The Best Breweries In BallardIf you're planning a brewery crawl in Ballard, hit up these 7 spots.
“Let’s go brewery-hopping in Ballard!” is a phrase you’ve either said, heard a friend say, or at least thought at some point. Bouncing around to enjoy wheat-based beverages is a Seattle rite of passage, especially in the most popular neighborhood in the city for beer. From institutions with heavy IPAs to newer spots that brew experimental stuff with fruit and herbs, these are our favorite breweries in Ballard. Choose one, choose two, or choose five, and after a couple hours, the food trucks will be ready for you.
If you only have time to visit one Ballard brewery, make it Reuben’s. It’s a fun taproom with 24 homemade beers and plenty of long wooden tables great for day drinking with a big group. There isn’t much decor beyond a few big beer-making tanks, but their beers—like the gose and the Crikey IPA—are so good that you won’t care. There are also rotating food trucks parked outside, like Burger Planet and Now Make Me A Sandwich.
Sometimes, brewery-hopping in Ballard is about knocking back as many four-ounce tasters as you can until you want a cheeseburger. Other times, you want to appreciate the nuances as you would a glass of wine. That’s where Fair Isle comes in. This brewery specializes in really good farmhouse beer, made with native yeasts and refermented with fruits and vegetables like pluots, beets, and kiwi. There are even some oak-aged styles with infusions like sencha tea or blackberries and tarragon.
Sours can be polarizing, but if you’re someone who can’t get enough of beer that tastes like liquified Warheads and hops, Urban Family will be your personal paradise. Their sours come in refreshing combinations like mango and peach, raspberry and lemon peel, and passionfruit and pink guava. If you’re truly a fan, they have sour slushies, and if you’re not, they brew a few IPAs and American light lagers. Sip them all in their industrial tasting room or grab a huge picnic table on the front patio.
Another fun spot for fruit-infused beer, Great Notion is originally from Portland with outposts in Georgetown and Ballard. Their brews are typically inspired by other foods and drinks, like their aguas frescas sour with hibiscus, strawberry, and watermelon, or their creamsicle IPA with orange puree, vanilla, and milk sugar. The indoor/outdoor space makes it a fun hangout spot in the summer, and there’s a Burbs Burgers onsite if you’re hungry.
If you’re brewery-hopping in Ballard and your priority is a standout patio, the one at Bale Breaker is the winner, complete with an expansive gravel-coated space, funky murals, and firepits. And since it doubles as a tasting room for Yonder Cider, you’ll have more gluten-free options on tap than you would find at other breweries—from hard apple juice brewed with pineapple and cardamom to spiked strawberry lemonade slushies. While the beer is good (we’re fans of their hazy selections), you’re really here for Yonder’s fruit-based stuff and the great outdoor space.
Drinking at Stoup feels like having your friend pour you a beer they brewed in their garage, only it’s actually good. There’s a wall covered completely in bumper stickers, the bar shares a room with the massive beer-making tanks, and rotating food trucks—like Bread & Circuses and Kathmandu Momocha—are always parked outside. The best part about Stoup is that it works for all types of weather—during winter, the main tasting room has plenty of seats, and when the sun comes out, the garage doors swing open and you can sit outside on a patio table. Plus, there’s a bonus beer garden around the corner with a firepit, and a second bar upstairs.
Lucky Envelope always has something for everyone, whether you’re in the mood for a peanut butter stout (our favorite), a raspberry sour, or a two pepper pale ale made with habanero and Japanese shishitos. They also produce small-batch styles like mango lassi IPAs and cucumber gochugaru sours, as well as special beers for Lunar New Year. When it’s nice out, their patio has a lot of fun energy powered by cornhole and food trucks.