I was lying in bed masturbating when it happened. I would argue that there are fewer more effective boner-killers than hearing a couple of crashes followed shortly by your mate crying that the toilet is overflowing and there's water all over the floor. (Oh, and by the way, the bottles I'm saving up for home-brewing sit in the basement RIGHT BENEATH THE BATHROOM.) After getting my clothes (and rubber boots) on in record time, I went down to assess the situation. Water all over the floor? Check. Panicked wife? Check. Indifferent cat? Check.
Even though the weather was pleasant enough, I knew it would not last. As we set out from the house, Link and I felt like morons walking in the sunshine all bundled up in our rain gear. We got some odd looks, but they didn't understand that we'd be walking for a while.
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From our house, we marched up and over Phinney Ridge to the Woodland Park Off-Leash Area (thanks COLA!). It was muddy, but I've seen worse. Link ran off some energy and got a little dirty while I went over the day's plan in my head: travel south, grab some food somewhere, hit Bottleworks for a pint or two, slide down the hill to Fremont Brewing Co. to fill my growler and, then hop over to Brouwer's, hopefully around the time that Mandy gets off her shift.
After Link was good and muddy, we leashed up and walked down around the tennis courts and play fields. The only thing I could think about was what might be waiting for me at Bottleworks, but I knew that I should eat first. Luckily there is a Kidd Valley right there, so we stopped in. It hadn't started to rain yet, so Link and I were able to have lunch at their outdoor tables. I had a strawberry shake with my sandwich and the chunks of strawberrry kept clogging up my straw. Delicious.
When we got to Wallingford, I realized that I had no cash so I stopped at an ATM. Right before arriving at Bottleworks, I saw this place which made me giggle a bit:
I'm sure this poor guy gets shit all the time, so I'll stop here.
Bottleworks was welcoming as ever. They were cool with Link coming in and I was happy to pull up a seat at their new table behind a pint of Double Mountain Alpenbrew. Bottleworks is kind of dark, but with a warm welcoming atmosphere. I really love what they've done with the new taps and the table and stools. It used to me more of a place that you just drop into to grab a few things and leave. Now you can sit, have a beer, and plan an urban beer hike (or whatever). Before I knew it, I was almost done with my second pint and talking to some guy about the many surprising and little-known good things about Standard Poodles (very smart dogs). They were in the middle of getting a delivery when I noticed that it had stated to rain. I had been there longer than I planned, but I could sit in that place all day. It's sort of like a beer geek monastery.
As it always does, the time to move on had come. We threw on our raincoats and headed down Densmore Ave. N. We were met with a beautiful view of Lake Union, the Seattle skyline and even the Space Needle was peeking up over Queen Anne Hill. A lot of people hate the gray, wet weather this time of year, but I absolutely love it. (I wish the days weren't so damned short, though... Lousy farmers...) The wet air and light we get here is so unique. I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Fremont Brewing Company, one of Seattle's newest additions, is not hard to find -- if you're on the right street. I was looking for it on Woodlawn Ave. N and it resides on WOODLAND Park Ave N, which is about 6 or 7 blocks east. (I probably should have left that out so as not to confuse you.) Luckily they are dog- (and kid-) friendly because there was nowhere outside to hitch Link up that was covered.
I was met at the door by Matt, the founder and owner. Me and another beer geek had arrived at almost the same time to fill our growlers. We all chatted about this and that (truthfully, I couldn't quite follow what they were talking about -- something about barrel aging -- I have a lot to learn), tasted some brews, and I made a promise to come back some Thursday or Friday when their Urban Beer Garden is open. What better place for an urban beer hiker?
I stowed my growler of IPA in my pack, bid the brewer farewell (his phone was ringing and people were calling for him), and head back out into the elements.
From Fremont Brewing, it's a little more than a half-mile to Brouwer's. If you turn right on Troll Avenue, you can walk to the top and meet the infamous Fremont Troll. It's a covered walk (sort of) as you are walking underneath the Aurora Bridge.
As I was walking into Brouwer's I briefly said hello to fellow beer geek and Brouwer's manager Ian. (He was actually there for a planning meeting for this year's Seattle Beer Week. Oh, to be a fly on the wall for that one. It should be a lot of fun.) Luckily, since my toilet-clogging wife works there, I was able to stash Link in the car. Brouwer's is not dog-friendly and I usually hitch him up right outside where he greets beer geeks and douche-bags alike who are coming in for Power Hour (3-6pm, $1 off drafts, food specials).
The Blind Lion
I grabbed a seat at the bar, ordered up a Port Townsend IPA and exchanged travel stories with a fellow who had a tattoo of the Cuban flag on his arm. We talked about old Havana, cruising the Malecón, and how unnecessarily stressed we each got when returning to the U.S.
It is here that I must refer to my notes because I can't remember what else I had... Ah yes, here it is. A taster of Anchor's Humming Ale, a taster of Chuckanut's Strong Ale and a pint of Hopworks' IPA. It's really hoppy (duh) and went down all too easily.
There I was. Very wet, but very happy. Good conversation, good beer, good music. Mandy's shift was just about up so Link and I could catch a ride home. Otherwise I would have had to walk another couple of miles in the rain and dark, but I surely would have stopped at The Dray on the way home. And that would have made it all good.