Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Boundary Bay Brewery

1107 Railroad Avenue
Bellingham, WA 98225

I have wanted to go to Boundary Bay Brewery since the summer of 2008.  That summer was my first Oregon Brewers Festival.  I went with Jess Stedman and we both shared a love for extremely hoppy IPAs. At that time my favorite was Boulder Beer Co.'s Hazed and Infused, I had been to the brewery the year before and it held up to my expectations.  Well, at the festival Jess and I (the second day we were there) grabbed samples of all the hoppy IPAs there and judged.  Boundary Bay, you will be glad to know that Jess voted for your brew but I stubbornly held on to my love for Hazed and Infused.  I know this isn't the way the story should be going for a review of Boundary Bay but that taste stayed with me.  Also did the intrigue of this northern washington brewery.  

So, over 2 years later, the ferry back from Alaska dropped us off within walking distance of this brewery that has been on my mind for all that time.  Jonah and I met up with Tommy McGinley, who we've beer-adventured with before, and Dani Hess, who I worked with up in Alaska.  Crazy enough, I did not get the IPA!!!
I don't know but I must have been in a dark beer mood, I started with the Dry Irish Stout and ate some wonderful stew.  I finished it up with the Imperial Oatmeal Stout.  Both beers were fabulous.
Plus, the merchandise rocks!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Skagit River Brewery

404 S. 3rd Street
Mount Vernon, WA 98273

Jonah and I arrived in northern Washington off the ferry from Alaska, where our good friend Tommy McGinley lives, so we decided to stay with him to hang out before we headed the rest of the way south.  We got there early so had some time to kill.  After showering the ferry off us we went brewery cruising and found Skagit River Brewery.
I was floored when I saw that these were the guys who made Sculler's IPA!
I drank so much Sculler's IPA in college.  I had a roommate Brandy Rodtsbrooks who I explored beer with at our excellent local grocery store, and Sculler's was one of our awesome finds.
Sadly, they didn't have it on tap!  Now I will definitely have to go back, maybe I'll drag Brandy with me ;)  
Instead of the Sculler's IPA I had the Skagit River "Steelie" Brown Ale.  It was a solid brown but I will still have Sculler's on tap on my mind.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Haines Brewing Company

Haines Brewing Company
PO Box 911
Southeast Alaska Fairgrounds/ Dalton City
Haines, Alaska 99827

On our way back south, after spending the summer in Alaska, Jonah and I occupied the time waiting for the ferry to leave by fruitfully journeying to Haines Brewing Co.  The directions we received seemed easy enough turn right onto Haines Highway, then turn left after the school, following the signs to the fairgrounds.  Haines is a small town so we decided to walk.  We followed the directions and found a "fake city," Dalton City, the grounds of the Southeastern Alaska State Fair and the old set for the 1989 movie White Fang.  I wasn't until closer inspection that we realized this movie set was also the location of the brewery. 
I was already hooked at that point, but the visit kept getting better.  Paul Wheeler, the brewer hung out with us for the entire hour and a half we were tasting beers.  He told us a range of stories from the origin of the beer names to his opinions of other breweries.  We realized our commonalities of a history with the Forest Service and love of Portland brews; Paul even encouraged us to start our own brewery, a dream of mine and Jonah's.
On top of all that, the beer was awesome!  We got to try the Dalton Trail Ale, DMMDI IPA, Eldred Rock Red, Lookout Stout, Spruce Tip Ale, Black Fang, and the Barley Wine.  If visiting I would definitely suggest trying them all, HBC has tall tasters for $1.25.  If you can't then try the Spruce Tip Ale, it's Paul's number one sellers and is quite unique.  Also try the Black Fang, a local favorite, this imperial stout should be high on your list.  Definitely fit in the DMMDI IPA too, on second thought if you're all the way in Haines Alaska, drink them all!  It's worth it.


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