Seattle may be known for its rain, but it’s also a mecca for breweries. Every Seattle brewery makes multiple types of beer, from India Pale Ales to nitrogen-infused stouts, so every kind of beer drinker can find something to their liking. A brewery tour helps you differentiate between different types of beer and can introduce you to beers you haven’t tried before.
Brewery tours often include free samples.
Downtown Seattle is home to a handful of breweries, such as the Pike Brewery in Pike Place Market, but most breweries need more space than downtown venues can provide. Just north of downtown are the Elysian Brewery in Capitol Hill and the Fremont Brewery in Fremont, both of which are easily accessible from downtown by bus. If you’re staying on the east side or taking a peek at the Microsoft campus, you can stop by Mac & Jack’s Brewery in Redmond or the Red Hook Brewery in Woodinville. South Seattle is home to Big Al’s Brewery and the Elliott Bay Brewery in Burien.
Who Should Go
Minors are welcome on the Red Hook brewery tour, but not most other tours. Photo ID is required to drink alcoholic beverages on any tour.
A brewery tour isn’t just for beer aficionados; anyone interested in cooking or mechanics can learn something from the inner workings of a brewery.
When to Go
Brewery tours are the perfect activity for a rainy day, which in Seattle means nearly any day from October to April. However, certain breweries are suited for sunny afternoons, such as Big Al’s Brewery, which has a dog-friendly beer garden in the summertime.
Formal brewery tours typically include a sample of multiple beers produced at that brewery, along with a souvenir drinking glass. Most tours conclude at a gift shop where you can purchase branded biersteins, t-shirts and pint glasses. With a couple of exceptions, such as Big Al’s Brewery, Seattle breweries serve food and offer comfortable lounges to enjoy a pint or two after the tour.
Some breweries offer organized tours with regular dates and times posted on their websites. Others, such as the Elysian Brewing Company downtown, are usually happy to give a tour for one or two people any time if you ask. It’s always best to call ahead and find out what time you should arrive for a tour, especially if you want to see the machinery in action. A few tours, including the Red Hook brewery tour, don’t accept reservations and require that everyone purchase their own ticket in person.
- drinking beer image by Elena kouptsova-vasic from Fotolia.com