I had been brewing this one in my head for awhile. Check it out: the route looks like an arm with a pint in its hand! (Totally by accident. I swear.)
View Downtown to Capitol Hill, v1.0 in a larger map
My pal Link and I took the bus Downtown and got off at the Pike Place Market. I had planned to walk up Pike Street and begin at Six Arms, but walking among the throngs of tourists made my liver ache, so I hit up Pike Brewing. Dogs aren't allowed in the pub, but there is a railing at the top of the stairs -- outside the restaurant, but inside the building -- where I could hitch him up. I doubt this is officially kosher, but no one said anything and Link behaved himself so no harm done. There are only a couple of places to sit down in the pub where you can see the railing, so you might have to skip this one if you have the dog with you.
I had already ordered and received my Tandem Double Ale, when I noticed that they have the 2nd annual Pike Entire (bourbon barrel-aged stout) on tap. Rats. The bartender gave me a taste and I instantly promised myself that we'd meet again. I've been here before, but this was the first time I'd really taken a good look around the place (probably because I'm not usually hiking alone). There is some really cool old stuff on the walls. (And, according to the current Northwest Brewing News, it's authentic.) It's tasteful and relevant, unlike those Uncle Moe's Family Feedbag places.
One framed old postcard caught my eye. It had a great quote on it:
"There is nothing which has yet been conceived by man by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn."
-- Dr. Samuel Johnson
It was was not even 3pm at this point and the sun was already dreadfully low in the sky, so we got moving on up the hill. It's a straight shot up Pike Street to the next stop, Elysian Brewery, but I couldn't not go into Pike Street Beer & Wine. I had never been in there before and was in awe of the selection. I can't wait to go back and spend a little more time looking around. After stopping by the Feedbag next door for some dog treats and Babeland for a butt plug (um...for my friend), we finally made it to Elysian. Again, no dogs allowed inside, but there are two bike racks right outside and plenty of window seating inside.
SORRY BUDDY. YOU'LL HAVE YOUR OWN PLACE SOMEDAY.
I planned on having the Night Owl Pumpkin Ale -- 'tis the season -- but they had something even more enticing, Dark o' the moon Pumpkin Stout! On cask! All my aggravation for missing The Great Pumpkin Roadshow at Brouwer's last Thursday disappeared and I felt cool again.
From there, me and the boy headed north to Hopvine. It's owned by the good geeks who also own Latona Pub and Fiddler's Inn. It was pretty busy -- I think there was live music on the docket, but it never happened while I was there. It's a pretty small place, which I like. I elbowed my way onto an empty bar stool. (When I turned around I could see Link hitched up right outside.) I went with the Altbier from Chuckanut Brewing. God bless that wonderful Bellingham water. It was pleasantly crisp and refreshing, unlike the chump next to me who spent his whole beer doing who-cares-what with his Blackberry. Oh well, I guess he didn't want to hear me drone on and on about my great dog, my wild ideas, and my world views.
It was after dark now and I knew that finding the next place would be a challenge for me. I don't make it up to the Hill as much as I should these days, so it's somewhat unfamiliar territory for me. Plus The Stumbling Monk is very easy to miss as it doesn't have any neon or bright lights. You have to have been there to know where it is -- kind of like a speakeasy or members only club. Ok, maybe it's not that hidden, but you get the idea.
I knew there was no food at the Monk, so I stopped at Dick's on the way over. (I don't get there often enough either.) The Monk had just opened so it still had sleepy eyes: dark, quiet, warm with a couple playing a game in the corner and one guy at the bar. I hadn't had a Duchesse in a long time and it was heavenly. I made a couple new friends at the bar and Rob, the bartender, was gracious enough to allow Link inside where he mostly slept on the floor, no doubt relieved to be inside for a change. This is one of the best places in town to go to talk about beer. The person to your left and the person to your right are just as excited to be there as you are and know their shit when it comes to malt, hops, yeast, and water. The setting could not be less pretentious either. A+, says I. (I'll stop there. This isn't Yelp, for chrissakes.)
Before I knew it I had finished my second Allagash Dubbel and was ready to head back downtown and get on the bus home. That Pike Entire was calling my name for a nightcap, but it would have to wait. There were two hungry cats at home whose shit list I had already made weeks ago. (Being on a cat's shit list is the second worst shit list I can think of to be on.) Best not to rile them up even more.
I've added "v1.0" to the title of this UBH because I definitely want to do this one again and maybe change it up a little. Besides, my friend goes through butt plugs pretty fast and he'll need a new one pretty soon, I'm sure.