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5 Breweries to Visit in Seattle

From Fremont Brewing to Elysian Brewing Co., Seattle has a number of great breweries.

U.S. News & World Report

5 Breweries to Visit in Seattle

Fremont Brewing

Fremont Brewing uses "local ingredients to make their award-winning beer."(Sparkfly Photography)

If you find yourself thirsty in Seattle, there's no shortage of hop-fueled liquid fun. Seattle and the larger King County are home to more than 100 breweries, with new spots opening all the time, according to the Washington Beer Commission. If you're short on time, make a beeline for Ballard, which is Seattle's brewery epicenter. Here are five breweries, each with a distinctly different vibe and brewing style, that will give you a handle on the local beer scene.

Fremont Brewing

Fremont Brewing is a favorite of Tracie Kahikina, head concierge at the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle. "They use local ingredients to make their award-winning beer," Kahikina says. "You can bring in your own food, and they have a casual vibe there."

Jessica Gomes, VIP coordinator at Hotel 1000, recommends Fremont Brewing's Bonfire Ale. "Smoked beer is the new thing," she says. "It tastes like you're sitting around a campfire, drinking beer. It's the most amazing thing."

Swing by Fremont Brewing's beer garden and tasting room just north of downtown Seattle in the Fremont neighborhood. It's open Sunday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Elysian Brewing Co.

Elysian Brewing Company(Courtesy of Elysian Brewing Company)

"Elysian Brewing Co. is great for after the games or prior to the game," Kahikina says. "They've been in town since 1996, and they've created their beers there, probably over 300."

Isaac Tarin, lead concierge at Hotel Ändra, says his favorite brew is an amber ale called Men's Room Original Red. "This great local pub is known for strong ales and good food," Tarin says. "Meet your friends and locals for happy hour with some scratch-made Northwest cuisine."

Elysian has four brick-and-mortar locations and a full production brewery at Elysian Airport Way. Jeff Wilbur, concierge at The Arctic Club Seattle - A DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, recommends the Elysian Capitol Hill location. For more information on locations and hours, check the website.

Georgetown Brewing Co.

"I have to throw in Georgetown Brewing Co.," Gomes says. "They gave us Manny's [pale ale]. It's a great brewery, and it's a good off-the-beaten-path product."

Visit the tasting room in Georgetown, a small neighborhood enveloped by a sea of industry just south of downtown, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The establishment offers free samples of all the available beers, as well as kegs, cans and growlers to go. Heads-up: The brewery doesn't serve pints, so expect samples, not full servings. Ninety-minute tours are offered on Saturdays starting at 4 p.m., and are limited to 15 people. Be sure to call in advance to book your spot. The cost is $5, and all proceeds are donated to charity. Closed-toe shoes are a must for tours.

Cloudburst Brewing

"Right now, Cloudburst Brewing is doing some cool stuff," says Lara Dennis, concierge at Kimpton Alexis Hotel Seattle. She notes that the lead brewer had worked for Elysian, but he left to launch Cloudburst soon after Elysian sold to Anheuser-Busch InBev. "They're over by Pike Place Market, so it's kind of like going back to the olden days of Elysian when they were tiny and just local, so they're a favorite," she says.

Cloudburst Brewing's tasting room hours are Wednesday through Friday from 2 to 10 p.m, Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. It's closed Monday and Tuesday. The brewery only sells prefilled growlers.

Optimism Brewing Co.

Optimism Brewing(Courtesy of Optimism Brewing)

"Optimism Brewing Co. up on Capitol Hill is just beautiful," Dennis says. The establishment, she says, exudes a local Seattle vibe while maintaining a classy feel.

Alexis Beeton, chief concierge at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Seattle, likes that Optimism Brewing does not take cash or tips. "They have activities almost every single weekend, so whether it's yoga or a pop-up shop, there's always something going on there," she explains. "They typically have about 15 to 20 beers on tap, as well as food trucks from local vendors."

Be sure to try the Heliotropic, a hoppy, tropical IPA.

Visit Optimism Brewing in the always hopping Capitol Hill neighborhood Sunday from noon to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday from 4 to 11 p.m., Friday from 3 p.m. to midnight and Saturday from noon to midnight. It's closed on Monday.

To experience more of what Seattle has to offer, check out the U.S. News Travel guide.

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