Best Places to Live

Bellingham, WA

Population: 82,944
Courtesy of Aslan Brewing

Breweries in Bellingham, WA, are pushing the boundaries of craft beer. That’s a good thing for adventurous beer drinkers looking for unique flavors. While Bellingham doesn’t have a high concentration of beer makers, the quality of beers being made in this Pacific Northwest city make up for it. What the city does have are beer drinkers who prefer small batch, craft beer and a high percentage of residents who drink beer. All of these factors played into our decision to put Bellingham on the list of best beer cities.

The six breweries and brewpubs in Bellingham provide a steady stream of great beer in this livable town. The annual Bellingham Beer Week, first held in 2012, draws hundreds of people for 10 days of events at breweries, bars, beer stores and restaurants, as well as educational seminars and films. As the keystone of Bellingham’s beer scene, Boundary Bay Brewery continues to amass a following of loyal customers and awards for its beer. Open since 1995, the brewery and bistro can safely be called Bellingham’s first brewpub. Occupying a restored warehouse in downtown, Boundary Bay always has seven house brews on tap and usually a few brewing experiments for tasting. Aslan Brewing Co., which opened for business in 2014, offers certified organic beer in addition to vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free food. Chuckanut Brewery, which started in 2008, has picked up a mound of medals at the Great American Beer Festival. Brewmaster Will Kemper, who holds a degree in chemical engineering, picked up several tricks during stints in Mexico, England and Turkey. Chuckanut’s beers lean towards the international side of spectrum.

Bottle shops and bars like Elizabeth Station, McKay’s Taphouse and Archer Ale House treat beer lovers to a variety of craft beers from across the region. Several restaurants like Copper Hog and La Fiamma Wood Fire Pizza serve local brew.

Bellingham, WA Highlights

Best Breweries: Boundary Bay Brewery, Chuckanut Brewery, Kulshan Brewing
Best Beers: Chuckanut Dunkel at Chuckanut, Shoe Toss Rye IPA at Wander Brewing, Amarillo Single Hop Pale Ale at Boundary