The Pint is Mightier: Schooner Exact Brewing

(Beer Connoisseur Eric Peters contributed to this post)

For out latest review we ventured to the South Seattle destination of Schooner Exact Brewing. While it would be easy it pass judgment on their business park location with airplanes from nearby Boeing field buzzing overhead, it would be a mistake to do so. Aside from a solid selection of beers and a cozy interior, it’s home to the best damn Reuben in Washington State.

Unfortunately we visited when the brewery was missing one of their most delectable looking brews: the Black IPA and the barrel aged Winter Warmer. Expect a follow up review in the future!

Schooner Exact Brewing Company

Eric’s first beer – Gateway Golden (3.5/5 on Untappd)

I don’t usually go for Golden ales, but our quest for great beers always pushes me to try new things – and in this case I am glad I did. I enjoyed this beer much more than I expected to.

The brew poured a golden color and had a mild hop aroma. It did not appear very carbonated.  At first taste I was surprised by the level of hoppiness, which was very apparent and pleasant. It is a shame that Schooner Exact was out of their Pale ale at the time of review, because it would have been very interesting to compare the two.  Strangely, there is almost a subtle creaminess in the aftertaste, hidden cleverly amongst the hop flavor, that added a good level of depth to this beer. The Gateway Golden would be a fantastic beer for a hot summer day.

Porter, Golden and Eric

Quinn’s first beer – Profanity Hill Porter (3/5 on Untappd)

We often say it’s easy to make a decent Porter and very difficult to make an exceptional one, and the Profanity Hill is an excellent example of this idiom. Although it poured dark-bodied with a nice roasty aroma and creamy head, the beer itself was rather one-dimensional. Its dry, slightly sweet, and surprisingly mild dark malt notes were reminiscent of Guinness – hardly the gold standard for Porters. The only interesting element of the beer, a slightly more prevalent hop profile than usual, was not enough to elevate this beer above mediocre.

Eric’s second beer – King Street Brown (4/5 on Untappd)

Brown Ales are another style of beer I don’t typically choose. I usually find I get more out of a porter, but nonetheless I found myself in the mood to give the King Street a try. By it’s appearance alone I could have sworn I went with my standby style of dark beer – it poured dark enough to give most porters a run for their money. It was nice and roasty, well balanced and flavorful. It had a soft flavor, if you will; there was not much edge to it. The hop flavor was mild and I could taste some nuttiness in the brew. As far as brown ales go, this one was very good.

Quinn’s second beer – 3 Grid IPA (3.5/5 on Untappd)

I was hoping things would get better after my first beer, so I went to my safe beer place: a nice IPA. The 3 Grid wound up being an improvement, though still somewhat middling.

The beer straddled the line between golden and amber hued, with almost nothing by way of head. It carried a hoppy, citrus aroma that hinted at the flavor contained within the suds themselves. The 3 Grid had a nice bitterness backed up by mild citrus notes, although the flavor did not linger long in the mouth. Overall it was a perfectly good IPA, but nothing to write home about.

Schooner Exact IPAs

Eric’s third beer – Ale-liance IPA (4/5 on Untappd)

“Wow,” was my first thought upon tasting this beer. Maybe it was the less hoppy beers I had just been drinking, but the floral hops of this IPA really blew me away as I took my first sip. Delving further, I found myself wishing this was Schooner Exact’s regular IPA, because I found it far superior to their 3 Grid. On a warm summer evening, this was just the beer I was looking for – a pretty coloring, an abundance of floral hops, and a balanced malt profile. Surprisingly, I found this beer did not have much of an aroma, which is too bad, I like a good bit of hop smells to waft up my nose before I take a sip. This beer was a special release, so if you see it – get a pint!

Quinn’s third beer – Emerald ISA (4/5 on Untappd)

Schooner ended on a high note with the Emerald India Session Ale. An increasingly popular style, the ISA is a less potent version of an IPA that still attempts to pack a full load of hops into the beer. While some wind up tasting like a Pale Ale, a well done ISA is a delicate and wonderful creation that balances light body with impressive – but not overwhelming – bitterness.

The Emerald ISA hit the nail on the head, easily outperforming the 3 Grid in every aspect. It had no head and poured a pale amber color. The beer itself was intensely floral with a light body and crisp finish. It would be the perfect beer to enjoy on a late summer day – so you should probably get on that while you can!

Want more beer commentary? You can follow Quinn and Eric on Untappd.


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