Brewery Review: Mollusk Restaurant & Brewery (Seattle, WA)

Brewery Review of Mollusk Restaurant & Brewery in Seattle, WA.

Part #2 of the What’s NW of NW? Series.

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday we were sipping cider in the Industrial District of Seattle (at Seattle Cider Co.) and today we’re enjoying beer at Mollusk in the South Lake Union area, just 2 blocks from the lakefront.  Although this part of Seattle isn’t industrial, I wouldn’t call it a hip and trendy hotspot for food and drink either. It has a real “offices and condos” feel, as you can see from the Google Maps pic below (it looks this way in both directions for quite a ways). Mollusk is the corner unit of the red building.

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Even though your not going to find vintage records, repurposed furniture or the latest espresso creation in this neighborhood doesn’t mean that there is nothing here. We walked around for a little bit and it was pleasant enough, and by the time you’re bored hopefully you will have found Mollusk. Upon entering you’re struck by an upscale commercial vibe with a touch of Industrial and Northwestern accents. You can’t help but feel like you will receive something quality here, which is a good start.

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We sit at the bar and grab a beer menu. They have 16 of their own draughts and the types of beer they make convey a clear message about the type of brewery they are. There are several botanical farmhouse ales, as well as a saison, wild ale, rye lager, etc. When you see a menu like this it usually means the brewery is very conscious of the history and craft of brewing as well as of the ingredients they’re using. They want to showcase those ingredients and make a fresh clean product that has a certain artistry to it. You don’t see any wacky flavors like Peanut Butter Porter or Jalapeño Gose, you also don’t see any smoked beers or barrel aging. These are traditional beers with modern sensibilities. (You also don’t see an oyster stout, which I thought would’ve been a perfect signature beer for a place called “Mollusk”, but what do I know?)

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After trying a number of their beers I can’t say enough about the freshness, balance and attention to detail these beers have. It’s tough to pick a favorite as they were all very solid and you feel like the person who made them really cares about what they’re putting in your glass. The beers at mollusk probably aren’t for everyone, as they are driven by subtlety and brewing nuances that not everyone would appreciate, but after drinking a Mollusk beer I don’t think anyone would be disappointed either.

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If you spend enough time at Mollusk to try the food and craft cocktails as well, you will realize that it isn’t just a brewery or just a restaurant. Mollusk is more of a philosophy. The food, the beer and the cocktails are all made with the same eye toward fresh local ingredients, craftsmanship and simplicity. The owners don’t overcomplicate and they don’t focus on just one thing, rather they apply their ideals evenly over all their creations to create a unified experience. As a result, Mollusk would be a great place for a couple of corporate VPs to grab lunch or a great place to take a date for dinner (and speaking as a straight man, finding a brewery that’s classy enough to take your lady out for a romantic evening is no small feat). It’s almost as hard as finding a sporting event nice enough to propose at (having the team mascot there is a nice touch).

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