Beer fan? It’s time to head to the Pacific Northwest. Washington state has over 250 craft breweries and a 2017 study by Datafiniti ranked Seattle as the nation’s #1 beer city. Here’s a quick peek into the history of Seattle beer, with tips on some fan favorites and resources for more information on the Seattle suds scene.


Photo by @jeanettable

Seattle has a long history of beer appreciation, dating back to the 19th century. Sometime around 1880, a collection of local beer-related companies and breweries combined to form Rainier Brewing Company. For more than half a century, Rainier brewed the Northwest’s most popular beers. Sadly, it was later sold to Pabst and the Seattle location closed down in 1999. Another similar story happened with Olympia Brewing. While the brand lives with Pabst today, the Seattle location closed down in 2003 after 100 years of beer-making tradition.

These early beers were mostly light lagers since they were brewed in the German style. But sometime in the 1980s, a new trend was emerging: people were taking a more artisanal approach to beer production and making it with higher quality ingredients and in smaller batches. While Redhook was the first microbrewery in Seattle, many also attribute Seattle’s beer growth to Bert Grant and Charles Finkel. Grant came from Yakima Brewing and is credited for developing the Northwest style ale. Finkel ran a beer and wine store and later opened Pike Place Brewery.

In 2017, there were 174 registered breweries in Seattle.

Photo by @mehina_man

Some Notable Seattle Breweries

With almost 200 breweries in the city and close proximity to resources, there are endless options for local beer in the Northwest. There’s even a fresh supply of high-quality local hops nearby in the Yakima Valley. While all local breweries have something great to offer, these are some of the standouts:

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Photo Courtesy of Pike Brewing

So, that was only a shallow dip into the deep ocean that is the Seattle beer scene. For more information, consider checking out Beer Advocate‘s guide to Seattle and Washington Beer’s state map of beer.


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