A Secret Brewery Expressway Only for Bikes
Holy crap y’all. I am extremely excited and a little embarrassed to report that I’ll be bringing you a brand new trail today. I’m excited because it is one of the neatest trails I’ve found so far; it’s basically an expressway between breweries I previously thought were unconnected. I’m embarrassed because this trail has been here the whole time, sitting right under my nose and I didn’t know. I’m talking about the Elliott Bay Trail.
Elliott Bay Trail, for those who are like me and never knew about it, runs north to south along Elliott Bay from the western tip of the ship canal trail south to the Olympic Sculpture Park. It just so happens that this trail starts just south of Urban Family and Figurehead breweries and ends just north of Cloudburst and Old Stove breweries, passing right by Holy Mountain on the way. So with the barest amount of road riding, less than a mile, you can hit 5 breweries entirely from this one bike trail. In other exciting news, new dedicated 2 lane bike lanes are being built as I write this to connect the Ship Canal Trail to the Elliot Bay Trail, which brings Rooftop Brewing into the route and also brings us one step closer to the Mega Trail we’re mapping out that connects all of the breweries in Seattle. Now that I think about it, Pike Brewing is right there by Stovetop, so even though I don’t really want to count that touristy brewpub, that brings the total count of breweries on this route up to 7. Damn, Samson!
The Route: Elliott Bay Brewery Expressway
- Total Distance: 5.6 miles
- Route Type: Bike Path
- Difficulty: Easy
- Walkable: No
- Elevation: mostly flat
It starts at Urban Family or Figurehead. They are both close to each other and both right next to the starting point of this trail. If you are feeling ambitious, do both. I already reviewed them as part of the Ship Canal Trail post, so click on over to that if you wanna read more about them. Then it crosses the bridge and heads south down the trail. Hop onto the overpass right in front of Holy Mountain for a quick detour off the trail. Then back on and down to the southern end of the trail. At the Olympic Sculpture Park, head southeast on the road to get to Cloudburst. Just a bit past that is both Old Stove and Pike Brewing, both of which are optional. The ride itself is unbelievably pleasant. Basically completely flat, it runs along the train tracks until it transitions into Centennial Park. It’s a real treat.
Urban Family and Figurehead
Check out my other post here for details on these places. Both are getting better by the day. Urban Family even has a patio now and Figurehead is as charming as ever.
Highlights: Funky, Modern
- Smell: 1/2
- Local-ness: 1/2
- Eccentricity: 2/2
- Beer: 4/5
This place is not for everyone. I drink a fair amount of different beers, so I am always on the lookout for something new and unique. Holy Mountain is certainly this. They specialize in truly funky beers in the most technical usage of the term. Their beers are made with the craziest yeasts they can get their hands on resulting in some serious smells and tastes. If you like sour, barnyard, and barrel aged flavors, then this is your place. You’ll either love or hate their beer, but I can say you’ll love the brewery. It’s got a sleek minimalist vibe that applies to everything but their beer, including their strangely eerie logo and uniformly white, modern taproom. If you don’t think you’d like their funky flavor, it’s worth a trip here to give them a shot just so you can say you’ve visited one of the coolest breweries in Seattle.
Highlights: Laid Back
- Smell: 2/2
- Local-ness: 2/2
- Eccentricity: 1/2
- Beer: 4/5
This place was founded by an ex Elysian brewer which makes me happy. If you don’t know the story, a while back Elysian was bought out by ABnBev and everyone is still sad about it. Even though Steve already had plans to open Cloudburst before the buyout, it still makes me happy to know that some of the Elysian talent wasn’t turned to the dark side. Cloudburst is fun to describe. It’s, small, it’s cramped, it’s quirky, and it has Smell in spades. The walls, floors, and ceiling are all untouched, bare stone, brick, and timber. The lion’s share of the space is barricaded off with sacks of grain to leave room for the brewery. The menu is written on a scrawl of butcher paper and the beer is served in cups stolen straight from an Olive Garden. This brewery has the aesthetic of a place that never wanted to be pretty and doesn’t care what you think, and I think that makes it one of the most chill places. Their beers are the standard array of PNW pales and IPAs, but they usually have one or two flower flavored saisons or seed infused whatsit there to appease those seeking something new. In my mind, all their beers are hazy and tropical flavored, but I’d have to go again to confirm that. Anyone wanna go?
- Smell: 0/2
- Local-ness: 1/2
- Eccentricity: 1/2
- Beer: 4/5
This brewery is the non-touristy answer to the prayers of those that live near Pikes Market and can’t handle trying to get a table at Pike Brewery when they need a beer. Old Stove is a block away from that brewpub and even has a location opening somewhere on the Pike Place alley. Their little brewpub is small and clean. They have a long list of beers on tap so there is plenty to choose from. They have some brewery equipment off to the side, but it seems more for show than for actually brewing. The whole place smells so darn clean that it’s hard to imagine they actually brew there. Oh well, the beer is good, so I’ll remain suspicious yet satisfied. It's worth mentioning that adding this last place onto your route will add the only hill of note to your ride. It's a significant climb from Western Ave to 1st, so keep that in mind when you are drinking at Cloudburst.
And that’s it! Possibly the most pleasant route in Seattle, with just the perfect mix of length and beer. A huge variety of options and just enough riding to work them off. You can try adding Pikes Brewery to end of the route for an extra bite to eat, but you might as well not if you don’t like long waits and mediocre beers. Thanks for reading!