Multitap Taverns

Seattle's multitap taverns offer drinkers a happy plethora of beer. One joint has five taps, the one down the road 10, and there's another with 15. When it comes to variety, can there be too much beer? Possibly—no, make that probably. Back in the other Washington, there's a well-known establishment that offers 850 bottled beers. So go ahead, order one. It's a beery version of diminishing returns: The more beers offered, the more likely your choice won't be available. You'll find some impressive multitap places scattered around Pugetopolis. The Ale House Pub & Eatery (2122 Mildred W., 253-565-9467, TACOMA) is a bit of a haul, but 64 handles beckon. Jake's Ales (2318 S.W. 336th St., 253-927-1288, Federal Way) has 46. Here in town, Brouwer's (400 N. 35th St., 206-267-BIER, FREMONT) has four dozen taps and more in bottles. The Taphouse Grill (550 106th Ave. N.E., 425-467-1730, BELLEVUE) tops 'em all with 160 beers on tap. I get some enjoyment and, yes, some frustration from such places. It's fun to see all those tap handles, but if you're unlucky, the keg that just blew is the one you wanted. Or maybe you'll get what you ordered, but will it have been sitting around unloved and going stale? The folks who run these hypertapped places mean well, but they're human. It's hard work managing all those kegs and taps and beer lines, and suboptimal beer happens. Ten to 20 taps may be about right, but minimalism has its place, too. The cozy White Horse Trading Co. (1908 Post Alley, 206-441-7767, PIKE PLACE) offers no taps at all, no stale lines, no kegs, just three kinds of bottled beers, usually in constant rotation. There is the risk that none of those three will be a beer you want right then and there. But there's another place around the corner with 10 or 12 handles, right?

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