October 2013

Best New Local Beer

From this Issue

The line has been out the door at pastry chef William Leaman’s West Seattle Bakery Nouveau ever since it opened in 2006, and when the Capitol Hill locale debuted in the spring in a long-deserted space, it didn’t take long for lines to snake out the door there, too.

Sky Hag IPA
Airways Brewing

Stupid Sexy Flanders

American Brewing

Old Birdbrain

Black Raven Brewing

Amber’s Hot Friend

Skookum Brewery

The Big Lebrewski

Naked City Brewing

Extrabeerestrial ESB

In beer lingo, the word “sour” refers to a range of beers that are intentionally acidic, tart and, well, sour. Sour beer is often associated with Belgian breweries, where monks use techniques predating the Gutenberg press to create it, but a growing number of local breweries now dabble in this mysterious craft.

Patience, grasshopper. If patience is a virtue, barrel-aged beers are the most virtuous of all brews. Usually a beer is ready to drink after a couple of weeks in a stainless steel conditioning tank, but sometimes a brewer takes a finished beer and lets it rest in oak barrels for a year or longer.

We describe beer—extra special bitter, pale ale, stout and so on—using terms from the English brewing tradition, but these days around Seattle, there’s a more immediate impact: Three British expats are putting their stamp on the local beer scene in their own unique ways. Nigel Slater is the sales manager for Black Raven Brewing in Redmond.

Archaeologists argue about how many thousands of years ago our distant ancestors started brewing beer, but no one questions that women did the work. The dominance of clean-cut men in lab coats and artisans with belly-length beards is a relatively modern phenomenon.

You might not know it, but each year Washington produces approximately 75 percent of the United States’ hops crop and 25 percent of the world’s, and virtually all of our state’s hops are grown in the Yakima Valley by a handful of families that have been doing it for generations. While the family farming tradition continues, some children of the hops have ventured off the farm.

Between 7-Eleven and the bottle shop (beer store) lies the beer convenience store—a new breed that offers a broad selection of craft beer along with other essentials, such as tortilla chips and cigarettes. Super Deli Mart in West Seattle regularly hosts special beer events, fills growlers and even sells kegs to go.

Most people associate Woodinville with wine—after all, it is home to more than 100 wineries—but these days, more people are chasing their Pinot Gris and Merlot with fresh, local beer. Woodinville is now home to six breweries, which are often crowded with oenophiles seeking refuge for their wine-soaked palates.

Along airport way south in georgetown a giant, beautiful, old brick building dominates the east side of the street. Originally home to Seattle Brewing and Malting Company, this is where Rainier Beer was born in 1884 and died in 1917 with Washington’s enactment of Prohibition.

Washington boasts more than 190 breweries. That’s more than in any state other than California and just about as many as in the entire nation of Belgium—long considered the beer lover’s Shangri-la.

A hyper-nerdy take on cooking, molecular gastronomy considers food at the chemical level—how exactly does heat make an egg physically transform? Seattle entrepreneur Nathan Myhrvold helped popularize this science with his book Modernist Cuisine (2011), which includes stunning photos of food in the moment of being cooked, taken at his Bellevue kitchen laboratory.

Portland photographer Holly Andres creates scenes that are eerily familiar yet just out of reach. With elaborate sets, vintage props, costumes and staging reminiscent of Nancy Drew book covers, her cinematic tableaux resemble stills from a long-forgotten movie that still haunts your subconscious.

Jeweler Kellie Riggs may be a Seattle native, but her heart (and creative spark) thrives in Italy, specifically Florence and Rome, where she has lived off and on since 2010, when she was there for a European honors program through the Rhode Island School of Design. “Italy is beautiful and amazing,” says Rome-based Riggs.

Thanks to a $10 million donation from Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos, the new (and extremely improved!) Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) is opening a new section devoted to Seattle’s rich history of ingenuity.

Seattle Women’s Chorus: Hallows in the Cathedral A family-friendly mixed bill of classics (“Monster Mash”) and semantic stretches (“Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered”) performed in an atmospheric church. Fear factor: Much of the lineup is frivolous fun, but Bach’s beckoning “Come, Soothing Death” is genuinely eerie. 10/18–10/26. Times and prices vary. St.

Airways Brewing Company
Kent, 6644 S 196th St., T-100; 253.200.1707;

American Brewing Company
Edmonds, Warehouse 102, 180 W Dayton St.; 425.774.1717;

Elysian Brewing Company’s Great Pumpkin Beer Festival
October 4–6, times vary
Georgetown, 5510 Airport Way S; 206.860.3977;

“It’s a little rough and tumble,” says artist Gala Bent of the light-filled Ballard abode where she lives with husband and fellow artist Zack Bent and their three boys (Caspar, 4, Solomon, 6, and Ezra, 8). Since moving here in 2006 from Indiana (so Zack could attend the M.F.A.

"Do you want any soda with that?” Kris Minta, the owner of Spine and Crown used bookstore on Capitol Hill, asks as he pours three fingers of bourbon into a paper cup. It is a hot June night, and Minta is throwing a going-out-of-business party in the snug Pine Street space he shares with the éminence grise of rare and out-of-print record stores, Wall of Sound.

In a dim hideaway tucked just far enough away from the commotion on nearby Pike Street sits this oft-overlooked oasis of good food and easygoing attitudes.

Capitol Hill–based estate sale and vintage huntress Kassie Keith has parlayed her passion for eclectic home décor into a profession, opening an eponymous store last summer in a former scooter shop smack-dab in the middle of Georgetown.

It turns out fake screaming is serious business. The online photo stream from EMP’s popular Scream Booth—where visitors to the ongoing Can’t Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film exhibit enter a dark, soundproof chamber and scream for an automatic camera—reveals the faces of thousands of people who have shrieked, to varying effect.

I spotted a man on Pine Street the other day wearing an ascot. Just your average Seattle man in weatherproof shoes, coffee in hand, on his way to work. Wearing an ascot. He could have been naked from the waist down carrying an assault rifle, and had a cop interrogated me, I would’ve confessed, “I don’t recall any nudity or a gun.

For Skate Like a Girl (SLAG) cofounder Fleur Larsen, the best part about teaching girls how to skateboard is opening them up to a whole new world of empowerment. “A lot of learning to skateboard is about trusting your body, taking healthy risks and learning in a community,” she says.

The autumn nip in the air means one thing—rain is coming. After a hot, dry summer, the shifting forecasts will provoke some grumbles, perhaps nowhere more audible than in Everett, where mudslides canceled 122 trips on Sound Transit’s Sounder north line last winter.

I have sort of a thing for mushrooms (the non-hallucinogenic kind, thank you). One of the small-town festivals I frequented while living in the Midwest was Morel Mushroom Days in Muscoda, Wisconsin. I would save my pennies, take home a pint (they were only $12 a pound back then!), and slice up and fry those tasty, tender, foldy little treats in butter.

Remembering the View-Master is an exercise in nostalgia—the bright plastic case, those circular cardboard reels, that clunky lever that allowed you to click through 3-D images of the Grand Canyon!

Named for Eric Tanaka, Tom Douglas’ longtime executive chef, TanakaSan opened in May and heralds Douglas’ return to the Pan-Asian flavors that once defined Northwest cuisine—and to flavor profiles the chef hasn’t played with in recent years.

“When you’re brothers, it’s like you have a secret language,” says Chris Friel, 44, who plays drums in the band HalloQueen with his brother Rick, 47, who plays bass. “We know when to tell each other to shut up.” And when to pump it up—something else that runs in the blood.

Tucked into an animated stretch of Capitol Hill’s East Olive Way, Montana (1506 E Olive Way; 206.422.4647; is the kind of bar you expect and love on Capitol Hill: tabletops lovingly scarred by the carvings of many patrons, amiable staff, rollicking music just loud enough, and walls adorned with stickers, scrawle

Where: Issaquah, Washington, for the Salmon Days Festival (10/5–10/6. Downtown Issaquah; 425.392.0661;

On the title page of her script for Bo-Nita, Capitol Hill-based playwright Elizabeth Heffron describes the work simply as “A Play Performed by One Woman.” Turn the page, however, and the complexity is immediately revealed: Set largely in contemporary St.

Seattle’s beer-brewing scene has been growing and maturing for decades. But this year, it boomed: Around a half-dozen microbreweries opened in Ballard alone (see page 100).

Poet and pie maker Kate Lebo’s new book, A Commonplace Book of Pie, comes out in October. She’ll read from it at Richard Hugo House (10/17), and Elliott Bay Bookstore (12/6).
COFFEE SHOP: High 5 Pie on Capitol Hill, a Monday afternoon in July

When Redhook Ale (now in Woodinville) opened its original brewery 30 years ago in Ballard at the corner of Leary and Ballard ways—not, as you might think, in the Fremont location where Theo Chocolates now resides—no one would have imagined the neighborhood would one day be home to several breweries, most of which are less than 2 years old (with another one planned to open very soon).

Jeremy Faber bangs on my door a little after 5 a.m. at the end of May, on a day that promises temperatures in the 70s. “Bring a down jacket,” he advises. Thin and lanky, he possesses a barely contained intensity that seems ready to spring at any moment. As I gather up my stuff, Faber taps his foot impatiently. Mushrooms don’t sleep! As far as I can tell, neither does he.

Many of our local breweries have tasting rooms where you can get pints of beer but nothing substantial to eat, unless you consider peanuts and pretzels a meal. Food trucks are rushing to the rescue, and it is increasingly common to find some of the area’s best mobile cuisine outside of brewery tasting rooms. It’s a symbiotic relationship, one that benefits everyone involved.

Elliott Bay Brewing

Seattle is widely considered an inventive city. We rank 13th in the world when it comes to “patent intensity,” the ratio of patent applications compared to the city’s population. And, the University of Washington recently reported it now ranks among the top five American educational institutions that incubate new businesses by parlaying research into commercial applications.

Not only is our local cider great for sipping, but because it is complex, not overly sweet, and layered with fruit and other flavors, it makes great cocktails, too. Here are a couple to get you started.

It’s surprising that, with its deep, rich history, hard cider hasn’t had a more prominent place in the artisan drinking revolution. As we’ve reached into the past for cocktail influences, cider has been a bit overlooked, especially considering it was the premier Colonial beverage.

Dashi Matzo Ball Soup

1 ounce olive oil
1 ounce garlic

2 ounces ginger, coarsely chopped
1 ¼ ounces dried shiitake mushrooms
1 ounce kombu, dried kelp, available at Asian markets
1 ounce bonito flakes
1 gallon water


Sweat garlic and ginger over medium heat in olive oil.

Say hello to bonito flakes. They’re waving at you, perched on an Osaka Pancake at the newest Tom Douglas restaurant, TanakaSan.


Tissue paper is from Packaging Specialties (

Heavy Italian crepe paper rolls are from Carte Fini (


5 sheets of tissue paper (20 x 30)

This cupcake is made with one of the most delicious confections I have even eaten, cooked condensed milk, aka dulce de leche or milk caramel. It’s so good you might catch yourself eating it by the spoonful right out of the can. The recipe is very simple, but takes some time and a keen eye on the pot.


(*see Horchico, below, for kids’ version)


2 cups of long-grain white rice

2 cinnamon sticks

8 cups water, room temperature

2 (14-ounce) cans evaporated milk (may substitute 3 cups half-and-half and 1/2 cup whipping cream)

After 15 years at Nordstrom, textile designer and design director Paychi Karen Guh struck out on her own in the spring of 2012 with Paychi Guh, a line of cashmere sweaters, scarves and tops from yarn sourced and spun in Mongolia.

There are a lot of craft beers in the world, but our current favorites include old faithfuls, new tastes and recently acclaimed local brews. Unless noted, look for these beers in the breweries’ tasting rooms, at bars pouring good beer, or find them in 22-ounce bottles at better grocery stores and bottle shops around the Puget Sound area.