Hope you enjoyed your Day O’ Prez. Unlike you (unless you are a banker, government employee, or teacher) I took the day off from work to ponder the lives and accomplishments of our country’s Founding Fathers. I was planning on doing most of my pondering at the library, but they were closed as well and so I did the next best thing and headed on down to Fremont Brewing Company for pretzels and beer.
This place is one of my favorite Seattle breweries. Opened in 2009 by former attorney Matt Lincecum (no relation) they brew great beers with a commitment to sustainability (environmental and otherwise) that I admire. Their Universale and Interurban IPA are on tap all over town and they bottle and can most of their year-round beers. Special releases are always available in 22 oz. bottles and growlers at the brewery and select bottle shops and grocery stores.
The tap room (known officially as the Urban Beer Garden) used to be housed directly in the brewery. There one could grab a pint while sitting next to enormous stainless steel fermenters. Previously I always felt like I was hanging out in someone’s garage and never really wanted to stay for too long. This past summer they’ve expanded into another part of the building and created a cozier space. They still don’t serve food (other than endless Rold Golds) but you’re in the heart of Fremont and can grab a bite to eat at any one of a dozen restaurants nearby.
The place is a haven for families. Every time I walk into the place there are kids and dogs running around all over. This was less acceptable at the old spot, mostly due to fears that a child may wander off and accidentally fall into the kettle or something, but now it seems like there is less danger afoot. It’s also a great spot for hipster watching. There was a gaggle of four sitting at one end of the table taking photos of their tattoos with their iPhones. They seemed to coexist with the families just fine.
Though a pretty subdued scene, I did actually see someone who was not wearing any pants. Strangely, the young girl seemed to be an employee as she was filling up growlers for the display case. I asked my better half about this later and she said that’s what young girls do nowadays. I’m too much of a gentleman to have taken a photograph, but she was wearing something similar to these with a hooded sweatshirt.
Perhaps she jogged into work and upon her entry her boss demanded she get to work filling those growlers, leaving her no time to change. Perhaps not.
In the corner was a little stand with merch, some publications and a neat sampler tray of a variety of malted grains in mason jars. I opened up the one jar of hops (Amarillo) and found it smelled more like stale Cheetos than the lovely aroma I would have expected. I suppose the jars could be there simply as a visual aide, but the hops were in pellet form which is not the most appealing to the eye. The takeaway: if you’re going to showcase ingredients, make sure you keep them fresh.
By the door is a selection of barrels with various beers fermenting away. Included in this display is a barrel filled with a blend of Flanders brown contributed by the North Seattle Homebrew Club members. I’m a relatively new member so I did not contribute to this particular batch, however I did get to sample some at the year-end white elephant event which was hosted by Fremont Brewing. It is delicious. I also made it home from the elephant with a bottle of the club’s previous barrel project, which, I was assured, is also top notch.
The beers on tap are always interesting. I only really had time for one pint so I chose to go with the excellently named Super Duper IPA II. The first one was available last month and was brewed with Calypso and Centennial. Not sure if this had the same hop schedule but it was tasty. This is a session IPA that smelled like my fingers after peeling an orange. The bitterness was most noticeable when I wasn’t actively drinking it, but it wasn’t unpleasant. Other beers on tap at the time was Pizza Pale which has basil and sundried tomatoes incorporated somehow, as well as their always delicious imperial oatmeal stout, Dark Star, this time with smoked black tea.
Missing from the tap list was probably my favorite Fremont beer, the Abominable Winter Ale. Essentially a barley wine, the brewery has taken to aging a portion of it in bourbon barrels (known locally as B-Bomb). The bourbon barrel version is released every winter, but it’s typically extremely limited. I don’t know why I didn’t get any this year, but I will make a note of it for next time.
With my thirst slaked and my pretzel fix sated, I headed home, confident in the knowledge that my Presidents’ memory would never be forgotten.