(Beer Connoisseur Eric Peters contributed to this post)
Nestled in the heart of the center of the universe, WA, our next review is none other than…
Fremont Brewing Co.
The Fremont Brewing Co. is a quaint, quirky place to grab a pint. It has an “urban beer garden” complete with concrete floors, florescent lights, benches made out of kegs, etc. The atmosphere is colorful and inviting – and more than a bit cold, prompting one of us to remark “I think they keep it chilly in here so you’ll drink more beer to get warm.” (The December winter and lack of insulation may have also been contributing factors)
The first beer up was the Dark Star Oatmeal Stout. This incredibly dark beer poured blacker than the blackest black – times infinity. It had exactly the aroma one would expect from an oatmeal stout, pungently roasty. It wasn’t particularly carbonated, and interestingly enough it was not nearly as heavy-bodied as other stouts that we have tasted. The malts were well toasted and brought out notes of coffee that lingered in the aftertaste. The beer also had a good amount of yeastiness to it, which helped build on the complexity of flavor. Overall the Dark Star was a pretty good beer, and if you are fan of stouts, or dark beers in general, we recommend it.
The Sisters Imperial IPA was our next brew. Almost rubyish in color, quite cloudy and served in broad-topped snifter, this definitely didn’t look like your daddy’s IPA. One taste revealed that it didn’t taste like it either. The Sisters possessed a perfect balance of bitter, citrus and floral hops, but the most unique element was the way the flavors intermingled. Normally, different flavors of beer proceed in a linear fashion – that’s why you always see us use the words ‘precede’, ‘follow’ and aftertaste – but in this beer the flavors shifted in and out so many times that we lost track. Neither us have ever had an IPA, or any other kind of beer, like it. The Sisters is a must-try, bottom line.
We moved on (begrudgingly) to the Universale Pale Ale. It was a golden, translucent pint of beer with very little aroma to it. This beer had firm, malty base that was balanced by a lightly bitter hop finish. The most interesting element of the Universale Pale was the mildly filtered taste of it, almost like a lager. The flavor was firmly grounded in the Pale camp, but this gave it some depth and complexity compared to other Pales that we have tried.
We finished the evening with the Interurban IPA, a Fremont mainstay. The first thing we noticed was the pleasant hop aroma wafting into our nostrils as soon as the bartender handed it to us. It was golden in hue and had a low opacity for an IPA. The base of this beer was a light malt taste, but the real flavor came from the hops. The profile leaned towards bitterness, but the citrus hops emerged strongly in the aftertaste. Overall the strongest element of this beer was the balance between the variety of different flavors. After some discussion we both agreed that it doesn’t hold a candle to The Sister Imperial IPA. It’s not the Interurban’s fault – it’s a damn good beer – the competition was simply too fierce.
Fremont Brewing Co. is a fun, unique brewery in one of Seattle’s most upbeat and interesting neighborhoods. More importantly, they have some damn good beer and a good variety of it. It’s definitely one of Seattle’s top microbreweries, and we highly recommend checking it out – although it wouldn’t hurt to wait until it’s a bit warmer out.