I owe Elliott Bay Brewing Company a great big apology for having ignored its pub for so long. I grew up in the Midwest, where mediocre pub food was the one thing you could find with any consistency, so I don't often seek it out. And since I see children as a personal choice, a family-friendly pub atmosphere appeals to me as much as garlic and holy-water bisque to a vampire. Although I had tasted Elliott Bay's beer at numerous events and festivals, I had never visited the Elliott Bay Brewery Pub in West Seattle until a few months ago. Now I keep going back. Giant reason No. 1: the beer. I prefer Elliott Bay's darks, like the Dark Star Porter, which is dominated by the toasty aroma and flavor of dark chocolate, complete with a mildly bitter finish. It contrasts well with the brewery's No Doubt Stout, which is some of the smoothest, creamiest brown in town. A Diesel, the pub's version of a Black & Tan, uses half of the stout with its Alembic Pale Ale, which pops you right in the kisser with its hops and then finishes with a sweet citrus taste. The dry-hopped IPA will satisfy any hop freak; it actually made me cough. The brewery uses all-organic barley and malt and has at least one rotating cask-conditioned beer on offer. It's often another local brewery's special selection. In fact, I noticed in all my visits—and I praise them highly for it—that the staff never talk trash about other breweries. They've expressed likes and dislikes, but always diplomatically. Reason No. 2: the food. Elliott Bay is com- mitted to the freshest and best ingredients in its food as well as its beer. The pub has one of the best burgers in Seattle—flavorful, juicy, and thick. It's always on temperature, something this former grill cook commends. The meat is your choice of buffalo or organic Black Angus beef from Vashon Island, and the burger comes with fries because chips are wrong. Not only that—the burger buns incorporate spent grain from the brewing process. And that stout? You'll see it all over the dessert menu: in the chocolate stout pound cake, stout tiramisù, and stout ice-cream sandwiches and sundaes. (Husky Deli makes the ice cream across the street.) Reason No. 3: more to go around. Ten years ago, the pub moved into the West Seattle Junction. At the end of this month, a second one opens in downtown Burien (at 255 S.W. 152nd St.). The larger space will give Elliott Bay Brewing Company more room to play so it can expand its beer roster. I want to see if the brewmasters dip more into the amber, because the darker ales they showcase at festivals always stand out. And yeah, there are always a few kids running around, but as long as those little Cindy Loo Whos keep their germy paws out of my personal space, my wee little heart is content to eat crow, topped with Swiss and sautéed mushrooms. email@example.com
Elliott Bay Brewing Company 4720 Cali-fornia Ave. S.W., 932-8695, www.elliott baybrewing.com. WEST SEATTLE. Open 11 a.m.–midnight Mon.–Sat., 11 a.m.– 11 p.m. Sun.