Somewhere in Whatcom County, “on the fringes of society”, a new brewery has opened. It serves a growing population of some 14,000 residents and is located about 9 miles northwest of Bellingham. Meet FrinGe Brewing: the first commercial brewery in Ferndale.
I made the 15-minute drive from Bellingham to chat with FrinGe owners Jeff Lazzari and Scott White about their business. Longtime friends, Jeff and Scott wanted to open their own brewery in the area but realized that the Bellingham beer market was getting crowded. They found their ideal space in Ferndale, a small town with previously untapped brewing potential between Bellingham and the Canadian border. By choosing Ferndale, Jeff and Scott have joined a small but growing craft beer community in north Whatcom County.
FrinGe Brewing has transformed the town’s former police station (which also served as a post office and library over the years) into a 7-barrel brewhouse in historic downtown Ferndale. Big windows let plenty of natural light into the taproom, where barstools, picnic tables, chairs, and bench seating await. Brewhouse tanks are visible from the bar, encouraging patrons to ask questions about the brewing process. The entire buildout took about a year, with Jeff and Scott doing most of the work themselves.
Scott started homebrewing in the early 90’s. He’s gained brewing experience since then by attending Skagit Valley College’s Craft Brewing Academy, and by training at local breweries including Menace Brewing in Bellingham and Sumerian Brewing in Woodinville. Those experiences — combined with a trip to Sierra Nevada Beer Camp — have equipped him to become the head brewer at FrinGe.
Scott’s goal is to brew balanced, complex, and full-flavored beer at FrinGe. He’s focused on creating consistent, easy-drinking brews for the people of Ferndale and beyond — nothing too hoppy or bitter. This makes sense for the first brewery in town. Why not appeal to all tastes by crafting crowd-pleasing styles? They also offer local cider guest taps and bottles from friends at Atwood Ales. In this way, FrinGe remains approachable for beer enthusiasts and beginners alike.
During my visit, 7 beers were on tap. Ask Scott or Jeff about each beer name, and there’s likely a story behind it. Jam, for example, is a Hazy NEIPA (New England IPA) named after the Nooksack River log jam — Ferndale’s first moniker. Manic Flowers, an imperial coffee ale, is so-named due to its coffee infusion from Maniac Coffee Roasting in Bellingham. As for Chill Day mild ale? That’s just a chill name for a super mellow beer with 4.2% ABV and 10 IBU — perfect for sipping in the beer garden on a hot summer day.
FrinGe is also having some fun with collaboration brews. Watch for an upcoming collab with Atwood Ales and The North Fork Brewery. Because the three breweries operate outside Bellingham in northern Whatcom County, they’ve named their project “Outsiders”. This first batch is a “golden ale” (wink wink) that Scott says is definitely not an IPA. There’s a story there too, and I’ll let you ask Scott (or Josh from Atwood and Eric from North Fork) for the full scoop. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more than one collaboration brew from the Outsider crew.
Food and More
Outside in the beer garden, FrinGe features daily rotating food trucks like Back East BBQ and StrEAT Food. Check their calendar to see who’s serving today! You’ll also find plenty of seating at the umbrella-covered picnic tables, and a couple of swinging lounge chairs. The entire brewery is family friendly, and well-behaved dogs are welcome in the taproom.
- 5640 3rd Ave, Ferndale, WA 98248
- (360) 398-6071
- FB: FrinGebrewery
- Insta: fringebreweing_