Welcome back to Pints of Interest, a column from Jake Uitti that features bartenders and brewers pouring some of the best beer in Seattle.
At Big Time Brewery on a recent Tuesday at 3 p.m., indie rock is on the stereo. The dark wood bar and wood tables line the room, the smell of pub food hangs in the air.
The beer (and wine) bar is a mere blocks from the University of Washington. With five beers always on tap and another six rotators (often including a cask condition brew) there are plenty of delicious options. There's something old-timey about this place, which has been here since December 8, 1988, as if your bartender will come out from the back in candy striped sleeves with a black handlebar mustache and have a joke ready.
Sitting at the bar, Eater met Margaret Greeno. After ordering an Icculus IPA (a flowery, hoppy and not-too-malty IPA, smooth and with enough body to satisfy hardcore IPA drinkers and still those not looking for anything too heavy,) Eater asked her a few questions.
What's your favorite beer on tap?
Icculus IPA, but it's barely hanging on by a thread now. We're sort of on the end of that keg. Icculus means – well, our head brewer, who just left, was a big Phish fan and Icculus is the goddess from one of the albums. So we named it that. The next beer up is a brand new one for us, a red IPA called South-Bound Pachyderm – that's the first original brew from our new brew master, Nick.
What's the crowd here like, given you serve just beer and wine and are right by the University of Washington?
It's very mixed – in here right now we have people age 23 to guys in their 60s. So it's very much graduate students, professors and employees in the neighborhood. A lot of regulars that have been coming in for 25 years and still come in and hang out. I used to work at the Red Door in Fremont and that was more full bar – a great place, but it's a nice change to be in a beer and wine only place.
What's the best seller here?
Scarlet Fire IPA is probably our best seller. Icculus outsells the Scarelet Fire but overall, since Icculus is a rotator, Scarlet Fire wins out.
Where do you brew your beers, here?
Here! Yeah you can see through the windows the brewing operation on the side of the building. They usually brew at least one, if not two, beers a week, so I would say about once or twice a month we have a new beer going on. We don't do any bottling or distribution outside of selling kegs to other bars in the city so when we do the beer we hope it will last here four to six weeks at least.
Does Big Time ever work with the university on events?
Pretty much every week to every other week both Earth and Space Sciences and the Fishery Department order kegs from us for the lecture series they do. And we work with the Burke Museum, too, we do a lot of sales and donations there. As far as special events, lots of groups come in and hang out.
· Big Time Brewery [Official Site]
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