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Able Seedhouse + Brewery: Fresh, modern taproom in the Northeast Brew District

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The stakes are pretty high when you open a brewery in the Highlight Center. It’s mere blocks from Indeed, 612, Bauhaus, and Sociable Cider Werks, not to mention the rest of the Northeast brew scene. So what is Able Seedhouse + Brewery doing differently in an environment that’s already crawling with breweries?

Eventually they’ll malt their own barley. For now, they’re brewing more craft beer that, based on response at their soft opening, is another solid contributor to the local community. Able is opening with four beers: House red, Two Sparrows wheat pale ale, First Light IPA, and BLK WLF stout, including BLK WLF on nitro and a cold press non-alcoholic beer soon to come. 

The beers that stood out were BLK WLF stout, House red, and First Light IPA. BLK WLF is a dry and sessionable stout, perfect for the chilly temps right now and easy drinking enough to have a few without stumbling over. Easy drinking like Guinness, but a little lighter on the stomach. The nitro version gives a creamier, heavier mouthfeel but it’s still not as thick-bodied as most stouts on market. It’s just heavier than a porter and without that watery feel.

Despite being called a red, House is a little more IPA than red ale. It lacks that malty sweet finish the style often features and profiles as very hop-forward, bitter with a balanced sweetness that evens out without an overt malt roast flavor. Two Sparrows is a unique beer, but not a standout. It’s filtered, so it pours clear and yellow. It’s also hop-forward with a very dry, piney finish that feels more akin to a British-style IPA than a pale ale or wheat beer. The dry finish multiplies as the pint inches toward the bottom. All the beers are very clean, leaning toward their styles but with an American craft twist, notably a hop bouquet in the WPA and red. First Light IPA is both juicy and bitter, soft and easy to drink. Think somewhere in the middle between a Summit EPA and a Deschutes Fresh Squeezed.

The space is open and beautiful, crafted mostly by local artisans and laid out something like a cafeteria with a big bar for orders in the center and community and individual tables set up along the walls. The décor merges metal and wood, and there’s a dominant patch of reclaimed wood comprising the bar in the center of the room. The open space and high ceilings make it welcoming, inviting; it feels larger than it is.

There’s ample seating, spaces to stand and rest your beer as well, and (bonus points) it has an even bigger parking lot. With garage doors that will open in the springtime, the patio will expand the space and look just across Broadway at hot dog dive Uncle Franky’s.

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With the brew-tone already well-established in Northeast, Able doesn’t feel like a copycat. Indeed has the old-time brick charm; Bauhaus has the party; and 612 has the comfort. Able is the in-between. It’s neither industrial minimalism nor overhyped amenities. Instead, it feels more like a coffee shop or art space where they make their own products. It’s a fitting vibe for any startup in the Arts District.

Able Seedhouse + Brewery is now open at 1121 Quincy St. NE.