The other half of the big Ballard brewery opening weekend extravaganza was Populuxe Brewing. They’re keeping it on the small side, with a smaller building and a smaller system than Peddler. As far as I know, though, they were the first brewery in these parts to feature cornhole — trendsetters, those Populuxe folk. I have since seen it at a couple other places, including Peddler, and a set just showed up at my own day job. It’s the new thing! Anyway, Populuxe has been making lots of different beers, and there’s always something new on tap from week to week. I’ve only visited twice so far, but there’s been a friendly, laid-back vibe both times, even when it’s crowded. There’s usually a food truck in the adjoining lot (in addition to the cornhole) or across the street, so it’s a good place to go if you’re not in a hurry.

Populuxe tasting room

Took a while to capture a moment of calm at the Populuxe tap handles on their opening night — Seattle, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Peppercorn Saison – 7.3% – Light funk aroma. Good, well-balanced mix of flavors – sweetness (more caramel, less bubble gum), funk, subtle pepper. Slight bitter zing on the finish. Very drinkable saison.
  • Precipitation Plum Porter – 6% – Coffee/chocolate as well as plum aroma. Good coffee, chocolate, plum flavor balance. Plum is light but a great complement. Dry finish. Really quite nice.
  • Euro Blonde – 4.8% – Crisp, not very bready. Hazelnut, subtle hint of honey. Good biscuity maltiness to bitter finish.
  • Populuxe IPA – 5.5% – Sharp passion fruit and resiny hop aroma. Strong hop flavors with well-balanced underlying biscuity maltiness. Good bitterness, too.
  • Burke-Gilman Bitter – 5.2% – Biscuity maltiness with herbal hop flavor. Lingering bitterness, but smooth and crisp. Very drinkable.
  • Cinderblock CDA – 5.8% – Grapefruit/piney hop and roasty malt aromas and flavors. Fairly light on the tongue. Big flavors but balanced. Great bitter citrus and piney edge but very little lingering bitterness.
  • Beer Snob Brown – 5.1% – Very roasty. Complex malt character – roasty, coffee, biscuity, touch of caramel. Fairly dry finish.
    The Rest

  • Mild – 3.5% – Light chocolate/coffee/earthy aroma. Surprisingly carbonated. Coffee flavors, but in a weird way too clean, and with a slight metallic hint.

With so many breweries opening up in Ballard, I’ve noticed that my bike rides to the area have shifted to be more about sampling the new beers available rather than being a stop on a longer ride. Maybe I need to adjust the riding plans to end up in Ballard rather than heading there first. Will need to take this into consideration, perhaps over a beer.

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