great beers, including a brand new brewery!  We’ve got plans in the works to finish up SoDo on a Tuesday night, Rainier area on a Sunday, and then I need to do some work rearranging to get to Seapine to round it all out.  (Also, trying to figure out WTF with Triple R and 2nd Chance?  Do they still exist anymore?)  We’ll keep you all posted!

Check out the total progress we’ve made HERE!

3.6 miles/10 minutes/4 breweries/22 beers/3 badges

Schooner Exact Brewing Company
Two Beers Brewing Co
Machine House Brewery
Counterbalance Brewing Company

SoDo Beerventure 6.1

I started the day with my first 5K in over a year…was aiming for a sub-35, so I was pleasantly surprised about the negative splits and the final time.  Now to get another sub-30 under my belt would be lovely.  Thanks Hot Chocolate 5K for a fun run!

Schooner Exact Brewing Company

Beers I Tried:

1. Gallant Maiden Hefeweizen
2. Gateway Golden Ale
3. King Street Brown Ale
4. Emerald ISA
5. Schwarzbier
6. 3 Grid IPA
7. Evergreen IPA
8. Mosaic Saison

I recognized the name of the brewery when I was plotting all of these beerventures, but it wasn’t until I got in and saw the tap handles that I realized what staples these were at the local grocery stores.  I’d only tried a couple of their beers before, but recognized more than half of the beers on the list.  The space was small, but the food menu looked great; we’d already filled up on brunch, so we weren’t hungry enough to order anything (a mistake, we realized later).
$15+tax/8 tasters
They were unfortunately out of the Profanity Hill Porter and their Brave Horse Ale, but that meant a little more room for their seasonals on our tasting board (usually you only get to pick two in addition to the six year-round beers on the taster).  The highlights of the sampler for me were the Gallant Maiden and the Emerald ISA.  Love a good session beer!  The Evergreen was nice and piney, enjoyably refreshing.  The Brown & Golden definitely grew on me, and I also enjoyed the Schwarzbier.  Wasn’t particularly fond of the 3 Grid (too bitter for my taste), and the Saison was very “meh”.  Overall, a great selection, and I’d highly recommend it if you’re down in the area.

Two Beers Brewing Co. (+Seattle Cider Co.)

Beers I Tried:

9. x6 IPA
10. Citra Pale
11. Evo IPA
12. Forester Double IPA
13. Fall Line
(+) Honey Cider

THIS is where you bring your non-beer drinking (or GF) friends.  Not because the beer isn’t beer-tastic, but because it is also the tasting room for Seattle Cider Co.  Two Beers is on tap pretty frequently around town, so I’ve had their Immersion Amber, Pilsner, and Belgian Wit, all of which are good beers, and I’ve been looking forward to Two Beers the whole beerventure challenge…glad to finally get here!
$7/4 tasters ($3 for an extra taster of cider)
Because I’d had most of the standards, we went pretty IPA heavy…LOVED the x6 IPA and the Citra Pale.  Both were hoppy enough for hops lovers, but subtle enough for people like me.  The Evo IPA I’d never had (despite mass distribution in grocery stores), but also extremely drinkable and palatable for the non-IPA lover.  Couldn’t really get behind the Forrester (Toby was a fan), and had a sip of the Fall Line and passed it along; didn’t realize it was brandy barrel aged, which I still can’t do.  Maybe someday.  Really enjoyed the Honey Cider though; a lot dryer than one would expect, but I’d down a 22oz of this in the summer no problem.

Machine House Brewery

Beers I Tried:

14. Best Bitter
15. Gold
16. Rye ESB
17. Crystal Maze

I realized I had never been to Georgetown when I went here; super cute area!  Machine House was easy to find, and the space was really large; games on the wall and sports on the TV.  LOVED the taps (hence the photos).
$2-3/half pint (no flights, although they let us do free tastes)
I’ve gotta say, beer-wise, this was my least favorite of the day.  Not because it wasn’t good, but just overall and personal preference.  The Bitter and the Crystal Maze both threw me off with the initial nose (almost barrel-aged smells), but both were good overall flavors.  I ended up with a half pint of the Gold, which I really enjoyed, but I wasn’t big on the Rye ESB.  Good local pub-type feel in the beer and the brewery.

Counterbalance Brewing 

Beers I Tried:

18. Abigale Blonde
19. Counterbalance IPA
20. Bad Wolf Dark Ale
21. Kushetka Imperial Stout
22. Pogo Duck

Apparently the brewer is a Doctor fan, and I was very excited to see some David Tennant on the screen while I was wearing my Doctor Who scarf.  Also, “Bad Wolf Dark Ale”?  Awesome.  Overall the place was small, kind of an office space feel to it (less like the warehouse feeling we’d gotten from the last two), but really good beer for being a newer brewery!
$1.50-2/taster
Seriously good beer here; after the fiasco that was Blue Lightning Brewing this past winter, we didn’t know what to expect.  Loved the Blonde and the Dark Ale, was drinking the IPA along with Toby and Pam (who showed up FINALLY for a post 15K beer!), and I respected and respectfully declined on the Pogo Duck (ISA) and Imperial Stout because I liked the first two so much more.  Definitely worth checking out; go now before word gets out that they’re great and there’s no seating left!!

Also, just because I’m proud, finally hit 50 stamps!!!!  2015-16 WABL membership, here I come!!

Seattle Beerventure Pt 5 – West Seattle

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The Plan

We decided to hit West Seattle up for this next beerventure since I had a Saturday night off of work!  We planned this one around closing times to make sure we hit them all, and managed to time it just right.  This is *not* a walkable beerventure for sure, and I’d recommend taking it easy if you decide to do this one.  Truth be told however, we were definitely only impressed with about 3/5 breweries we made it to.  (Burdick is apparently closed for the season, or the people at Lowercase just thought we were so awesome they wanted us to hang out longer…Burdick’s Facebook and website were unclear, so I’m not sure what was going on).
*Also, it should be noted…I’ve been trying to keep track of the cost of the samplers, but when Toby & I take turns paying, combined with drinking, well…the note-taking lacks.

Check out the total progress we’ve made HERE!

8.2 miles/20 minutes/5 breweries/23 beers/5 badges

Tin Dog Brewing
Lowercase Brewing
Big Al Brewing
West Seattle Brewing
Elliot Bay Brewing Co

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Tin Dog Brewing

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Beers I Tried

1. Belgian Blonde
2. Saison
3. Stout

This was our first stop on our West Seattle tour…honestly, was kind of underwhelmed.  Besides being in the middle of a business park (not out of the ordinary, but it’s odd thus far on the tour), the two employees were not particularly excited about their product, and spent the majority of their time on their tablet computers.  One of things I’ve grown to enjoy about these beerventures is talking with the brewers or employees about the beer; what they’re doing, what they like, what’s coming up…so this was a disappointed stop.
Schooners only
We tried the Saison, the Belgian Blonde, and the Stout.  I preferred them in that order.  Nothing exciting, nothing to write home about.  Decent, and if I lived in the neighborhood, I might go there again, but far down my list of “musts” in the Seattle beer scene.

Lowercase Brewing

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Beers I Tried

4. pALE
5. eSB
6. iPA
7. bROWN
8. sQUASH

THIS PLACE was my favorite place of the evening.  The people were hella fun, knowledgable, and the space was just cool.  We did the mug puzzle, but we’d already paid for our beers.  THIS is my kind of neighborhood brewery.
$5/5 tasters
I’m usually not an ESB fan, but I really enjoyed theirs.  Pale was fine, my least favorite of the five.  The IPA had some nice floral notes, making it actually drinkable for me (STILL not on the IPA bandwagon guys, sorry!).  But I LOVED the Brown and the Squash!  The Brown had a great subtle coffee taste, and the squash had a great spicy quality to it.  Definitely recommend going out of the way for this one.

Big Al Brewing

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9. Time Capsule July 2014
10. Time Capsule August 2014
11. Irish Red
12. Tutta Bella Amber
13. Winter Warmer

This is one of those Seattle breweries that’d I’d already unknowingly tried their beer, liked it, but had never made the connection that it was in the city.  I was excited to realize this and hit the source!  It was hoppin’ (<-Ha.  Ha.), so we didn’t really interact with employees, but the upstairs area was awesome.  It’d be a great party room to reserve, with a huge TV, couches, and pool table.  We had the whole upstairs to ourselves, but got interrupted by a beer tour that was passing through.

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~$7-9/5 tasters (?)
The Time Capsule beers were definitely interesting; the July was a sour blonde that I actually liked, but I was disappointed in the August…not as hoppy as described, which surprisingly saddened me.  I’d had the Red before, and I’m a huge fan; my favorite of the five.  Also really enjoyed the Amber, but the Winter Warmer is one I’ll definitely be adding to my list of winter go-to’s.

West Seattle Brewing Co

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14. Dumb Blonde Ale
15. Road Rage Red
16. Timberline IPA
17. Imperial Stout
18. Bourbon Barrel Pale

This was so not awesome.  We were there on a Saturday, it is a *great* location, but the beer was not good.  Mind you, when we went, it was still a baby brewery; I hope they’ve gotten their act together since then.  It’s a cool space, but just doesn’t warrant a return.
$6/4 tasters
The Blonde and Bed were very “meh”, the IPA was bland, and the Imperial Stout was the best of the bunch, though still nothing mind-blowing. (I won’t judge the Bourbon Barrel because I am never a bourbon barrel fan.)  So here’s hoping it’s gotten better since November; they do have potential to be a good brewery.

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Elliot Bay Brewing Co

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19. Luna Weizen
20. Dry Hopped IPA
21. Noale Holiday Ale
22. B-Town Brown
23. No Doubt Stout

I LOVE ELLIOT BAY.  Ever since I went there for NYE 2014, I’ve been a fan.  The beer is solid, but the food is what I really love.  Seriously.  The elk burger in the Lake City location?  The Cuban sandwich I had in West Seattle?  My mouth is watering again.  Check it out!  Great date night location.  (And right across the street almost from ArtsWest…)
$7/5 tasters
Again, the beer is solid.  The five we tried were more of their more popular brews, but I really enjoyed all of them quite a bit.  My least favorite was the IPA and my most favorite was the Stout, but they were only separated by one star on my UnTappd.  Avg. 3.5 star rating.  Check them out; they do good, consistent, tasty work.

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So there it is, ladies and gentlemen.  Beerventure: West Seattle (#5) has been completed.  Only SoDo left!

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Seattle Beerventure Pt 4 – Ballard

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The Plan

My first beerventure with my new guy!!  I apologize for the belated post (yet again!), but I was part of putting Little Shop of Horrors up in 10 days in Bellingham (THAT beerventure post later this week!) and I returned to the end of soccer season commencing, which means hella hours at work.
I split the beerventure into two sets: Reubens, Stoup, and Populuxe just with Toby, and then Peddler, NW Peaks, and Hilliards with the Spees (Toby & I actually started the night at Rooftop, but it was a bit out of the way AND they’re moving!  So I’ll include that in my Other Breweries post!).  The map above shows the path we had planned on taking if we hadn’t split it up, but schedules only allowed for nighttime venturing.  This would be hands down the easiest, most fun beerventure thus far; Reuben’s and Hilliards are Seattle Standards, and the other four are great microbreweries doing some interesting things.  I’d recommend this one for out of town beer geeks who are open to trying new things.

Check out the total progress we’ve made HERE!

1.1 miles/26 minutes/6 breweries/33 beers/7 Untappd badges

Peddler Brewing Company
Northwest Peaks Brewery
Hilliard’s Beer
Reuben’s Brews
Stoup Brewing
Populuxe Brewing

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Reuben’s Brews

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Beers I Tried

1. Foreign Export Stout
2. Cream Ale
3. Kenya Cream
4. American Rye
5. Robust Porter

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I have always been a fan of Reuben’s…we’ve always carried it at the pizza place, and it’s always good.  I was definitely not disappointed!  The space was small, a lot smaller than I expected, but it was cozy.  And they had pretzels! Always a plus in my book.
$2/tasters
The two cream ales were hands down my favorites.  I really liked them both; I would order the Cream Ale again as a full beer, but I enjoyed the sweetness of the Kenya.  The stout and porter were very enjoyable, wasn’t a huge fan of the rye, but really, one of the most consistent breweries I’ve been to during these beerventures.

Stoup Brewing

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Beers I Tried

6. Robust Porter
7. Wheaton IPA
8. Northwest Red
9. Citra IPA
10. Bavarian Hefeweizen

Yay Stoup!  I’d had a couple of their beers on various taps throughout Seattle and was eager to check them out.  Another small space, food truck out front, but really friendly bartenders.  A very straightforward brewery with only a handful of beers on draft.
$2/taster
Robust porter, the red, and the Citra IPA were all really good.  I’ve realized I’m a huge fan of Citra hops and never turn down the opportunity to try a new one.  The Hefe was my choice, and the Wheaton IPA was Toby’s, and I can’t say I was a huge fan of either.  I was actually really disappointed by the hefe, they are generally my go-to at breweries.  The Wheaton was just a little too hoppy for my taste.

Populuxe Brewing

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Beers I Tried

11. Rye Pale Ale
12. Expansion IPA
13. Double IPA
14. Dunkelweizen
15. Beer Snob Brown
16. Blackberry Pale

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I LOVED THIS SPACE!!!  Such a cool outdoor beer garden with lights!  I want to have parties here!  Totally chill, not trying to be anything except a yard next to a junk yard with some picnic tables.  Loved it.
$2/taster
This place had my highest and lowest ratings of the night…lots of hits and misses.  I LOVED the blackberry pale and the Beer Snob Brown, but really couldn’t get behind either of the IPAs (although, again, a reminder I’m not an IPA fan…).  The rye pale was pretty good, and felt mediocre about the dunkelweizen.  They seem to have a pretty frequently changing list, so I’d love to go back seasonally to see what they’re up to.  Recently tried their Peach Saison at a party and very much enjoyed it.

We then proceeded to end the night with a beer at the Jolly Roger (I also needed my stamp!!), and by then, we were drunk enough to think beer battered deep fried bacon with maple aioli would be a great idea.  And it was delicious.

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Peddler Brewing Co

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Beers I Tried

17. ISA (India Session Ale)
18. Stage 22 – Oatmeal Stout
19. Coffee Saison
20. Tangerine-Wheat
21. Pumpkin Spice Belgian
22. Golden Pedal – Belgian
23. Caramel ESB

A cool space; it is definitely a great hangout for cyclists.  My friend Adam loves this place and was raving about their use of bicycle parts in the decor.  I am not a cyclist, so I missed these little nuances unfortunately, but I definitely get the appeal.
$2/taster
The ISA was pretty good, a subtle ginger flavor.  The Pumpkin Spice and Caramel ESB were very mediocre, and the Tangerine-Wheat tasted like cleaning supplies.  Coffee Saison I couldn’t decide on; the lightness was odd for the coffee flavor.  I enjoyed the Oatmeal Stout and the Golden Pedal, but overall, not a place I would go back for the beer.  If six breweries in one day seems daunting, this is the one you could skip (unless you’re a cyclist…then you should draw straws).

NW Peaks Brewery

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Beers I Tried

24. Enchantment Saison
25. Tinkham Berlinerweisse
26. Stuart Stout
27. Eldorado Pale Ale
28. Challenger IPA
29. Redoubt Red

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Very, very tiny space.  The line took up a lot of room, and it was extremely crowded but not a lot of people.  Definitely a place to go in the summer when the weather allows for outside seating.  Really friendly people though, especially the customers
$2-$4/taster
LOVED the Berlinerweisse, which is weird, since I’m not a huge sour fan.  The Redoubt Red was disappointing.  Not as sweet as I like a red to be, but I’m always let down by dryer reds and darks.  Everything else I gave 3.5 stars; good, drinkable, I’d definitely drink there again.

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Hilliard’s

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Beers I Tried

30. All Hopped and Lager
31. Opulator Doppelbock
32. Chrome Satan
33. Murdered Out Stout

The space is a huge warehouse.  I’ve hung out here a few times because Toby’s Biscuit Box used to do weekend mornings, and they’re great for Seahawks games, but the seating is not plentiful inside.  Another brewery you’d want to hit in the summer with good weather, or bring your own chairs if you’re planning on watching a game.
No tasters; good thing there were four of us so I could try four different ones!
$4/pint
I’d had Hilliard’s around Seattle as well.  They aren’t big on the taps, but huge can production.  Overall, their beers are solid.  There is nothing I’ve tried that I strongly dislike.  The Lager was the only one I didn’t dig; Chrome Satan is my go-to when I go there.

We ended the Beerventure Pt 4.5 back at Bad Jimmy’s where I proceeded to buy a tanktop, drunkenly effuse to the brewer(?) how he was my favorite so far, and love on their Strawberry Mango Hefeweizen.  Yes fruit beer!

Why Musical Theatre? Pt. 1

Why musical theatre?

I get asked the question, “So when are you going to move to L.A.?” a lot.  I guess it makes sense; the obvious place to a non-theatre person to go to be an actor would be Hollywood.  Because if you’re pursuing a career as an actor, you must be pursuing fame and money.  Right?

And then people get confused when I tell them, “No, actually, I really have no desire to be a film actor at this point in my life.”

(which inevitable leads to: “So then New York?  Broadway?”

“No, I’m actually really happy doing musical theatre here in Seattle.”  Props to people who move to NYC and love it, but I just don’t know that that life is for me.)

“But you can’t become famous acting in live theatre.  You can’t get rich acting in live theatre.  And why else would you go into acting?  You want money and fame, DON’T YOU?!?!”

And at this point in the conversation, I usually just shake my head, shrug, and walk off, because GAH IT IS SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT.

I always loved performing; musicals and singing were a big part of my life growing up, and it seemed like a natural choice to attend college for musical theatre when the time came around to decide what I was going to do.  I went to the University of Idaho, had some amazing professors for five years, made some unbelievable friends, and then was spit out into the real world to fend for myself.

Seattle has been amazingly welcoming, and I consider myself to be lucky enough to have gotten decent work thus far.  But still…why musical theatre?

About a year ago, I was talking to my parents about musical theatre and Audra McDonald came up in the conversation.  They didn’t know who I was talking about, so I immediately dragged them to a computer to watch one of my favorite Audra videos: the Jeff Blumenkrantz song “I Won’t Mind”:

I had heard this song in college and, and in my mind (not sure of the context of the song), this song was sung by a nanny who was unable to have children of her own.  A beautiful piece sung by a stunning voice, and I was excited to share it with my parents.

Barely a verse into the song, my mom was weeping.  I asked if she wanted me to turn it off, but she signaled to let me know it was ok.  We got to the end of the song, she was still weeping, and when she finally was able to take a breath, she said, “All I can think about is your Gamma.”

My dad’s mom, my Gamma Naomi, passed away at 93 years old in 2004, my sophomore year of high school.  My dad was an only child, as my Gamma had had him when she was 40 years old.  My dad moved her north to live closer when I was in middle school, but by that point, a series of mini strokes had taken away most of her ability to remember things.  I was unfortunately never super close with Gamma, but I do remember her loving and joyful spirit.

My junior year of college, I received a phone call from my parents explaining they had just been contacted by my dad’s half niece; apparently, my Gamma had gotten pregnant out of wedlock around the age of 21 (1930’s) and given the baby up for adoption.  She had been allowed to visit the baby up until the girl was two years old, when the adoptive parents explained that she was getting confused and they felt it would be better if Gamma stopped visiting; she never saw or contacted her daughter again.  The only other people who knew about the child were her sisters.  She never talked about it to my grandpa or my dad, and we had no idea until we received that phone call.

Where I’m going with this story, in regards to musical theatre, is that my mom and I heard the same song, but we heard two completely different stories.  One was singing to a baby she’d never have, the other was singing to her own baby she couldn’t keep.  Both are legitimate, truthful interpretations of the song.  I have to wonder…maybe hearing that song would have helped my Gamma feel more comfortable telling her story, and helped her feel less alone.

Another story:  In 2012, I was cast in the 5th Avenue Theatre’s Adventure Musical Theatre’s production of “Klondike!”.  The story, written by Bill Berry and David Austin, is a touring, 50-minute musical that follows two families’ journeys north to find gold.  About two-thirds of the way through the show, the uncle/caregiver of Katherine and Nicholas passes away on stage.  Heavy subject matter for K-8 kids, but death happened on the Klondike trail, and the writers did a lovely job honoring real-life journeys with fictional story lines.

We had the opportunity to take the show to my mom’s elementary school late in our tour.  Apparently, only a week or two previously, a student who didn’t really fit in with her classmates had lost her mother.  My mom, who had seen the show, was fully prepared to help get the student out of there if necessary during the death scene.  Instead, my mom said that when she looked back at the girl, there were tears silently streaming down her face, and the classmate sitting next to her had their arm around her; the rest of the class was leaning in and comforting her in a way to let her know they were there.  For that moment, this girl who didn’t really fit in, who was having a really hard time, got the opportunity to really KNOW that she wasn’t alone.

And that’s what I believe is the true beauty of musical theatre: you never know who’s story you’re telling, and you never know who needs to hear what you’re saying.  Musical theatre reminds us that no matter how hard it gets, we are not alone.  We as actors are blessed with the opportunity to create those personal connections from the stage, and to approach those hard subjects in the medium of live theatre.

I live for those moments; those moments of truthfulness, of vulnerability, told by means of song or dance, that are fewer and further between in today’s over-sung contemporary musicals or overdone classical musicals (those are broad generalizations, I know, and a whole other blog post).  As a performer and as an audience member, those are the moments that give a sense of oneness, of community.  Regardless of how sad the topic, there is pure joy in knowing that you are truly not alone.

And for that, for my own personal reasons, that is why I have no desire to ever move to L.A. and attempt to recreate that truthfulness behind a camera lens; while some actors have those skills (and are AMAZING), that just doesn’t call to me.  Nothing can compare to the thrill and personal-ness of live theatre.

*A quick note: I wrote this post specifically about musical theatre because that’s what I have experience in; I stand behind everything I say in regards to “straight theatre”, or even musical concerts, as well.  Just something about performing live, or being in the audience at a theatre…that’s magical to me.

Seattle Beerventure Pt 3 – Downtown

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The Plan

This was the last beerventure I could do for a while (I apologize for the belated posting…a month late.  Forgot this was sitting in my drafts!)…just finished up a show in Issaquah, and now I’m back waiting tables! So here’s to hopefully another beerventure soon!
I will say…this is not the Seattle Beerventure I would necessarily recommend (unless you wanted to skip Gordon & Rock Bottom, and hit up Bluebird on Cap Hill & Elysian instead).  It was half good/half mediocre beer, and it draaaaaained my wallet.  Started the day with $60…I think I ended with $5?  Only bought ONE HOT DOG besides the samplers (and I obviously tip decently, because DUH).  Definitely the most overpriced beer, just not worth it.  Sorry.  A couple good breweries, but not worth a whole excursion.  Hit them up separately for sure.

Check out the total progress we’ve made HERE!

2.6 miles/53 minutes/5 breweries/29 beers/3 Untappd badges

Six Arms – McMenamins
Gordon Biersch Brewery
Rock Bottom Brewery
Pike Brewing
Pyramid Brewing

Downtown Beerventure

Six Arms – McMenamins

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Beers I Tried:
1. Nitro (whatever was on…it was definitely some kind of stout, not on Untappd)
2. Ruby Ale
3. Hammerhead Ale
4.India Pale Ale
5. Terminator Stout
6. Ugly Puppy

You just can’t go wrong with McMenamins.  Their Happy Hour is amazing (cajun TOTS), and I like their beers a lot.  Also, it seems like this location has gotten a lot more chill in the last year; I’m not as stressed out for the servers/bartenders like I used to be.  I’m not as familiar with the Roy St. location, but I know I’d go there more if it was closer to my house.
$8+tax/6 beers
I honestly do not remember what the nitro was…wish I did, because I remember liking it.  But I almost always like nitros.  That smoothy smoothness!!  The Ruby and Terminator are my go-to’s at this place, but I actually really enjoyed the Hammerhead.  Not generally a pale ale fan, but this one was good, not too hoppy.  Ugly Puppy was a dark belgian ale, and it was good.  A sweet aftertaste that I enjoyed.
And then Jason ordered the Smokestack Mac & Cheese (bacon and smoked mozz)…I only had three bites.  It was magical.  I will go back for this any day.  (Also their brownie dessert with caramel sauce is TODIEFOR.  GET IT.)

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Gordon Biersch Brewery

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Beers I Tried:
7. Golden Export
8. Hefeweizen
9. Czech Style Pilsner
10. Märzen
11. Schwarzbier
12.Maibock

Guys.  Gordon Biersch was the worst.  Comparable to the Ram.  I wouldn’t have chosen it, but this challenge.  Gotta catch ’em all.  Jason even refused to drink beer and decided to go with a spicy pinot noir.  His words.  He also refused to make a nice face for the camera.  Jerk.

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$6.50+tax/6 beers
The Golden Export and Hefe were fine.  Nothing to write home about.  Did NOT care for the Pilsner or the Maibock.  The Märzen is what I’ve ordered in the past when I’ve eaten there (fine), but the Schwarzbier took me by surprise; I liked the coffee flavor.  But again, just overall not good.  I think the Schwarzbier just happened to be the standout.  I do not recommend this brewery unless you’re doing the challenge.

Rock Bottom Brewery

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Beers I Tried:
13. Kölsch
14. Belgian White Ale
15. IPA
16. Red Rocks Red Ale
17. Nitro Porter
18. Summer Blonde Honey Ale

Rock Bottom has decent food, but the bartender was really great here.  I was definitely a fan, it’s so close to the 5th Ave, and the food isn’t super overpriced (just a little overpriced), I’d go here again.  Maybe not for great beer, but for the atmosphere and location.
He charged me for one happy hour beer instead of the sampler…thanks bartender!
Liked the Kölsch, the Red, and the Porter.  Standard, yummy beers.  At this point I was decently toasted, so my note-taking suffered.  But I was very emphatic about the Honey Blonde, and did not care for the IPA or Belgian White.  Normally I’m a Belgian White fan, so dunno what happened.  All I wrote was “Meeeehhhh…”
*facepalm*
We also proceeded to send this photo to our bosses.  Hey Chad & Lauren!

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Pike Brewing

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Beers I Tried:
19. Naughty Nellie
20. Pale Ale
21. IPA
22. Kilt Lifter
23. XXXXX – Extra Stout
24. Monk’s Uncle – Tripel Ale

I love Pike Brewing.  I’m just glad they let me back in after the 26th Birthday Fiasco of 2013 where I apparently unknowingly propositioned the bartender.  Whoops.  Sorry, dude.  #vodkaredbullproblems
$12+tax/6 beers (<-efffff)
Naughty Nellie and Kiltlifter are two of my standard Seattle recommendations for out of towners; great beers, especially the Kiltlifter.  That and Boundary Bay are what got me into Scotch Ales.  I actually had never tried anything else from Pike that was on the sampler, so I was really excited to hit up this one.  Disappointed in the cost for sure (I know, it’s in tourist central), but the pints are reasonably priced during happy hour.  Liked the other four just fine, wasn’t too big on Monk’s Uncle or the Pale, but I didn’t hate the IPA!!  YAY!  The Stout was pleasantly smooth, but a bit bitter for my liking.  Give me a sweet stout any day.
And Jason is totally over it and this is where he ditched me.  I walked to Pyramid by maaaself.

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Pyramid Brewing

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Beers I Tried:
25. Hefeweizen
26. Curve Ball Blonde
27. Apricot Ale
28. Thunderhead IPA
29. Alehouse Amber Ale

I love going to Pyramid on game day!  Until I recognize the bartender that Megan left my number for last Christmas…who never called…*hides under hat**note to self: always wear a hat to Pyramid for this reason*
But seriously, the food is good.  Again, it is overpriced and nothing to write home about, but it’s yummy and you’re always surrounded by Seattle sports fans.  We actually went during an M’s game, and it was great.
$10+tax/5 beers
YOU JUST CAN’T GO WRONG WITH PYRAMID.  Not a huge fan of their Thunderhead (of course), but everything else was great.  I love their Apricot Ale and their Curve Ball.  Their Hefe is good and can be found on a lot of taps in Seattle.  The Amber was the only one I’d never tried, and I really enjoyed it.  They are my go-to sampler from the grocery store when I know I will be entertaining people, or am headed to a get together.  They’re drinkable, yummy, and relatively inexpensive.  And I really like their Snowcap, Strawberry Blonde, and Sounders Blonde beers.  They’re like a diner’s chicken potpie of beers; by no means mom’s homemade, but it’s comfortable and sometimes exactly what you need.
And cute bartenders.

So many fans!

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And no pictures of Chris, who joined me for this last leg, purely because I fancy myself a magnificent food photographer when drunk and I’m pretty sure I took photos from at least five different angles on my phone.  Good grief.  Drunk Heather is not a humble Heather.
Happy beerventuring!

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Seattle Beerventure Pt 2 – UDistrict/Greenlake/Greenwood

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The Plan

I took the day off so I could attend my friends Jes & Randy’s opening night of Jane Eyre at Taproot Theatre in Greenwood.  Decided to make the most of it and do some more beerventuring up that way since I knew I could bus/walk the whole thing.  Thankfully, I had some friends with car who ended up doing some driving as I had a MASSIVE migraine/hangover at about 12:30am that I think was especially brought on by the walking in the sun, even despite drinking massive amounts of water.  Blergh.

Check out the total progress we’ve made HERE!

3.7 miles/77 minutes/3 car rides/6 breweries/31 beers/4 Untappd badges

Ram Restaurant & Brewery
Big Time Brewery
Elysian Tangletown
Bluebird Microbrewery
Lantern Brewing
Naked City Brewing

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First off, check out this gorgeous mountain I got to look at as I walked to The Ram from my bus.  Holiness.  Pacific Northwest for the win.

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The Ram

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Beers I Tried:
1. Blonde
2. Big Red IPA
3. 71 Pale Ale
4. Saison
5. Disorder Porter
6. Barefoot Wit
7. Hefeweizen
8. Buttface Amber Ale

I like the Ram just fine.  It’s always been a decent place to go with friends for Happy Hour, and to watch sports.  That’s just kind of the atmosphere.  Good burgers!  And I’ve always had great service.
$4.99+tax/6 beers (plus she gave me tasters of the two seasonals)
Holy lots of beer!  Holy not good beer!  Sorry, but it was really mostly terrible.  The Amber & the Blonde are the only two I’d order, and even then, I’d go for happy hour food.  Not for the beer.  The Porter was hands down the worst; it reminded me of a “grapefruit” scented all-purpose cleaner I have in the house.  When the overall flavor is household cleaner, that’s a problem.

Big Time Brewery

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Beers I Tried:
9. Coal Creek Porter
10. Prime Time Pale Ale
11. Sunbreak Blonde
12. Atlas Amber Ale

Interesting space; total college ave alehouse.  Would go back to buy some of their beer, but the pub aspect wasn’t really my thing.  Ran into an old coworker Luke in the kitchen, and he made me a sandwich!  Thanks Luke!!
$5.25/4 beers
LOVED the porter.  The blonde and pale were fine, but the porter hardcore stood out in this set.  I also really liked the flavors of the amber, but I took to long to get to it and it had warmed up quite a bit, which brought out some bitterness.  Should have started with it and ended with the porter instead.

Elysian Tangletown

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Beers I Tried:
13. Loser Pale Ale
14. The Immortal IPA
15. Avatar Jasmine IPA
16. Mens Room Original Red
17. Dragonstooth Stout
18. Swashbuckler Vanilla Porter

I’ve been to all three of the Elysian locations (mostly Cap Hill, since it’s so close to my house), but figured this would be the one to hit on a beerventure since it helped close the gap between UDistrict and Greenwood.  GREAT location, love how close it is to the lake, love the open doors in the summer, and Elysian always has such a great clientele and staff.  Love them.  And this is where my solo beerventure ended and Chris met up with me!
??/5 beers (bought an extra taster)
I love Elysian beer.  I’m a big fan of their Superfuzz that’s out this summer (a blood orange pale), and was obsessed with their coffee milk stout this past winter.  Can’t WAIT for pumpkin beer fest!  Liked the pale & mens room, wasn’t huge on the Immortal, but I was surprised at how much I really liked the Avatar Jasmine.  I could drink that IPA!  But the Swashbuckler…HOLYCOW.  I like my beer sweet, and this one didn’t disappoint.  Amazing smooth, vanilla flavor, and I don’t think they have this one at the Cap Hill location.  Gotta get back to Tangletown ASAP!

Bluebird Microbrewery

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Beer I Tried:
19. Weedwhacker Wheat Ale

I was really disappointed when we hit Bluebird…they were out of the Theo Milk Chocolate Stout (which is one of my favorite beers in Seattle, so I was excited to beerventure it!), and when we asked about a sampler, the guy behind the counter was not enthused, I think because they were out of everything except the wheat.  Which was a good wheat beer, but the store was practically a sauna, and we weren’t allowed to sit outside with our beers.  We drank quickly, skipped the ice cream (they have *good* ice cream), and crossed the street to the 74th St Alehouse to wait for Pam.

Lantern Brewing

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Beers I Tried:
20. Blondine
21. Witbier
22. Pale Ale
23. Tripel
24. Kriekenwit
25. Lucienne

You guys.  This place is great.  The beer was pretty tasty, and the staff was so awesome!  And the space!!  They were the only place that didn’t have anything to stamp our passports with :-( but they are so close to the Spees house, we definitely will be back for more beer and with the PupSpee.  Really cool tasting room off of Aurora.
$8/6 beers
For the most part, I liked all the beers…I had Mike finish the Witbier and the Tripel, cuz they weren’t my favorite, but the Krieknwit was delicious.  Next time we go, that’s what I’ll get a pint of.  For sure.  And I’d like to try some of their darker stuff if it’s on tap.
Also, hit my 200th beer here!

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Beerventure Breaktime: Taproot Theatre!

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Pretty much you should go see Jes kill it in this show.  And her and Randy’s duet is great and I want to hear them sing more together, please and thank you.  And support Taproot.  That was my first show I saw there, and I wasn’t disappointed.  Nick Giac came as my Kate Jaeger date replacement (le sigh), so he got to tag along for the last leg of the beerventure!

Naked City Brewing

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Beers I Tried:
26. Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands (Blonde)
27. Betsey’s Mountain Amber
28. Yankee Drifter (Blonde)
29. Pinkerton Porter
30. Brute Force IPA
31. Crossfire IPA

Naked City is great.  Also they’re right next door to Bills, so I was very confused and thought I was going to get some pizza.  No such luck, but those corndogs were bomb.  Dipped in the fancy fry sauce especially.
??/6 beers
Seriously, my photos get worse as the beerventures go on, don’t they?  I guess that’s to be expected.  Liked the Blondes, did not like the IPAs.  Much much much to hoppy for my taste.  At that point, that’s as much as I remember about the Naked City beers, even with a 3 hours Jane Eyre break to sober up.  I think I was more tired than anything, and, like I said above, verge hangover/migraine.  Good quality stuff, it’s so close to Taproot and other places up there, I know I’ll be back.  But I will probably get pizza next door first.  Sssh.

(Nick really really wanted to get in the beer picture…)

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 And now, my official post-Beerventure Pt 2 face, where I attempt to personify Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands.  Nailed it.

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The Facebook Ideal (and how I finally embraced being a Single Lady)

I’m sure you’ve heard that Facebook got themselves into a little hot water recently. Apparently it was manipulating newsfeeds of a pool of users, showing them friends’ posts that contained “positive” buzzwords, and then seeing how that pool of users was affected based on their subsequent status updates & posts. It was an unethical psychological experiment on unaware subjects.

Yet I’m intrigued as to if they actually found out anything more than what they’re sharing (which is it had “minimal” effects).

Because I, for one, really am so happy and excited for all my friends who are getting married and having babies.  Truthfully, I am!  (I promise!!)

And yet I’m exhausted.

From following all the relationship status updates, looking at photos, reading sweet posts to each other, clicking through links to their registries, to their Huffington Post articles about how marriage is so awesome, lists on how to be a better wife, or comparing different breast pumps.

NO ACTUAL, PHYSICAL INTERACTION WHATSOEVER ON MY PART. I have literally attended five weddings in my life and only held one baby in the last three years.

So why, at 26, do I feel like I’m falling behind?

I consider myself to be a successful person thus far. I have two college degrees.  I lived in Europe for four months.  I enjoy my job waiting tables (seriously!), I pay my bills without much hassle and/or worry, and I am so unbelievably grateful for the professional musical theatre opportunities I have already experienced and that I have coming up. I personally am not ready to trade or compromise where I am in life for a family right now.

Yet I bawled like a baby reading this birth story on Carrots N Cake. There’s nothing sad or even out of the ordinary about it, but just the beautiful simplicity of her story was so moving; how she was so excited to meet the little guy who’d been growing inside her for nine months.

And that’s what gets me. You grow a PERSON for NINE MONTHS inSIDE of you, and yet you don’t know anything about them. A WHOLE HUMAN BEING. That you are in charge of 100%. You will shape them, and help them create their morals, their memories, their whole lives. You get to watch them grow up and have personalities and experiences and skinned knees and pride in their every accomplishment.  And that moment of finally getting to meet them must be one of the most amazing things a woman can experience.

I JUST THINK THAT’S SO COOL AND BEAUTIFUL AND IT MAKES ME FEEL SO FULL OF ALL THE EMOTIONS AAAAAND I WANT ONE.

And I know, at 26, that it’s perfectly natural to feel that way about babies because my uterus is totally like “GIRL. Get it toGETHER. You need a BABY all up inside you YESTERDAY!”

But then, it all comes back to this question: how much of that feeling is actually natural, and how much of it is perpetuated by Facebook?

I was talking with the roomie about this a while ago, about how we feel outside pressure that marriage and a family are what we are expected to strive for. How those are the Ultimate Goal. The Facebook Ideal. As soon as we obtain a handsome husband, pop out an adorable tiny human, and have a picturesque, matching sweater Christmas Card (/Facebook Profile Pic!), we’ve succeeded at all things. But is that it?

And yes, I’m sure people had those feelings in the pre-Facebook days. But I strongly believe that Facebook helps to sustain those feelings, and magnifies them tenfold.  Same with Twitter! And Instagram! And blogs! And Pinterest! (Let’s be honest, what girl *doesn’t* have a wedding Pinterest board?)

I admit, I find myself feeling down about it too often; it honestly makes me feel like I’m behind.  But when I really sit and think about it though, I am NOT sad to be single. I have even done the online dating thing, and have met & dated enough guys to realize it’s just not worth settling for someone who doesn’t fit or who’s too low to round up to my ONE. (<–Dan Savage video link!)
(Also his Price of Admission video is great, too, on a similar “there is no The One” idea…and on we go…)

Since Fall 2006, I have always been either:
-In a relationship
-Rebounding from a relationship
-Dating
-Pursuing someone to date
-In an unhealthy FWB situation with whom I usually wanted to be dating…awkward.

September 2013-March 2014, I didn’t go on any dates. Totally abstinent. And it surprised me how FREEING it was.

My Friday nights? I could go out with friends OR watch Netflix until 2am…I didn’t have to check in with anyone. That 3 mile run? I started doing it for ME, not because I wanted to look better naked for someone else. That super cute dress I bought? I didn’t need anyone to tell me I looked good in it, because I felt great in it. That third beer and 5th Christmas cookie? Fuck off, I do what I want!

I, all of a sudden, was not defining myself by my relationships. I was just defining myself, and I was allowing myself to just BE. Happy. Sad. Excited. Loud. Joyful. Angry. And I felt glorious.

While the “I don’t need anyone else” realization happened years ago (another story), this was the first time I’d truly been alone in seven years. And this is not to discredit or put down any kind of relationship I have ever had; I am still on good terms with many of them, close friends with a few, and learned a lot from the ones who are no longer a part of my life. But having a chance to sit back and be alone, I saw that I was so often getting completely sucked into that other person; my moods mirrored theirs, I was so affected by the little things, and I would start to question everything I said or did.  I would start to question myself.  And it would escalate (comedically) quickly.

Did I say the wrong thing? Does he think I’m mad? Is he mad?? Why isn’t he responding immediately to my text???

Is he judging me for eating that second cookie? What if he feels my pudgy stomach during sex, and remembers that second cookie, and judges me for it THEN, when I’m already naked and can’t hide it?? Does he even find me sexually attractive???

Will he hate me if I don’t go out with him and his friends? Will he think I’m lazy if I don’t feel like putting on a bra & make-up, and just want to watch Netflix by myself tonight?  Can I have a bottle of wine??  Will he think I’m a lazy alcoholic if I tell him I’m drinking a bottle of wine by myself tonight while I sit around and watch Netflix???

I probably shouldn’t have even told him I mentioned our date to my parents…now he thinks that I think he’s The One…now he’s gonna go running for the hills just like all the rest of them…

THOSE ARE ALL SUCH STUPID THINGS THAT I NEVER WORRY ABOUT WHEN I’M SINGLE.  I rarely think those things about my friends.  So why should I worry about them when I’m in a relationship??

Yet I have absolutely thought all of these sorts of thoughts with EVERY.SINGLE.GUY.  These thoughts are all red flags that I often overlook and suppress until there’s a sea of red and I’m forced to come to terms with the fact that he is, in fact, not someone I’d want to spend the rest of my life with.  Normally that realization happens after a box of tissues and a lot of ice cream, as I’ve already been dumped by him, usually because I held out for waaaaay too long, hoping that it would all work out.

So why do I get into the habit of forcing something that obviously isn’t working?  I really believe it all comes back to the Facebook Ideal.  I start to think that maybe this is it for me; maybe this guy is the guy I should end up with, that I should settle for.  The idea that I should want, that I should need, that perfect Facebook Profile Picture with a Stud Muffin, a Big-Ass Diamond Ring, and a Fucking Adorable Tiny Version of the Two of Us (and maybe even A Dog) to feel good about where I am in my life.  Because Facebook shows me that marriage and relationships are easy and fun and perfect and the ultimate WIN.  That that’s what I should be striving for.  That, yes, I am successful if I land a great role in a dream show, but I am MORE successful (& worthy of a $20,000 celebration) if I’m walking down the aisle in a white (ha!) gown.

I want that.  Someday.  I know so many great people (younger, older, my age) in truly happy marriages & relationships, some with beautiful children, being kickass parents & partners, WHO MAKE EACH OTHER BETTER PEOPLE, and they’re still doing what they love.  Their relationships are strong, but hard work, and while everyone hits rocks occasionally, they deal with the rocks and keep on sailing.  That’s love, and it’s just not worth settling for anything less than that.

Am I ready for a serious relationship with someone that I could eventually have that with?  I think so.  And I am so excited to someday decide to spend the rest of my life with someone, and to someday hold MY adorably tiny human for the first time.  But I’m really gonna try to stop letting the outside world make me feel that I am not successful until I have those things.  Because I AM happy AND fulfilled AND worthy AND successful.  And it took me a long time to realize, accept, and relish that.

So now I’m off to spin class so I can enjoy checking out my own butt in the mirror later.  ;-)

 

Seattle Beerventure: Pt 1 (Fremont & Ballard)

It’s official, guys.  We finally kicked off the SEATTLE BEERVENTURE yesterday!!!

Keep track on the above page to see where we’ve been/where we’re heading.

The Plan

The plan was to hit the first five breweries, but we ended up adding the sixth when we realized we could totally handle it.  Because we’re awesome.

1.9 miles/37 minutes/6 breweries/34 beers/6 Untappd badges

Asgard Tavern (Odin’s)
Fremont Brewing Co.
Outlander Pub
Hale’s Ales Pub
Bad Jimmy Brewing Co.
Jolly Roger Tap Room (Maritime Pacific)

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Asgard Tavern

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Beers I Tried:
1. Freya’s Gold (Kolsch)
2. Odin’s Gift (American Amber/Red Ale)
3. Thor’s Equinox (Belgian Dark Ale)
4. Sigrun IPA

The tasting room was small on the inside, but had a nice patio out front that would be great early in the day while the sun is still high.  They didn’t have food (I stuffed my face with a PCC roll before starting), but they do allow dogs and we met the PRETTIEST husky dog!!
$6/4 beers
I had tried the first three before, and am a fan of their beers.  Pretty standard in Seattle, Thor’s Equinox is probably my favorite (9% alcohol content makes it tough to put back a lot of it, though!)

Seriously, somehow we lucked out and the rain never showed up!  Gorgeous day in Seattle!!

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Mike, Pam, & I are excited to head off to venue #2!

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Fremont Brewing Co.

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I have to say, Fremont was the one I was most excited about.  I’m a huge fan of their winter, summer, and spring beers (Abominable Ale is one of my top 20, hands down!).  Fremont is another Seattle standard, and a tap staple at a lot of local bars, so I was excited to try it at the source.

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Beers I Tried:
5. Universale Pale Ale
6. Summer Ale (Pale Ale)
7. Wandering Wheat
8. Proletariat Porter
9. Dark Star Nitro (Imperial Oatmeal Stout)
10. Randall #1 (IPA brewed with Grapefruit & Lime) (not shown)

Loved the beer garden.  Would definitely bring out-of-towners here on a nice day.  No food (just pretzels), but the beer was great.
$7/5 beers
Like I said, I am no stranger to Fremont beer, and had tried the Summer Ale & Wandering Wheat numerous times, but I’d never had the Pale Ale, or the two dark beers.  The Randall beer is brewed differently every time, we just happened to be there on a day when it had fruit!  And I do love fruity IPAs…only way I’ll drink ’em!  Didn’t do the Interurban IPA (one of their most popular), and I added the Midnight Rider to my Untappd wishlist.  Next time!
We also RANDOMLY ran into Mike, Andrea, and Kelly Locke!  Great to see some friendly Wenatchee faces that I of course forgot to grab a picture with.  Blergh.  But maybe I’ll make a trip east to hit up some central Washington breweries…

Outlander Brewery

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Beers I Tried:
11. Wit (Belgian Wheat)
12. How Boydy (Brown Ale)
13. Noble IPA
14. Dry Stout
15. Biggus Dickus II (Bourbon Barrel Aged Barleywine)
16. Chili Amber

LOVED the space!  It used to be a house, and was just a really great atmosphere with super nice guys behind the bar.
$2/5-oz taster
I liked the Wit & Chili Amber, but my favorite was the How Boydy.  The stout was definitely dry, and I prefer my stouts to be sweeter, but I think it would be totally great if you like that!  Could not for the life of me get into the Biggus Dickus.  All three of us agreed it was just not our cup of tea, so Mike took one for the team and finished it off (leave no beer behind!).  I’d definitely hit this place up for a casual pint before heading to dinner somewhere in Fremont.

Mike and Pam give me their best beer connoisseur faces.  We ignore Mike’s Brasil jersey.

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Hale’s Ales 

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Pre-dinner telephone booth photo shoot because at this point, we were feeling awesome.  This one was the reason we hit up Ballard, because Pam’s vote was Hale’s.

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Also, we got to see the beautiful KATE JAEGER!  Jet City Improv was holding their fundraiser there, so we poked our heads in and were lucky enough to get some hugs and smooches from the host herself.  Now I just need to get my butt to one of the shows!

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Beers I tried:
17. Supergoose IPA (Imperial/Double IPA)
18. Wee Heavy Winter Ale (Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy)
19. Troll Porter
20. El Jefe Weizen (Hefeweizen)
21. Hale’s Cream Ale on Nitro
22. Pale American Ale
23. Red Menace Big Amber (American Amber/Red Ale)

It’s essentially a restaurant in a brewery.  Food was good, and pretty decently priced! My Vesuvius pizza was super yummy, as was Mike’s Palermo pizza.  Next time, I will get the Troll Porter meatloaf sandwich.
$1.35-$2/5-oz taster
I’ve had the IPAs and their Hefe before, and was excited to try some of the beers I always see at the grocery store but just haven’t tried yet.  LOVED the Troll Porter and the Red Menace.  Wee Heavy is fine, not my fav, and I was very confused by the Cream Ale.  Isn’t a cream ale a cream ale?  It was described in the menu as a blonde.  What??
Regardless, this was a great halfway place to stop for food.  And apparently a great venue for events!

Bad Jimmy’s Brewing Co.

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Beers I Tried:
24. IPA
25. Red IPA
26. Solo Summer Blonde
27. Blood Orange Honey Wheat Ale
28. Habanero Amber (not shown)

This was my favorite of the bunch!!  I had never had anything from Bad Jimmy’s, but I loved the tasting room, the guys working, the beers…small, dark, open garage door, dog friendly.  I’m a fan.  I will definitely bring beer-loving friends back here.
$8/4 beers (but they threw in a half taster of the Amber for free)
The IPA was pretty standard, and I actually didn’t mind the Red IPA, but I freaking LOVED the blood orange honey wheat!!  Need to go back and fill a growler.  The blonde was really nice and refreshing, a great summer beer.  The habanero amber had great flavor, but I definitely could not drink a whole pint.  Kickass spiciness, so if you’re a jalapeño margarita fan, you’d probably love this beer.
This is also where Jes and Randy met up with us!!  YAY for being the fifth wheel!  :-)

Jolly Roger Tap Room

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A serious picture for the creator of the Beericade, Czarnecki.  We take our Seattle beer VERY seriously, y’all.

Also, I was hungry again.  So I got the CUTEST and most tasty single slider (I mean, at this point, all food is delicious…let’s be honest).  I love small food.  Next time I will get a plate of them.

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Beers I Tried:
29. Nightwatch Dark Amber Ale
30. Flagship Red Alt Ale
31. Old Seattle Lager
32. Dunkelweizen
33. Jolly Roger Christmas Ale
34. Imperial Pale Ale (not shown) (it was Randy’s that I demanded a taste of)

Loved the taproom!  Good looking menu, good looking waiter (hey oh!), and the beer is just classically great.  Apparently it was very slow for a Saturday night, which was probably for the best, because I definitely remember there being a lot of loudness and musical theatre singing.
$9/5 beers
I really liked the all five of the ones I had in my flight!!  It was the first place where there wasn’t a standout “meh, I wouldn’t order this again”.  My favorites were the amber & the red, but the lager is just so classic, and we have it on draft at all the pizza places.  The Jolly Roger is similar to the Thor’s Equinox in that I like it a lot but the alcohol content level is kind of obscene for an ale.  This would be the tasting room I would take my parents to when they come to visit (although that might put a cramp in my flirting with the waiter…hmmm…)

Randy calls this my Disney Pixar Character face.  I call it my I Have Tried 34 Different Beers Today And Am Ready For Bed face.

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So that’s all, folks!  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE join us next time, we’d love to have you!

Again, keep up with the Seattle Beerventure on the Beerventure Page!