Burban Beer

Beer drinkers in Seattle are generally spoiled for choice. Most neighborhoods have at least one or two decent multitap pubs, and there's a nice scattering of brewpubs, too. Head suburbward, though, and the abundance of good beer joints seems to evaporate. It's not that good beer doesn't exist in the burbs. It's just that it's so scattered, and some areas seem to be nearly devoid of good beer joints, as was pointed out to me recently by an acquaintance from Shoreline, who laments having to drive into the city or even farther out into the burbs for a good pint. For North-enders, Fred's Rivertown Alehouse in Snohomish has no shortage of great taps. You'll find Diamond Knot in Mukilteo and Scuttlebutt in Everett. Renton is blessed with the Dog and Pony and the Whistle Stop Alehouse, not to mention the splendid Red House Beer and Wine Shoppe and Tapas Bar; there are decent multitaps in far-flung Enumclaw and Federal Way. Bellevue's Rock Bottom brewpub is a short skip from the 160-tap Taphouse Grill. Mac & Jack's Brewery places African Amber handles everywhere, but operates out of a modest space in Redmond; Far West and Snoqualmie Falls are also alehouse favorites. So it's about damn time that Kent (yeah, Kent; shut up) should finally get a brewpub, a shiny new Ram Restaurant & Brewery (512 Ramsay Way, 253-520-3881, KENT). In true suburban form, it's part of a chain, but in this case, it's a homegrown one based in Lakewood. Beers are straightforward, including light and blond ales for those used to mild flavors, amber ale with sweetish caramel malt flavors, fruity hefeweizen fermented with Bavarian wheat-beer yeast, and IPA and porter holding down the more assertive end of the range. Food is all-American and beer-friendly, and if getting good freshly brewed beer out to suburban locales has to be done by a chain operation, so be it. It's long overdue. dscheidt@seattleweekly.com

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