Nothing beats a cold beer on a hot day. Except maybe sharing a Chuckanut Stout or Summer Lovin’ English Porter with your dad on Father’s Day. This year, June 20th falls on the first official day of summer. So get out there and soak up every precious moment — in Edmonds, the unofficial beer capital of Snohomish County.
This little artisan, seaside town boasts an embarrassment of sudsy riches, exciting gathering places to celebrate the dads in your life: home-grown, on-premises micro-breweries, gastropubs, and taprooms, funky dive bars, immersive brew-your-own, and specialty shops just for this occasion.
Open since 2013, Salish Sea Brewing downtown (518 Dayton St.) epitomizes good times for beer lovers. Look for happy crowds feasting on seasonal and classic rotating ales, lagers, and pilsners (plus cider and wine) — original recipes brewed in-house — and hearty, wholesome, scratch-made comfort food to share. Oatmeal Stout for dessert! Honey Golden Ale and Prawn & Chips! A Salish Burger and caramelly NW “Wildfire” Red Ale! Yes, yes, and yes! Owner/Beer Maker Jeff Barnett’s micro-brewery recently took over the American Brewing Company space near the Waterfront, with plans for a hefty expansion, which will add more seats for the original downtown location and jack up brewing overall by 150 percent.
Locally owned and operated, Gallaghers’ Where U Brew (180 W. Dayton St.) is back in full swing after closing during the pandemic. The public brewery enables you and dad to book a DIY beer-making experience, with 57 base recipes to choose from — Stouts, Porters, Pilsners, IPAs, and ales. The entire process takes about two hours plus two weeks, including fermentation time. What a great Father’s Day gift! If instant gratification’s more your thing, Gallaghers’ tasting room offers eight rotating taps, root beer for the kids, growlers to-go, and $6 patio pints, perfect for summer.
Brigid’s Bottleshop (Salish Crossing, 188 Sunset Ave. S.) specializes in the finest brands, featuring about 18 rotating taps and two rotating ciders from all over the globe. Chill out inside or on the outdoor deck. Afterwards, check out the inventory, and get a growler of your favorite tap to go. On any given day, you can find the MPH IPA from Matchless Brewing in Tumwater, Twin Sisters Brewing Company’s Farmhouse Ale – Saison, Uninvited Guest, made in Bellingham, or a raspberry and mango sour Moon Priestess from Seattle’s Urban Family Brewing.
There’s always a party at Engel’s Pub downtown (113 5th Ave. S.), an original pub dating back to post-Prohibition times, circa 1934. Live music — blues and rock, naturally, lively company, a rotating cast of characters just like in the movies, maybe two or three spirits of another sort, comfy, cozy, funky vibes, lots of laughs, and of course, the good stuff, Beer, barkeep! — 18 varieties on tap.
It’s like stepping into a British pub, with all the bells and whistles, and craft beer on tap: ChurchKey Pub (109 4th Ave. N.) welcomes one and all inside, where beer is king and the king is very generous. Regulars and newcomers enjoy their fill from 19 thirst-quenching options. A sampling: Speedway Stout with Vietnamese Coffee (AleSmith Brewing Company, San Diego), Kölsch (Dru Bru, Snoqualmie Pass), Underground Mountain Brown Nitro Ale (Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, MI), Ridgetop Red Ale (Silver City Brewery, Bremerton), Sorta Sweet Cider (Portland Cider Company, Clackamas, OR)…the list goes on, so come on in already!
Venture just outside downtown proper for a proper getaway close to the Waterfront. Rory’s of Edmonds (105 Main St.), a landmark and crowd favorite, oozes chill neighborhood hang. The bar and dining menu is extensive and tantalizing. You could spend forever here, and many regulars do, watching the ferry theater people come and go just outside… bent over a pint or two of draft beer in every incarnation, from Deschutes Black Butte Porter and the familiar Blue Moon, to Mac & Jack’s African Amber Ale, Fremont Lush IPA, and Hellbent N.W. Pilsner. Pile-drive a Pound of Love, aka seasoned fries with homemade tartar for dipping, Sriracha Chicken Bites, Bowl of Balls (meatballs), or a full-on Halibut Burger and some baby back ribs. They’re famous here.
Everything at Maize & Barley (525 Main St.) is as locally, sustainably, seasonally, deliciously sourced as humanly possible, including the mouth-watering beer and cider and all the right-sized Latin-Caribbean snacks to go with. Try a Lingonberry Cider – Greenwood, a Scandinavian delight, or a German style Pilsner, About Time Pils – Ex Novo/Foreland Beer, with your Papas, Matiz Spanish Sardine sandwich, and Puerto Rican Coconut Milk Tembleque. Eat, drink, be merry…and learn a little more about the passion and care of the farm-to-table artisans and purveyors co-owners Anthony Kjeldsen and Venus Forteza source from.
The newest gastropub on the block, Leftcraft (519 Main St.) hyper-focuses on beer of every kind, as well as beer-friendly food, with a local, multi-ethnic NW slant. The West Coast-inspired menu features 26 rotating, regional craft beers, signature cocktails, and wine, and mouth-watering, mind-blowing dishes (summer scallop salad, kimchi grilled cheese sandwich, chicken pot pie). A glimpse of what’s on tap: Ravenna Too Cold to Hold IPA, Ecliptic Tangerine Sour, Kulshan Red, Bale Breaker Pilsner, Pelican Hefeweizen, Diamond Knot Root Beer, Skookum Third Earth IPA, Icicle Pilsner… There’s more where that came from!
Love on dad with some downtime and fantastic, Edmonds-based craft beers. Cheers to that!