In case it hasn’t been made clear so far, Seattle is a great city whether you’re looking for a place to live or travel. If you’re a tourist looking for a city that can offer up a variety of experiences, Seattle has you covered. The great outdorrs are just over there (it doesn’t really matter what direction you point to – green and/or blue space is not far). Those who love culture have plenty of art galleries to choose from. Kids will be entertained by the Space Needle, science centre, zoo and aquarium. The part I enjoyed the most (perhaps even more than the beer) was that Seattle has an abundance of restaurants, markets and specialty food shops that won’t have you go over your travel allowance. It should be a destination for anyone that considers themselves a foodie.
I found about Quinn’s during my beer research, but was drawn to the restaurant by its unique meals. My friend had dined there multiple times and gave it rave reviews, so that was our dinner stop for the night. The restaurant was packed even though it was a Wednesday night (Seattleites don’t really seem to care if it’s a work night), but we were able to get a couple of spaces at the bar and enjoy our meal whilst starring at the Belgian bottle selection. Luckily the beer and foods god were working in my favour, making my pairing choices quite easy. We split the bone marrow and escargot appetizer ($14), which came served in a halved and hollowed out piece of bone. The marrow was akin to tiny dumplings of fat with a delectably creamy texture. I ordered the Russian River Supplication (Ratebeer), a sour cherry ale aged in pinot noir barrels. My plan worked to perfection, with the fruity tartness of the beer contrasting all the fat, butter and garlic in the food. Judging the Supplication against such strong flavours is near impossible, so let’s just say that I felt like a marquis being fed grapes by a harem of beautiful women.
My main was not as far out there, but a wild boar sloppy joe is still interesting enough to raise some eyebrows. There was a substantially spicy kick to the sandwich, so I once again went with an IPA – the Double Mountain Hop Lava (Ratebeer). This felt like a light IPA, both in terms of body and flavour. The citrus was very strong, especially lemon. The beer was a nice change of pace compared to other big American IPAs, but it lacked something compared to the huge flavour in my meal.
From there we were off to a land of board games and, once again, Belgian ales. The Stumbling Monk is definitely not a place that looks like it would serve excellent beer. The chairs and tables have been gathered from alleyways and dumpsters, stuffing was coming out of cushions, the floor is reminiscent of a derelict factory and the washrooms… luckily I was a little inebriated by the time I had to use them. I almost expected to get into a fist-fight, except that the bar obviously attracts a hip, younger crowd (because us old folks prefer proper lavatories). There are dive bars and then there is the Stumbling Monk. Except are dive bars allowed to serve Russian River Pliny the Elder (Ratebeer) on tap?
As I have mentioned, Americans will pour everything in the standard US pint glass except beers from Belgium. Did I need 16oz of an 8% ABV, 100 IBU American IPA? Heck no! But at times like these you suck it up and hope your liver will forgive you later. Pliny the Elder is a monstrous IPA in that it has so many strong flavours that battle for space. You’ve got grapefruit, guava, pine and resin, all before a dry, bitter finish. This is a beer that can be enjoyed on many levels – not just the taste/aroma/body, but also on a mental level as you try to figure out everything that is going on. I wanted to savour this for as long as possible, which is almost mandatory when you’ve got a full pint. Luckily it took a long time to figure out how to play the Worst Case Scenario Survival game, leaving enough time to get through this beast. Next time I will be better prepared before trying to take down Pliny the Elder.
- Downtown Seattle was packed thanks to Veteran’s Day (aka Remembrance Day, except some people actually get the day off). Mainly wandered around and did some shopping.
- Lunch was also a really great meal: chicken groundnut (aka peanut stew) at the Pan Africa Restaurant near Pike Place Market.
- It started to absolutely pour in the afternoon, but luckily I found Caffe Ladro and got an excellent double espresso. Won the praise of the barista by drinking it au naturel.