The Bellingham Brewery Six Pack

Just an hour from Vancouver, Washington State’s northern capital beckons with some of the most interesting craft beer north of Portland. Here are the six open now, just in time for Bellingham Beer Week (Sept. 11 – Sept. 20).

September 2, 2015

By Bellingham Beer Week / Photo: Bellingham Beer Week

Wander Brewing
1807 Dean Ave., Bellingham

Wander Brewing

Bellingham’s newest craft brewery opened last summer in an industrial alley just outside downtown Bellingham. Launched by Chad and Colleen Keuhl, a young couple who wandered (get the connection?) the globe before settling in California, then Seattle, then Bellingham. Their 1920s-era shipbuilding space welcomes thirsty adults and their kids and dogs to the ample indoor and outdoor seating. The bar, tables and other furnishings are made mostly from reclaimed wood, including from Chad’s grandfather’s bar in Iowa and a local elementary school—all conversation pieces for the loyal locals and visitors who come here to drink, eat (food trucks are there more often than not) and take a break from the day’s wandering.

Aslan Brewing Company
1330 N. Forest, Bellingham

Aslan Brewing

Aslan Brewing is creating quite a buzz in the West Coast beer scene, and not only because of the wide array of dozen-plus beers on offer. As one of the few certified organic beers in the country (and the first one ever in Bellingham), Aslan aspires to create world-class ales and lagers that push boundaries while preserving the purity of the brewing tradition. Equally rare is their addictive restaurant fare, boasting dreamy riffs on pub grub like poutine waffle fries and spicy, Mexican white cheese corn on the cob called elote. And they also apply the organic filter to their food whenever possible—including amazing kids, gluten-free and vegan selections. The modern, bright, airy room makes it easy to spend a few hours lingering and thanking your lucky stars that you live in Cascadia.

Boundary Bay Brewery
1107 Railroad Avenue, Bellingham

Boundary Bay Brewing

Every beer scene needs the godfather and in Bellingham’s case, it’s Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro. Open since 1995 (yes, it’s their 20th birthday this year) Boundary Bay has won numerous awards for its beer and does brisk business at its downtown location. Boundary Bay’s approach to brewing is to focus on the purity of classic beer styles. Still, they’re not afraid to sprinkle local flavours into classics. This means that the IPA, Imperial IPA and Imperial Oatmeal Stout are just as robust and filling as they sound. Their restaurant rivals the beer. Classic dishes range from seafood chowder to Latin fusion. But it’s the brew that is ubiquitous around town—from growler filling stations to Bellingham Bells baseball game concessions.

Chuckanut Brewery
601 Holly Street, Bellingham

Chuckanut Brewing

At seven years old, Chuckanut has quickly become the gold standard for award-winning beer in town. Their secret? A dedication to classic European brewing. And the beer nerds noticed. Oh, how they noticed. Owners Will and Mari Kemper have been awarded Silver and Bronze medals at the Great American Beer Festival in 2009 and 2010, and NW Brewing News Pilsner for 2010, 2011 and 2012. The esteemed Brewing Network, producers of online beer programs, declared Chuckanut Brewery Pilsner as the Beer of the Year in 2012. The brewery was also awarded the National Small Brewpub/Brewer of the Year in 2009 and National Small Brewery/Brewer of the Year in 2011 at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. Locals swear by their kitchen and famed happy hour, which runs from Sunday to Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. with various nightly specials.

Kulshan Brewing Company
2248 James Street, Bellingham

Kulshan Brewing

Kulshan Brewing Co. is a relative new kid on the block, opened in 2012. But it arrived with a mission and is now undergoing its third expansion. The brewery has 14 taps and specializes in Northwest-style ales and Belgian-style beers as well as a few unforgettable lagers. But if you drink one beer, make it the Bastard Kat IPA, voted “Best in Bellingham,” last year. The brewery is also making history, besides their massive production facility, they were the first brewers to can Bellingham beer, back in 2013. Given all the demand for their product the brewery is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., with extended hours to midnight on Friday and Saturday. It also exudes a decidedly West Coast mellowness, eschewing an onsite kitchen and allowing thirsty customers to bring in food from any of the neighbouring restaurants—or even from home. But just to be safe, Kulshan is also frequented by a variety of popular food trucks throughout the week.

The Local Public House
1427 Railroad Avenue, Bellingham

The Local Pub House

Barely two years old, The Local Public House is the official taproom for Menace Brewing. Menace brews a full lineup, including an ESB, IPA, Dry Nitro Stout and the award-winning Chili Bravo Pale and Menace Red. Given Menace’s thirst for pushing the envelope, new brews are added regularly. The Local matches great food with their brews—not just their own but a carefully curated rotating tap featuring regional ales and lagers, along with ciders. There is also an impressive wine list should you commit sacrilege and actually tire of the sudsy nirvana.

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