Optimism Brewing Co.

Optimism Brewing Co.

Optimism Brewing Co. was the 59th visit on my bucket list of Washington State breweries. Optimism definitely has the WOW factor. My first jaw-dropping impression quickly turned to thoughts of, who’s funding this?  This new brewery spared no expense. From the tasting room to the bathrooms and beer list, everything about Optimism is unconventional {Hipster}.

Optimism Brewing opened its doors a little more than a month ago in the Capital Hill neighborhood of Seattle, taking up a 16,000 square foot warehouse and turning into a beer paradise. Once inside, front and center is the brewing equipment, which the taproom is built around. I think this has to be the largest tasting room in Seattle. As far as the eye can see are endless pub tables and chairs with plenty of standing room. If you want to go out in Seattle without stress about a venue being able to accommodate a large party, this is your place. Once past the initial shock at the sheer size, your eyes start to wander to the minimalist design in keeping with the warehouse charm; concrete floors, reclaimed lumber pub tables, and natural light from the floor to ceiling windows.

It would be wrong of me to discuss the venue and not mention their unique unisex bathrooms. These gender-neutral facilities feature a large room with individual stalls (urinals on one side, toilets on the other) and a group hand-washing station near the entrance. A little surprising when I walked through the yellow double doors only to see men at the hand-washing station. The look on my face must have been one of shock and confusion. One patron was kind enough to tell me not to be alarmed. Optimism takes their unparalleled vision to a whole new level and carries this cool concept into their beer selection and naming convention.

Beers are listed by description digitally on flat screens behind the ordering counter. There is no table service, so you must walk up to order. (No food options either, except for food trucks out back). Optimism doesn’t name the styles of their brews. In trying to appeal to a wider audience and encourage people to try new beers, Optimism went without style names. According to the website “beer styles were created after-the-fact and are simply opinions of a very small group of people and are almost constantly debated.” Another new idea from Optimism is that they are cashless (that’s right, cards only) and tipping is included. Optimism certainly has a point of view on the subject which is also found on their site, “We believe that people don’t like being asked to tip because they don’t like the math or the social awkwardness of the custom. We also don’t like posting artificially low prices and then try to trick you by asking for a tip when you pay. (Our prices also include tax — what you see is exactly what you pay).”

The new perspective is definitely interesting, but is their beer any good? As usual, I tried all eight beers they had on tap and I was similarly impressed.

  • Unicorn – First sip reminded me of a pilsner. Lots of pilsner malt up front. Pours a clear golden yellow color with a little lacing on the glass. Very subtle in both aroma and flavor, this is an easy drinking ale with a light body, and slightly sweet finish. ABV: 4.5%
  • Yellow – This brew reminds me of a Kolsch. Pours a slightly hazy yellow in color with a minimal white head that leaves a little lacing on the glass. Think of the Unicorn brew with more citrus. ABV: 4.5%
  • Zest – This is an IPA and the hops are evident. Pours a clear gold in color with a little more head to speak of. Aroma is a balance of citrus and grassy hops. Pretty flavorful and not overly bitter. Well balanced.  ABV: 6.5%
  • One – I would call this an ESB. Pours a clear amber in color. I get a lot of bready flavors on this, as well as some sweet malt and hops. Of all their beers, this was my least favorite. I couldn’t get past the bready flavors, which were too overpowering for me and took away from the other complexities. ABV: 6.5%
  •  Cheer – Pours a clear dark cherry red in color. I get some smoky spice on this winter ale. Spice, smoke, spice. Lots of flavors and aromas and very easy drinking. I love seasonal brews and this did not disappoint. ABV: 5.5%
  • Ale X – Boozy! Almost a barrel aged flavor due to the strong, rich fruits and caramel malts. I think this beer is classified as a strong ale, but reminds me of a barley-wine ale. Pours a dark mahogany in color. Definitely a sipping beer. It’s hard to drink a lot. ABV: 9.3%
  • Black – Pours a dark cola in color. Lots of roasted coffee flavors. The body is too thin on this for me to call a stout. I’ll settle on calling this a porter although the consistency tasted more like a black lager. ABV: 4.5%
  • …Before the Dawn – Pours black in color. More rich and dark than their ‘Black’ beer. Coffee, sweet fruits and some chocolate. This is more complex than an imperial stout. It’s a blend of a few styles to me, but fair to say its imperial stout inspired. ABV: 7.7%



Optimism’s communal atmosphere is especially inviting. The beers have relatively low ABV’s, which is even more reason to sit back, grab a few pints and hang out for a while. Check them out if you’re in Capital Hill.


Optimism Brewing Co.

Address: ​1158 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122
Email: contact@optimismbrewing.com
WWW: http://optimismbrewing.com/



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