Photos by Ryan Murray

The wooden board of rotating taps shows off a deep selection of beers, some from as far away as Missouri, Belgium and Japan.
Photos by Ryan Murray The wooden board of rotating taps shows off a deep selection of beers, some from as far away as Missouri, Belgium and Japan.

Tucked away discreetly in one of Seattle’s densest beer neighborhoods, Trailbend Taproom opened last month in Ballard.

The sleek taproom features a rotating selection of 42 local rare beers and ciders as well as a few from distant locales. There’s also a house cocktail on draft too, in case that’s more your speed.

Stoup Brewing, literally just around the corner from Trailbend, makes the house beer: the Trailbend IPA is a light-bodied IPA with some grassy, piney hop action. It’s light enough to appeal to non-IPA fans but got enough going for hopheads to order one as well. But at 6.7 percent ABV, it’s also far from sessionable.

The modern, kid-friendly Trailbend Taproom features dark colors, nouveau-rustic furniture and heavily textured everything.

Seriously, go look at the lines on the walls or the patterns under the bar. This place has a definite tactile aesthetic.

Food is reminiscent of a neighborhood pizzeria, scaled up into classy territory. Pizzas run from the $14 marinara classic pizza to the $18 Enigma.

The latter pie is brushed with the lightest smattering of garlic herb oil and a dollop of mozzarella along with provolone and shavings of pecorino cheese. A runny egg is smack in the middle of the pie, and it’s all topped with prosciutto, lemony arugula and pistachios.

It’s a bold, interesting pizza with exquisite, flavorful ingredients.

And it doesn’t really work.

The dough is so dense and chewy, the oil so lightly applied, it’s more like eating a flatbread without a lot of ingredient cohesion. After one great bite with all the ingredients in the middle, you’re left with a whole lot of chewy dough.

Other pies on the list looked intriguing, so if Trailbend is more liberal with other ingredients (like the chicken, mixed peppers, pesto and cheese on the Loral pizza, or the mixed mushrooms and provolone on the Chelan pizza) those pies are definitely worth a try for me.

A safer bet is the meatball appetizer, which at $12 is no light fare for your wallet either. But where this succeeds where the pizza did not is the beef and pork melting in your mouth in a savory marinara sauce topped with mozzarella and parmesan.

The meatballs are juicy and massive. The flatbread they are served with (the pizza dough, repurposed?) works wonderfully with the ample sauce. The cheesy goodness comes off in strings all day long.

Other menu standouts include the honey chili chicken wings ($12), the butternut bake (with ricotta, olives and feta, $14), the roasted beet salad (with chèvre, pickled shallots, pistachios and champagne vinagrette, $15) and the $14 “Mort” sandwich piled with mortadella, arugula, shallots and provolone.

Trailbend Taproom is open Monday to Friday 2 p.m. - late and Saturday and Sunday, 11:30 a.m. - late. Located at 1118 NW 50th St.