Hey, Kulshan Brewing Co. fans, if you’ve ever stopped by the brewery’s super-popular (okay, crowded) James Street location and said to yourself, “Gee, these guys should expand so that everyone who wants a delicious beer can get one,” then you’re in luck. K2 has arrived!
K2 is Kulshan’s dream brewery come to life—and it’s the biggest, shiniest and state-of-the artiest microbrewery around. The 14,000 square-foot building at 1538 Kentucky St. in Bellingham houses a whopping (by microbrewery standards) 30-barrel brewhouse that immediately offers twice the capacity of the original location (initially, 5,000 barrels/year and at full capacity, 15,000 barrels per year). For comparison, Kulshan’s James Street brewery produced about 3,100 barrels in 2014. This year, they hope to reach 6,000 and in 2016, 12,000 barrels.
The six fermenters are humongous: four have a 90-barrel capacity, while two can handle 60 barrels. The myriad pipes, conduit and lines running from one end of the building to the other are simply mind-blowing. (At least they are to me.) It’s a sophisticated set-up, controlled by computers to reduce the risk of error. And the brewers have a new lab to test yeasts and geek out. Here’s to consistency!
Kulshan’s most popular beers will be brewed here, leaving James Street to focus on smaller batches of fun stuff and seasonals. Much of what is brewed at K2 will be canned on the brand-new canning line. Don’t worry, Bastard Kat IPA and Full 90 Session Ale fans, they have truckloads of empties on hand, waiting to be filled (below right).
I also spotted some nice-looking whisky barrels, including several from Seattle’s Westland Distillery. They’re holding delightful barrel-aged (duh) seasonals like Kitten Mittens and the Russian Imperial Stout, which was excellent last year. Can’t wait to try it again.
Of course, the demand for Bastard Kat, Gool Ol’ Boy Pale and the Red Cap Red will ensure that much of K2’s production goes straight into kegs for us to enjoy in our choice of tap room or patio. They have both at K2, because Bellinghamsters sure do love drinking beer in the sun.
Speaking of tap rooms, K2’s is just gorgeous. It’s a nice combination of wood and metal, but not just any wood or metals. We’re talking reclaimed old-growth Douglas fir, upcycled steel beams and rusted metal sheeting. The main bar is a monster, and throughout the bright, airy room is plenty more seating for everyone—except those under 21. The state of Washington has decided it needs to be 21 and over only. That could change, and I’ll let you know right here if it does.
Lucky for me, well-behaved dogs of all ages are welcome on the patio.
Outside the tap room, you’ll find a rotating lineup of food trucks, including Goat Mountain Pizza, whose wood-fired oven is ready to make you a most delicious meal from your choice of their creative and delicious pizzas.
Not only is K2 bringing craft beer to the Roosevelt neighborhood, they’re also providing new lunch and dinner take-out options for the folks working and living in that area. You don’t even have to order a beer to partake of delicious local food truck offerings. (But you should definitely make plans to do so.)
When you’re looking for more of the Kulshan Brewery beers you love, grab your Bellingham Tap Trail map and head over to Kentucky Street for one of the best taproom experiences you’ll find in the PNW. It’s so great to see locals and our ever-growing number of craft beer tourists embrace Bellingham and Whatcom County microbreweries. Keep the love going at K2!
Kulshan Brewing Company
K2: 1538 Kentucky St., Bellingham, WA
Original location: 2238 James St., Bellingham, WA
K2 on Facebook
Kulshan Brewing on Facebook