Celebrate Bellingham Beer Week
By Aubrey Laurence
There’s nothing like ending a long hike on a crisp fall day with a good beer. For 10 days in September, you can raise pints of the tastiest brews in the region with the very people who brewed them.
The third annual Bellingham Beer Week (BBW) will run from September 12 through September 21 in the Bellingham area. Organizers expect it to be even better than last year’s festival, which saw more than 50 unique events at 20 different venues featuring two dozen local and regional breweries.
Events taking place during this celebration of craft beer include tap takeovers, brewer nights, beer-and-food pairings, the Barleywood Squares game show, a slew of special beer releases, a homebrew demonstration, visits from respected brewers and beer writers and much more.
All seven of Whatcom County’s breweries plan to participate, and all five Bellingham breweries will have open houses on Saturday, September 13, from noon to 3 p.m., giving you a chance to take brief tours and ask brewers questions.
On Wednesday, September 17 at 6:30 p.m., Pickford Film Center will have a special showing of the documentary “Crafting a Nation,” which highlights several key players in the American craft beer movement.
Sour-heads will want to attend Elizabeth Station’s Sour Fest on Saturday, September 20, which will feature more than two dozen sour ales on tap. Elizabeth Station will also host other events, including a Cascade Brewing Tap Takeover and an evening with Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales owner Ron Jeffries.
The Elysian Tap Takeover at McKay’s Taphouse & Pizzeria on Saturday, September 13, will be epic, with roughly 50 of Seattle’s Elysian Brewing beers on tap. Other beer bars are planning events as well, including The Copper Hog, The Green Frog, The Local Public House, Das Schweinhaus, Greene’s Corner and Maggie’s Pub.
Kulshan Brewing will have a Beer Trivia Night on Monday, September 15, and will host a brewers’ bocce tournament.
“We’re really pumped to be a part of Bellingham Beer Week again,” said Chris Noskoff, systems manager at Kulshan. “We will have some rarities on tap, including the 2013 Bellingham Beer Week collaboration beer, which is a Belgian-style dark strong ale, as well as some nicely aged cans to go.”
This year’s main event will be Bellingham Oktoberfest at Depot Market Square, which will benefit the Volunteer Center of Whatcom County. This event will feature music, food and beer from about 30 breweries from across the Pacific Northwest.
BBW will coincide with other beer-related events featuring local breweries, including the Bite of Bellingham, Chuckanut Century, Sustainable Connections’ Eat Local Month, the Bellingham Traverse and 5Point Film Festival.
Of course, beer will be the connecting thread. Many local and regional breweries will brew limited-release beers in celebration of Bellingham Beer Week, including Whatcom Wheat, a collaboration beer made by all of Whatcom County’s brewers, which will be available at various locations on draft and in 16-ounce cans. Chuckanut Brewery will be releasing Locavore Alt, made for BBW.
“We haven’t brewed an alt in quite a while, so we’re excited about this beer,” said Mari Kemper, co-owner of Chuckanut Brewery. “This alt will be extra special because it will be made with malt produced at nearby Skagit Valley Malting!”
Also look for special BBW beers from 10 Barrel Brewing of Bend, Oregon and Fremont Brewing of Seattle.
Bellingham Beer Week is a true community collaboration, and it’s a win-win for craft breweries and beer enthusiasts. But let’s not forget the main point of it all, and that’s to have lots of fun.
For more information and to see the continuously growing calendar of events, visit bellinghambeerweek.com and facebook.com/BellinghamBeerWeek. x