How To Get Naked In Seattle

Yes, I know, the titillating title of this post is nothing more than a cheap literary device designed to suck you in. But never mind: now that you’re here you might as well read on…

Naked City Brewery & Taphouse is the 2-year old microbrewery in the north Seattle neighborhood of Greenwood that I intended to review last September (Seattle, We Have a (transit) Problem…).

Well, luckily for me, the spouse and daughter were willing to forgive and forget after all, so on Saturday evening we made another trip over to Greenwood. No busing it this time though – I burned that bridge last time – so we drove. As much as I hate to admit it, driving turned out to be a blessing in disguise ’cause it gave us more time, and as my Pillager’s Pub post will reveal, the time came in really handy.

So, what about the Naked City Brewery & Taphouse then? Actually we had a great experience there (Seattle Times review). Saturday night – busy of course – and once again it looked like the tables in the all-ages section were all taken. However, persistence on the part of our by-now hungry daughter, snagged us a spot.

As I indicated above, Naked City is a young microbrewery; they celebrated their 2nd anniversary last October. Their brewhouse is probably the tiniest of all the Fueled by Beer places we’ve been to so far. Naked City brews are produced on a 3½ barrel system – with 100% consumed at the pub. Putting this in perspective, a smaller brewing system might be considered to be not financially viable for a commercial venture.

As it relates to the pub this means that on any given day it is unlikely that there will be more than 4 taps featuring Naked City brews (out of the Taphouse’s 24). And a day’s supply of Naked City will likely max out at 8-10 kegs. The remaining 20 taps pour guest brews from a wide assortment of Northwest microbreweries.

I understand the brewery plans to upgrade to a larger brewing system, at which time increasing capacity will allow them to offer more house brews and begin displacing the other brewers’ taps. But for now it’s great to enjoy a wide sampling of the best the Northwest has to offer all in one place.

OK, so how does it work in practice? When you sit down, you should find a printed list on the table with that day’s date on it and showing the beers on tap for that day. In our case, when we sat down, four Naked City brews were available.

The Taphouse does not offer a sampler tray – they just pour pints – but they will provide a small taster if you want to try something first. I started with a pint of Dead Reckoning Ale, with a taster of Saison de la Ville Nuee.

By the time I was ready for another pint, the Naked City brew I wanted to try next – Magnum P.I.P.A. – had run out and our server crossed it off the list. So I followed up with a pint of Smoke Town Porter, and a taster from a guest tap. It’s a fine testament to Naked City’s house brews: that they start to run out before the guest taps (of course the lower price point doesn’t hurt either).

On the day’s tap list notice also there is a “coming soon” list. These are actually the kegs waiting in the wings to replace those that run out. I wonder what is the greatest number of taps to have been crossed off the list before closing time? I’ll have to ask next time I visit.

Naked City’s website doesn’t list all their brews – just what’s on tap today – but ratebeer.com currently lists 47 different Naked City beers. With that many recipes, any visit to Naked City is sure to be an adventure – and likely provide an introduction to something new every time. You can’t say that about many places. My three Naked City samples were all good examples of their respective styles – Dead Reckoning was best, the Porter was good, the Saison just OK. Shame I didn’t get to try their IPA.

My only negative comment about Naked City, and it’s more an observation than a complaint, is their food pricing. The menu consists of small-plate appetizers, soups & salads, and sandwiches. It is this latter category in particular that prices seem high – by a dollar or two in most cases – the upside is there are several vegan options.

The quality is all very good – organic, locally produced ingredients, including locally baked artisan breads. But still, $10.50 for my ham & cheese sandwich with some potato chips on the side is a bit steep. Ok, so it was a really fancy ham & cheese: the ham was Kassler (German dry-cured or smoked pork loin) with beer-braised onions; the cheese was smoked Gruyere (real Swiss cheese) with fresh apple slices; the bread was toasted Rosemary Focaccia.

In fairness the house beers are $4.50, a very good value, while the guest taps are $5 and  up – this is probably why the house brews run out first – and not just because they are least expensive.

My final word on Naked City then is they brew some pretty good beer. It’s definitely worth the trip to Greenwood to Get Naked In Seattle yourself.

You can ride the #5 bus from downtown Seattle to Greenwood and NW 85th St. Naked City is on the right side of Greenwood just north of 85th.

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