Bikes, Brews, and the Blues


It’s a sunny Sunday afternoon along the Burke-Gilman Trail, Seattle’s 50-mile-long Rails to Trails bike path. The trail is packed with runners, walkers, young couples on beach cruisers, mothers with strollers, kids bikes with training wheels, and accountants on $6000 racing bikes dressed for the Tour de France.

M and I live on the trail and ride several times a week. Sometimes it’s a maintenance ride to Woodinville (12 miles roundtrip). Sometimes it’s for lunch at University Village (20 miles) and every August it’s down to Madison Park to watch the Blue Angels’ Seafair show (30 miles). Lately, however, our favorite ride ends up late on a Sunday afternoon at the 192 Brewing Co.

As you can see we’re the only ones there. The fence bordering 192 is the front parking lot and on the weekend it’s hard to find space along the fence. There is a small parking lot for cars on the back side too (NE 175th Street in Kenmore).

192 Fence

Seattle is one of America’s leading craft beer centers, and one of the entrepreneurial craft beer genius’ figured out that having a taproom/brewery close to the trail might be a clever (and profitable) marketing ploy. It’s not clear who that genius was, but last week I counted 20 brewery-taprooms on or close to the trail between Ballard and Redmond. Sleepy little Kenmore, where we live, has three in one-mile stretch. One of my favorites, because of the name, is a small Blues-themed place called Twelve-Bar Brews.

12 Bar Blues

But the best place to hang out on Sunday afternoon is in the big sawdust covered yard at 192 Brewing Co. 192 got its name from the owner’s original site – a 192 square foot garage behind his house. In 2012 the operation moved to a defunct nursery that borders the Burke-Gilman trail in Kenmore.

Funky is the word that comes to mind. The brewery/taproom is housed in a warehouse with a concrete floor and old wooden tables with rickety folding chairs. The real action, however, takes place outside in the old nursery whose ground the owners have covered with wood chips and furnished with cheap plastic chairs and stumps that serve as tables.

192 Brewing

The beer at 192 is very good but that’s not the point. This stop is all about fun. At 192 you can choose from 10 or 12 local brews, most of them 192’s own, and there is a bar menu with standard burgers, wraps, and nachos, but what makes 192 so much fun on Sunday afternoon is an open mike bandstand with a house blues band, The GrooveTramps, who provide a rocking backup for any would-be Stevie Ray Vaughan who wants to sit in.

192 GrooveTramps

I’m not sure of the composition of the GrooveTramps core group. In this picture you can see two guitars, two bongo/congo percussionists, a drummer, an alto sax, a tenor sax, maracas, and the dude in the straw hat who happens to be a rabbi who riffs on the blues harp. Melanie Owen is the woman/bass player/organizer who herds these cats between 3:30 and 7pm every Sunday (when the weather is decent). Two weeks ago we heard a huge (Donald Trump’s favorite word) woman play world class bluesy keyboards and sing down and dirty Etta James and Bonnie Raitt songs as if they were made for her. At the end of her set, she told the crowd, “I don’t get out much.” Too bad. She was amazing.

192 Big Mama

This is the best time of the year in Seattle, so if you’ve got a bike, like craft beer, and dig the blues, I hope to see you one of these Sundays between 3:30 and 7 p.m. to groove with The GrooveTramps and whoever jumps in to jam with them. I promise you’ll like everything about it.  Address: 192 Brewing Company, 7324 NE 175th Street, Kenmore, WA 98028 Phone: 424-424-2337.


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