Kids have Lego Land. Adults have Bellingham Beer Week! BBW 2014 takes place at venues all over town from September 12 though the 21st. Thatâ€™s rightâ€”this year itâ€™s an expanded â€ś10-day weekâ€ť of special events highlighting all thatâ€™s good about beer and the people who make it for us. It’s all about collaboration and communityâ€”and the folks who runÂ ourÂ local breweries are some of the best examplesÂ of these concepts that you’ll ever meet.
For BBW #3, we again have the conundrum of so many events, and so little time. But with careful planning, you can support your favorite breweries and watering holes, and even help local nonprofits, all while filling up on delicious beers of nearly every known styleâ€”from stouts to sours.
Here is a preview of some of whatâ€™s happening during Bellingham Beer Week. I will be popping in for as many as I can handle! I hope to see you out, about and enjoying beer all over Bellingham.
One more thing: letâ€™s make this a safe and sane BBW! The weather looks like it will cooperate, so grab your bike or your favorite walking shoes and use your human power to get to the events and back home. And if you need to avoid driving after one too many, by all means, call a cab!
Bellingham Beer Week Preview of Events
Friday, September 12: Letâ€™s get started! Oh boy. How to choose? Iâ€™d love to be at Elizabeth Station, where theyâ€™re hosting a â€śFirst Callâ€ť event , featuring craft brews making their first appearance on tap in Bellingham. A dozen or so breweries like Fort George, Laurelwood, Double Mountain and our own Wander will be bringing their new or rare babies for us to try. Itâ€™s also a fundraiser for Our Tree House, a local organization that helps kids and teens who have suffered a loss in their lives. $25 gets you in the door and ten, 4-ounce tastes.
I also want to help inaugurate the Bellingham Tap Trail! The trail maps will be hot off the presses, and folks will gather at Kulshan Brewing at 4:30. Find out where the group is going next by following along Twitter or Instagram (hashtag #taptrail). It all ends at The Local. Stamp your passport for the chance to win BTT schwag.
Other opportunities to help local organizations on Friday night: â€śHoppy Trails for Youâ€ť at Kulshan Brewing, where they will donate $1 for every pint sold from 5:30 â€“ 9:30 p.m. to Recreation Northwestâ€™s Stewardship Program to improve the trial connecting Fairhaven Park to the forest. Also, Bham BrewnitedÂ is at Boundary Bay, where $1 from each pint sold between 4:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. will go to WA Wild, which promotes and protects healthy watersheds. Boundary, Wander and Aslan are all members of the WA Brewshed Alliance, and all three breweries will be on tap in Boundary Bayâ€™s Beer Garden.
Rock & RyeÂ Oyster House is new on the BBW schedule this year, and theyâ€™ll be making some delicious cocktails with Ninkasi beers on Friday night, starting at 7:00 p.m.
Chuckanut Brewery will be tapping its Local Malt Alt at 5:30. This is a very cool project: a beer brewed with locally grown barley that was malted down the road in the Skagit Valley. Head brewer Bryan Cardwell will be on hand along with representatives from Skagit Valley Malting.
Saturday, September 13: Aslan Brewing is having their â€śBetter Late than Neverâ€ť Grand Opening party all day. Play cornhole, enjoy beer specials and live music, and ooh and aah at the circus acts.
From 1:00 to 3:00, the Copper Hog is hosting an â€śIPA-offâ€ť for all you hop heads. You taste; you decide which is best.
Sunday, September 14: Close out weekend #1 of BBW by filling up your belly with some food to go with all thatÂ beer at the Bite of Bellingham. Itâ€™s at Depot Market Square from noon to 4:00 p.m. Try the best bites from 20+ area restaurants, and a beer garden, of course. Free admission; food and beer tickets available onsite.
From noon to 3:00 p.m., the Barleywood Squares game show returns at Das Schweinhaus. Craft beer-related questions are posed to local brewers and beer bar staffers, who do their best to answer them.
At 4:00 p.m., meet at Johnnyâ€™s Donuts at 2201 Cornwall Avenue to start the Wander to Wander 1K â€śrace.â€ť A $20 registration fee includes a pint at Wander Brewing when you finally get there, along with a medal to mark your achievement. All proceeds go to the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center. Register online or at the event, starting at 3:30. Costumes are encouraged, and at just over a half mile, this is one race nearly anyone can handle!
Monday, September 15: From 7:30 â€“ 10:00 p.m., The Local is hosting the Brewerâ€™s Cup Awards Ceremony, the culmination of their homebrew competition that started way back in April. Find out who the BJCP-certified judges have decided is the Best Home Brewer in Bellingham!
If youâ€™re into an elegant dinner experience, head to the Cliff House for the Grand Brew Master Dinner, featuring four courses paired with Chuckanut Brewery beers. $50 per person, and you need to pre-register.
Tuesday, September 16: So many choices! Boundary Bay Brewery will be celebrating both its 19th anniversary and its 5,000 batchâ€”a special Imperial Porter released that day.
Also at Boundary from 7:00 â€“ 8:30 p.m., the first femALES event will celebrate the women of Bellingham beer. Theyâ€™re releasing a collaboration Blackberry Hefeweizen made at Island Hoppinâ€™ Brewery. Participants can taste beers and chat with women representing Wander, Chuckanut, Boundary Bay, Island Hoppinâ€™, Aslan, and Kulshan Breweries, Evolve Chocolate Truffles, and more! $10 entry benefits Dorothy Place, a transitional housing and support services provider for women and children who have survived domestic violence.
Other Tuesday events include: Cascade Brewery Sours at Elizabeth Station, Fremont Brewerâ€™s Night at McKayâ€™s, Green Flash Brewerâ€™s Night at the Copper Hog, Hi-Fi Brewerâ€™s Night at Maggieâ€™s Pub, Kitsap County Brewery Showcase at the Green Frog and Great Divide Tap Takeover at Rock & Rye. Whew! What a great night for beer!
Wednesday, September 17: I will be on San Juan Cruisesâ€™ Bellingham Bay BREWers CruiseÂ from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Host brewery Boundary Bay will be joined by Island Hoppinâ€™ and Schooner EXACT. It will be a great night on beautiful Bellingham Bay!
If I werenâ€™t going to be on a boat drinking beer, I would be drinking amazing beer and eating amazing food at The Local. Theyâ€™re hosting the Menace/Chuckanut/Local Beer Pairing dinner, with three Menace beers and three Chuckanut beers paired with six courses prepared by The Local and Chuckanutâ€™s very own chefs.
Thursday, September 18: Stone Brewerâ€™s Night at McKayâ€™s Taphouse looks very promising, as does the Brewersâ€™ Olympics with Firestone Walker at Das Schweinhaus. And if you love Menace Brewingâ€™s beers, they will be taking over the taps at The Local from 6:00 p.m. on!
Friday, September 19: Still going strong? Then youâ€™ll want to plan on Bellingham Oktoberfest, a benefit for the Volunteer Center of Whatcom County. Itâ€™s happening from 6:30 â€“ 10:00 p.m. at Depot Market Square. Get tickets now for $20 or at the door for $25. Tastes included from over 30 local and regional breweries, plus brats and more fun stuff.
Das Schweinhaus is having an Oktoberfest of their own, starting Friday and going all weekend. Iâ€™m pretty sure it will involve German beers, wursts and pretzels.
Saturday, September 20: Almost there! Stop by the Bellingham Farmers Market Saturday morning at 11:00 for a demo on cooking with beer with Chuckanut Breweryâ€™s Chef Joel Shumate.
And hang out at Boundary Bay for the Bellingham Traverse, with a special Traverse Red IPA and lots of music and fun. The multi-sport race starts at noon and teams finish from around 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Cheer them on and enjoy the sidewalk beer garden.
Meet me at Elizabeth Station at 4:00 for Sourfest! So. Many. Sour. Beers. Sours and Berliner Weisses, plus wild and fruit ales from breweries like Skagit River, Anderson Valley, 10 Barrel, Aslan, North Fork, Schooner Exact, Castle and New Belgium, among many others.
From there, you can check out Full Sail Brewers Night at McKayâ€™s Taphouse, starting at 6:00.
Sunday, September 21: Sadly, it will be time to close out another fantastic Belingham Beer Week. Why not start with a healthy hike with Beers at the Bottom? Theyâ€™ll be meeting at Cyrus Gates Overlook at 12:45 and hiking the new Rock Trail, then gathering for beers at the bottom at Wander Brewing. Iâ€™m running a half marathon on Saturday, so I will not be in hiking condition on Sunday. Darn.
If youâ€™re feeling a little lazy after nine days of beer nirvana, then head to Perfectly Paired in Fairhaven, for a beer and cheese pairing. Meet the guys behind Stones Throw Brewery, opening soon in Fairhaven, and try delicious cheeses paired with beers from Boundary Bay, Kulshan and Chuckanut breweries, as well as the BBW Collaboration Brew.
Wind up BBW at McKayâ€™s, hosting a Whiskey Ridge Brewerâ€™s Night at 7:00 p.m.
Specially Brewed Bellingham Beer Week Beers
Throughout the 10 glorious days of Bellingham Beer Week, youâ€™ll be sure to find on tap all over the city the special beers brewed just for this occasion:
- Bellingham Beer Week #3 Collaboration Beer: Whatcom Wheat. Brewed and canned at Boundary Bay, this is a collaboration between all nine Whatcom County breweries: Boundary, Kulshan, Chuckanut, Wander, Aslan, Menace, North Fork, Gruff and Stones Throw (the latter two are not yet open for business). Available on tap and in cans all over town.
- 10 Barrel Bellingham Crush: A Berliner Weisse brewed in Bend, OR and made with local berries from Barbieâ€™s Berries.
- Fremont Brewing Co. Cowiche Canyon Hop Lab No.3: In honor of BBW #3, this is an IPA made with 100% organic Citra hops from Cowiche Canyon.
- Chuckanut Brewery Local Malt Alt: Chuckanutâ€™s award-winning Altbier, brewed with locally-sourced malt from the Skagit Valley.
- Wander Brewing BBW #3 Tripel: For the 3rd Annual BBW, Wander brewed a Tripel made with three malts, three hops, and at a 3.2 ABV.
Check out the full BBW 2014 event calendar here.
I’ll see you out there! Have fun. Drink beer. Be safe!