The Pint is Mightier: Maritime Pacific Brewing Co.

(Beer Connoisseur Eric Peters contributed to this post)

Returning to the sea of Seattle breweries, we get a bit nautical in our latest review of…

Maritime Pacific Brewing Co.

This brewpub was one of the most interesting and innovative we’ve visited so far. As you enter a giant pirate flag hangs from the ceiling beams. The entirety of the floor is painted like a big, old-fashioned nautical map, making it nearly impossible to look at anything else for the first five minutes after you arrive.

Eric’s first beer was the intriguingly named Nightwatch Dark Ale. It had a very dark color but was not the least bit cloudy. The best way he found to describe this beer was like a light porter with a bit of a bite from the strong hop flavors. The aftertaste, on the other hand, brought about a lingering roastiness. Eric best described this beer as a almost a ‘dark pale ale.’  While the combination of these two flavor profiles were interesting, overall this beer fell short. It gets points for being original – coming at a Cascadian Dark Ale style beer in a different fashion – but the formula just didn’t work in this case. The biggest detractor was that the hops didn’t balance the beer at all, leaving your tongue is assaulted by a beer trying to do too many different things at once. If you’re curious and have a hankering for something unique, try it, but if you like to play it safe Eric suggests that you go with an alternate brew.

The Dry Hopped Islander Pale Ale was my first choice of the afternoon. This was their standard pale with the addition of a substantial amount of hops in the final processing, and the flavor definitely reflected that. It was unabashedly hoppy, with powerful notes of bitterness typically reserved for a strong IPA. However, it also possessed a very light body and lack of malt typical in a standard American Pale. Further sips revealed this truly was an exercise in hops, as the strong, bitter flavors built over time. In the end I definitely enjoyed this beer, but unless you are a fan of really bitter beers it might be best if you looked else.

Eric opted to get the Flagship Red Alt Ale next. An Alt is a style of German beer originally brewed in Rhineland and possesses its own unique characteristics. Although not usually a fan of German beer, this one looked interesting so he figured he would give it a shot. This beer was poured with a good head and with a very amber color. It was mildly cloudy and possessed very little aroma. Eric’s first sip of this beer tasted like and amber, but this soon gave way to a more unique flavor. This beer tasted very filtered, like most German beers, and so went down quite smoothly. The flavor was not very complex and was very clean and crisp in character. The aftertaste was mild but there was a definite lingering of slight maltiness. The hop profile on this beer is nothing to take note of, and it lacked a certain sharpness characteristic of most Red Ales. Overall Eric thought this beer was better than many ambers and recommends it to anyone who likes that style but wants to try something different.

My second beer was the Portage Pay Pilsner. Normally you would never see me drinking anything of the sort at a brewery where I could be getting excellent, full-bodied beer; however, in the interest of covering a wide variety of beers, I agree to take this one on. I must say, I was not disappointed. At first sip the Portage Bay Pilsner seemed like a classic representation of the style, very light and crisp with substantial filtration. However, this one had more depth to it than others.  It had more of a body to it and was lightly seasoned with citrus hops, giving it a new dimension. The carbonation was also pitch perfect. Ultimately I had to give credit where credit was due: this was a highly drinkable, unique take on a classic pilsner.

Maritime Pacific is a good place to stop if you’re in the Seattle area. They have a great atmosphere and a wide variety of interesting brews that are excellently priced ($4 for a 16 oz. pint and $4.50 for a 20 oz.), although some do fall a bit short. Although we didn’t have any, the food looked quite spectacular as well. We recommend you don on an eye-patch and get yourself some grog!

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