Beer brings out the omnivore in us all: I've seen drunks down everything from Siamese fighting fish to a Costco-sized tub of rancid ham. It's rare, however, to see the brewing industry endorsing such juvenile behavior—as do the Belgian makers of lambic, an elixir which is cooled for a night in the open air so ambient yeast and anything else passing by can fall into the wort. If you ever wanted to try a drink best described as "insectoid," lambics will be available this month at Brouwer's, which is devoting 57 of its 60 taps to rare Belgian kegs that have been aging in the cellar. "We're breaking out all our showstoppers," says bar manager Charlie Whedbee. "We're going to test the limits of how far a bar can go in the Northwest without having an IPA on draft." Complex, aromatic, and kind of pricey at $8–$9 during Brouwer's 3–6 p.m. happy hour, these artisan brews include an organic gueuze (a blend of old and new lambics) from the Cantillon brewery, whose chief method of insect control is thousands of resident spiders. Rumor has it that the unlucky arachnid that drops into the drink enriches the product with its gastrointestinal yeast. But if you prefer your beer with a little less cephalothorax, there's also the "Mad Bitch" Tripel from De Dolle, with flavors of banana and cinnamon; and Verhaeghe Brewery's Duchesse de Bourgogne, a red ale with a balsamic vinegar inflection. Happy hour nibblings on a recent visit comprised an unholy trinity of fried potatoes, fried fish, and fried cheeseballs with bacon, plus a hidden cheese-plate special that completes the coronary assassination attempted by its ballsy brethren. The cafe plans on adding soup and salad and a Stilton-and-leek tart, not that you'd need extra vitamins with your lambic.
Brouwer's happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. 400 N. 35th St., 267-2437. FREMONT