Right smack-dab in the middle of town, I've found a paradise that's trouble proof.
It might not be smack-dab in the middle of town, but nestled in Seattle in the industrial hedging along the Lake Washington Ship Canal near the Ballard Bridge,Rooftop Brewing Company’s large patio constructed on the roof of the very brewery itself is certainly a cozy spot to enjoy some fellowship, food, and fine microbrewed beer.
The four-year-old Rooftop Brewing Company offers a strong range of libations, as well as a healthy sampling of Northwest staples—pale ales and IPAs. From the KraftTeamWerk Lager (5.8% ABV, 23 IBUs), a lager brewed with German Huell Melon and Bavaria Mandarina hops and in collaboration withMollusk Brewing—a brewpub located at the corners of Westlake and South Lake Union—to the Tank Ride Russian Imperial Stout (8.5% ABV, 18 IBUs), Rooftop’s brews run the gamut.
Two beers particularly enticing, for their style and drinkability alike, are Rooftop’s Grandpappy’s ESB (6.5% ABV, 18 IBUs) and Makeda Coffee Porter (5.8% ABV, 32 IBUs)—Makeda Coffee Porter was featured Friday August 18 for Rooftop’s Firkin Friday.
Grandpappy’s ESB is most probably not your grandfather’s ESB—ESB (extra special bitter) is trademarked in the UK by Fuller’s Brewery but is used in the US and Canada to describe a light-amber to copper pale ale with a relative balance yet distinction between malt and hops, and the term came to North America with the rise of microbreweries. However, Grandpappy’s ESB is a wonderful beer in as much as its nod to the history of ESBs as the experience of the beer itself. Grandpappy’s ESB looks to the predecessor of the ESB, the strong bitter (UK), and makes a return to its roots—low but present hop notes over a barely medium body with a slightly chewy maltiness in the cheeks. Grandpappy’s ESB might depart from its forbearer only in alcohol content, by which it outpaces common representations of strong bitters only slightly. Add atop all of Grandpappy’s ESB’s other recommending qualities that Rooftop offers the beer on nitro, and it is virtually irresistible.
And the Makeda Coffee Porter is particularly exciting, because the coffee for this porter comes from none other than Makeda Coffee on Greenwood near Green Lake, whose beans are roasted exclusively by yours truly, Seven Coffee Roasters! Makeda Coffee Porter could be your common porter expect for the addition of coffee, cocoa nibs, and toasted coconut flakes. And beyond this, on August 18, it was served from a firkin, a small—often wooden—cask or keg used for cask conditioning to which no carbonation is added to the natural carbonation that takes place while the yeast ferments—results from a firkin can be similar to serving a beer on a nitro tap. The resultant beer in this case is an inky smooth porter through which all the aforementioned ingredients present their flavors. And though coffee, cocoa, and coconut are all discernible, somehow they also blend into a perfect meld of toasted, roasted, bitter goodness.
Coming to the food aspect of Rooftop Brewing Company, they do not have a kitchen, and the only food they serve is popcorn from a carnival-style popper. But every evening of the week, including weekends, there is a local food truck outside Rooftop Brewing offering grub. Most nights during the week, Curbside Vietnamese holds the post, and on weekends, other trucks, such as Off the Rez and Cocina Bueno, make their appearances. Also on certain nights of the week, Rooftop offers other particular incentives—$10 growler fills on Mondays, $4 pints for teachers and students on Tuesdays (with a school ID), and Firkin Fridays. All upcoming food trucks and weekly and special events can be found on the events page of Rooftop Brewing’s website.
Whether it’s the prospect of drinking in the open air on Rooftop Brewing Company’s spacious patio or the promise of delicious local food from a truck or the community represented through all of Rooftop Brewing’s collaborations with other local small businesses or simply the desire for a fresh, well-crafted beer, Rooftop Brewing Company is certainly deserving of a stop on your next Seattle brew tour or, dare it be suggested, a regular weekly stop for a relaxing evening up on the roof.