1221 E. Pike St., Seattle, Wash., elysianbrewing.com
Elysian's local market penetration seems to be growing; at least I keep hearing the name of this Seattle brewing powerhouse more often, most recently at Nosh. That's where the amazing Avatar Jasmine IPA — think: a slightly tannic, super-floral, hoppy tea-beer fusion — was recently flowing on tap. (If that's run out, you can find bombers locally for around $5.)
Inspired, I next picked up the 7-percent-ABV Loser Pale Ale (around $9.50/six-pack), a tribute to Seattle's iconic, independent Sub Pop Records, which launched the likes of Nirvana and now reps acts like Father John Misty and Blitzen Trapper. Behind a rebellious motto of "Corporate Beer Still Sucks," Loser delivers a strongly malty body and flavor (it's brewed with four varieties) and a light edge of Sorachi Ace (Japanese-grown and citrusy; cultivated for Sapporo) and Crystal hops. All in all, it's a rock 'n roll experience. — Matthew Schniper
1025 N. Academy Blvd., 574-3401, bhanthaico.com
For more than a decade, Bhan Thai — separately owned from the Centennial Boulevard eatery of the same name — has been there for our pre-Picture Show needs, dishing serviceable, affordable, MSG-free Thai staples. Plates like the Pad Thai glass noodles ($6.25), which replaces the common, larger rice noodles with gossamer bean-thread noodles that clump in dry-starch fashion. Vegetables and shrimp ($2 extra) with charred edges contribute to a strong wok's breath flavoring that isn't dominated by spice when ordered medium.
The Tom Yum Chicken soup ($6.25/large) makes for a great shared starter if seeking something thinner than the more popular Tom Kha coconut milk-thickened soup. The Tom Yum sports a brothier, slightly oily, tomato-backed body spiked with potent lemongrass and cilantro notes, with some half-raw button mushrooms, white onion slices and thin poultry slivers for bite. — Matthew Schniper
Kairos Coffee and Tea
505 Popes Bluff Trail, 226-5150, ywamsf.org/kairoscoffee
Operated as part of the Youth With a Mission nonprofit, Kairos shares part of a former Hilton Hotel (now mostly occupied by YWAM) with the Paragon Culinary School. It's got the feel of a dark old hotel bar (just off Paragon's main kitchen), but it's brightened by cheery young people behind a central ordering counter, weekdays from 7 to 5.
Said people make a decent drink (with 10 percent of proceeds going to fight human trafficking via Five14), as evidenced by my velvety, not-too-sweet London Fog ($2.50/16 ounces), which steeps an Earl Grey tea bag in vanilla-syrup-infused steamed milk. Denver's Novo Coffee supplies the devilishly delicious beans for the Cocomo special ($3/12 ounces), essentially an espresso shot, a couple pumps of Torani coconut syrup and a small squirt of DaVinci chocolate syrup. Yeah, it's sweet — but in balance, and a nice treat. — Matthew Schniper