Woodinville: Secret Beer Paradise
If last week’s ride to Snohomish was a little too much for you, I have something a little more in your area this time. Woodinville is a pleasant ride away no matter where in Seattle you live and is a nice middle ground between the east and west sides. It holds as it’s secret a couple of the best breweries in the region and a couple solidly medium ones. Shout out to the Washington Bikers and Beer Drinkers Club whose stomping grounds I am beginning to encroach on. Let us encroacheth. It’s a big region and it will take many more trips to fully map it out, but I’ll start with my favorites.
Woodinville - Secret Beer Paradise
It’s far enough away from the bustling city that breweries here really have room to sprawl out. It’s home to Washington brewery titan, Red Hook (at least it still kinda is? They’ve moved away but haven’t quite cut ties with their old location). I won’t be talking about them because of a certain ownership problem that I am salty about. Other than them, there are plenty of other breweries that get to feel the benefits of easier zoning and cheaper space which results in huge breweries popping up all over the place. You know I am a fan of the gigantic brewery warehouse style taproom. It’s why places like Sound to Summit in Snohomish, No Label in Texas, and Urban Family in Magnolia are just the neatest. It’s also why Optimism in Capitol Hill is such a big let down, wasting the neatest space ever conceived by making severance package beer*. Alas! Woodinville takes their space and uses it properly and created stars like Triplehorn and Sumerian which are our powerhouses on this route. There are a half dozen other places to stop for food and brews between those two and I’ll run through a couple so you can pick the route that fits you. Getting to Woodinville is a treat too if you live in Seattle. The Burke Gilman and Sammamish River Trails take you straight there and pass by a dozen other breweries on the way in Fremont, Ravenna, and Bothell. One tip for planning this route, NE Woodinville Duvall Road is a big hill that Google Maps will try to take you up then right back down the other side. You can completely circumnavigate it via Woodinville Snohomish Road, which is reflected on the route map below.
Highlights: Warehouse, Food trucks
The classic big warehouse brewery. Up on top of a hill at the end of an industrial plaza, sits this dope place. It’s all open air up there. The longhouse-style seating area is all up in the brewery only separated by thin yellow tape. They’ve got a long list of beers of the standard variety, so you are sure to find something that stands out to you. The Opinionated Geoff, the sometimes bartender and sometimes brewer loves to talk shop while offering up samples of beer to try. It can be impossible to choose, so you’ll have to sit here for a while soaking up the space and the beer. One of the neatest places to hang out. Dog-friendly and great patio outside.
Highlights: Warehouse, Cornhole
Sumerian is one of my very favorite breweries. Their beer is truly phenomenal, though I might be a little biased since they are usually my first stop on this route and getting there takes 20 miles of pedaling for me. After that, any beer will taste like the nectar of the gods. Still, I’m convinced that their Narcissist IPA is one of the best IPAs ever made, and you know I’m not lying because I rarely bother with remembering the name of a specific beer at any brewery. This brewery has something for everyone. Their spacious taproom has tons of space and TVs for watching the game. They have a passable menu of casual brewery food like a killer sausage sampler and chips and salsa. If you want my preferred experience, head through the back doors between the bar and the water station to get into the production facility where you can drink among the fermenters. They have more drinking space back here and access to the parking lot patio complete with cornhole. A drinkers paradise.
This is a brewpub. Their large kitchen and modern seating area overpower their brewery aspect. I judge brewpubs by different metrics than solo purpose taprooms, so I don’t really know what to say about these guys. If you have a lot of extra time and are looking for a full-blown meal in the middle of your ride, this is a fine place to stop. It’s a little tricky to get to at the bottom of an industrial plaza you can only access from the top of a hill, so it’s an uphill ride to get there and to leave. At least it has bike racks.
Highlights: Takeout Food, Pink Boots
Is a nice little strip mall brewery. Their patio extends into the parking lot they share with a nice little Asian burger place that delivers to the brewery. Their beers are solid and feature a good number of wildcards. The friendly folk at this small town brewery are always down for a chat. If I recall a conversation (Probably with Amy… If I had a dollar for every brewer whose name I had forgotten before writing it down, this blog would be profitable), this brewery is part of the Pink Boots Society for women in brewing, which is dope! Absolutely stop here.
B - Side
Highlights: Probably Closed
Beers: Standard and Wine
If you have any news on B - Side, let me hear about it in the comments or on Facebook. Last I heard, the owners were planning on selling but I’m not sure if they ever succeeded. This place used to occupy the same space as Des Voigne Wine Cellar as a “combo brewery/ winery” which surprisingly there aren’t more of. Though maybe the fact that the owners are selling it is a testament to how hard it is to manage both at once. Still, if it’s there, it’s worth a shot to try. Their wine tasting room makes for a very classy beer drinking experience even if pumping up the hill to get there might leave you winded.
Crucible: The Forge
Gotta update to include Crucible, which just opened up! It's right along the route. I haven't been to this location, so I won't plug it too hard, but their Everett location is stellar and I can't wait to try it out. Glad too see the Everett favorite taking over a place that couldn't cut it (RIP Twelve Bars).
Side note for Collective On Tap - its a beer bar, so they have tons of beer to try and happen to be right on the ideal route. It's worth a stop here for a bite and brew, but you can skip it to try to hit more breweries. This part of town is nice and hilly, so you’ll really be earning your beers! Enjoy this route from Sumerian to Triplehorn. After that, hop back on the Burke to get home. Just make sure your phones and headlamps still have charge, and the magic of the Burke while drunk and at night will be yours to enjoy! There are a ton more breweries open just south of here like Chainline, Post-Doc, Black Raven, but that is a post for another time. The 520 bike bridge is opening any day now which will really increase my access to that region...
*Severance package beer is a phrase I learned from a brewer at Triplehorn. Basically, it means lousy beer and refers to when a potential brewer leaves their high paying corporate job and blows their severance package on opening a brewery only to find that brewing good beer is harder than they thought. Sorry not sorry, Optimism.