Brouwer’s Cafe in Seattle’s Fremont District is easily one of the best stops in the Pacific Northwest for craft and import beers on draft. Featuring primarily Belgian and craft United States beer, Brouwer’s also offers beers on tap from Canada, Czech Republic, England, Italy, German, Poland, Ireland, and a more. Also available are about 250 bottle beers to go along with the 64 on tap. When I visited this Mecca for exceptional brews, Brouwer’s featured delicious Northwest choices such as Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale, Big Time Kolsch, Skagit River Washington Wheat, Rogue Anniversary Strong Ale, Baron Pils, and international favorites such as Aventinus Weizendoppelbock (Germany), Samson Czech Lager (Czech Republic), Young’s Double Chocolate Stout (England), Unibroue Maudite Strong Amber (Quebec, Canada), Okocim Porter (Poland), and Birrifico (Italy).
The barkeep on duty, a nice lad by the name of Nat, kept us satiated with a friendly persona and a vast knowledge of beer. The beers on this trip that I was so fortunate to partake in were as follows:
Roslyn German Dark Lager: From Roslyn, Washington, the town (portrayed as Sicily, Alaska) where the popular 80’s show Northern Exposure was filmed comes this opaque dark black beer bearing a creamy off-white head and lots of lace on the sides of the glass. A hint of glowing amber was evident in the light. This beer possessed a nutty, roasted, dry, crisp and bready nose to prelude a chewy, full-bodied flavor. With a pleasant mouthfeel, this dark lager finished like a gritty brown beer with a mild hops snap yet was predominated by the robust malt character. Left Hand 400 Pound Monkey IPA: With a deep burnt orange-amber body and a superbly creamy whitish head, this floral and fruity nosed IPA possessed hints of strawberries and funky fresh earthy hops. The “400 Pound” name was a bit misleading, as this brew was quite malt laden and extremely well-balanced…or you might say, its bark is bigger than its bite. Birrifico Sesonette Italian Saison: At $9.50 a glass, it’s safe to say this isn’t an easy beer to find on tap anywhere around the Northwest. A deep hazy honey mustard/orange-copper body with a thick fluffy bright white head revealed notes of citrusy orange, lemon with a tinge of metal and tart flavors. This beer may not have been worth the hefty price tag, but the experience certainly was.
We spent a good deal of time talking with Nat about the beers at Brouwer’s. The place has been continually gaining popularity since it’s inception some three and a half years ago. Nat spent three years himself at Big Time Brewing in Seattle’s University District. According to him, he enjoys the “good beer crowd” and says Brouwer’s is “trying to do a lot of good things (whiskey etc)” to keep those with a passion for craft libations satiated. Keep your eyes peeled for Brouwer’s Hop Fest starting on September 26, 2008. The bar will make room on many of their taps for hop-driven favorites. For more information on this and other events at Brouwer’s, go to http://www/brouwerscafe.com/bier
Angelo grew up in Maine and is proud to call New England his original home. Cascadia is now his home. He fell in love with great beer in Oregon, Washington, and Northern California.
He has been a correspondent for the Portland Tribune's Guest on Tap column, LivePDX.com, and has been featured in publications such as Beer Northwest and PDX Magazine. Angelo also has a great interest in independent music, and has been a booker and organizer for shows around the Portland under the name Pop Tomorrow! Angelo garnered much knowledge regarding beer from his experiences homebrewing, working at Belmont Station, Pyramid Brewing, Upright Brewing, By the Bottle, Beer Revolution, Olde Depot Public House, Falling Sky Brewing, Cascade Brewing, and from many many knowledgeable, passionate, and loving people along the way. It is Angelo's mission to bring "infotainment" and "edumation" to the readers of this website. If you have any questions or comments, or would like to contribute, please contact me at email@example.com