Tuesday 18th of August 2009 06:46:48 PM link
In my opinion, some of the finest ales made in the Seattle City limits come from Maritime. Unless you want to count Big Al's and Baron as being in Seattle proper, Maritime takes it.
My first ever taproom experience was in the Jolly Roger taproom, so this place will always hold a special place in my heart. As I was a budding baby beer snob at the tender age of 21, I was dragged to this brewery on a visit from Florida, and was poured my first pint of fresh, made on site beer. I visited again a year later on another visit, and wasn't as impressed with the beers, so it took me a long while to warm back up to them after I had moved here shortly after that.
The lineup of beers is extensive, and rotating. Every time I go there is something new available. To this day I have not found a specific beer that I was not a fan of. The beers for the most part are english, and pacific northwest inspired ales. No trendy belgian or other recent big hits, just the classic styles that have been tried and true since the craft revolution started. The only beer I can't categorize there also happens to be my favorite, the Nightwatch. Malty, dark, and smooth. There are few beers I've ever had that match up with a pub meal better than this.
There are always cask options available, most notably their IPA casks, and their famous Jolly Roger. I highly recommend at least sampling these offerings when available.
I have one complaint and one only about the beers, and that's on the consistency. I've noticed over the years a fluctuating quality, most notably from my second visit here that I had mentioned earlier in this increasingly lengthy review. Some times you will have some of the finest tasting beer you can remember, others you'll be left wondering why it's not as good as you remember. But I think the good makes up for the bad.
You can find their beers at many local grocery stores and retail locations, but I highly suggest scooting over to their taproom and getting it fresh from the source. My highest recomendations are the cask pours, the Nightwatch, and the Flagship Red.
This is the one of the two classic Seattle Breweries I can strongly recommend. Far too many of the places that have been around for a few years make boring, bland beer that was only impressive 15yrs ago. Not the case here.
Selection: 4.75 |
Atmosphere: 4 |
Service: 3.75 |
Wednesday 21st of January 2009 04:40:06 PM link
The Jolly Roger Taproom has a good range of Maritime Pacific beers available. On our visit there were two very special beers that arenâ€™t widely available: a double dry-hopped imperial IPA and a triple hopped pale ale. (You can also buy a growler of beer to-go.)
The space is small to medium-sized. In the front by the windows and along one side are oak tables and chairs. On the other side towards the back is the bar, surrounded by comfortable light oak tall chairs. The fairly tall ceiling is pained dark blue and is divided into three segments, each of which has an off-white/pink think band of neon light circling it as well as a ceiling fan. The walls are pained dark red. Overall the theme is nautical with a shipâ€™s wheel, ship decorations, etc. and a concrete floor painted in detail with a great treasure map. The brewery is next door to the taproom.
Food is appetizers and sandwiches, including several seafood choices as befits a place so close to a working fishermanâ€™s port. The fish and oyster mini sandwiches were quite good, especially with the home-made sauces.
Selection: 5 |
Atmosphere: 4.5 |
Service: 4.5 |
Sunday 14th of September 2008 01:44:08 PM link
The Jolly Roger Tap room is a fun place. Was very busy when I arrived. They open at 3:00pm so that is a small issue if you are looking at stopping for lunch. They have do have a good pub faire for food. Parking right out front can be dicey and tough to find. Drive around the block looking for a good spot so your car does not get dinged. The service was surly at times but then I think the want-a-be player was trying to be a big shot for the local flavor. They where out of several of there main beers not sure why and they could not say why. Will go back to get my beers that I missed this would be a great place for a party and with some good friends. The locals do and act like it is there pub only. NO Kids allowed. Loved the look inside this was place had some great character be sure to see the map on the floor you can not miss it. Yes it is a Pirate theme all the way.
Selection: 4 |
Atmosphere: 4 |
Service: 3.5 |
Thursday 29th of May 2008 06:26:16 PM link
Aarrgggg, me hearties!
Avast, ya bilge rats and bring us about.
Head into Davy Jones' wind and...
OK, enough channeling "Pirates of the Caribbean" but you get the idea, right?
The Maritime Pacific Brewing Company and their adjacent brewpub, the Jolly Roger is...unique.
The bartenders could be pirates - there was a point where I thought I be ordered to walk the plank when I asked that my fries be double-dipped so they could be extra-crispy. Captain Jolly glared at me as though I had demanded an advance on my share of any future plunder before we sailed.
Not a pleasant way to spend any part of an afternoon or evening, especially in such crowded quarters. Officers and bilge rats were crammed elbow to elbow in this hold -- and it has been that way each time we've visited. Yes, it does provide for a genuine experience (you better get to know your neighbor REAL fast) but it eliminates any possibility of having a conversation. Just drink up and be off, you scurvy knave.
But the "drink up" part - that was impressive. Beer selection range from the requisite lagers; Islander Pale Ale, Old Seattle lager & Portage Bay Pilsner to the three available ales; Jolly Roger Xmas Ale, Flagship Red and Nightwatch Dark, a very dangerous grog that could easily have you singing 'Yo ho, yo ho a pirate's life for me" from the rafters in no time at all.
Neighborhood folks know this bar and frequent it often but I found the majority of their beers to be non-descript. And by that I mean, Jolly Roger - like a good many breweries - have taken on the task of making several different types of so-called NW "style" IPA's. Sorry, Captain Jolly but there are other kinds of beer. Many other kinds. Even here.
Parking too, is not that convenient. Yes, it's street parking and yes, it is easier than say in downtown Seattle but you may find yourself walking a half-mile or more from "car to bar" to stand, wait a while for attention, service and hoping to have a half-glass of libation after the jostling is done.
Jolly Roger is an acquired taste. For me, part of the joy of having a beer at a pub, is the possibility of meeting new friends of the culture -- another beer geek and not be concerned about sailing off the edge of the world.
Selection: 3 |
Atmosphere: 3.5 |
Service: 1.5 |
Wednesday 2nd of April 2008 06:20:08 PM link
It's truly surprising to me that this place has not been reviewed. After hitting quite a few brewpubs in the region, I've found this to be the absolute best.
The best part is, of course, the beer. I had the tasting tray. 9 total, I believe, although I think that I ended up with 11 or 12 because of some sort of error by the bartender (I was plenty drunk due to a few higher % ones in there and don't quite recall). But the location is also just so much fun.
This is the old Seattle: a tiny (the bar takes up about half the place), maritime bar across from what's left of Ballard's gritty harbor. The place is noisy, the staff are a bit surly and there's no music. It's perfect!
My only regret is that I didn't get the food, because it looked good, but I had just finished one of the better reubens I'd had in my life at a little sandwich place up the street.
The place is hard to find, very much incognito and gets very crowded in the evening. However, there's plenty of parking on the street (a rarity in this part of Seattle) and the beer is absolutely spectacular. Its little quirks may turn off a few, but, if you just like drinking beer and don't give a damn about atmosphere, "good service" or the bartender listening to you yack, this is a great place.
Selection: 5 |
Atmosphere: 5 |
Service: 5 |