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Brouwer's Cafe

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Taps: 64 / Bottles: 300
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
BA SCORE
96
world-class

117 Ratings
Ratings: 117
Reviews: 95
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 11.57%
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]

400 N 35th St
Seattle, Washington, 98103-8607
United States
phone: (206) 267-2437

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate on 04-01-2005)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 117 | Reviews: 95 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Mages64
Mages64

Washington

5/5  rDev +15.7%

01-07-2014 09:31:01 | More by Mages64
Photo of sharpski
sharpski

Oregon

5/5  rDev +15.7%

06-26-2014 03:24:01 | More by sharpski
Photo of BeerisUber
BeerisUber

Washington

5/5  rDev +15.7%

07-03-2014 03:44:03 | More by BeerisUber
Photo of pluto
pluto

Washington

4.95/5  rDev +14.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I went to Brouwer's within a few days of its opening and was highly impressed. It's a cool space, nice and open with quality fixtures, and a skylight that illuminated the end of the bar. I'm sure when it's full and bustling it will be quite the hopping place, as it should be, because it sets a standard for beer bars in Seattle. We sat at the bar for a light lunch, and the staff was very attentive and knowledgeable. The beer selection was a remarkable mix of high quality German and Belgian selections and the best of the Northwest. In recent years some of the beer bars and most of the restaurants in Seattle have been winnowing down the selection to the "usual suspects" which I'm sure has to do with price points and distribution but not here. I had the cheese plate and a salad which were excellent.
Brouwer's has vaulted to near the top of the Seattle beer scene for me. Check it out.

04-17-2005 16:14:16 | More by pluto
Photo of RedDiamond
RedDiamond

Oregon

4.95/5  rDev +14.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$$

Where to begin? How about the Fremont neighborhood, that funky place on the ship canal dotted with bridges and trolls. Walk past the old trolley house – now the former Redhook brewery – and you’ll see an unassuming place with a fresh coat of paint. There’s no sign outside announcing Brouwer’s, just a tiny ad for Chimay. Step inside the formidable wooden doors and you’re in a beer playground. Tables and chairs are dark wood and solid. Booths are private and cushioned. Upstairs, the horseshoe shaped balcony holds tables with a panoramic overview while a tiny, hidden book nook with sofas provides a small fireplace. A huge, circular skylight throws daylight everywhere.

I counted 17 American draughts, centered in Washington though reaching as far as Alaska, Colorado, and Anderson Valley. But no Oregon beers on tap! Sacrebleu! Just a single, dusty bottle of Old Boardhead. An oversight in need of immediate remediation! Compensating for this temporary shortcoming are 13 Belgian taps, 4 German, 2 English, plus one Canadian and Guinness. That’s just the draught beer. Though I saw no menu listing bottled beers, they are on display in the cooler behind the bar. I might number them at about 100 varieties, mostly Belgian though I saw German, Czech, and Dogfishhead.

Someone at Brouwer’s spent a lot of time focusing on details. Things like the silverware, the salt and peppershakers, the stone walls and the iron chandelier – they all add up to a class act. The glassware was even more impressive: nonics, goblets, tulips, weizens. A lot of care went into refining the beer drinking experience and I appreciated it. My first beer was Bangelijk Blonde, a pale ale contract brewed in Belgium for Bottleworks. It was exquisite. Next I had a St. Bernardus Abt. 12 on draught. I can’t recall ever seeing this classic Trappist ale on tap anywhere. I dined on Waterzooi, a Belgian stew similar to a potpie with chicken and veggies in a light cream sauce surrounding a delicate flaky pastry. It was fabulous.

The owners are the same folks from Bottleworks and are widely respected beer purveyors in Seattle. They’ve kept the ambiance spacious and the tap lines short. They also stock top-shelf booze. Interestingly, on my Sunday afternoon visit all but one of the 18 barstools were occupied while there were plenty of empty tables to be had. People seem to prefer sitting at the bar or on the low wall of an elevated seating area to tables. To me, this speaks to the sociable informality of the place despite the obvious refinement of the décor and the fairly pricy menu.

Brouwer’s has raised the bar on beer bars. It’s the kind of place where even great beers like Stone or Rogue would appear commonplace. In fact, Brouwer’s doesn’t stock them. You’ll find Flemish art on the walls and an obvious Belgian theme throughout, but you’re still in Seattle. Being a classy beer bar means very manly men drink here. Being a Seattle beer bar means some very manly women also drink here. It’s a Northwest experience all beer fans should have.

As for the service, it was excellent. My questions regarding ABV were easily answered and the waiter apologized for delayed service due to an unexpected surge of patrons. I never even noticed a delay in service and my server left before I could tip him. UPDATE: I’ve tied my rating for selection to the availability of Oregon beers on tap. On my first visit to Brouwer’s, there were no Oregon beers flowing – a grievous oversight for such a distinctive Seattle beer bar. I’ve since heard that Hair of The Dog is pouring. Therefore, my selection rating is: no Oregon beers on tap = 4.5. At least one Oregon beer on tap = 5.0.

04-27-2005 05:46:31 | More by RedDiamond
Photo of Abrengle
Abrengle

Washington

4.91/5  rDev +13.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75 | $$

My wife and I love Brouwer's and have visited over 10 times since we moved to Seattle a year ago. The new Monday half bottle pricing on their bottle selection is an added plus. The food is good, their cellar/vintage options are fantastic, and the atmosphere is rather comfortable. The only reason I did not give full points was because of the lack of concentrated flavors (I prefer gastro-pub style food) and the need for a waitress to suggest a beer without qualifying the customer.
If you work at a beer bar with a notorious reputation for attracting consumers with above average knowledge and palates (which one would expect if shopping at Bottleworks or being frequent at Brouwer's) I wouldn't expect to be "felt out" before you ask me if like a DIPA or a sour beer before I order it.
Please don't insult the informed, educated customers, we do exist!

06-06-2013 05:58:55 | More by Abrengle
Photo of eallured
eallured

Wisconsin

4.9/5  rDev +13.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$

I live down in Tacoma but have made many Monday night trips up to Seattle for the sole purpose of visiting Bottleworks for their $1 tasting and a dinner at Brouwers. From the outside it looks like a wharehouse and is painted in dark colors that kind of blend into the neighborhood. There is ample parking on the surrounding streets. If you are having trouble finding the front door, look for people smoking cigarettes, thanks to Washington's indoor smoking ban, the doors of bars are always easy to find.
The inside has an industrial feel but with warm wood bars, one a beer bar that runs 3/4 the length of the dining area, which is pretty large. There are around 60 tap, usually w/ about 25 American beers (usually local West Coast brews) 25 Belgians and 10 Canadian/German/Other. There are a couple of hundred different bottles, but all are way overpriced.
The food may seem a bit on the expensive side, but the portions and the quality of dishes are worth the price.

05-22-2006 05:11:38 | More by eallured
Photo of bultrey
bultrey

New York

4.9/5  rDev +13.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$

Re-reviewed 9-18-06 -- I don't known what else a person would want in a beer bar. Quite possibly the best in the US. I don't have many more details here, but let's just review my drinking list there over the past two nights: Walking Man malt liquor, Big Time Cask IPA, Dick's Imperial Bitter, Maritime Pacific Porter, Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA, draft St. Bernardus Abt 12, bottle of Hanssen's Framboise, Walking Man Perambulator Weizenbock. Food is exceptional for a "beer bar." Lots of fresh local ingredients and organic foods, with an adventurous twist on pub food. The atomosphere, which is anything but "intimate," is probably the biggest knock against it. Any beer advocate in Seattle must finda way to make it here.

Original review 12-05-2005 -- Visited this place on a Tuesday night, I think, on a recent beer... uhhh, business trip. It was one of my must-stop bars according to Beerfly and some locals, and boy, were they right. If you're driving, as I was, this makes a nice trio along with Maritime Pacific and the Bigtime Brewery and Alehouse -- all are essentially a short drive from one another along the waterfront of Lake Union/Salmon Bay.

Run by the same owners of the great Bottleworks store just a little north of here, this is a tricky little bar to find if you're not from the area. Unless you approach it from the correct direction, the door is not readily apparent, and the place itself looks like a warehouse on the outside. Well, it's got space of a warehouse on the inside, too. An absolutely huge place... when you walk in, the downstars table and booth area is on your left, as is the long beer bar at the far end of the room, and another tiny bar tucked in the corner that seems devoted to whiskeys, etc. There is also a staricase that leads up to a second floor that borders the entire place and looks down on the main level. The atmosphere is really interesting -- very modern/goth, with lots of deep red and black, steel railings, giant leather chairs and bar stools, etc. It's a bit cold and uninviting, and seemingly better for large groups than single barflies, but honestly, it's a cool space nevertheless. Furthermore, out of all the smoky places in Seattle, this one seemed to bother me the least, maybe because the big space diffused the smoke, or maybe because it's well-ventilated.

Ponied up to the bar alone, and my illusions of 'uninviting' were quickly shattered by a friendly bartender, can't remember his name now, but was eager to chat about the beers, and opened up even more when he learned I was a BA. Offered me plenty of free samples, and guided me through the extensive hoppiness of their draft list, which even by PacNW standards had some crazy-ass hop bombs on there. It also had a good selection of other brews, too, mostly local, as well as several Belgians and Belgian-style ales, a few Germans, really just about everything. I'd estimate about 25-30 on draft. If you've ever been to the Gingerman or Barcade in NY, the drafts are presented in the same way: it appears as if all the kegs are situated in a temperature-controlled room directly behind the taps, so there must be very short tap lines delivering the beer to a stainless steel facade of beer tap beauty. Everything just looks so clean and sterile, which again, is a bit of a knock against the atmosphere, but a really great thing if you want freshness and quality in your beers. That same back keg room doubles as bottle storage, and above all the taps is the bottle colletion, neatly organized so you can see the labels looking out from behind glass doors. You just really have to see this setup. Awe-inspiring. And the bottle list is fan-frickin-tastic, too, rivaling Spuyten Duyvil and focusing mostly on Belgians. I believe they must update it regularly on their website, so check it out. You won't be disappointed. Everything is served in appropriate galssware, by the way. Of course it is.

The food -- well, the food is actually quite impressive for a beer bar -- very original takes on pub grub, with high-quality ingredients. Again, check the menu on the website. I had bacon-studded Gruyere and Emmental croquettes (awesome), followed by a marquez sausage sandwich, with some roasted red peppers, chipotle mayo, and frehs mozzarella. I could only finish half -- took the other half home and enjoyed it the next day. Prices for beer and food were very reasonable.

This might be my favorite straight-up beer bar yet. It may not have the comfort and coziness of, say, a Spuyten Duyvil in NY or a Horse Brass in Portland -- but when it's time to get serious about the beer, and grab a nice bite, come here.

12-05-2005 17:04:41 | More by bultrey
Photo of nortmand
nortmand

Virginia

4.88/5  rDev +13%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$$

This was probably the highlight of beer establishments visited on my short Seattle trip.

Atmosphere was a bit uppity, high ceilings, alot of people drinking Lindeman's and fancy decor was a little too fancy for me.

I tried 5 draft beers and all were exactly as they should be and served in proper glassware. Clean beer all around.

Very friendly bartender, who actually recognized me and came up to me two days later at the Washington cask festival. Very prompt, knowledgable service.

Selection was, well like nothing I've ever seen before. I literally have never seen so many taps, and the bottle selection nearly made me weep. The 50 or so taps were a dream come true. Half Belgian, many of which were stuff I can't get in Michigan, most of the rest were PNW beers. The bottle selection was simply incredible. Indescribable to those who haven't seen it. I couldn't believe some of the Cantillon vintages. Just incredible.

We were there late, so didn't try the food, but a quick glance at the menu indicated that they had some nice Belgian dishes.

This place is pretty pricey, but just an amazing beer experience to have in Seattle. I highly recommend non-natives check this place out.

04-06-2007 19:41:46 | More by nortmand
Photo of Svejk
Svejk

Washington

4.88/5  rDev +13%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$$

The Pacific NW is home to a LOT of great beer establishments. Between Seattle and Portland, there are countless fantastic places to stop in for a pint. To stand out in a region like this, a pub or bar needs to be really special. Brouwer's is the main jewel in Seattle's crown. From the Mannequin Pis that greets you at the entry to the moules frites and waterzooi on the menu, Brouwer's pays homage to the beer mecca that is Belgium, and adds a decidedly NW theme to the list of beers on tap. In addition to the 50 or so beers on tap, there is an enormous variety of bottled beers to choose from. Brouwer's definitely isn't the cheapest place to stop for a pint, but the selection, location and atmosphere make this a "must see" place for anybody who is serious about beer.

06-16-2006 08:33:48 | More by Svejk
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Brouwer's Cafe in Seattle, WA
96 out of 100 based on 117 ratings.