Sunday, February 14, 2010

SoDo Straightaway

Friday afternoon Link and I braved the wind and rain for probably our most intense and fun urban beer hike yet.  

I've decided that I'm bored with writing about all the minute details of our adventures. If you really want to hear them, e-mail me and I'll tell you all about it, but instead, I think it's better for me to just list the places we went, show a map of the route we took and mention the beers I tasted. (Link doesn't dig beer. Yet.) If anything else important comes to mind, I'll list it, but other than that, no more stories about mushrooms or masturbation. (I promise nothing.) I think I'm just here to show you a good route and let you have your own adventure.

Where was I?

Oh, yes.  Beer.

Two Beers/Epic Ales/Hooverville/Elysian Fields/Collins Pub

View SoDo Straightaway in a larger map

Before I get too far, I want to mention that I forgot to bring my GPS unit with me on this walk, so I have drawn the route from memory. We got a little lost leaving Two Beers and heading to Epic and the Seattle map book I had with me was either wrong or I was reading it wrong. Probably the latter, but we'll see when I do this one again.

We took the 121/122 bus down to the S. Alaska St. stop right near the WA State Liquor Warehouse. From there it's a very short walk over to Two Beers' tasting room, which is dog and kid friendly and has free peanuts! I had an Echo IPA and tasted the Sodo Brown (my favorite), the Immersion Amber and the Winterhop 2009. The sun was shining right in when we got there and it was picture perfect. I could have spent the rest of the evening there.

Urban Beer Hiking Essentials

From Two Beers, it's about a mile to EPIC Ales tasting room (only open on Fridays). This part of the walk is very urban, passing through some of the most industrial parts of the city. I absolutely loved it and wished all of my friends were with me. People rarely get out and about in these parts of the city. Too bad.

What the heck is this thing?

EPIC is in the apparently cool K.R. Trigger Building at the corner of 1st Ave S. and S. Hanford. (I say "apparently" because it looks cool on the website, but I didn't explore.) The door might be locked, but just use the intercom to get buzzed in. If you do bring eight or so of your friends, you will likely have to taste in shifts as the room is very small. I met the resident puppy, Fuji, and he and Link occupied themselves while I sampled the Simple Ale (delicious session-y beer) and the OTTO Optimizer, a Turkish coffee beer. I only had a schooner of each before setting off, but I left very excited to come back and see what else Cody, the brewer, has up his sleeve.  

Next was Hooverville. I can't recall how I heard about this place, but I'm damned glad that I did. The weather was pretty lousy at this point and as I was hitching Link up outside to go in and scout it out, a couple of the patrons outside said, "Bring 'em in! They love dogs here!." Sweet. The back bar is dizzyingly huge and the tap list (22) is fantastic. The owner/bartender Billy and his two cohorts were very welcoming. One gave Link a bowl of water, one gave him a cookie, and one gave me a beer (Ninkasi Believer Double Red). They only serve pre-made pizza here, $10 each.  But it's a lot better than it sounds. It's pre-made by SODO Pizza and they bake it right there behind the bar. There's one with BBQ chicken, smoked cheddar and bacon. Link and I made new friends and I had a Speakeasy Pale Ale. Another place I could spend all night, but it was time to move on.

"Dude, they have PBR AND Coors Light, dude!"
"Fuckin' awesome, dude."

Another quick hop to Elysian Fields, but they aren't dog-friendly and there's nowhere sheltered to hitch up, so we had to move on.  

Collins Pub is not dog-friendly either, but the beertender took pity on us and agreed to turn a blind eye if we sat in the corner and remained quiet. I knew that wouldn't be hard when I looked at the great tap list they had going.  I settled on the Alaskan Smoked Porter after recalling a little review the Seattle Beer News did recently. The beer is very good and the label reminds me of a great movie, Never Cry Wolf, where Charles Martin Smith runs naked with a herd of caribou. Who wouldn't like that? 

Since we were turned away Elysian Fields, we were ahead of schedule and Link seemed content to relax under the table, so I ordered a Mad River Barleywine and dreamed of the hot shower I was going to take when I got home.

I really can't wait to do this hike again and soon. We walked through some very under-visited parts of the city. In these days of neighborhood homogenization, it was so refreshing to get a reminder that this is a city and it's not always pretty -- depending on your definition of "pretty", of course. Some parts of the route were not really all that walking-friendly, but that's never stopped me before. It is HIKING after all. I snapped about a hundred pictures and met some really friendly and interesting people.

I love Seattle.

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