This long weekend I took a quick trip down south of the border to Bellingham, Washington.  The trip was a bit of a consolation prize since we were late in determining that we were going away, and so everything was either too expensive or booked up in Seattle – our first choice destination.  B’ham seemed like a good alternative and offered the opportunity to meet up with family friends for a quick brunch on Sunday.

The last time I went to Bellingham, I only managed to grab some easy-to-find beers that, while delicious, were still not that hard to find up here.  After returning home I heard about the Bellingham Tap Trail and vowed that I’d follow it the next time I was in town.

aslan brewing flights

We had two flights at Aslan brewing and still missed out on many more beers.

First stop on the trail was Elizabeth Station to actually try some of the beer on tap, grab some food, and do a little shopping.  We ended up dropping about $100 CAD in one shot, more than we could realistically consume in two days and still do some brewery and bar tours.  Maybe we’d go on a picnic? Or be able to bring some home?

Later that day we visited Aslan Brewing to sample some of their beer in their great space.  It was really hot out that day and we walked a mere 20 min to the brewery from our hotel. But once we arrived we were ready for something mighty refreshing, which we found in both their Disco Lemonade Berliner Weisse and their Batch 15 IPA.

A 5-minute walk down the hill and we found ourselves at the Local, a pub that specializes in local food and drink (as you might expect).  We grabbed a snack and sampled some of the Local’s own beer (brewed in Ferndale, just North of B’ham), as well as a couple from Seattle.  Quaint and unassuming, the pub is well worth the visit for the beer options alone.

By this time we figured it was time to actually eat something substantial so we made our way to McKay’s Tap-house for some pizza and a pint on their street-side patio.  The joint is a tap-house with an incredible selection disguised as a pizza joint.  And when I say incredible, don’t misunderstand what I mean – they have 50 beers on tap, and even more in bottles!  We shared a picnic table outside with some other patrons and watched the sunset while sipping on Belgian Tripels and Double IPAs before devouring a pizza and heading back to the hotel.

copper hog beer flight

Breakfast flight at the Copper Hog

Sunday morning we went for brunch to yet another stop on the Bellingham Tap Trail: the Copper Hog.  I decided to take advantage of my ability to drink beer at 9am and had a few 5oz glasses of some amazing Washington beer, including a Dark Star Barrel Aged Oatmeal Stout from 2014 by Fremont Brewing in Seattle.  Wow, was that one delicious.  I’m going to have to try and find it at Elizabeth Station on my next visit.

Since we couldn’t leave without trying out the other two breweries in town that I hadn’t yet been to, we took a little drive up to Kulshan Brewing for a flight of 6 of their tasty beers – I prefer their Hopped Golden Ale out of the sextet that we tried.

Next stop was Wander Brewing.  These folks opened earlier this year and they’ve clearly made a name for themselves.  They had 12 beers on tap, and while we didn’t try them all, each one we tried was excellent.  Of the trip, Wander was definitely the standout brewery, and that’s saying a lot considering the quality of the product that’s being brewed in that little town.

After Wander, we hopped on the I5 and made our way back home to Vancouver, wishing in many ways that we had more time.  The Bellingham Tap Trail map definitely helped us out trying to find out the best spots for great beer (as well as navigating without a data plan) so props to them for producing something super cool!  You can find one of their ‘Passports’ in pretty much any brewery or pub around town from what I’ve seen.  Bellingham is really working hard to celebrate its craft scene – something I think we’re starting to emulate up here in VanCity!

Here’s to the next one!

 

copper hog books

They had a great – albeit eclectic – selection of books on the hutch at the Copper Hog…

kulshan flight

The flight and partial menu at Kulshan brewing

inside wander brewing

An Instagram view of the inside of Wander Brewing

wander brewing menu

A great selection at Wander Brewing

oak barrels at wander brewing

Plenty of oak barrels for aging beer.

empty wander glasses

Post BBQ and beer.

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