Some weeks back I sent an email to everyone who attended the pub crawl asking eight questions. I’ve been swamped with, well, life and haven’t been able to go through the answers everyone sent me and organize the results into a best and worst of our pub crawl weekend. Early this week I finally went through them all put them together in this post highlighting our trip. There were some surprises and some expected results. For instance, the bigger breweries that serve food tended to score high with everyone. I tried to ask questions that would give some balance to the smaller breweries, if they did well, so the big guys didn’t float to the top of the score sheet.
No one on the crawl knew I was going to send them a feed-back email. So it may have caught some off guard. I can tell you that Mike easily took the most detailed notes during the crawl. I saw him doing this at each brewery, but I think he was doing this for his own interest, not in anticipation of me asking for his feedback. If you need a refresher as to what breweries we visited and what beers we tried, you can check out the Recap post. Also, remember we didn’t visit every brewery in Seattle so these results are only based on the ones we did visit.
Let’s get to the results.
Question #1: What was the overall best brewery you visited? Take into account all the beer you tried, the service, the atmosphere, the location…..everything.
I didn’t expect one brewery to jump out over all the others. But the big breweries all came out on top here. Hales, Elysian and Elliot Bay all received the highest marks. Of those three, there wasn’t one brewery that stood out. The choice was pretty subjective based on one’s taste, but the majority of comments had to do with the quality of the beer, the food and locations.
Question #2: What was the single best beer you tried?
We had the same results with this category as we had with question #1. With 96 different beers sampled, we weren’t going to get an overall #1 choice. However, both Elysian and Reuben’s Brews were mentioned multiple times. I have to say I wasn’t surprised that Reuben’s had two beers mentioned out of the seven. Here are the seven beers that were mentioned as the best:
Troll Porter – Hale’s Ales
Ambrosia Maibock – Elysian
3 Grid IPA – Schooner Exact
American Rye – Reuben’s
Heritage Ale – Reuben’s
Jasimine Avatar IPA – Elysian
The Fix – Elysian
Question #3: Which brewery had the best overall beers? This had to do with beers only. You could have had to sit on the floor with rats, but the place had the best beers.
Again, Reuben’s Brews came out with the most mentions. Three of seven. Elysian, Schooner Exact and Elliot Bay also got quality mentions but the clear stand out here was Reuben’s.
Question #4: Which brewery had the best overall food?
The main goal of this pub crawl was to hit as many of the new start up breweries that have opened in the last couple years as we could. Most of them do not serve food. So many of the new, small start ups did not make this category. Of the remaining, Hale’s Ales came out #1 in this category. A lot of that vote had to do with their breakfast. Hale’s garnered five votes for the best food with Schooner Exact with the other two. Elysian, surprisingly did not make the final vote count but did get an honorable mention. I have to tell you, the breakfast at Hale’s on Saturday morning was pretty damn good. I pint of the porter, pancakes and great service made the grade for me. Evidently, it made the grade for many others as well. One person commented that it was a difficult choice and he didn’t have a bad meal anywhere he went. I would agree with that sentiment as well.
Question #5: Which brewery had the best overall atmosphere?
I wasn’t really surprised by this result. I had a feeling one of the new start ups would make the grade here and The Peddler came out way ahead. Four out of seven votes. No other brewery got more than one vote. Even the one commenter that gave the nod to Naked City gave an honorable mention to The Peddler. Freemont Brewery with their long, community picnic table was also given good marks. Elliot Bay was the other mention.
Question #6: Which brewery had the best overall service?
The service was really good at nearly every brewery we visited. So there is no surprise how diverse this answer became. Schooner Exact and Elliot Bay both got good marks. The waitress we had at Elliot Bay was absolutely incredible. It was the only location where we took the time to call the manager over to praise her service. She was really good. Schooner Exact was very welcoming and really took the time to explain all our options and never seemed to be put out by the large group dropping in on them. Reuben’s, again, got a good mention since Adam took the time to engage all of us snobs on the finer points of brewing. He was great. In fact, Reuben’s was the only small brewery that got a mention. Again, I think this has to do with the smaller guys being totally self service with no wait staff. Adam made up for that when he recognized what we were doing and came over and talked for quite a long time to all of us.
Question #7: What was the worst beer you sampled?
This was actually a tough question to answer. Most people could describe it, but couldn’t remember the name because it was so awful. Freemont Brewery did get three mentions including “Cowiche Hop Lab #2”, however. Reuben’s Imperial Rye IPA and “Ain’t Nothin’ Ta F@*k Wit” at the Urban Family Brewery were also mentioned.
Question #8: Of the breweries you visited, which one disappointed you the most?
Two stand out in this question with multiple entries. The Urban Family Brewery (3 mentions) and Freemont (2 mentions). Freemont got hammered on their customer service. The bar tender was, well, an asshole. He just seemed like we were being put out by just showing up. And he screwed up everyone’s taster flight. Very disappointing. Urban Family just didn’t meet up with the expectations some guys had from just reading about it. Other mentions here was The Peddler and Maritime Pacific. These last two had more to do with service than quality. One comment pretty much summed it up, ” I like good, healthy, interesting food, prepared by someone who knows the difference between umami and savory. I don’t mind paying a premium for quality, atmosphere and service.” Many of these small, start-ups just don’t keep up with the service or cleanliness. I have to agree with this commenter. Sometimes the the single bathroom where the trash hasn’t been taken out in a couple hours and there’s a line 5 people long and you have to clean your own table can be a hassle.
So, there you have it. Based on the breweries we visited, the bottom line is if you want an all around quality experience you’ll have to hit the bigger players on the brewery scene. If you want funky, interesting beers and still a good atmosphere (where you might have to wipe off your own table), then Reuben’s and The Peddler might be good choices for you.