Beer abounds, menu modest at Ballard's Urban Family Public House
Urban Family Public House in Ballard has an array of beers to interest Seattle-area beer fanciers.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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It's an impressive list of craft beers at the new Urban Family Public House — 25 tap handles, partly devoted to Belgian style ales and partly devoted to craft beers from the East Coast and Northern California.
This Ballard joint is part of the wave of bars that have opened up around the new year. It's a good neighborhood bar, tailored and focused, and it shows in its excellent beer list.
I've stopped in three times recently, and each time I've seen five to seven beers I wanted to sample or wished I had brought along a bigger group to go through them with.
World Wide Stout, the malty, potent brew from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, makes a cameo on tap. There's a fruity and piney IPA Maharaja from the Avery Brewing Company and an interesting IPA from Denmark, Evil Twin Yang, filled with citrusy aroma and caramel flavors.
I can go on, but this Ballard bar goes through so many kegs every week that its beer lineup changes frequently.
The bar's theme, though, remains consistent — a lot of Belgian style ales to go with cult and acclaimed brands that you wouldn't find in many Seattle pubs, including some stellar beers from Colorado and Oregon.
These are exciting times to be in Ballard for happy hour. The craft cocktail and microbrew scene has never been better. In recent months, The Amber Den, The Sexton and Macleod's Scottish Pub have opened up. Later in March, The Gerald, a craft cocktail bar, will open along the barhopping strip of Ballard Avenue Northwest, and the folks behind Po Dogs reportedly plans to open a speak-easy style bar soon in the hood. Come April, bar hoppers can grab a beer and slice of pizza at a new casual pizza joint chef Ethan Stowell will open, a block north of his Staple & Fancy Mercantile.
It's a crowded field, and to stand out, the new kids on the block, David Powell, Timothy Czarnetzki and Sean Bowman, owners of the Urban Family Public House, want to feature acclaimed beers from around the world. (They do offer one or two Washington beers on tap, including the stellar Snipes Mountain Brewery's Hoppy New Beer from Sunnyside, Wa.)
The bar is far from perfect, though. The décor isn't much and the food menu is modest — a Ciabatta chicken pesto and a couple of pressed sandwiches including a prosciutto panini — but all decent enough to fortify a couple rounds of beer.
Urban Family Public House, 5329 Ballard Ave. N.W., offers happy hour Mondays-Fridays from 4-7 p.m. with $1 off on selected drafts (206-783-BEER or www.urbanfamilypublichouse.com).
Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @tanvinhseattle.