Carla Jean Lauter

The Beer Babe

Seattle, WA Beer Adventure – Big Time Brewery

On my first full day in Seattle, I arranged to meet a twitter friend at a brewpub in the University area for a drink and a chat. I got there a little too early for our meeting, and ducked in just a few minutes after they opened. The Big Time Brewery was fairly large on the inside, with tables to the right to sit down, a bar and windows to fermenters on the left, and a counter for ordering food. The atmosphere was antiqued, but in a really classy and comforting way. Bottles and old brewery memorabilia covered the walls, and wood paneling and antique lighting fixtures really made it feel like a blast from the past. 

The food menu featured hearty comfort food and starchy bar food – which was exactly what I needed after being a little worse for the wear from last night’s Brouwery Cafe adventure. I ordered nachos, and received a heaping plate of them with salsa, sour cream and guacamole. To my delight, the salsa was actually hot!  
I picked a seat next to the large windows that displayed the small brewery, and I poured over the beer list. Like most breweries on the West Coast, the list is full of highly-hopped delights. A few surprised me. In addition to their Scarlet Fire IPA, Atlas Amber Ale, Coal Creek Porter, and Bhagwan’s Best IPA, they had weird things like Hop de Mesonage Belgian IPA and an “East Coast Pale Ale” whatever that was. I had no idea what to try first, but I prepared myself for a hit of hops.

I first tried the Atlas Amber ale – a dark rosy copper with a really grassy hop smell. The taste, though, is classic amber ale. It would be a leap from something like the Bud American Ale, but it has a really good color and a tad of appropriate bitterness. Not mild or water like a lot of small breweries I’ve been to, I was encouraged and wanted to try more.
Norm arrived and we began chatting about brewing, beer, writing, kitchen renovations and whatever else came to mind. He’s friendly and genuine and I enjoyed the company, especially when he told me all about his brewing and local beer adventures. 
I followed the Atlas Amber with a Hop De Mensonge Belgian IPA, because I have never heard of nor had any idea what a Belgian IPA was. This one was served in a tulip glass, and had a delightful smell of wheat and citrus. The hops were there, too, but the taste was a lot more Belgian than IPA. I was really intrigued by how the hops brought themselves to the party in such a smooth wheat beer, and it was at the very least an interesting experi
ence.
For a classic IPA, I chose the Scarlet Fire IPA. Described as an “assertive Northwest style IPA” I figured it would be a good introduction to the west coast hop madness that was to come. The Scarlet Fire’s color was a beautiful clear reddish orange and the smell was to die for. This one came on strong, too, but finished very cleanly in my mouth. I was expecting to taste hops all the way home, but it delivered its punch then let you walk away without scars. An excellent example of a strong IPA, and well done at that.
The Big Time Brewery has been around since 1988 and is now 21 years old. It has won awards almost every year, including in 2008 when its Scottish Ale won the category at GABF. As I was sitting I also noticed that beyond the beer world that it is a popular place for university students and some colorful locals too. This is the type of brewery that any town should be proud of, and if I had one like this around the corner from me I would be a regular, too. 

My brother came to pick me up and resume the rest of our adventures in Seattle, before departing that night down the Washington Coast. I gave him a sip of the Belgian IPA and he declared it to be “awesome.”
And the East Coast Pale Ale? I asked about it and apparently, one of their brewers is from Maine originally. They use different hops, and it is a little milder, and more of an English style IPA. I thought about how small of a world it is considering that I just came from New Hampshire, and my first brewpub features beer being brewed by a Mainer!

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2 Comments

  1. Mr. Kyle, Brewer

    Normskibrewer posted a link on twitter for this and I thought it’s funny that you mention that you’d be a regular if it was around the corner because I live half a block from there and AM a regular! Great place 🙂

  2. Matt

    Looks like good beer! mmmmmm

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