It was a typical evening in Seattle. Chilly and wet, the car splashed through puddles as we drove across the Aurora Bridge. Fog and mist rolled off the Fremont Cut moving east from the Puget Sound towards Lake Union. At our backs the Seattle skyline was tall and bright, the Space Needle rising high into the mist. We crossed into the city’s Fremont neighborhood, an artsy bohemian district known for its restaurants, antique shops and food trucks. The whole night; the weather, the neighborhood all seemed quintessentially Seattle. It was only fitting to go to a brewery that held that same essence.
The neon sign of Fremont Brewing Company shown like a beacon through the fog. Big and bright, a Great Blue Heron was lit up alongside the brewery’s name. The brewery’s mascot was also the city’s official bird and all the convincing I needed in search of beer perfectly representing Seattle.
Despite the chill in the air Fremont’s long outside patio tables were crowded. People in puffy jackets and rain shells sat at the long benches sipping from pints and tasters, laughing and munching on bowls of pretzels. The inside of Fremont was just as packed with people crowed at a hodgepodge of tables, booths and wooden bleacher style seating.
Under a large chalkboard menu bearing brightly colored beer names I found the bar just as thronged as the rest of the taproom. With a rack of tasters and bowl of pretzels in hand I made my way back out onto the crisp outdoor patio, sitting down at one of the long shared tables.
Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star was the perfect beer to start with to take the chill out of the air. Affectionately known as BBADS at Fremont, this Imperial Oatmeal Stout packed a punch. Pitch black in color and aged in 12 year old Kentucky bourbon barrels it smelt of coffee and licorice. Rich caramel notes and roasted malts added to a finish of warm bourbon.
Cleansing my palate with some salty pretzels I next reached for a glass of Lush IPA. A Seattle fan favorite, Lush combines Citra and Mosaic hops to create a juicy and tropical pale. Lots of notes of lime, guava and mango make for a citrusy all day drinker. Red brown in color, Bonfire is Fremont’s seasonal brown ale. Brewed with a variety of grains and malts it utilizes mild hops to bring out tastes of toffee and smoky chocolate. A pint would be perfect for any Seattle winter day.
I always enjoy drinking at a brewery that I know has such a positive impact on its surrounding community but its rare to see the level of commitment that Fremont shows to its neighborhood. From environmentally savvy business practices to supporting local veterans, Fremont has its hand in every form of advocacy. Ales for ALS a special brew cooked up to raise awareness about Lou Gehrig’s disease saw $6,000 in proceeds going to ALS Therapy Development. Another special Kolsch entitled Fremont Pride celebrated Pride month with all proceeds going to local LGBTQ advocacy groups.
This sense of hometown community spilled right over into some of Fremont’s most popular everyday brews. Field to Ferment is Fremont’s rotating collaboration with local hop farmers just southeast of the city in nearby Yakima. Carting back a variety of hops throughout the harvest Fremont sources these ingredients from surrounding farms to give Field to Ferment a true taste of Washington. Depending on when you visit during harvest season your pint glass might be filled with Citra, Centennial or Mosaic hops.
Everything about Fremont Brewing Company was exactly what I was looking for in my trip to Seattle. From the symbolic Great Blue Heron to the vibrant neighborhood, the delicious beer to the stereotypical weather. Impressive most of all was Fremont’s engrained dedication to taking pride in their city and putting their resources and brewing powers together to help continue to make it a great place to live.
Grabbing at the handle the car door as my Uber pulled up by the curb I glanced back over my shoulder at the brewery. Through the mist and fog the Fremont sign and Great Blue Heron continued to burn bright.
A shining gem in the Emerald City.