Flying Lion Brewing was the 63rd visit on my bucket list of Washington State breweries. This place feels like a hidden gem among the Seattle brewery scene; a cozy venue that is all about quality beer and a welcoming atmosphere.
Although on my bucket list of breweries to visit, I was not familiar with Flying Lion until a co-worker sent me a link to their website and tap list. The daily lineup featured 8 beers, and mostly darker brews, which was a pleasant surprise for a region where IPA’s commonly dominate most tap lists year-round.
Located in Columbia City off Rainier Ave and nestled into a corner strip mall with eclectic neighbors that include a Kenyan restaurant, Full Tilt Ice Cream and Arcade, Mexican Gift Store, Graphic Design & Print Shop and a Billiards place, Flying Lion is no doubt a local hangout.
I was greeted by Captain, (yep, that’s his real name), from behind the bar as he tried to photo-bomb the first picture I took. Incredibly talkative, friendly and knowledgeable about his beer, I felt at home with the place almost instantly.
The interior is pretty standard of a strip-mall and start-up brewery. There is a main bar that seats about 8-10 people with additional mixed seating and unique glass/wood-beam pub tables. Along the narrow hallway toward the back is another bar style seating for 8-10 more guests. It is also worth mentioning, the location has a decent size parking lot with free parking, which is another rarity in the Seattle area.
Per Captains recommendation, I ordered food from the Kenyan restaurant next-door and then, as usual, began enjoying my flight of all 8 beers they had on tap:
- Single Hop Pale – Pours a clean copper in color with a little lacing left on the glass. Made with Centennial Hops and lots of citrus aromas and flavors going on. A touch of floral and herbal hop flavors as well. A well-balanced beer with a dry bitter citrus finish. This is great. ABV: 5.8%, IBU 47
- Another IPA – A great Pacific NW IPA. Pours a copper in color with a white head that leaves a lot of lacing on the glass. Tons of tropical fruit aromas thanks to the generous drying hopping using Centennial hops. This beer has a nice medium body and a long bitter finish. Very nice. ABV: 6.8%, IBU: 70
- Sweet Potato Porter – Pours a dark cola in color with a small tan head. Nice roasted flavors and some sweet earthy notes but not overpowering. Medium body. Tastes like a solid porter. ABV: 5.6%, IBU: N/A
- Rye Stout – Pours deep brown in color with a small beige head. Flavor is great with the typical stout profile of roasted malts, chocolate and a touch of rye. The body was a little thin for my liking, but the flavor was spot on. ABV: 6.0%, IBU: 37
- Chocolate Milk Stout – Pours almost black in color. This was on nitro so it had a large creamy tan head. Great chocolate flavor, as the name implies with some roasty stout goodness. Body is a little thin for a stout in my opinion, but I did enjoy this. ABV: 4.9%, IBU: N/A
- American Amber – Pours dark amber in color with a frothy beige head. Well-balanced amber with a touch of bitterness. Definitely malt forward but not overly sweet with a nice medium body. This beer pleasantly surprised me. Could drinks pints of this. ABV: 5.2%, IBU: 36
- Smoked Brown – Pours deep brown in color with a tan head. It is cherry-wood smoked which is more evident in aroma than flavor. I’ve never been a fan of smoked beers, but this is pretty good. Dry and low bitterness. It’s a unique take on a brown and was a pleasant surprise over traditional nut-brown ales. ABV: 6.1%, IBU: N/A
- Baltic Porter – Everything I want from a Baltic Porter. This beer didn’t disappoint. Pours almost black in color with a decent tan head. Roasted malt profile with a nice medium body. ABV: 6.9%, IBU: 26
Flying Lion Brewing
Address: 5041 Rainier Avenue S, Seattle, WA 98118