The days are getting shorter, the kids are heading back to school and the football crowd seems to be getting a little twitchy. As summer draws to a close, we’ve got bellies full of blueberries, we’ve been crabbed up to our craniums, and we’ve got sockeye coming out of our eye sockets. As fall rolls in and we prepare ourselves for the harvest season it’s time to ask, “what’s next?” Well, how about a beer? Bellingham seems to have embraced beer culture with a vengeance. Every few months new brew pubs and breweries are popping up all over the place. What seemed to have started years ago with Chuckanut and Boundary Bay breweries has now expanded to include a myriad of micro-breweries and tap houses. Bellingham alone is now home to Kulshan, Wander, Elizabaeth Station, Aslan, The Local, McKay’s Taphouse, Archer’s Ale House, Copper Hog, Green Frog, and Hops & Headz just to name a few. In fact as I sit here writing this I can hear the neighbors out back mid construction of Stone’s Throw Brewery in Fairhaven. I did get a quick tour and can’t wait to see the “5 ton chiller” in action. Which, coincidentally, would be the coolest band name ever.
It would seem our collective psyche may be symptomatic of “beer issues”. A Website called Priceonomics did a survey and Bellingham was voted the top “Beer Snob City” in the nation! This was based on the percentage of establishments that refused to offer run of the mill Bud Light, Coors Light, or Miller Light. Fully, 92% of our restaurants and bars refuse to serve these lesser beverages. With upwards of 100 beers on tap we’re much more likely to twirl our curly mustaches and order a “Hop Howdy Belgian Blonde”. Possibly our middle aged uncle with the bald spot and pony tail, who by the way is still wearing socks and sandals because the rain hasn’t started yet, will proudly request a “Local Logger Lager”. And likely our neighbor’s hipster kid who just turned 21 will want to try a “Disco Lemonade”.
So let the festivities begin! There should be no shortage of opportunities/excuses to have a beer in the upcoming months. Bellingham Beer Week, which seems much too short, begins September 11th, will offer no fewer than 20 events for you to explore the expanding universe of beer. You can find details online at www.bellinghambeerweek.com. The list of events includes a kid friendly benefit for families grieving a recent death, a rooftop movie in the parkade, and even an event to sample the strangest sounding beers.
But we couldn’t possibly stop there, after all, this is a bi-monthly publication. We’re rapidly approaching Oktoberfest where the over achieving Germans who were determined to out-do the Irish postulated on the premise of having St. Patrick’s Day for an entire month. Actually Okoberfest originated October 12th, 1810 in Bavaria, when Crown Prince Louis married Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, presumably so she could change her name. There will be a few Oktoberfest events around Bellingham area including Chuckanut Brewery Oktoberfest, Deming Oktoberfest and an Oktoberfest Cruise by Bellingham Bay’s BREWer’s Cruise.
But what really is all this talk about beer guzzling and lederhosen doing in a Body, Mind and Spirit publication? Ultimately we can use this as an opportunity to celebrate community and culture. It may not be on par with Italian opera or French artwork, but like it or not, it is us. Beer has always represented the working class and the average person. But particularly in the Pacific Northwest, beer really seems to embrace the paradigm of local home grown business competing with the corporate big boys. Not just the concept of local products but also giving many people an opportunity to make a living doing something they love. And many breweries are also embracing organic and non-GMO ingredients as well. So all of us, even those of us who don’t drink much (or at all), can still appreciate the grass roots industry and the resulting fellowship from this drink called beer.
-Pete spent 20 years in corporate America with a great deal of experience in leadership and management. A fan of eastern philosophy he was able to imbue his leadership style with some of the more subtle elements of group dynamics and personal growth.