A Beer Lovers Guide to Surviving the Shopocalypse

Consider this an invitation to experience a different kind of holiday consumerism. If you have plans to go shopping this weekend, I have some advice. First, be sure to pull up your patience pants and cinch your belt tight. Expect gridlocked parking lots, long lines, screaming children and panicked mothers fighting for the last pair of $2.00 Sponge Bob mittens. Think of such things as a punch line to a joke that only you get. My second piece of advice is to reward yourself for enduring the madness with some delicious, refreshing beer. Remember, compromise is a healthy thing. Agree to the mall, but negotiate a trip to the pub, brewpub or brewery to temper the experience. Holiday consumerism at its best.

Here are some beery retreats that just so happen to be at or near those locations most likely to attract shoppers this weekend and this holiday season. Unless otherwise noted, all of the places listed below operate during regular restaurant hours (roughly, 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.)

Northgate Mall – The RAM Restaurant and Brewery at Northgate. Often overlooked by local beer lovers, this RAM pumps out some award-winning brews to compliment the normal RAM lineup.

University Village – A couple options. First, like the Northgate location, beer lovers too often overlook the RAM at U-Village. Second, the Big Time Brewery (4133 University Way Northeast, Seattle) is always a great stop. It is not exactly next to the mall, but it is in the neighborhood.

Downtown Seattle – Two suggestions. First, the Pike Brewery Pub (1415 1st Avenue,  Seattle). While the mad rush continues at street level, downstairs in the pub you will hardly notice that it is anything but just another day. The same goes for the Taphouse Grill (1506 6th Avenue, Seattle), another downtown/downstairs beer option.

Bellevue Square Mall/Downtown Bellevue – Although Bellevue may seem too sophisticated and too well bred to find itself caught up in the Black Friday commotion, it is not at all immune. Seek out the Taphouse Grill (550 106th Avenue Northeast, Bellevue) or the Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery (550 106th Avenue NE, Bellevue). They are both located in the Bellevue Galleria for your one-stop-shopping convenience.

North Bend Outlet Mall – Just a few miles away from the mall, stop by Snoqualmie Falls Brewing Company (8032 Falls Avenue Southeast, Snoqualmie) for great sandwiches and pizzas, not to mention an outstanding selection of great beer. Stop and take a look at Snoqualmie Falls while you’re in the neighborhood; should help to bring your blood pressure back down to earth.

Seattle Premium Outlets – Located just off Interstate 5 north of Marysville, a trip to this mall gives you an excellent excuse to head just couple miles farther up the road and visit Skookum Brewing at its new location in Arlington (17925 59th Avenue NE, Arlington). Open Friday and Saturday 2:00 – 8:00, Sunday 2:00 – 5:00.

Everett Mall – Just a stone’s throw from the mall, stop by Lazy Boy Brewing (715 100th Street Southeast, Everett) and celebrate the season with a pint of Mistletoe Bliss. That’ll set you straight.

Kitsap Mall – For those of you on the Kitsap side of the pond, you have two options at the Kitsap Mall in Silverdale. Hale’s Alehouse is actually at the mall. Silver City Brewing’s pub is across the parking lot from the mall. Either offers you sweet respite.

Kent Station – This year we should all give thanks to Alex and Dione Dittmar for opening the Airways Beer and Bistro (320 W Harrison St, Kent) so close to Kent Station. Along with beers from Airways Brewing, you’ll find a couple guest taps to accompany your post-shopping pizza or panini.

Renton Landing – Once you step into the Dog and Pony Alehouse (351 Park Ave. N., Renton) you will forget that Shoppageddon is upon us. Let the world go crazy outside while you enjoy an IPA (they usually have several on tap).

West Seattle Junction – I cannot promise that the crowd will be light at Elliott Bay Brewery Pub (4720 California Ave SW, Seattle). Take comfort in the fact that this crowd really has nothing to do with shopping. It’s always busy. Also, take comfort in the beer, the grub and the unflappable service. Stop by the Beer Junction (blog sponsor) and kill two birds with one stone: you can drink beer as you shop. Not a bad way to spend Black Friday.

Ballard – You shouldn’t need any advice from me. You’re in Ballard, for crying out loud. Finding a good place to park might be impossible, but finding a good place to drink is inevitable. In “downtown Ballard,” consider Urban Family Public House or the Noble Fir. To the east, consider Hilliard’s Beer, Reuben’s Brews, Maritime Pacific or Hale’s Ales Pub.




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  1. If you are in Fremont Brouwer’s Cafe is hosting Firestone Walker for an Ugly Sweater Party. All the fun starts at 2pm, look for some rare beers to be tapped.

  2. Don’t forget NW Peaks in Ballard, right around the corner from Hilliards. Kevin has some great beers on tap right now, as well as other great selections in pre-filled growlers.

  3. If you’re at Bellevue Square it’s not worth the walk to Rock Bottom or the Taphouse in the rain 🙂

    Instead, check out Munchbar…sure it’s overpriced but the beer selection is excellent and the location is perfect.

  4. Ballard? Where’s that?
    If you happen to be in the Center of the Universe, Fremont Brewing is open every day except Thanksgiving…and we have some amazing shopping in Fremont.

  5. Big E will take the edge off of your alderwood mall hell ride. Just make sure you come to a complete stop before turning right on red!

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