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Rounding Up Bellingham's Craft Beer Scene - 17 Must See Breweries

So much beer, so little time. With 17 brewery locations now operating in Bellingham and Whatcom County, it can be tricky to keep track of them all. And there are many variables to consider when choosing your watering hole. Which ones offer food? Can you bring the kids? Fido? Do they offer happy hour? Who’s new, and who has been around awhile? What is each brewery known for?

To address these burning questions, we’ve compiled this list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). Below the FAQ, you’ll find a directory of breweries in Whatcom County, with quick facts for reference. Cheers!

How many breweries are there in Bellingham and Whatcom County?

This question comes up a lot. The answer, of course, is a moving target — it seems we have a new brewery pop up every few months or so. At last count, at least 14 breweries in Bellingham city limits and 3 in other locations to total 17 breweries in Whatcom County. 

How many breweries per capita are there in Bellingham and Whatcom County?

According to US Census Bureau population estimates for 2018, Bellingham has a population of approximately 90,665. With 14 breweries inside city limits, that gives us one brewery for every 6,476 people in Bellingham.

Whatcom County has an estimated population (2018 Census estimate) of approximately 225,685. With 17 breweries countywide, that’s one brewery for every 13,275 residents in Whatcom County.

Which Bellingham breweries allow kids?

Most of our breweries are all ages, with a few exceptions. K2 (Kentucky Street), Structures Brewing, and Gruff Brewing are 21+ establishments. 

Where are the breweries located? Can you walk between them?

Most of Bellingham’s breweries are located within a couple miles of each other in the downtown core. Some are very close together (Boundary Bay and Gruff are right across the street from each other). Others — like Kulshan, K2, Menace, and Stone’s Throw — are a bit far to walk from downtown, but easily accessible by bike, bus, or car.

The best way to plot your route between breweries is to pick up a Tap Trail map and passport. This handy guide — available at each brewery around town — features suggested routes between Bellingham’s breweries and taprooms. You can even earn prizes by collecting stamps at each Tap Trail location.

1. Aslan Brewing Co.

  • Established: 2014
  • What’s Unique: All beer brewed at Aslan Brewing Company is USDA Certified Organic. Aslan opened their adults-only second location Aslan Depot in 2018.
  • Food: Full menu
  • Family Friendly
  • Happy Hour: Daily from 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. 
  • Outdoor Seating: Open and enclosed patio spaces.

2. Atwood Ales 

  • Established: 2016
  • What's Unique: Belgian-inspired farmhouse ales utilizing local and seasonal ingredients from the family farm in Blaine.
  • Note: Atwood Ales does not operate a tasting room. Find Atwood beer in bottles and on tap around Whatcom County using their Beer Finder.

3. Boundary Bay Brewery

  • Established: 1995
  • What’s Unique: Bellingham’s oldest brewery, Boundary Bay is a long-established community gathering place offering a wide variety of brews.
  • Food: Full Menu
  • Family Friendly
  • Outdoor Seating: Large beer garden and deck

4. Chuckanut Brewery

  • Established: 2008
  • What’s Unique: Chuckanut was awarded National Small Brewpub of the Year in 2009 and continues to brew award-winning European-style lagers and ales. Chuckanut was also awarded Washington State Large Brewery of the Year in 2017.
  • Food: Full Menu
  • Family Friendly
  • Outdoor Seating: Covered patio and beer garden

5. FrinGe Brewing

  • Established: 2019
  • What's Unique: The city of Ferndale welcomed it’s first commercial brewery when FrinGe Brewing opened in the summer of 2019.
  • Food: Rotating food trucks including Back East BBQ and StrEAT.
  • Family Friendly
  • Outdoor Seating: Patio

6. Gruff Brewing

  • Established: 2016
  • What's Unique: With 16 taps, Gruff regularly releases experimental, small-batch beers.
  • Food: Delivery available from Horseshoe Cafe and rotating food trucks.
  • 21+ Only
  • Outdoor Seating: Large beer garden

7. Kulshan Brewing (James Street)

  • Established: 2012
  • What's Unique: A true neighborhood brewery, Kulshan offers an expansive lineup of Northwest style ales and lagers.
  • Food: Rotating food trucks
  • Family Friendly
  • Outdoor Seating: Large patio/beer garden

8. Kulshan Brewing (K2)

  • Established: 2015
  • What's Unique: One of the fastest-growing breweries in Bellingham, Kulshan opened their second location — a 30-barrel brewhouse known as K2 — in 2015.
  • Food: Rotating food trucks
  • 21+ Only
  • Outdoor Seating: Patio

9. Menace Brewing

  • Established: 2017
  • What's Unique: Sister business to The Local, Menace is the Fountain District’s neighborhood brewery.
  • Food: Rotating food trucks
  • Family Friendly
  • Outdoor Seating: Patio

10. North Fork Brewery 

  • Established: 1997
  • What’s Unique: What’s not unique about the North Fork? A “beer shrine”, wedding chapel, and pizzeria, this brewery is a mandatory stop for anyone driving Mount Baker Highway.
  • Food: Full Menu
  • Family Friendly
  • Outdoor Seating: Small patio/beer garden

11. Stemma Brewing Company

  • Established: 2019
  • What's Unique: New to the Bellingham beer scene, Stemma offers weekly events for the beer community including weekly trivia night and comedy hour.
  • Food: Food Truck on Site
  • Family Friendly

12. Stones Throw Brewery

  • Established: 2016
  • What’s Unique: Stones Throw’s outdoor fire pit seating area is hands down the most attractive in Bellingham, and the brewery is made out of shipping containers.
  • Food: Snacks available; Food trucks on weekends
  • Family Friendly
  • Happy Hour: Mondays from 12 p.m. - 3 p.m.
  • Outdoor Seating: Three unique outdoor seating areas

13. Structures Brewing

  • Established: 2015
  • What’s Unique: Offering mixed fermentations, Structures focuses on fresh, small-batch brews including saisons, NE IPAs and barrel-aged varieties.
  • Food: Bring your own; Rotating food trucks
  • 21+ Only
  • Outdoor Seating: Small patio

14. Twin Sisters Brewing and Bellingham Beer Garden

  • Established: 2018
  • What’s Unique: Twin Sisters features a full-service restaurant and bar with an expansive beer garden.
  • Food: Full Menu
  • Family Friendly
  • Outdoor Seating: Bellingham’s largest brewery beer garden

15. Wander Brewing

  • Established: 2014
  • What's Unique: Wander serves traditional styles while experimenting with mixed fermentations through the Wander Barrel Project. Winner of 2018 Washington Large Brewery of the Year at the Washington Beer Awards.
  • Food: Rotating Food Trucks
  • Family Friendly
  • Outdoor Seating: Patio

16. Otherlands Beer

  • Established: 2020
  • What's Unique: Offers "rustic lagers and farmhouse ales alongside European inspired street foods in a cozy guesthouse tavern."
  • Food: Cafe with indoor seating.
  • Outdoor Seating: Garage door opens to additional outdoor seating.

17. Beach Cat Brewing

  • Established: 2020
  • What’s Unique: The first brewery in Birch Bay with six taps featuring all Beach Cat originals. 
  • Food: You can bring your own food or order from The Beach next door.
  • Family Friendly
  • Outdoor Seating: Patio
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