Magazine article Sunset

A Perfect Day in Bellingham, WA: This Pint-Size Puget Sound-Area Town Is Tapping into a New Weekend Obsession: Drinking Beers with a Sense of Adventure

Magazine article Sunset

A Perfect Day in Bellingham, WA: This Pint-Size Puget Sound-Area Town Is Tapping into a New Weekend Obsession: Drinking Beers with a Sense of Adventure

Article excerpt

WHEN STONES THROW BREWING opened this past spring, the number of breweries in this college town on the Salish Sea hit double digits. Eleven breweries in a city of 83,000 gives Bellingham a per capita lead over Seattle, according to Tap Trail, which maps the city's taprooms, pubs, and breweries. It's not just volume, though, that's luring people to this Edwardian-era city with brick-lined sidewalks. It's the quality, which expresses the northwest Washington terroir; much of the hops in the bottles comes from regional family-run fields. You'll quickly note that Bellinghamers aren't ones for idleness--so here are four adventures to pair with your pint.

Hop culture

Explore the intoxicating beauty of Bellingham by paddling the coast or sailing it. The docks in the Old Fairhaven neighborhood are home to Community Boating Center, where you can sign on for a tour. A victory drink awaits at Stones Throw Brewery, named for its proximity to the outdoors. Two college buddies have mastered hearty stouts and porters like the Two Dollah Portah, with chocolate notes reminiscent of s'mores, best consumed beside the brewery's firepit. Boating center: Rentals $15/hour, sailing from $50; boat ingcenter.org. Stones Throw: Tasting from $2/4 oz.; stonesthrowbrewco.com.

Suds and a show

Behind the roll-up door to Structures Brewery, locals clink small-batch beers in the shoebox brick-and-cinderblock space. On tap are oak barrel-fermented saisons and heady IPAs aged in stainless steel, but the seasonal brews, like fall's peach version, are the main act. Occasionally, the brewery hosts pop-ups, when local food truck Feast dishes out upscale pub fare like crispy buttermilk fried chicken sandwiches with tangy peperoncini aioli. Nearby, historic Mount Baker Theatre anchors downtown, hosting more than 400 events annually on three stages: Broadway musicals, indie films, stand-up comedy, author talks, and orchestral music. …

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