The Eccentric and Hopped Up Beers of Fremont
We’re getting closer to my heart here. On this route, there are only three breweries but they are some of the most remarkable breweries in the area. While this route takes place in Fremont, I had to be a little bit liberal with the definition of "Fremont". The westernmost brewery on this route is closer to Ballard than it is to Fremont but it lies close enough to the border that I feel OK including it here.
The Route: Kegs to Go Road
Total Distance: 1.5 miles
Route Type: City
Elevation: mostly flat
So named because it passes K’s Deli & Grocery, otherwise known as Kegs To Go, this route goes from Bad Jimmy’s Brewery, down Leary Way until it turns into 36th Street to swing through Outlander Brewery, then cuts down to 34th street to get to Fremont Brewery. It’s a short route with only 3 breweries, but what Fremont lacks in quantity they make up for in quality. Outlander and Bad Jimmy’s serve some of the weirdest beer in the area. Even the most grizzled beer veteran will find something weird enough to ignite their taste buds. And Fremont brewery is the biggest independently owned brewery in the area, and when you taste their IPAs you’ll know how they were able to get so popular: perfect beer.
Bad Jimmy’s, named for its owner’s ever-growing beer belly, is a wonderful place to start the evening. It’s the smallest of the breweries on this route, and actually one of the smallest breweries in the city now that I think about it. It has some major Cornhole with a capital ‘C’. That is, it has stopping power. It features a big projector that takes up an entire wall and it always showing “the big game” of some kind. Upstairs is the pinball lounge. Yup, you read that right. While there is no actual cornhole here (the place is far too small), between that, the board games downstairs, and the word search coasters, you’ll be here long enough to try all their beers. And that is something you’ll certainly want to do. Far from the standard “hair color beer” array, Bad Jimmy’s has some of the weirdest beers you can find in the city (except for our next brewery). They follow no standard theme, so no you didn’t just walk into another sour, barrel aged, Belgian shenanigans taproom, but they have some seriously out there beers like Girl Scout Cookie Ale (the actual cookie and the type of beer changes from batch to batch) and spicy Habanero Amber. Keep an eye on this place and come back week after week to try their ever-changing lineup. In terms of quality and consistency, this place might fall slightly flat, but it more than makes up for it in overall appeal. Its beer won’t blow you out of the water, but this brewery will keep you coming back for more.
Second on our route is Outlander. By far the weirdest brewery I’ve been to. Something about going into an old house that has been turned into a brewery feels strange to me. Maybe it’s the dark rooms or the tall, bearded bartenders, but the place has the feeling of a bar that is just too cool for you. Shake it off. The reason we went to Bad Jimmy’s first was two-fold: to build up a tolerance for whacky beers and to get some liquid courage for crossing the awkward threshold of the front door you swear leads to someone’s home. Outlander has the most wackadoo brews you’ve seen, like bad Jimmy’s on steroids. It breaks the eccentricity scale. Horny goat weed and rose petal ale, peanut butter stout, rosemary and jalapeno saison. I only made up one of those examples. The brewery is hidden downstairs somewhere so it loses a point for Smell but makes up for it in patio and board games. Exploring the house is a game by itself.
Some of you may know that I am a bit salty about Fremont Brewery. It’s 2 blocks away from my house, has cheap growler fills and beer to go, a killer patio, and technically masterful beer. With a report card like that, what part of any sane person would be salty? The inconsolable hipster part. The place is the most popular brewery in Seattle (I assert, citing no source. It’s certainly in the top 3) and it is always paaacked. Lines for both bars going out the door, standing room only, beer garden constantly expanding into the surrounding parking lot, every single person in Seattle crammed in drinking Fremont’s impressive variety of hop-heavy beers. My little hipster heart can’t handle how popular it is. I want it for myself, and you all can’t have it. Well, lament no longer Hipster Andrew, because it’s winter time now. No longer will the beautiful Seattle summer force people out of their homes and into the beer garden in my backyard. Only those that brave the cold and wet will get Fremont beer, and that is gonna be us, dear reader. The last stop on this beer route is Fremont Brewery and that’s where we’ll get the ball rolling. Perhaps we’ll head to the Dock after for some Karaoke.
Thanks for reading. Ride safe.