Happy Hour reporter Tan Vinh answers readers’ questions about where to find the popular bartender Murray Stenson, and which microbrews are the best in the city.
Questions. We get questions. One came from a Murray Stenson fan who wants to know where that popular bartender works these days, and another from a transplant who wants to see if our microbrews are all that.
Queries were edited for brevity or clarification. (For readers emailing with a complaint about a bar or service, let’s go easy on the exclamation marks and Caps Lock key, eh?)
Q: I read your Barfly column, where you mentioned Stenson is looking to open his own bar. Where is he making drinks now?
A: He’s at Kaname Izakaya and Shochu Bar in the Chinatown International District, but only Tuesday-Thursday from 5 p.m. to around 9 p.m. But Stenson is as busy as ever, his spare time spent scouting spaces for his own bar. He’s not complaining, though. Quoting Bob Dylan, Murray wrote to me, “He not busy being born is busy dying.”
By the way, quietly, Stenson has built quite a bar program in the ID, bringing in a dozen Japanese whiskies, including some rare ones.
Kaname Izakaya and Shochu Bar, 610 S. Jackson St., Seattle (206-682-1828 or kaname-izakaya.com)
Q: I just moved here and heard about the great microbrew scene in Seattle. There’s so many. It’s overwhelming. Can you suggest a few?
A: Here are five you must try. Holy Mountain Brewing in Interbay is easily the best brewery to debut in recent memory. They don’t make many IPAs, but they do make beers with the big, hoppy profile that Seattleites love. But I would go for their pilsners. In Seattle, no one does pilsners better than Holy Mountain.
For the traditional IPA that’s synonymous with Seattle beers, hit Cloudburst Brewing near Pike Place Market. Talented young brewer Steve Luke makes some of the city’s most exciting IPAs these days.
Reuben’s Brews doesn’t get the tourists, but this Ballard brewery is always packed with locals and beer geeks. Head brewer Adam Robbings has been selected to brew the official beer of 2016 Seattle Beer Week. By the way, this festival (May 12-22) is a great way to feel the pulse of the beer community, a chance to sample some of the area’s best suds through tasting events and dinner pairings.
For something different, hit Machine House Brewery in Georgetown, which makes outstanding English-style ales, a favorite haunt of many brewers.
Also, Standard Brewing in the Central District, which celebrated its third anniversary two weeks ago, just gets better all the time. Brewer Justin Gerardy has built quite a cult following.
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Holy Mountain Brewery, 1421 Elliott Ave. W., Seattle (holymountainbrewing.com)
Cloudburst Brewing, 2116 Western Ave., Seattle (206-602-6061 or cloudburstbrew.com)
Reuben’s Brews, 5010 14th Ave. N.W., Seattle (206-784-2859 or reubensbrews.com)
Machine House Brewery, 5840 Airport Way S., Seattle (206-402-6025 or machinehousebrewery.com)
Standard Brewing, 2504 S. Jackson St., Seattle (206- 535-1584 or standardbrew.com)