Stoup Brewing's website lists several definitions of "stoup," including a Scandinavian bucket, a Northern English drinking vessel, and an ecclesiastical basin for holy water. Poltergeists will be relieved to hear that none of the beers at this new Ballard brewery and taproom contain holy water; the India Session Ale tastes pleasantly like the smell of a very hot, dry field of flowers in August. Co-owner Brad Benson, a professional brewer and environmental scientist, says they designed the beer to appeal to the IPA-crazy local palate, but with a lower alcohol content for extended, low-key partying. Stoup's other owners are wine expert Lara Zahaba and certified cicerone Robyn Schumacher.
I sampled their tasty Belgian-style golden strong ale, and they showed me the vending machine they painted attractively with Stoup's logo before realizing that it has mechanical issues. "It's kind of a socialist," said Lara. "It wants to give snacks to everyone." Among other things, it dispenses organic cheese puffs and something called "Perky Jerky" that sounds like caffeinated meat. Marination Mobile provides more filling options on Saturdays, and on Fridays and Sundays you'll find a changing selection of food trucks including Nosh and the brand-new Street Hawk. The brewery's huge garage door will essentially turn the whole taproom into a patio in warmer months, and a large back area, shared with an undersea mining company, will be converted into an actual patio.