After quickly mapping out a route, I did the obligatory tweet informing my followers of where and when to meet should they decide to join. I was not surprised that there were not many takers on this one -- it's LONG.
Ram-Northgate / Big Time / Fremont Brewing / Maritime Pacific / Naked City; about 12 miles
View 5 North in a larger map
Brewery #1 - Ram - Northgate
I began at the Ram - Northgate (it's in a shopping mall!) with a fellow blogger Paul from NW Beer Guide (aka The Pickled Liver). We put away a decent fish quesadilla and talked about the state of the beer blogging union. He's way a more diligent and informed blogger than I -- if you haven't checked out his site, please do so. I don't remember what he had, but I really liked my 20 oz. pint of Maibock. While I never like going anywhere near a mall, I occasionally make an exception for this spot at the Ram. There is a good amount of outdoor seating, so Link was able to be close by, and they usually have something interesting on their special taps. (Their regular line-up, available at all Ram Restaurants, is decent, but safe.)
It was such a nice afternoon that we were very tempted to have another, but we all know how time gets away on these long hikes, so it was time to hit the pavement. Paul had some other business to attend to so Link and I headed over to Roosevelt and began the longest leg of the hike -- 4.2 miles to...
Along Roosevelt Way NE
Brewery #2 - Big Time
The hike to Big Time is quite pleasant. There is a nice, long uphill stretch for about 20 blocks right in the middle and I was sweating pretty good by the time I pulled up a barstool next to another fellow blogger Chris, the Beer Retard, at Big Time. My little idiot Link failed to drink any of the water I gave him at Ram, so he was very thirsty, too. He took his usual post outside the font door while I drank my pint of Dennis Hoppier, a special brew Bill and Bradley did up in memory of the recently deceased American film icon. I can't always see Link directly when he's hitched up outside Big Time, but I know he's there because I can see the reactions of passers-by. He always gets a lot of love on the Ave.
I talked the Chris into joining my hike and we were off to the Burke-Gilman Trail toward...
Brewery #3 - Fremont Brewing Co.
It was a pretty quiet day at the Urban Beer Garden, but not dead. We grabbed a couple of pints of Solstice Pale Ale and watched as countless children used and abused my dog. Luckily for them, he's extremely forgiving of hugs, tail pulling, and being asked to do the same tricks over and over.
We discussed the planned route and agreed that we were ahead of schedule, so we decided to have another pint. Chris told me more about his ambitious new project, Every Bar in Seattle, and suggested that we hit a place off my route that he's never been to, the Nickerson Street Saloon. I cheerfully agreed and we were off...
EBIS #6 - Nickerson Street Saloon (click to read Chris' write-up).
After "the Nick", we crossed back over the Fremont Bridge and continued west toward Ballard and...
Brewery #4 - Maritime Pacific
The new Jolly Roger Taproom is a larger version of the beloved old one that closed last year. Some fans of the old place are not that excited about it, but I'm not one of them. I really think they did a remarkable job of retaining the feel of the old place. The menu is as good as ever with a few new surprises (ie: beer battered, deep fried bacon -BBB). Unfortunately they are still working on getting their outdoor seating set up, so Link had to wait outside, hitched up to a bike rack.
Two more hikers joined us here, our friend Nolley and my girl Mandy, who just finished working at Brouwer's. We enjoyed some pints and BBB and reveled in the fact that we were still ahead of schedule and -- hell yes -- we were actually going to finish this monster hike.
We decided to hit Veraci Pizza on our way to Naked City for some of their outstanding pie. They have Manny's and Maritime's Imperial IPA on tap here, but we didn't have any. A couple of quick, delicious slices were all we needed as fuel for the 2.8 mile uphill final leg. Actually, as it turns out, it's not all we needed: I happen to live halfway between Veraci and Naked City, so stopped in to release Link for the night (he can't go into Naked City so no point in bringing him) and had a shot of tequila, ignoring those little voices in our heads telling us something about the worst idea in the history of bad ideas...
Brewery #5 - Naked City Brewery and Taphouse
NCBC was busy as expected, but thankfully not as crazy as I've come to expect for a Saturday night. I grabbed a pint of Deschutes' Hop in the Dark and toasted my mates to a hike well done. My GPS and Google Earth told me that I walked just over 13 miles (which includes a frustrating Metro bus snafu getting to Ram Northgate) -- easily my longest beer hike. Congrats to Link and Chris who walked most of the way with me.
I think my calves are still a little sore.