Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sodo Straightaway, EXTENDED EDITION

Thursday, while doing a little homework to get ready for my upcoming trip south for Sacramento Beer Week, I had the Olympics on in the background, specifically, the USA Men's Curling Team's 4th match vs. Denmark.  Now, I know you are already familiar with what happened, so I won't dredge it up -- John Shuster's face says it all.  I was a Buffalo Bills fan and a New York Mets fan growing up.  I've seen this look before.  Poor guy.

There was no time to mourn, though.  It was Mandy's only day off this week and it was a stunning mid-February spring day outside.  (Me?  I have lots of days off.  I'm under-employed.  References and resume available upon request.)

Triangle Pub / Two Beers / EPIC Ales / Hooverville / Collins Pub

View SoDo Straightway, Extended Edition in a larger map

I did much of this hike less than a week ago with my buddy Link, in the rain and wind.  It was wet, cold, and unforgettable.  I really appreciated taking a long, dirty, intense walk in a part of town people rarely see on foot.  Mandy was so excited that she demanded we make this our next hike together.  This time the plan was to make a much longer walk out of it by starting at The Triangle Pub in Pioneer Square and walking all the way to Two Beers Brewing in SoDo, and then continuing from there, just as Link and I did last week.  We also had a fourth hiker, our pal Stephanie.

And what an absolutely gorgeous day for a hike.  It was Seattle's first perfect day of the year -- sunny and 60.  We actually had to break out the sunscreen.  In February.  In Seattle.  Take that, Sean Hannity, you tool.

The hike began at The Triangle Pub, across from Elysian Fields, in Pioneer Square.  I've always loved this place (Note:  I've only been here once before) and the building's history is fascinating. (Note: history not guaranteed to fascinate.)  The last time I was here was before a Mariner's game and it was mobbed.  Today, the feel was completely different.  At 1:45pm, it's a quiet neighborhood pub much like any other.  The TVs displayed some Olympic Hockey, there were only a couple other quiet patrons there, and the owner was bored enough to let us have Link in the bar and chat with us about the finer points of curling.  (How did I get so into curling all of the sudden?)

After a leisurely pint, we hopped down to the waterfront and headed south.  There's a path for about half the journey, and a sidewalk for the rest (almost -- see the map for details).  You're accompanied by the Alaskan Way Viaduct on your immediate left for almost 3/4 of the way, and you won't forget it.  The traffic noise is constant and considerable, but I find it inspiring.  This is an URBAN beer hike, after all.  A thing of beauty in its way and likely to be gone in the next few years -- hopefully due to dismantling and not collapse.

After navigating the tricky intersection that takes you under the bridge and over to the east side of 99, the sidewalk picks up again and you can almost start to smell the goodness at Two Beers Brewery.  When we got there at about 3:45pm, there was already a fair amount of people there enjoying the sunshine and Crooked Wit (among other beers).  The resident canine Willis was there and he and Link had a good old time introducing their asses to each others' faces.  I also ran into my semi-new buddy, The Beer Retard.  I insisted he join our fellowship and he agreed.  He even bought me a beer!  (Note:  he technically bought my dog a beer, just as he said he would.)  I was honored.

We headed out of Two Beers as the sun began to slowly sink.  On the way to Hooverville, we passed EPIC Ales and tapped on the window.  Brewmaster Cody was busy brewing up a batch of Terra-saurus (an ale brewed with shiitake mushrooms), but cordially let us in for a few tastes and some chit-chat.  At this point, my phone rang and it was Eric, the guy, calling to tell me that he was in the neighborhood.  EPIC's taproom is usually only open Fridays, 3:30-8, but Cody welcomed us all like old friends and set us up with some schooners of OTTO-Optimizer, Solar Trans-Amplifier, and Simple Ale.  What a guy!  Thanks Cody!  Let us know when the release party is.

By now, it was pretty dark and cold and that was fine because Hooverville's warm glowing warming glow is mere feet away from EPIC.  Link received his usual fine welcome from the bar back, who brought him a bowl of water while the bartender lined up our pints.  We noshed on peanuts, gossiped about who's dating who in the Seattle Craft beer scene, and all tried to figure out what each of us would wear to the Hard Liver Barleywine Fest in March.  ...At least that's how I remember it -- details tend to get a little hazy around this time of the hike.

We bid Billy and the Hooverville crew a good evening and marched toward the final stop, Collins Pub.  I love this part of the walk right next to the sleeping giants of Qwest and Safeco Fields.  I stay as far away as possible on game days, but on a quiet night, it's rather magical.  It was warm enough that Link was content (relatively) to wait for us outside of Collins.  (Last week, the bartender took pity and let him sit at my feet, in the corner, but tonight was much busier, so we didn't even bother to ask.)

The beer menu was as solid as ever.  We enjoyed a couple of rounds and ate some really great walnut pesto pasta for dinner.  I again caught myself promising to get in there more often.  Collins Pub is a class act, to be sure.

Here endeth another fun, exhilarating urban beer hike.  The Beer Retard gave us a ride to the bus stop in his Humvee (unarmored, I think) and then drove off, probably to Elysian Brewing for a nightcap.  We had a quiet and reflective ride back to Phinney Ridge.  When we got off the bus, we decided another last pint was a good idea, so we skipped down to The Park Pub.  And that's when the whiskey came out...

THE END (of my memory)


  1. Great hike! Thanks for the invite to Epic, what a great little place.

    Two Beers advertised on their Facebook page so you'll probably get a bit of traffic today.



  2. I like how you end the post with a photo of Link's cornhole. Nicely done.

    So you really hit the whiskey at Park Pub? Unbelievably, I showed good judgement by going home, drinking water and going to sleep. A rare example of moderation...I was pretty proud of myself.