freemont exterior

I followed my nose and it led me to the brewery!

October 30th was a good friend’s birthday in Seattle so I made my way down for the party.  Naturally I had to bring a few BC gems with me as a gift for my hosts so I brought them a bottle of Fat Tug, a four-pack of Play Dead IPA from Yellow Dog, and for a something a little different, the Wildfire Smoked IPA from Cannery Brewing.  While they were excited to get their hands on some BC beers, I was excited to try out some of their local offerings

My friends live in the Fremont neighbourhood of Seattle and I intended to take advantage by visiting two excellent breweries: Fremont Brewing and Reuben’s Brews since both were within the area.  Sadly due to a long border wait and heavy traffic getting into the city I only had time to go visit one brewery so I chose the closest: Fremont Brewing.

In the shadow of the Aurora Avenue Bridge, Fremont Brewing recently expanded their patio to take up most of the space outside of the brewery next to the street.  Come summer time, I’m sure the place is utterly packed.  On the inside there are plenty of long tables in both the tap room and the lounge, as well as a fireplace – though that wasn’t being used when I was there.

darkstar aged stout bottles

These bottles were restocked at least twice during my visit they were going that fast.

They had a great selection of their beers on tap, as well as some special one-offs such as their version of a single-hop series, which was on offer in the brewery only.  I didn’t know before I arrived but they had just released the 2015 version of their Bourbon Barrel Aged Darkstar Stout.  I got to try some of last-year’s version at the Copper Hog when I went to Bellingham earlier this summer so I was eager to snap up a couple of bottles.  They were limiting purchases to four bottles per person, but at $20 US per bottle, I really could only afford to get two.  

Since I had to bring beer to the party to drink, not just for gifts, I opted to fill my growlers with some of their classic IPA, and the Rye Saison to try something a little different. Both proved to be excellent choices.

The rest of my trip was taken up with other errands and to-dos, but on my way home I took a detour through some of the smaller highways and made my way to North Fork Brewery on the Mount Baker Highway.

The place is on the Bellingham Tap Trail, in spite of being about 45min outside of the city.  The detour was well worth it, however.  North Fork is known for its pizza and locally-made beer, and came highly recommended from locals and others in the know.  The brewery is small and they’ve been going strong for a number of years.  The new brewer is experimenting and keeping on trend by producing a sour, a Belgian Dubbel, and even a barley wine.  I was driving and had to be sensible so I only tried the first two of them.

north fork bar

Old beer cans above the bar and ceramic steins below.

North Fork offers 3oz, 12oz and 16oz glasses so I stuck with the smallest so as to try as many of their beers as possible.  Every one of their offerings was worth it, but I was fond in particular of the Dubbel, the Pale Ale, and the Porter.  The pizza was great too, you really can’t stop in without getting one.  

I loved how unassuming the place was from the outside, and the welcoming atmosphere and classic decor on the inside.  It definitely had the feel and charm of a local pub in the foothills.  Trust me, it is well worth taking the extra time to go out there for a visit.  While it was empty when I arrived, be warned that the place is very popular. particularly in the summer when you could end upwaiting quite some time to get served, if you can even get a table in the first place.

For a short trip across the border for a birthday party, it turned into a rather productive and tasty – albeit short – exploration of some more of the excellent beer and breweries in Washington.

What do you think?  What’s unmissable for my next trip across the border?  Leave a comment or let me know on Twitter!

fremont sandwich board

For all you nerds out there, this beer is overpowered.

flight of fremont brews

I got a good selection but I barely scratched the surface.

aurora bridge

The aurora bridge towers over you as you leave.

north fork sign

I had no idea this was also a beer shrine and wedding chapel!

north fork pizza closeup

The pizza was truly fantastic.

north fork fortune

Can’t argue with some good fortune to cap off your visit.

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