One of my old friends came into town this past weekend, and I headed up to her parent’s house on Mt. Baker Highway up north. As always, I took this travelling opportunity to stop by a few breweries. I didn’t have much time, so they were all pretty quick visits.
My first stop was the new Chuckanut Brewery up in Bellingham. Will & Mari Kemper’s new place is quite unique. With the brewery in a building across the driveway, the tap room/restaurant is located in what seems like an old garage. The setup works out just fine, and the bar is welcoming and comfortable. I had a sampler of all that they had on tap, including the Vienna Lager, Export Stout, Strong Ale, Kolsch, Rauch Bier and Dortmunder. I’ve already gushed about the Rauch Bier, and everything else was more than solid. The Export Stout was another favorite of the bunch. I had a nice talk with Mari Kemper and I’ll hopefully be back someday for a brewery tour and a longer visit.
I couldn’t get that close to Boundary Bay and not at least stop by for a beer. As I was heading to a party, I decided to pick up a growler of one of my favorite beers on earth; the Boundary Bay IPA. I sat at the bar and enjoyed a schooner of their new limited edition Imperial Porter (check out that link for their blog, by the way). This was one big porter, weighing in at 9.2% ABV. It was full of roast, chocolate & a little licorice. Brings lots of taste, but it’s a smooth drinker that is a perfect finish for an evening (not so perfect for a noon beer on a Saturday). Sounds like this one is available at the brewery only, so head on up if you want to get a taste.
I was just about ready for a nap after that porter, but it was on to my friend’s house in Deming, WA, which is about 20 miles down the Mt. Baker highway from Bellingham. I’ve been up this way to visit them several times, and we’ve visited the unique North Fork Brewery, Pizzeria, Beer Shrine and Wedding Chapel on each trip. I couldn’t make this trip an exception, so I stopped in for just a 3oz taste of their barley wine before heading to the party. This place is truly out in the middle of nowhere, but it’s well worth a stop if you’re travelling through on your way to Mt. Baker or the surrounding mountains. They’ve got some kick-ass pizza as well. And, yes, the owner is an ordained minister and she can marry you on site. Seriously. The beer isn’t exactly going to blow your mind or anything, but it is solid and well-made…and it keeps many of the locals coming back for more. Their IPA and barleywine are probably my favorite of the bunch.
I was planning on stopping by Birdsview Brewing Company on Sunday during the drive home, but my timing was too early and I’ll have to head back some other time. I think I passed what looked like a closed, or not yet open, brewery in Sedro Woolley called Cascade…or something like that (hey, I was driving). But, I can’t find anything online about it…so not quite sure. Anyone know what I’m talking about?
Below you can see a couple of non-beer related photos from a landslade that hit near my friend’s house on Mt. Baker highway. This was the aftermath of what happens when huge bolders, mounds of mud and trees come sliding down a mountain. Thankfully, no one was hurt. But, there was some property damage (see the mangled car) and lots of scared people that had to be evacuated (including my friends).