Big Time Brewery & Alehouse

Big Time Brewery & AlehouseBig Time Brewery & Alehouse
Big Time Brewery & AlehouseBig Time Brewery & Alehouse
Brewery, Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

4133 University Way NE
Seattle, Washington, 98105
United States

(206) 545-4509 | map
View: Beers | Place Reviews
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Photo of Pivopijak
Reviewed by Pivopijak from Washington

4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25
In the heart of U-district, lies this venerable establishment, dating back to 1988. Their beers have always been above average, on average. Their brewmaster is no longer there, but it seems they are pretty much following the recipes. A highlight of their core beers is the Scarlet Fire I.P.A. For many a year, their food was an afterthought, but now, it's a good place to have a meal. The interior is very good with much carved dark oak and brass accoutrements. The brew kettles are visible through a side wall. Each December 1st, their Old Wooly barley wine is released with most customers seen with small, round, snifter glasses, sipping this heady brew.
Dec 05, 2021
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Reviewed by StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.92/5  rDev -4.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4
a really fun and sort of cozy and vintage feeling spot, been around for quite some time it seems, and with a more diverse beer menu than a lot of these first wave type spots ever seem to, hazy ipa, sour, things like that are on the list, and overall i thought the beer was pretty good. the space is fun, dark wood, low lighting, a beer hall sort of vibe, no real frills, none needed. the place has a lot of charm, a mellow atmosphere, and really was just a good place to kick back and catch up with an old friend late night. i liked the hoppy stuff the best, but the hazy one wasnt really my speed. that said, the scarlet fire ipa was probably my favorite of the beers we had here, none were bad, but none really got me overly jazzed up either, all drinkable, but nothing exquisite. i like the old school feel in here, and it was a welcoming place to be with kind service and good tunes playing. i didnt eat here, and didnt see anyone else eating either, so will have to reserve commentary about that for next time. one of the things i like about the seattle beer scene is that for how many people are making beer, they all seem to have their own thing going on, and this place is true to that observation. probably not the most compelling beer in town, but a fun place to be and to drink.
Sep 10, 2019
Rated: 3.78 by Taphouse_Traveler from Florida

Jul 02, 2019
Rated: 4.55 by U2Chaser from North Dakota

Oct 15, 2018
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Reviewed by EdwardAbbey from Washington

3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5
You'll have to be prepared for the college crowd, especially when school's in session, but it's a nice spot, with decent food, and good beer. Also, it's got some intangibles working in its favor in the form of some history and charm.
Feb 08, 2016
Rated: 3.88 by Aball4620 from Washington

Nov 02, 2015
Rated: 4.01 by Canada_Dan from Colorado

Sep 01, 2015
Rated: 3.84 by bumchilly25 from Canada (BC)

Jul 25, 2015
Rated: 3.48 by Donkster46 from Washington

Jun 11, 2015
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Reviewed by takusan1000 from Washington

3.96/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 3
The place on the Ave for grad students to hang out and talk Deleuze, for sports fans to mingle and watch the Seahawks get so far to only disappoint, and for everyperson to linger. Beer is great, vibe also. Big screen TVs are something one should be prepared for. I miss the shuffleboard.
Jun 04, 2015
Rated: 4.26 by Hawkfish from Washington

May 10, 2015
Rated: 4.25 by Anaxagoris from Washington

Dec 03, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by LouZ from Washington

Nov 25, 2014
Rated: 4.5 by ZachT from Canada (BC)

Oct 24, 2014
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Reviewed by snaotheus from Washington

3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
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.
Aug 19, 2014
Rated: 4 by Mok from Washington

Aug 06, 2014
Rated: 3.75 by strongaf from Washington

Jul 10, 2014
Rated: 3.75 by SavageHopHead from Texas

Jun 03, 2014
Rated: 4.5 by KStark from Canada (BC)

May 13, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by Kurmaraja from California

Apr 10, 2014
Rated: 4.5 by BillRoth from Maryland

Oct 22, 2013
Rated: 4.25 by vermilcj from Ohio

Oct 13, 2013
Photo of Hopprof
Reviewed by Hopprof from Georgia

4.7/5  rDev +14.6%
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, pizza, and oh, some pizza.
Jun 14, 2013
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Reviewed by Smurf2055 from Washington

3.91/5  rDev -4.6%
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.
May 30, 2013
Photo of Hopmodium
Reviewed by Hopmodium from Washington

4.11/5  rDev +0.2%
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.
Apr 20, 2013
Photo of jpbebeau
Reviewed by jpbebeau from Washington

4/5  rDev -2.4%
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.
Feb 09, 2012
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Reviewed by ThePorterSorter from Oregon

3.84/5  rDev -6.3%
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.
Jan 30, 2012
Photo of barleywinefiend
Reviewed by barleywinefiend from Washington

4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
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
Jan 22, 2012
Photo of dirtylou
Reviewed by dirtylou from Oklahoma

4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
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
Dec 20, 2011
Photo of BeerSinner
Reviewed by BeerSinner from California

4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
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.
Aug 26, 2011
Photo of flexabull
Reviewed by flexabull from California

3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
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.
Jun 17, 2011
Photo of DaftCaskBC
Reviewed by DaftCaskBC from Canada (BC)

3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
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.
Jun 07, 2011
Photo of youradhere
Reviewed by youradhere from Washington

4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
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.
Mar 11, 2011
Photo of BuckeyeOne
Reviewed by BuckeyeOne from Washington

4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
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.
Nov 12, 2010
Photo of chemicalcraig
Reviewed by chemicalcraig from Washington

4.53/5  rDev +10.5%
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.
Aug 05, 2010
Photo of flagmantho
Reviewed by flagmantho from Washington

4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
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.
Aug 05, 2010
Photo of BBThunderbolt
Reviewed by BBThunderbolt from Kiribati

4.55/5  rDev +11%
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.
Jun 23, 2010
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Reviewed by bigkingken from North Carolina

4.1/5  rDev 0%
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.
Apr 01, 2009
Photo of Trailmix242
Reviewed by Trailmix242 from Nevada

3.6/5  rDev -12.2%
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.
Jan 21, 2009
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Reviewed by benito from Oregon

3.45/5  rDev -15.9%
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
Apr 11, 2008
Big Time Brewery & Alehouse in Seattle, WA
Brewery rating: 3.79 out of 5 with 426 ratings