By now you’ve heard the ruckus: Melvin Brewpub, also known as Melvingham, is open in Bellingham. And it’s causing quite the commotion.
Beer lovers are flocking to Bellingham from around the northwest to check Melvin out. Folks are driving in from Seattle and British Columbia exclusively to try the new taproom. Seattle’s even a little jealous. Melvin has marked Meridian Street on the map with a big, red X labeled “Bring the Ruckus”. To those in the know, it’s no surprise: Melvin have become industry darlings because of their hop-forward IPAs and distinctive branding. But others may be wondering: what’s all the fuss about?
Melvin Chooses Bellingham
Wyoming’s Melvin Brewing could have opened their first brewpub anywhere. Bend, Boulder, Boise, you name it. But after a five-year award winning streak for their famed 2×4 DIPA (Alpha King Gold, GABF Gold, World Beer Cup Gold) combined with earning “Small Brewpub of the Year” at the 2015 GABF, they chose to open their first full-fledged brewpub in Bellingham.
Why Bellingham? The answer is twofold: First, Melvin recognizes that Bellingham is rapidly growing into the next big beer town. And second, co-owner Jeremy Tofte is from our neighbor city to the south, Mount Vernon. He happens to be an avid snowboarder, mountain biker, and outdoor enthusiast — much like Melvin’s demographic. Because few communities compare to Bellingham in terms of access to the outdoors and great beer, Bellingham was a natural choice.
A Work in Progress
The funny thing about Bellingham’s new brewery, though, is that it’s not brewing yet. All of the beer is currently shipped in from Wyoming. And due to Washington State law, Melvin is required to purchase their own beer through a distributor. But don’t let any of that deter you, because it’s all temporary. Brewing is scheduled to commence within a few months. And when it does, you can expect the unexpected.
Melvingham’s head brewer, David Meadows, plans to use Bellingham’s eventual 7-barrel brewhouse for experimentation. Think European styles: British and Belgian ales, German lagers, and such. No 2×4 DIPA, or any other established Melvin recipes (these will continue to be brewed at the production facility in Wyoming). No trendy, cloudy NE IPA’s. Just experimental, hopped-up brews made exclusively here in Bellingham.
For now, you can stop by the taproom to try Melvin’s award-winning IPAs and a selection of other brews, including Killer Bees Blonde, Ruckus Stout, and Scenario Porter. Melvin also features beers from other breweries. Currently, Bellingham, Seattle, and Colorado breweries are represented on Melvin’s extensive tap list. Drink specials change daily — you can always find a $3 select pint and $5 select tulip on tap.
When it comes to food, Melvin aims to deliver a near-fine dining experience in a casual setting. That is, you’ll be bombarded by hip-hop and Kung-Fu when you walk in, but service is attentive and dishes are thoughtfully prepared. It’s an unusual experience for Bellingham — almost out of place — but it works. Each time I’ve been in during business hours, the place has been packed.
Menu items may seem random to the casual observer — Mac and Cheese, Beer Miso Ramen, Green Curry — but as always, there’s a method to the Melvin madness. Melvin was born out of a Thai restaurant in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Those roots are still alive in the Asian-infused menu offerings — along with some classic pub grub mixed in for good measure. During Happy Hour (4-6pm all seating, and 10-11pm in the bar only), enjoy special prices on Calamari, Garlic Fries, Pickle Chips, and more.
What Else Is New?
Since Melvin’s grand opening in June, a few new features have popped up. Most recently, crowlers (32 oz. canned “growlers”) are now available for purchase. Come August 14, 2017, Melvin will be open for lunch (they currently open at 4pm daily). And there will even be room for live Seahawks games once football season starts. But don’t expect Melvin to become your new favorite sports bar — unless you consider Chinese martial arts a sport. After the game, it’s right back to Kung Fu movies.
Melvin has joined a strong brewing community in Bellingham. Once they begin brewing later this year, Melvin will be the 13th active brewery in Whatcom County — quite the feat considering we had just three breweries countywide before Kulshan opened in 2012. So welcome our new brewpub to the neighborhood by stopping by, sipping a pint, and — as Melvin so boldly suggests — bringing the ruckus.
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2416 Meridian Street, Bellingham, Washington
Hours: 4 – 11 p.m.