In the last few years, small neighborhood brew pubs have been popping up in Bellingham to a warm and enthusiastic reception. This growing trend is a welcome addition to our city, with microbreweries that reflect a spirit of adventure and the communal desire to embrace the outdoors. They all offer alfresco seating, use local ingredients and sustainable business practices, and beckon with a friendly, unpretentious vibe.
Here, a few of our favorite Bellingham brew pubs following an outdoor excursion.
Aslan Brewing Company
Founded by avid climbers, Aslan Brewing Company , on Forest Street, brews 100 percent certified organic beers, but you won't hear owners bragging about this; they're too focused on producing a quality product at no extra cost to the consumer instead.
Aslan seeks to promote an organic lifestyle through good beer, backed up by a delicious menu featuring locally sourced ingredients. Always popular are the bison and veggie burgers, served with fries and excellent cilantro-lime cole slaw, that will fill you up post-ride (and energize you for the trip home). Pick from about a dozen craft beers, plus ginger ale and root beer. It's all served up in the clean, modern space, with floor-to-ceiling windows, exposed pipes, and concrete floors.
Aslan Brewery is about a block from Vital Climbing Gym , a great alternative for a workout if you can't bring yourself to hit the trail on a rainy day. Go for a post-climb pint on Tuesdays and enjoy deep discounts at Aslan.
Also within easy distance of Aslan Brewery is the Sehome Arboretum. If you're biking, just head up Magnolia to Ellis, then Jersey, which will take you to the northern trailhead within about ten minutes. Dating all the way back to 1893, the Arboretum features six miles of trails and a lookout tower that offers beautiful views of Bellingham and the bay.
Boundary Bay Brewery and Bistro
For an uplifting antidote to the late winter weeks in Bellingham while we're waiting for spring to arrive, dig into a plate of Yam AleChiladas and a pint of Cabin Fever at Bellingham's first brewpub. Since opening in 1995, Boundary Bay has become a local institution, with friendly servers, a communal vibe, and a commitment to using local ingredients—not to mention excellent, award-winning brews, including seven taps dedicated to house beers that are served year round. In the winter months, enjoy the cozy vibe indoors (complete with a canoe hanging from the ceiling). Come summer, the beer garden is a prime gathering spot, with live music on Saturdays.
The brewery is easily accessible from the South Bay Trail , which begins in Fairhaven across from the Village Green. It’s a gorgeous trail that follows the bay waterfront, crossing over the water on the Taylor Boardwalk Bridge to Boulevard Park. Go through the park, then cross the railroad tracks and follow the trail all the way downtown to the Depot Square, the location of the Farmers’ Market; Boundary Bay is just across the street. There's ample bike parking around the brewery, and you can do the 2.5-mile ride in either direction, or begin and end at Boundary Bay for a 5-mile ride—and a pint or two at the finish.
Chuckanut Brewery and Kitchen/Whatcom Creek Trail
Located on West Holly Street in Old Town, near Maritime Heritage Park and the fish hatcheries, Chuckanut Brewery and Kitchen features European-style brew and a locovore menu. It's conveniently located near Whatcom Creek from Maritime Heritage Park to Bloedell Donovan Park . Alternatively, you can hop on the Old Village Trail , a small urban trail that connects the Lettered Streets and Elizabeth Park with Old Town.
Kulshan Brewery/Whatcom Falls
Kulshan Brewery was an immediate hit as soon as it opened two years ago, and now you can find its brews in restaurants throughout Bellingham. It's all about the beers here, with about eight year-round brews on tap, including the Dude Man Wheat Ale and the Bastard Kat IPA, and the brewery doesn't serve food. But patrons are welcome to bring in their own grub—refuel with food from any of several nearby restaurants, Trader Joe's next door, or the food trucks parked outside.
With bike lanes on either side of James Street, Kulshan Brewery is a great destination for post biking around Whatcom Falls, with beautiful falls and an old bridge with arches made of Chuckanut sandstone. Just head up James to Alabama, hang a right on Electric Avenue, another quick right on Arbor Street, and you’re there.