Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring Training 2011

Link knows the way...
A few weeks ago, a couple friends, Link and I decided that we needed to start getting back into beer hiking shape.  The days are getting longer and warm, sunny days are not far behind.  We'd heard that Proletariat Pizza in White Center makes a killer Ham-n-Egg pie and none of us had been to Beveridge Place Pub in West Seattle for a while, so we made a beer hike out of it.

The weather looked promising that Wednesday afternoon:  a bit cold, but dry.  Link and I geared up and hopped on the 28 bus near The Dray.  The 28 becomes the 23, which goes right to White Center and our launch point, Big Al Brewing.

Spring Training 2011 UBH (about 3.5 miles)
Big Al Brewing / Triangle of Deliciousness / Super Deli Mart / Locöl / Beveridge Place Pub

View Spring Training 2011 UBH in a larger map

1. Big Al Brewing
We arrived around 3:30pm and grabbed a seat at the bar with a few of the early locals.  I enjoyed a glass of the Winter Warmer while my hiking partner Chris tried the first incarnation of Beer Church Pale Ale.  As we were drinking I noticed that one of the tap handles had a small action figure of Big Al himself.  Adorable:

A Little Big Al

We were getting hungry by this point and I just couldn't eat anymore pretzels at the bar, so we hopped one block up and a couple of blocks over to what I call the "Triangle of Deliciousness" on 16th Ave. SW (see map above).

2.  Company Bar
Rum Crusta at Company
Link waited outside Company like a good boy, while we got a snack and another drink before gorging on pizza.  Company's beer selection is good, but Chris pulled the Anvil List out of his pocket (100 cocktails to try before you die) and asked the bartender for a Brandy Crusta.  He asked if we'd ever tried it with a really good rum instead of brandy.  The answer was no, so it was done.  And it was really tasty.  It served as a nice little aperitif with our salt cod fritters.

3. Proletariat Pizza
We got to Proletariat just after happy hour ended, so we couldn't take advantage of their outrageous full-pizza-for-half-price offer.  No matter.  Their pizza is so fantastic and their selection of local beers on tap (Big Al, Schooner Exact, Two Beers) is so fine that we didn't care.  After we placed our order and got our beers, we watched the place fill up.  Then the entry way filled up.  This place was getting BUSY.  I was very relieved that we got there when we did.  I've heard that they close early all the time because they simply run out of food.

Surly Service at Proletariat Pizza
That dude wants to fuck that pizza!
And I can see why.  The pizza is outstanding.  Seattle has a lot of pizza joints.  A lot.  I have no trouble putting PP into my top 5.  Our Prosciutto & Egg pie, piled high with fresh arugula after coming out of the oven was divine.  It kicked our asses with flavor and texture.  I'm still mad that I left my leftovers behind.  I'm such a ding-a-ling sometimes. 

4. Full Tilt Ice Cream
We were a little behind schedule now and the sun was starting to think about setting, but we still had time to jump across the street to Full Tilt for some homemade gourmet ice cream.  In addition to the tremendous ice cream, FT also has a few local beers on tap, some classic stand-up arcade games, and a skee-ball lane.  We didn't have time for a pint, but we took some scoops to go.  I really liked the Coffee Chip (I usually don't care for coffee ice cream), but the Blackberry Cinnamon wasn't as good as it sounded.  I really look forward to visiting their other locations and trying more of the their offerings.

The ice cream satisfied my sweet tooth for the time being, but as we headed west on SW Roxbury St., I saw that we were headed right for Salvadorean Bakery, just past 17th Ave. SW.  I'd been here before, but I wanted to show Chris the ridiculous pastry and cookie cases they have.  As soon as you walk through the door, your senses are pummeled with color and goodness.  No one who works there speaks English, but that doesn't matter.  Just point and pay.  I bought us each a rum soaked cake of some kind for later, but the joke was on me.  The next day we each separately discovered that the damn things leaked all over the inside of our backpacks.  Dammit!

Just after leaving the bakery and beginning a mild climb we were met by another faithful beer hiker and West Seattle local, Eric.  He presented me with a gift from his recent Good Beer Trip to North Fork Brewing, a bottle of Brew 1000 Special Edition Barleywine.  Take a wild guess what else leaked in my backpack that night...

Right about the time we turned right (north) to cut through Roxhill Park, we saw Roxbury Lanes & Casino on our left.  We'd just been talking about The Big Lebowski over pizza and that got us jonesing to roll.  We decided that Link would be OK waiting outside the entrance while we threw a game.  Chris' strong ability to consistently pick up spares trumped my six strikes.  Eric had trouble keeping the ball out of the gutter.  A pitcher of Sierra Nevada Pale vanished all too quickly.

5.  Super Deli Mart
You'd never know it by looking at it from the outside, but Super Deli Mart is as good as any bottle shop in Seattle.  There are a few different worlds converging inside this corner convenience store.  It has the selection of overpriced snacks and annoying door chime you'd expect from a 7-11 or something, but there is also a wide selection of cigars, a tremendous selection of craft beer from all over the west coast and Europe, and a small, but very good sandwich counter.  While the gentleman behind the counter made my Cheesy British hoagie (lunch for tomorrow), we drank pints of Racer 5 and perused the beer coolers.  I didn't buy anything on this trip, but I saw a lot of stuff I liked.  (It probably would have leaked in my bag anyway.)  Although there are a couple of tables to sit and drink at, it's not the kind of place you want to hang out in.  The lights are super deli bright and it's not dog-friendly.  SDM also puts on some very popular brewers' nights and special tastings.  I've never been to one because they're usually on Tuesday nights when I'm at work.

Tools of the trade at SDM.

6.  Locöl
One of West Seattle's newest neighborhood watering holes is Locöl.  I've heard good things about the place, but we weren't able to stop in because there was nowhere to hitch Link up outside and their back patio was not yet open.  I look forward to stopping by again sometime, though.  The menu and tap selection look really fun and I enjoyed talking with the owners a few weeks ago at the Leary Traveler.

The last leg of this hike is through a nice quiet little part of West Seattle.  At night it can be a little confusing, so if you're not with a local and don't know your way, bring a map and a flashlight. 

7.  Beveridge Place Pub
There are many reasons that I like ending urban beer hikes at BPP.  They are dog friendly, so Link can come inside with us (and sleep on the floor by our feet, of course), they usually have one of the best craft beer selections in the city, and the 54 bus that departs across the street becomes the 5, which takes me home to Phinney Ridge.  Also, there are good food options around it if you're hungry after a long hike  -- my favorite right now is Abbondanza Pizzeria.  I've never had their pie, though.  I love the pasta too much.

That's about it, I guess.  This hike only totals about 3.5 miles, but there is some nice climbs here and there.  In the summer months, you can extend it beyond Beveridge Place and continue up to the West Seattle Junction and even Alki Beach.  There are many more great beer and food spots along the way. 

Coming up next:  Earth Day keg hauling to Latona Pub.

1 comment:

  1. This review/adventure is awesome! You hit so many of my favorite spots. Thanks for highliting the goods.