A Style-by-Style Guide to the Region’s Most Delicious Brews

From amber to wheat beer, we’ve taste-tested them all.

Anacortes Brewing’s delightfully unskunky pilsner. Courtesy of Anacortes Brewing

Face it, Germany, the Northwest is the world capital of beer, thankyouverymuch. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and offer our thoughts on the best Northwest beers in just about every style out there.

Amber

Odin Brewing (Tukwila) A touch malty to start, this dark beer drinks light and finishes with an oak flavor. Originally dubbed their “Ruby Red,” this amber is excellent for anyone who doesn’t prefer hops but still craves nuance.

Beer Collaboration

Fort George (Astoria, Ore.) Every year, Fort George collaborates with two other local breweries to create their 3-Way. In 2015 they collaborated with Georgetown and Pfriem (two of our favorite breweries) and created a floral, bright, delicious IPA that sold out almost immediately.

Black Rye IPA

Firestone Walker (Paso Robles, Calif.) A dark, rich, nuanced beer, Firestone’s Wookie Jack has depth while also being hoppy and even a touch tropical. If you’ve never had one, it’s a must-try.

Blond IPA

Pfriem Brewing (Hood River, Ore.) People are trying so many styles of IPAs, including white or blond IPAs. Often these styles can seem frivolous, but Pfriem knocks it out of the park. If you see this beer on tap, get it.

Cider

Seattle Cider (Seattle) Their semisweet apple cider is crisp, effervescent, and consistent.

Cream Ale

Hale’s (Seattle) Admittedly not our favorite style, but some beer drinkers love the creamy pub ale. Meant for drinking a bunch over an entire day while watching soccer, Hale’s holds the championship belt for best in the style.

Flavored Cider

Finn River (Chimacum) This dark berry cider is big, round, and tart, which cuts the often oversweetness of the average cider.

India Pale Ale

Breakside (Portland), Boneyard (Bend, Ore.), Bale Breaker (Yakima) It’s a tie! All three of these IPAs are on the lighter, brighter side. You can’t go wrong with any of them. Ever. But if we had to pick one, it’d probably be Bale Breaker.

India Pale Lager

Georgetown (Seattle) Maybe the best beer to come out of Seattle in 2015, the Eddie IPL is hoppy but remains a lighter-bodied beer. It’s as close to perfection as you can get.

India Red Ale

Double Mountain (Hood River, Ore.) While this year’s batch wasn’t quite as good as last year’s (it seemed a bit too malty), we’re still giving props. A hoppy red is just a divine flavor profile, and Double Mountain knows what they’re doing.

India Session Ale

Dru Bru (Snoqualmie Pass) This new brewery up in the mountains produces supremely drinkable beers, and in an era when ISAs are popping up everywhere (session ales are about two-thirds the punch of heavy IPAs), Dru Bru’s is at the top of the list.

Pale Ale

Fish Brewing (Olympia) Named best beer in the world by the World Beer Awards, the Beyond the Pale has a touch of pineapple amid its crisp, long-lasting flavor.

Pilsner

Anacortes Brewing (Anacortes) The Pilsner, flavor-wise, is thought of as a simple beer. Because of its understated profile, a pilsner is difficult to make perfect. As a result, these beers so often end up being skunky. Anacortes doesn’t have this problem whatsoever.

Porter

Stoup (Seattle) Stoup might be Seattle’s new favorite brewery. They churn out delicious beer, and the smooth, crisp porter is one of their best.

Red Ale

Georgetown (Seattle) A smooth, clean red unencumbered by the heavy malt or syrupy qualities that too often hamper this style. This is a damn near perfect beer.

Scotch

Boundary Bay (Bellingham) Because Scotch ales aren’t hoppy, brewers often try to beef up the body with malt, which ends up being too demanding on the palate. Boundary Bay rises above this challenge with this deep and rich, almost smoky brew.

Seasonal

Fremont (Seattle) Both the Abominable Winter Ale and Summer Ale are on point. Just depends if you want bourbon barrel-aged bigness or subtle tangerine brightness.

Sour

Lagunitas Brewing (Petaluma, Calif.) This beer isn’t as huge in its sour flavor as many others; instead, the sourness is assimilated into a grapefruit-like pale ale. The result? A perfect flavor balance.

Stout

North Coast Brewing (Fort Bragg, Calif.) Going a little out of the way for this one, but that’s because it’s terrific. The creamy nitro stout is rich, strong, and the perfect beer for a day spent cooped up in a cabin.

Wheat Beer

Chuckanut (Bellingham) This brewery is expert at crafting lighter-style beers like pilsners and lagers. But rising above these is Chuckanut’s dark wheat beer, which has body, a little malt, and a lot of verve.

More in Home

Katrina Johnson, Charleena Lyles’ cousin, speaks at a press conference for De-Escalate Washington’s I-940 on July 6, 2017. Photo by Sara Bernard
Communities of Color Respond to Police Chief Best’s Nomination

Although its a mixed bag for some, the families affected by police shootings say she’s the best one for the job.

While King County Metro has been testing out several trial electric buses since since 2016, the agency aims to have a fully electric bus fleet by 2040. Photo by SounderBruce/Flickr
King County Rolls on With Its Electric Bus Fleet Plans

With an overhaul set by 2040, a new report shows the economic and health benefits of going electric.

Alvvays brings its dreamy Canadian indie pop to the Capitol Hill Block Party Main Stage. Photo by Arden Wray
Capitol Hill Block Party 2018 Picks

Who to see at this year’s edition of Seattle’s urban music fest.

Nikkita Oliver speaks at a July 17 No New Youth Jail press conference in front of the construction site of the King County Youth Detention Center. Photo by Josh Kelety
King County Youth Detention Center Moves Forward Despite Opposition

As community criticism of the project mounts, King County tries to take a middle road.

Protestors gather at SeaTac’s Families Belong Together rally. Photo by Alex Garland
Seattle’s Separated Children

A local non-profit houses several immigrant youths who were separated from their parents at the border. But for how long?

Kayla (Elsie Fisher) stays glued to her screens in ‘Eighth Grade.’ Photo by Linda Kallerus/A24
Embracing the Naturalistic Awkwardness of ‘Eighth Grade’

Writer/director Bo Burnham and star Elsie Fisher discuss making and living one of the year’s best films.

The Carlton Complex wildfire burned in north-central Washington state in 2014. Photo by Jason Kriess/Wikimedia Commons
King County Burn Ban Starts This Weekend

Other counties across the state have already enacted similar restrictions.

Between Seattle’s $15 minimum wage and the new no-poach cause agreement, Washington has been leading the nation in advancing fast food workers’ rights. Photo by Fibonacci Blue/Flickr
Washington AG’s Deal Grants Mobility to Fast Food Workers Nationwide

Seven fast food chains have agreed to end no-poaching policies that economists say cause wage stagnation.

Most Read