Big Time Brewery & Alehouse

4133 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105
Phone: 206-545-4509

This past summer was my second summer spent in England. The difference between the summer and the spring or autumn is really only the longer daylight hours. The temperatures barely reach high enough to warrant wearing shorts, let alone permit basking in the sun. Before I left the U.S. people warned me about British weather, but I assumed they were talking about dark winters and wet springs. I can handle those. The hot, humid summers I've experienced all across America are what I miss the most.

To keep my psyche in touch with my American roots, I purchased the premium viewing plan from Major League Baseball. I can watch any regular season or postseason game on my computer, provided my internet provider can, well, provide. As much as I appreciate it, watching baseball in my dining room, five hours ahead of Eastern Time is a far cry from the best baseball-viewing experiences of my past.

My most vibrant memories of baseball come from watching the Columbus Clippers at sunset on a humid Ohio night, the steamy heat turning to water-soaked damp as the sky darkens. In a minor league baseball field the seats are cheap and close to the players, even if the beer is priced for the major leagues. You can feel that you are a part of the game in such an intimate setting.

If you can't be soaking up the summer weather and atmosphere in the stands, then the next best thing is to have baseball on the TV or radio while still immersing yourself in summery surroundings. In the sunny Seattle summers I used to love sneaking out of work early at 4 pm to watch an East Coast evening game get underway. My favorite destination was the long wooden bar in the large airy room at the Big Time Brewery. Although the large wall-length windows face east, the sun reflects off shops across the street and fills the tavern with afternoon light. At this time of day the lunch crowd has left. Only those free people with too much time on their hands chat at the bar or linger over beer and snacks at the numerous wooden tables. Nothing feels lazy, just easy like at an open air bar at a holiday resort. What better place to sip a hoppy concoction and watch the Bosox battle the Yanks?

The Big Time Brewery opened their doors in 1988. They serve only the beers they brew themselves -- only ales, lagers. (In addition they serve soft drinks and a limited selection of wines.) As is typical of Western American microbrews, the taste of hops is much more prominent than in English Ales. The Primetime Pale Ale is closest in taste to traditional pale or golden ale. Others fully indulge in hoppy goodness: the Atlas Amber Ale, Bhaghwan's Best IPA, and the Scarlet Fire IPA trump each other in turn, defying the notion that a beer can have too much hops. They brew a Coal Creek Porter for those interested in the distraction away from the IPAs I prefer.

The kitchen serves up perfect food to go with your ale. The pizzas are nice (for the west coast) and the nachos are great for large groups. My favorite partner to a hoppy IPA was the Prime Time Sandwich, main ingredients: roast beef and blue cheese dressing. The chili also stood up well to the hearty ales.

The seasonal ales are good diversions, especially their special barleywine-style ales released only once annually. The wintery Old Wooly Barleywine Ale and the summery Old Sol Wheatwine Ale are not to be missed. They are quite strong, so satisfying your desire for a second or third glass will likely tempt you into a drunkenness you thought you'd given up in your middle age (excepting New Year's Eve and bad days at the office).

For those people craving the internet like a fetus need its mother, you can make use of the free cordless umbilical, although this kind of activity is not in the sociable spirit of the brewery.

If you're in the University District of Seattle, you should most definitely stop in to the Big Time Brewery & Alehouse for a pint. If you like it, ask for a punch card; buy N pints and the (N+1)th is only X cents. There is also a coupon you can print from their website.

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