Monday, June 8th, 2015
A Beer Garden Oasis in Bellingham
Teresa Schmidt

Hops N Headz, Bellingham, Taphouse, Craft Beer, Beer GardenHops ‘N Headz, Bellingham’s newest tap house, opened earlier this year on Northwest Avenue, in the former Osaka Japanese Restaurant location. Hops ‘N Headz is a great addition to the Birchwood neighborhood, which suffered from a dearth of craft brew outlets. And judging by the steady flow of patrons on a recent Wednesday evening, I’d say the locals agree.

Inside, you’ll find 30 taps with rotating beer and cider selections, from both local and faraway breweries and cideries. With that many choices, there’s certainly a style on tap for everyone! Of course, there big screen TVs for all the sports games, and cozy seating areas here and there. 

Hops N Headz, Bellingham, Taphouse, Craft Beer, Beer Garden

Top: Custom-built tap tower with 30 taps; Menace Brewing IPA.
Bottom: An outdoor bar built from a shipping container.

But on this visit, our focus was outside, where you’ll find something a little unexpected, especially for the busy Northwest Ave. thoroughfare. Out back, Hops ‘N Headz created a quiet, relaxing and sunny beer garden, complete with a Japanese pond, fountains and a quaint little bridge. And goldfish! The outdoor bar is super cool, too—it’s housed in a repurposed shipping container, and is surrounded by plenty of picnic tables to hold your beer, food and friends. It’s even kid-friendly, so don’t stay home on account of the rug rats.

On a recent visit to the beer garden, I was accompanied by a cider aficionado, who was happy to hear that Tieton Cider Works apricot cider was on tap. (I’m just now realizing that I forgot to swipe a taste, darn it.) I’m all about the beer, so I started with a classic summer brew, Chuckanut Brewery’s Kolsch. This GABF Gold Medal winner is pretty perfect for sipping in the sun.

Hops N Headz, Bellingham, Taphouse, Craft Beer, Beer Garden

The Kolsch goes well with a variety of foods, too, like the Edamame, Gyoza, Edamame Pesto Bruschetta and Gal-Bee Skewers we sampled.

Hops N Headz, Bellingham, Taphouse, Craft Beer, Beer Garden

The beer garden offers five beers on tap, but if nothing strikes your fancy, you can order whatever they have inside. I was perfectly happy with their outside choices, so for my second round, I chose the Menace Brewing IPA, which was a solid brew with a beautiful balance of flavor. My companion stuck with the cider, as she is wont to do.

Hops N Headz, Bellingham, Taphouse, Craft Beer, Beer Garden

Stop by Hops ‘N Headz beer garden for a relaxing time with great beer. Isn’t that what summer’s all about?

Hops ‘N Headz, 3207 Northwest Avenue, Bellingham, WA 98225
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 12:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Sunday, 12:00 pm. – 8:00 p.m.

Hops ‘N Headz on Facebook

More Exciting Bellingham Brew News

Check out the Yes, We CAN! Canned Craft Beer Festival on the Fourth of July, from 6:00 – 10:00 p.m. It’s an all-ages street festival, taking place next to Elizabeth Station at the intersection of Astor and J Streets in Bellingham. Yes, We CAN! features more than 40 breweries, cideries and meaderies showing off their best canned libations, along with live music from Bellingham favorites Polecat and Wild Rabbit. Plus, there’s front-row viewing of the fireworks display over Bellingham Bay. Tickets are only $20 in advance ($25 at the door), and admission includes 3 drink tickets. Kids 14 and under get in free. Buy tickets online or at Community Food Co-ops, Kulshan Brewery, Elizabeth Station or The RE Store. For more information, visit All proceeds benefit RE Sources for Sustainable Communities.
Kulshan Brewing Co.’s second location, K2, is open for business and celebrating in a grand way on Saturday, June 13. The fun happens at the gorgeous new facility at 1538 Kentucky St., Bellingham, WA. Get a peek at the 30-barrel brewhouse and shiny new taproom, enjoy a special beer release, bands, raffle prizes and food. Festivities begin at noon!
For more beery fun on June 13th, get yourself to Chuckanut Brewery for a guided tour around the brewery at noon. Those over 21 get tastes of all beers on tap! To join, sign up in the Kitchen before noon. Tours are $5.00 which includes tastes. Chuckanut Brewery & Kitchen is located at 601 West Holly St, Bellingham, WA. 98225.
Also on June 13, my favorite tall ship, the Schooner Zodiac, is hosting its Ales N’ Sails Dinner Cruise, a beer pairing dinner sail in partnership with Boundary Bay Brewery. The ship sails from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and the cruise includes a four-course dinner prepared aboard the ship, with three courses by the Zodiac’s chef and one special guest course by Boundary Bay Chef Matt Hansen. Each is paired with a Boundary Bay beer specially selected by Certified Cicerone brewer Bryan Krueger. Bryan will discuss how the beer and food pairings complement each other. Tickets are $85 per person and reservations can be made by calling (206) 719-7622. More information can be found at

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About the Author:

Teresa Schmidt, a copywriter who owns and operates Sprout Creative, comes from a long line of brewers, bootleggers and saloonkeepers. She moved to Bellingham 13 years ago to write, hike, ski and paddle—but it was the beer that really sold her. She also loves wine. And cocktails. And good food. To work it all off, she runs around in the woods at every opportunity.

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