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Big Time Brewery & Alehouse

Not Rated.
Big Time Brewery & AlehouseBig Time Brewery & Alehouse
BEER AVG
3.85/5
Based on:
42 Beers
429 Ratings
Place Score: 92
Ratings: 48
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: n/a
Taps: 10
Bottles: --
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

4133 University Way NE
Seattle, Washington, 98105
United States
phone: (206) 545-4509

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

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Place added by: BeerAdvocate

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Ratings: 48 | Reviews: 37
Reviews by youradhere:
Photo of youradhere
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Come here semi often after grad seminars, the atmosphere is upscale dive, collegiate, and brewpub rolled into one. The decor reflects a nostalgic sensibility, empty beer bottles of varying quality (macro and micro) line the upper wall ledge- I think I even saw a New Glarus Belgian Red bottle. Service can be spotty, depending on the relative position within the academic quarter, day of visit (Wednesday vs Friday), and time of day. People who work here seem very friendly albeit busy, but that is t counted against them. Food is ordered at a separate window and is charged on a separate tab. Taps are varied, they reflect the style de jour. On tap the most recent visit- bond, pale, coal porter, saison, IPA, oatmeal stout, RIS, lager. 22oz bottles are also available for sale, and types are dependent on what has been bottled recently by the staff. Food is good, above average pub fare, but no fried food. I recommend the pulled pork sandwich or the cascade. Pizzas are good as well.

Great place to do lunch or early dinner; average tab for a meal and 4 drinks- $22.

More User Reviews:
Photo of snaotheus
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

Prices are OK. Food is fine (not great, not bad). Beer is good to quite good. Service...there isn't service. They have a counter you can walk to for food orders, and you can walk to the bar for drinks. Which is fine.

We tried every beer they had on tap; several solid IPAs and their nice wheatwine, as well as a couple pales and a porter. I don't make it here often just because it's off my beaten path.

Photo of Hopprof
4.7/5  rDev +13.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

The best feature of this place is that they specialize in IPA's. They currently have a whopping five of them online, including a cask version of the Scarlet Fire, which I am enjoying as I post this. Speaking of the Scarlet Fire, it purveys sharp floral bitterness, an excellent take on the West Coast IPA. I pick up grassy notes and somewhat of a lemony finish. I would highly recommend this place, but be sure to eat lunch or dinner before arriving. Its a quasi college bar (adjacent to the U of W campus), and their menu consists of....pizza, pizza, and oh, some pizza.

Photo of Smurf2055
3.91/5  rDev -5.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 4

For what it is, it’s great. Brewpub on a College Ave, usually has a decent selection, some really good special beers too, great food. I really enjoy it. My personal favorite bar on the Ave, I’m always convincing my friends to go here instead of Finn’s.

Photo of Hopmodium
4.11/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25

Pommes frites go great with most any beer. Couple that with great sauces and you cannot go wrong. My lady and I tried all 3 IPA's and the Rye beer on tap and were delighted considering how many smaller breweries skimp on hops and make a sub-par IPA. Staff was quite friendly and outgoing. Got the wrong sauce from what I ordered and still was satisfied. Grabbed a bottle to go for a reasonable price.

Photo of jpbebeau
4/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

I stopped in here for the first time the other day—dragged my wife and daughter along to try out Whiny the Complainer.

First, I was glad I could bring in the family during the day.

It's a large space with nice seating, people on computers, drinking beer, snacking on food.

Several of their own beers on tap, sadly only had time to try one.

Were there during happy hour where pints are $1 off and there's a small happy hour food menu. We had basic nachos and I ruined my palate. Pizza looked to be the main menu item.

Not a bad place to get a couple beers, study, surf the internet, read a book, eat a pizza...all at once. Also didn't feel too old, despite its location—might've been because we were there at 4 o'clock in the afternoon.

Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.84/5  rDev -7.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

So I went on the head brewers last day...apparently the head brewer from Pike was going to take his place (can't remember names).

I went for a midday pint during spring break last year (APhA conference) and had one hell of a time finding the place...I ended up taking a bus out to visit that bar exclusively (it's not within walking distance from dt by any means).

The place had a decent lunch crowd (mainly mexican stuff) and the bar certainly had available seating. The place was set up a little strange as I remember, but had decent decor and atmosphere. It's definitely not a dive bar.
Their beer selection was relatively quaint, sever or eight taps running with growler fills available.
I'm glad I tried the breakfast cereal killer stout (house brewed) and snagged one of their coasters for my collection. It's a great addition to the campus scene and I would love a place like it in Buffalo.

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

My orgiginal review was nearly four years old since I moved away to Korea and CA for several years. Not much has changed but I am re-reviewing from old to new now.

A: On a Saturday after lunch we walked in and there was perhaps 20 people here. I did notice the change to there minor policy. Old and new folk here.

Q: The establishment is quality as are most of the Big Time beers

S: Always nice and prompt

S: Very good. They always have a wide variety ranging from IPAs x 2, Stouts, Belgians and a nice spectrum of American styles and staples. Today I had the Jack Candi Grand Cru which was ehhh and I picked up an overpriced bomber of Old Wolly Barleywine

F: I have had the pizzas here which are usually pretty good

Photo of dirtylou
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

high quality brewpub in the university area - easily accessible to my ballard home via the 44/46 bus.

very warm and cozy interior - stuck in a 1966 time warp with TONS of old brewery swag, seemingly always fantastic music (outside of the time warp - recent indie) and just lots of interesting things to look at.

lots of taps - heavy focus on IPA's but i've had the wheatwine and barleywine as well, both of which were really nice. bottles/growlers available to go.

reliable twitter over-tweeters.

food available - but all i've had is frites, with plenty of dipping sauces to go around.

service has always been fine - a few tv's but a definite beer focus

Photo of BeerSinner
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

One of the many places my wife and I visited on our Northwest beer tour. I prefer low key, comfortable spots, so this bar's style fit me. It was early afternoon though, so we didn't have the college crowd to deal with. The beers were very good, but nothing that stood out over the high standards you find in the Seattle area. What made this spot stand out was the treatment from the staff. When the bartender found out we were on vacation and seeking out new beers, he went out of his way to make us feel welcome. We didn't find this at many other spots. He went back and got one of the brewers, and checked to see if he could tap a cask for us. Unfortunately, it wasn't ready. Just the fact that he tried earned big bonus points. The brewer still joined us for a beer, and talked shop for a while. Highly recommended.

Photo of flexabull
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

It's been many years since I've been here.

Atmosphere is pretty cool, wide open, old and rugged looking, with a bunch of old beer nostalgia decorating the walls.

Quality was pretty good. I had a sampler of four beers, 2 IPAs, an Amber and a Tripel. The Tripel was quite good, the others were not bad, but I wanted the IPAs to a little hoppier. I did like how the beers were served cool and not too cold.

Service was good, a little odd how you have to order beer and food separately, but it made it nice when everything was already paid for, and you could just leave whenever you wanted.

Selection was about 9 beers, decent variety of styles. The cask wasn't on though, bummer...

We got a couple of appetizers, they were ok, but they were cheap, which is always good.

Prices were reasonable.

All in all, a pretty good place, but I remember better.

Photo of DaftCaskBC
3.58/5  rDev -13.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3

Atmosphere: Worn out wood and nostalgic. The place could use a renovation.

Quality: The beers are excellent and better than your average brew pub for sure.

Service: You have to serve yourself when it comes to both beverages and food which I found to be wanting considering the size of the place. If it didn't have a cafeteria type set up it would really add to the place.

Selection: I enjoyed the beer selection. Had about eight or so to choose from.

Food: Decent food, nothing special and definitely not gourmet. But this place isn't about the food, after all.

Value: Pints are more expensive than average for the Seattle area. But are worth it. Food is very inexpensive.

Overall: College student gathering place with a cafeteria type feel to it with the serve yourself atmosphere. It is worth checking this place out for the beers alone as it really has not much else to offer, other than cheap meals.

After being spoiled by the atmosphere, service, and food quality of the places in the Vancouver Canada area (The Alibi Room, Surrey Central Brewing Company, Uli's Restaurant, 6 Acres, St Augustine's) this place doesn't really compete. It seems to be just coasting by on its beer, which is very good by the way.

Photo of BuckeyeOne
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

This is the first brewpub I remember entering. When I moved to Seattle, I frequently ate my lunch here (and got my fill of good craft) on those days when I wasn't working and didn't have a girlfriend (or wife, now).

The beer is very good and crafted with love and care. The brewmaster is often around and more than willing to strike up a conversation.

It's a college place, situated a block from the University of Washington campus. It's loud and crowded in the evenings but quiet and cozy during the afternoons.

They serve chili, sandwiches, and pizza. All good. Inexpensively priced for the quality of the food.

There are very few waitstaff and the bartenders (especially one in particular) can be stand-offish, but otherwise decent folks. Very knowledgeable about their beer and food.

Photo of chemicalcraig
4.53/5  rDev +9.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

It's pretty amazing to have such a great brewery close to campus. I can bring my work there at the end of the day and enjoy a few world class pints (Dr. not student). The clientele is surprisingly a bit more well-behaved and seasoned than you would imagine for a campus brewpub. I've met many young intelligent professionals sitting at the bar. I guess the frat guys go elsewhere. There are also some old salts.

The beer here is great. I've never had a disappointing pint. From ambers to belgian IPA's to oatmeal stouts they do it all and do it well. I love walking down the ave on brew day.
Can't recommend this place enough.

Photo of flagmantho
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I love me the Big Time. It was my go-to joint during college (the UW is only a block or so away), whether I was having a beer after class or just skipping class altogether. I have been there a few times since then, and I'm glad to see that little has changed.

The place is an honest-to-god brewpub, with a dozen or so beers on tap (one on cask) and windows so you can look in on the fermentation tanks. Hoary old wooden tables are scattered around the front and the back of the place and provide a convivial and collegiate atmosphere. The whole pub is decorated with old beer memorabilia (think ancient bottles and old ads for Ballantine and Schlitz).

Their beers are each quite delicious and they always have many styles available -- the aforementioned dozen taps. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable about their product.

Food is good -- they serve pizza, nachos and sandwiches. My old standby is the Roxie (corned beef on rye with cole slaw) and, while it is simple fare, you can't really go wrong. There's no deep-fried stuff here (sandwiches come with tortilla chips), but it is good drinkin' food nonetheless.

Going back to the Big Time today makes me wonder why I ever stopped going there in the first place.

Photo of beertunes
4.55/5  rDev +9.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Located on a busy street near the UW, Big Time is a truly great brewpub. A separate family dining area keeps the ankle biters away from the beer drinkers. The beer is always top-notch with a great variety of styles, even if sometimes IPA's are over represented. The Old Sol Wheatwine is a personal favorite. Service has always been friendly and efficient without being clingy or nosy. I recently ate here for the first time, and found my roast beef sandwich to be top shelf. The pries are fair for a big city. If you're in Seattle, Big Time is a must hit stop.

Photo of bigkingken
4.1/5  rDev -1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Located on a highly commercialized street just south of Washington University, this brewpub somehow manages to shrug off the pop-culture surrounding it and exude a local bar feel. The interior is woody, rustic, homey and exactly what I look for in a neighborhood bar. I would think I was in some Midwest blue-collar bar if I didn't know any better. I loved the eclectic decorations and the random table sizes and chairs.

The menu is very limited. You can get pizza, sandwiches, chili and baked potatoes. That's about it. And it's also expensive. A 8-inch personal pan pizza will run you about $9.00. If it were about two bucks cheaper, it'd be perfect. Because even though the pizza and chili is very good, it is still overpriced. Minus points for no dessert but pre-wrapped cookies.

Astoundingly good beer for such a small operation. There were 10 to choose from, and each was impressive. I could go on and on about seven of their beers which I found to be above average, but I'll focus on the coal porter, which was offered on cask. The smooth creamyness, slightly warm beer with a deep, complex taste profile knocked my socks off. If you like beer, this is the place to be. I can't believe a place with this good of homemade beer is on a college campus.

But again, it's overpriced. A sampler of 4, 4-ounce beers ran $5, which is more than a pint. I'd rather smaller samplers of each beer for less per ounce than a pint, which is the way most places run it.

The bartender was on top of her game. Food orders are taken by the customer directly to the food window, which I'm fine with. The order comes out promptly. Not bad.

Photo of Trailmix242
3.6/5  rDev -13%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

Another stop on my weekend trip to Seattle. Big Time kind of looks like your typical bar on the inside with lots of wood. We were there around lunch time on MLK day and the place was mostly empty though based upon the size of the place I would guess it gets pretty busy. The bartender seemed a little disinterested in us which I found a little annoying. The beer on the other hand was mostly good to excellent (did not care for their Belgium IPA). I especially enjoyed the Coal Creek Porter. Worth stopping to at least have a pint or a sampler.

Photo of benito
3.45/5  rDev -16.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 2

On the "ave" in Seattle's U-District, Big Time is a brewpub masquerading as a college bar. The main brewpub is minimally decorated with lots of wood paneling and floors; inevitably, it will remind you of some similar bar in your college town. The one detracting factor from the atmosphere is the smell. There is a little bit of "old brewhouse funk" lingering in the air, and though you get used to it, it isn't entirely pleasant. Perhaps that's a sign of character...

They had twelve house pours on tap when my friends and I visited, most of which were pale ales (three), IPAs (two), and reds/ambers (three). Additionally, they had a tripel, Irish stout, and porter on. All of the beers were exceptionally good--one of the most well rounded and consistent brewpubs I've been to in the US--and only the tripel tasted a little off-style. I especially loved the Bhagwan's Best IPA (flagship brew) and Coal Creek Porter, which were flavorful and well balanced.

The key to a successful visit to Big Time is to skip the food. They mostly serve sandwiches, pizza, and nachos, all oriented toward the college crowd. The menu is uninspiring, and the food is mediocre. Go somewhere else in the U District to eat.

Overall, Big Time is a great Seattle brewpub. It's a must visit for out of towners and a good spot for residents to frequent as well

Photo of RedDiamond
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

Ten taps and one cask serve four regular ales and a host of diverse rotationals. Big Time may feature any of four different pale ales or IPAs - often several concurrently - assuring multiple interpretations of even routine beer styles. Several varieties are available in bottles to go. And quality is worthy of sustained appreciation.

While beer quality is commendable, the food menu is rather plain, especially in comparison with dozens of competing restaurants in the immediate neighborhood. As a rule, I don't consider any food I could prepare myself worth dining out on, though if all you crave is a simple sandwich, a plate of nachos, or college town pizza, Big Time's grub will serve your purposes well enough. Table service is not provided so food must be ordered at the counter, beer at the bar.

The walls at Big Time are adorned high and low with an array of breweriana that looks so old as to have been collected before it was collectable. You know the stuff - posters, old advertisements, serving trays. It's all comfortable somehow and authentic in appearance, like it's gotten good mileage as barroom décor yet still tirelessly entertains. Big Time's two rooms project the air of a comfortably mature public house with their weathered wooden floors and sturdy furniture, brass coat hooks and good lighting. The long and skinny brew house can be seen behind glass along the south wall.

I don't usually notice the ceiling in a bar (not until after the eighth beer or so, when floors and ceilings gain greater prominence). But I spent some time examining Big Time's ceiling before concluding that its irregular yellowing is a clean depiction of an intended pattern and not necessarily the result of decades of cigarette smoke.

In sum, great place for a beer. Atmosphere varies between boisterous at peak flow to a collegiate study hall on quiet afternoons.

Photo of mnapier
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Since 1988 offering, college students a place to shoot the shite, and have a good pint and sandwich to boot.

With exposed walls that display the wort and mash tun tanks, this place has a little of everything. If you want a brew, step on up to the bar, complete with a cask.

Want a sandwich, turn around and between the nachos, the sandwiches, or bake potatoes, its here. Be advised, they do take both credit and cash, but the two sections (beer / food) require separate transactions.

Good selection of dark and light ales, and the occasional seasonal. If you want to venture further back you can sit amongst the wooden booths. So swing by have a brew and a sandwich.

Cheer

Photo of udubdawg
4/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Worth the drive each time I've gone, though parking was never a cinch. Beers were ok to solid and occasionally just short of spectacular - missed the oatmeal stout last trip, which was a shame as that is a good beer. Hopfest is a little rough around the edges but otherwise a tasty brew. They usually have a cask selection, and I can't recall when it was NOT the Bhagwan's Best IPA.
I have enjoyed a roast beef sandwich - forget what they called it, as well as a better than average pizza margherita and disappointing chili. Prices were in line, and perhaps a bit lower than expected on average. A good value, nice warm atmosphere, and the help generally knew specifics of at least some of their beers. Good place; I'll be back again.

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.55/5  rDev -14.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 2.5

Local brewpub in the U district making solid beers- especially IPA. Atmosphere is very much college hangout, Lots of cheap wood, open, spacious, comfortable. All of there beers are solid, and when I was there last they had three IPAs on. Nothing all that experimental or unusual on tap, just solid session beers. Service is basically non-existant, No table service, you order your beer from the bar and your food from a food window, Sometimes the server knows something about the beer, sometiomes not. I would say service is more effecient than friendly, but that's not always a bad thing. Food is not great, but it's fine for what it is. Very basic college fare of pizza, calzones, and really basic nachos. No burgers. Just there to line your stomach while you drink beer. This isn't my favorite place in Seattle, but It has quality beers and its a real place, not some corporate wannabe. I usually stop in for a pint of Baghwans Best.

Photo of jkdrummer
4.36/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Big Time is 1st Brewpub in Seattle and is still going strong. All the beers served are made there. Bill Jenkins is the current head brewer and continues the traditional 4 offerings (Atlas Amber is de best) as well as new concoctions. My last visit they had a tap for Serrano pepper beer. Look for the exceptional Old Wooly Barleywine in December. I visit here mainly for the cask conditioned ales. Reasonable in price and I haven't tried the food yet. Parking is hit or miss since you're in the U-District. Still, a must visit, it hasn't changed much in 20 years and it's the original Seattle Brewpub.

Photo of woemad
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Stopped in on a Friday afternoon. The U-District was swarming with students and locals, and parking was an adventure. If you're morally opposed to paying for parking, stop reading now, cuz if you mean to come here, you'll have to, and you might still have to walk a few blocks.

As you can imagine, being a couple of blocks from UW's campus means there's lots of Husky paraphenalia on hand. This doesn't obscure the fact that this place looks like a classic bar, with lots of wood everywhere. The bar is towards the rear of the establishment, on the left hand side as you walk in. Opposite it is the window that orders are placed through for food. There is no table service - you order your food, pay for it, and pick it up at the window when they announce it's ready. I was kind of jonesin' for a small pizza, but they aren't served before 5pm, so I settled for a tasty roast beef sandwich. The food, while not high-end, is well-made and very reasonably priced, and my sandwich was ready in about 4 minutes.

I believe there were somewhere between 8-10 beers on. I had both of the IPAs that were on (Bagwhan - as always - and the more citruisy Scarlet Fire), as well as the porter. All were excellent. Growler fills were available for $8.75 if you provide the growler, but I decided to save that for when I headed back to Spokane a couple of days later (I wound up blowing my beer budget on my first visit to Bottleworks, later that day, so I'll do that next time I'm in Seattle).

Service at the bar was friendly but somewhat perfunctory. There were several regulars at the bar, so the bartender spent much of her time chatting with them, but I never had to wait for long for another pint.

If you're going to be in anywhere near the U, and you dig IPAs, this is the place for you.

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Big Time Brewery & Alehouse in Seattle, WA
92 out of 100 based on 48 ratings.