Today we will visit Twelve Bars Brews, Dirty Bucket Brewing, Brickyard Brewing, Foggy Noggin Brewing, and 192 Brewing. Yes! All of them in one adventure! Can you say pace yourself? This was truly a beer tasting adventure – far different from a hit the pub and relax with some pints type thing. It was my first visit to all but 192 Brewing, and it was a nice successful adventure with lots of fun. Let’s go!

When I head up to have one of my “northern adventures” I start out by heading up to the U District where I pick up the Burke Gilman Trail. My standard trip up to the Woodinville area has consisted of hitting Red Hook and then continuing – on trails! – to Redmond’s Black Raven Brewing. Today I would not visit either.

The tasting trip up north here is particularly wonderful for one reason: The majority of the miles are on a separated multi-use path! The path does not totally protect you from interaction with drivers, as it has numerous intersections with roads. But you can’t complain! This is flat out awesome. Hint: if heading to Black Raven, you take the Burke Gilman beyond Red Hook a few miles, then actually turn off of onto another trail called either the Puget Power Trail or the Power Line Trail (the map is unclear on the name, as is the signage. You have to keep your eyes open for the turn).

Okay, for the unfamiliar, I’ll quickly mention that from downtown Seattle by the ferry terminal, I reach the U District by heading up Marion, turning left on 4th, right on Blanchard, left on 7th which curves and becomes Dexter. I turn right on Thomas and take it to Eastlake (which is where the REI Flagship Store is located – aren’t we privileged to call the Flagship store our own?). It’s a left turn on Eastlake which requires vigilance, as you’re crossing two directions of fast-moving traffic. Pedal on north all the way to the U District.

We are seeking the Burke Gilman Trail so shortly after crossing the University Bridge and just past 40th St, turn right on that little road that circles right and takes you down to 40th where you turn left. If you miss this little circling road (which a small green sign indicates will take  you the trail) don’t worry, you simply can take the next right which leads you to Campus Parkway (where  you will jockey with buses). You are just trying to get over to Brooklyn Ave where you turn right and head downhill to the trail access point, which is marked by bright yellow signs. Turn left onto the trail, and begin to really enjoy!

You will pedal past Husky Stadium which I find pretty cool despite my not being a sports fan. Depending on when you ride here, you may have to fight with U Dub students for unfettered passage. I recall one evening I was returning toward Downtown and apparently it was graduation time or something. That sucked. Oblivious kids aside, as with any public space in the PNW you will have to do a lot more “sharing” space with folks if the sun is out. It’s not too big a problem, as bike riders with a purpose are numerous, be they out for intense exercise or commuting somewhere. So pedestrians, while they may meander and – one of my biggest peeves in life – spread out within their group and take up most or all of the walkway, walking 3 or 6 abreast, should at least be expecting you. I really need to get a bell on my bike. Though I’ve found that even vigorous bell ringing or horn honking or vocalizing any softer than a full yell doesn’t phase the average person. Okay, take a deep breath and remember that at least you are not out on the roadway.

On toward Kenmore. Guess what? I pedaled right past 192 Brewing’s new Lake Trail Taproom – on purpose. This stop would come on my way back home. The trek back home can feel quite long, and having this stop on the way home was a great way to break up the trip. 192 Brewing’s new space is in an amazing location for cyclists. It’s right on the trail!

I pedaled about 4 1/2 miles beyond the Lake Trail Taproom to the turnoff for my first stop: Twelve Bar Brews. All you do to find this small new brewery is keep an eye open to your left on the trail for a chainlink gate and turn in there. When I was planning my route for this adventure, I made a plan  B in case the gate was closed. It was open on Google Maps and it was open in person! (Plan B involved proceeding ahead on the trail a short distance and cutting across the park and making my way  back to 178th Street where Twelve Bar’s industrial park home lies. But going through the gate allows you to come at it the back way by arriving at 178th St as soon as you leave the trail. Proceed on this little road not more than maybe 1500 feet and the brewery is located in a tidy industrial complex. You’ll have to hunt for it, as I don’t recall which of the buildings it is in by sight. The address is 12826 NE 178th St Suite C. I suppose searching for that address might help. On this visit I just tried to locate the building and trees I had seen in a picture on their website. I was pleased to find it, and concerned when I found a locked door and no sign of life. A few seconds later though, the owner came to the door with a smile and opened up. It was only shortly after opening time.

The guy was very cordial and made me feel at home with tastes of each of their four beers. I wish I had confirmed his name. Twelve Bars Brews is owned by two guys. This was the one without the biker-like beard. This is really a beer-to-go operation, not a taproom. Kegs of various sizes can be bought. The two growlers I had on board my bike were brought specifically for here.

I first had a Twelve Bar Beer at, coincidentally, Chuck’s Hop Shop. It was their Pentatonic Pale. Today’s taste confirmed my opinion from that day: Not very good. Now, remember, dear readers, I am not a beer expert. I  just have my tastes. I readily admit that those tastes might not be the most “refined.” I like what I like, and that’s what’s important, isn’t it? So perhaps rather than saying “not very good” I should say “not for me.” Pentatonic does not possess enough body and flavor to satisfy me. The guy explained to me that the term pentatonic refers to the musical scale consisting of five notes and that this scale has historical significance in music. I forget if it relates to the blues or what. I do know that Pentatonic Pale is brewed with five grains.

I believe the Turnarond Red was on tap that day, and it was not one that suited my palate as well as I wanted. Very few are the reds that I find enjoyable. Reds fall flat with me – too malty and sort of empty tasting.

Wicked Riff IPA, however, I found quite nice. As I recall, it’s a dry tasting IPA which reminds me of its Schooner Exact’s counterpart. (a brewery in the SODO neighborhood of Seattle)

My favorite of Twelve Bar Brew’s beers is the Supertonic India Black Ale. I don’t think this is intended to be a Black IPA, or Cascadian Dark Ale. It is roastier –  more stout-like. This is my favorite of their beers and currently one of my favorite of all beers. I decided this one night as I sipped the last of it that I had dragged home in a growler.

Yes, the IPA and the India Black Ale accompanied me on the rest of my journey that day, bouncing around in my bike’s saddle bags. I had quite a few miles ahead of me that day, so after briefly meeting a young couple that had just stopped in, I was off. This couple was out doing the same thing I was – making the rounds in the Woodinville area, only by car of course. This would not be the last person or couple that I would meet that day who I would see at more than one of the locations on my adventure. Exciting things are happening in the Woodinville area for beer lovers.

Off to Dirty Bucket Brewing where I would have a fine time – but not before spending some time needlessly lumbering up long hills on busy thoroughfares. Yes, I got a bit lost.

Leaving Twelve Bar Brews, I exited the lot of the industrial complex and turned left instead of going back the way I came in. We are now on 178th heading away from the trail. Shortly, you will see the McLendon’s Hardware on the right. Those of you familiar with the area now know where we are. The road takes a right turn and becomes 130th Ave then takes a left and becomes 177th St, bringing you to a major stop light intersection. Proceed straight on 177th (after the intersection, it is called 177th Pl). This stretch of road is not particularly welcoming to cyclists, but on the day I was there – a Saturday – traffic was not very heavy. I passed a wine place which I’ll have to visit one day. You will come to an intersection with Woodinville Snohomish Rd at some railroad tracks. Cross over it and the road becomes 190th St and treats you to a climb. Before too long, you arrive at North Woodinville Way onto which you turn right. Shortly, you are at 144th Ave. Turn left.

Here was my big blunder. I thought the road I needed was a lot farther, so I passed up 144th without realizing it and proceeded ahead. Here I chose to ride on the sidewalk, as I was ascending a hill and on the inside of a curve on this busy road. Climb and climb did I, hoping my efforts would be rewarded around each bend. By this time the road had changed names to Woodinville Duvall Rd. I noted a sports/cycling shop on the left. I finally crested the long hill and began to descend. Now I seriously considered turning around. Sometimes you just don’t feel like stopping and digging out your phone and trying to look up directions. As I enjoyed coasting down the hill, legs recovering and sweat cooling me, I figured it was about time to turn around before I set myself up for too much more climbing. I pulled over at a side street, waited for traffic then crossed over and started climbing back up to the summit. When I got back to that cycling shop, I pulled in and asked for directions.

See, the road names around here didn’t help the situation: Woodinville Snohomish Rd, Woodinville Way, Woodinville Duvall Rd, Woodenish, Shohammie, Woody Woodinville Wood Rd – help! The guys in Woodinville Ski and Sport were helpful as I rolled my bike in and asked what road I was on and where 144th was. One of them pulled out his cel phone and the other got on the computer, both pulling up maps. I told them I was looking for Dirty Bucket Brewing. Neither of them had heard of it. Understandable. It opened not too long ago. I thanked them and, hinting at my climbing prowess, revealed to them that I had two full growlers of beer on board. They sort of smiled and nodded and I was on my way. Little did they know I also had a full Nalgene of water, three sandwiches, tools, snacks and more on board as always. I think they were jealous.

Okay, after enjoying the blast back down the hill, I found where I had made my error. I remember seeing the big shopping center. I just didn’t know Dirty Bucket was tucked back in there, hidden by a gas station-type place. Turning right on 144th, I was relieved. I found Dirty Bucket Brewing, but not before passing it up yet again and having to turn around. Ah, the adventure.

Allright, Dirty Bucket Brewing. I rolled my bike right up to the open front door, to the left of which was the open garage door that leads to an outdoor seating area. There was no place to tie up the bike, so I just leaned it against the front wall. The place is pretty small with a nice little bar with about four seats. The guy behind the bar matter-of-factly asked what I would have. Of course I needed just a couple minutes to look over their chalk board beer menu, but in the meantime I asked if they had schooner sized pours. This seemed to cause some confusion. I explained that I had some miles ahead of me and wanted to taste the beers without having too much. We eventually arrived at taster sized pours of three or four of the beers.

That day they had on tap a special brew involving, I believe, pineapple. Proceeds from the purchase of this beer would go to breast cancer research if I recall. I couldn’t bring myself to order any of this heffe. It was later explained that the wife of one of the owners had brewed the beer, and this is why there was a pair of pink rubber boots on display there in the taproom. The place is owned by two guys – brothers I believe. The conversation with the guy became more cordial as my visit went on. There was a younger man at the bar asking brewing questions that are slightly beyond my level of knowledge. I did manage to glean a helpful tip regarding yeast-pitching temperature though. This young man is one of the people I would see later that day at another brewery.

I tried three or four of Dirty Bucket’s beers. I only recall the IPA, as I wasn’t very excited about the others. If I recall, the IPA was pretty malty. I liked it.

It wasn’t very busy during my visit. In fact it was about the right level of busy for me. As anyone who cares knows, it’s almost universally true that the quality of service drops as the level of busy-ness rises. I try hard to avoid being out trying to get beer during busy times. I was told that the day before, it was very busy at Dirty Bucket and the owner’s son was kept hopping. The guy (Steve) said that they have a good working relationship with Foggy Noggin Brewing (where I would be later that day). For instance, the owner of Foggy will post on Facebook something like “lets see if we can run Dirty Bucket out of beer today” and the place proceeds to fill up. Foggy Noggin seems to have quite an active following on social media you see.

Well, on to my next stop: Brickyard Brewing!

This sign hung right next to me at Dirty Bucket. I had never heard this one. Choice!

Exit the parking lot, turn right onto 144th Ave and proceed to the intersection where you make a right on to North Woodinville Way. Cross over Woodinville Snohomish Rd and shortly thereafter, you go under Hwy 522. Soon you make a right onto 136th Ave. Woodinville High School is at this corner and is on your left after you make the turn. The road comes to a T. It is here that I encountered a problem. I needed 244th St and the sign in front of me read something different (as I look it up again on Google Maps Street View, I see that the sign reads 205th St. Apparently if you turn right as we need to, it is 244th St, and if you turn left, it is 205th for a short stretch then changes names to 244th again. What a little mess).

As is my practice on my more elaborate adventures, I was armed with a piece of sturdy paper on which I had written turn-by-turn directions I got from Google. By the way, I’m not very into technology at all. I have not yet used a GPS to get anywhere. I am somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of Google driving around (and in the case of bike trails, riding around) and taking photography of everything. I must say, however, that Street View has been extremely helpful to me in my adventuring. Often, after preparing using this tool, I find myself riding along wondering if I’m in the right place and then I see some landmark that I recognize. It’s like I’ve been there before!

As I stood at this rural T intersection munching on one of my sandwiches, I broke out my phone and confirmed that I was in the right place and could go ahead with the right turn. Shortly, the road makes a left and becomes 58th Ave. Take it to where it ends into an industrial-type building. Brickyard Brewing is in here. I believe they had a sandwich board out at the intersection.

I was skeptical, I must admit, about this place. The name, the rather poorly designed logo and website, and the industrial location gave me the impression it might not be very well done, or welcoming to someone on a bicycle for that matter. I came away from Brickyard feeling differently.

I rolled up and saw, through the open garage door, two guys talking. One of them may have said hi to me, which was the first good sign. I parked my bike along a stone wall across the small parking lot from the building (no place to tie up) and walked in. A small tasting room was ahead and a small bar to the right. I took a seat and noticed that the bar seemed to be some sort of repurposed gaming table.

Inside Brickyard Brewing. Here is the nice guy that unexpectedly gave me the “real beer float” as soon as I sat down. Thanks, guy!

The big guy in a t shirt greeted me cordially and next thing I  knew he set down in front of me a taster sized glass of black ale with ice cream in it. Yes ice cream. He said it would go nicely on this day of bike riding. What a pleasant surprise! Not only the “real beer float” as it’s called, but the hospitality. Turns out it’s their stout by the way. He suggested I mix it up a bit with the little spoon. This made it even better.

Here at Brickyard, I saw, and spoke to two folks who were out tasting that day. I would see both of them at my next stop. One of them, a lone gentleman, had with him a sort of passport for breweries. I believe this is issued by WABL (Washington Beer Lovers) which is also the Washington Beer Commission. Apparently you get a stamp at each brewery you visit and at a certain number of stamps you get some swag. Neat. I’ll have go sign up someday.

Well the oatmeal stout was good, as was their IPA and a third beer I tasted. The guy offered to fill up my Nalgene bottle with ice water (Major brownie points. Reminds me of the first time I experienced this in Portland at Widmer Bros. Brewing. Widmer’s taproom is a nice upscale restaurant/bar setting yet the beertender offered to grab my bike bottle and fill it with water for my ride).

It was time to roll on to my next stop: Foggy Noggin Brewing.

Exit the parking lot making a right turn out onto 238th St. Very shortly, take 57th Ave to the right. Proceed to 228th St which is a major road. When traffic allows, turn left. You will see a church on the left. At 53rd Ave, make a right. This is the residential street on which Foggy Noggin Brewing lives. Travel about 1500 ft on this quaint, tree-lined road and you’ll see a sign for Foggy Noggin on the right. Of course, if you’re not here on a Saturday, the sign may not be there. Foggy is only open for a few daytime hours on Saturday! They urge their patrons to obey the speed limit on this road. But if  you’re on a bicycle, no problem!

Roll on into the gravel driveway and you’ll likely find a crowd of people lounging around in front of, and in the open garage. I stepped right up and was greeted by a duo of polite young folks waiting to pour me my first sip of Foggy Noggin beer.

At last! The farthest point of today’s journey. This calls for a beer.

I had scanned the overhead chalkboard and picked out the one beer I wished to try: Christmas Duck. I chose this one based on its listed ABV (alcohol by volume). I hear your gasps. Yeah I know, it’s not about the alcohol. However, Foggy Noggin produces some beers extremely light in alcohol (as in 3.x%). That is, quite frankly, not worth my time or money. Perhaps if money was no issue, and I had all day to lounge around and drink, and the taste of the beer was miraculously good, and I had ready access to a toilet. But this day, I opted for one of their “heavyweights” (6.6%). Speaking of toilets, the facilities here consist of a porta potty across the driveway from the garage, which is just fine with me.

You can make out the porta potty across the driveway.

I wandered about, sipping my pint. My bike was leaned against the garage, just outside the doors and to the right. Standing by my bike, I think I accidentally made eye contact with someone inside the house. Excuse me, I thought. I’m hanging around in front of  your house drinking a beer. Never mind me.

After a bit, I strolled over toward the side of the house and took a seat on a big rock. From there, I could see the small shed where the owner/brewer does his work. I had overheard someone talking about him and his shed at one of my prior stops. Soon I saw the man come out and, true to the description, be jovial with patrons and small children.

At one of the tables in the driveway sat a group of people who were either going to a ball game, or had come from one. I don’t recall if it was Mariners or Sounders. I wondered how far they traveled to come to Foggy Noggin. I have the impression that most of the customers here are from the immediate area. This seems to be a real neighborhood treasure, if facebook, and the plentiful number of bodies here during this short window of opportunity are any indication.

Well, now over to the bike parking area to pick out my bike and take off. Oh yeah, there’s only one bike here.

Next I would reverse my path and make my way nonstop back to the trail. Next stop: 192 Brewing on my way back to Seattle.

The return trip is simply a reversing of my route up to Foggy Noggin. Fortunately I didn’t get lost on the way back as I did on the way to Dirty Bucket. After rolling by Twelve Bars Brew’s location, I cruised to the end of the road and found the gate opening up to the Sammamish River Trail where I turned right and headed back toward Seattle. On my way back I cruised by Red Hook (not feeling like I was missing anything – my first visit to Red Hook was exciting for me, but crummy service, overly packed conditions almost always, and mediocre beer have me passing the place up these days).

When I finally arrived back at Kenmore after having snacked on some sandwich and a hard-boiled egg or two (good fuel, eggs) I detected 192 Brewing coming up on the left. This is the new 192 Lake Trail Taproom. A quick dismount and a roll of the bike on through their chain link gate and I was there! What a neat experience for cyclists on the trail who have the time and inclination.

A beautiful sight. Just inside the fence. Lots of bikes but plenty of room. That’s the trail on the outside of the fence.

I am not sure that the owner/brewer, Derek has any interest in cycling. I think he just happened to get this space. I first met Derek at Fremont Oktoberfest about three years ago. He’s a nice guy. He gave me a business card and invited me to stop by and fill a growler the next time I was on my way up to visit Red Hook. Back then he was operating out of his house in Kenmore.

The space he now has boasts a spacious “beer garden” – a rather unique area that I assume used to be a parking lot but now feels like a backyard/garden area. You can wander around out there with your beer and watch the cyclists go by. Most of the handfull of times I have been there I have seen cyclists spot the sign and people sipping their pints and have done double and triple takes, some of them stopping and coming in. I have to believe cyclists business provides the backbone for this new operation.

Lately however, as a liker of them on facebook, I see that Derek is quite an entrepreneur. He keeps adding features to 192 – events mostly. They have been about live music from the start. And they now have some sort of trivia contest once weekly. A mug club has been started, and if you buy a 192 tshirt, you get a buck off your tab each visit. It looks like they have developed a nice local following and I predict big things for this place.

As for their beer, I have yet to be impressed. On a couple of my visits, they had none of their own ready to serve. So it was guest taps only. On another visit, I tried a light golden type ale from 192 and it was not for me. We’ll see how his brewing program develops.

When it was time to go, I mounted up and, taking a left on the trail, headed back for the U District. This concludes another adventure. It was a great day of exploration, exercise and some pretty good beer. Hope you’ll join me next time.

Cheers and keep those spokes spinning!