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Co-op brew corner

Co-op Brew Corner: Local Trailblazers

Washington State is no stranger to good beer. It began in the days of vintage Rainier lager in the late 1880s, through the early microbrew heydays of Widmer Bros. Brewing and Redhook  in the 1980s. Washington breweries have been among the groundbreaking American craft breweries. It can be difficult to pinpoint the specific reasons for the success of Pacific Northwest ales: perhaps the proximity to vast expanses of hop fields in the central-eastern portion of the State? Or the willingness and support of the population? Who knows for sure?

One thing we do know is we are proud to support two pioneers of the Whatcom County brewery scene: Boundary Bay Brewing and Kulshan Brewing, as well as their new releases of canned craft beer: Cedar Dust India Pale ale and Go East IPA.

Independently owned and operated, Boundary Bay Brewery is Bellingham’s oldest brewery, founded in 1995. The company is named after Boundary Bay on the U.S.-Canada border, a major crossing point for rum runners who smuggled Canadian booze into Washington during Prohibition. Today the brewery operates a Taproom and family-friendly Bistro, located in a restored historic 1922 warehouse in Downtown Bellingham, across from the Saturday Farmer’s Market. Beyond producing beer, Boundary Bay donates time, brew and manpower to other local businesses, and received the title of Washington’s 2014 Small Philanthropic Business of the Year.

Boundary Bay Cedar Dust India Pale Ale – 6.5% alcohol by volume / 66 IBU – from one of Bellingham’s favorites, this newly canned, meaty NW style IPA is brewed with four varieties of boldly flavored hops, bred and grown in WA state. Cedar Dust has a distinctive herbal pine and citrus spice aroma and is balanced by a backbone of special a malts, including “secret dark malts.” This local IPA is complex and refreshing, and was named the Best Beer in Bellingham by Bellingham Tap Trail in 2015.

Since 2012, Kulshan Brewing and its founder, Bellingham native David Vitt, have been producing exceptional beer. With a meteoric rise, Kulshan doubled the size of their brew house from 15 barrels to keep up with demand. In 2015, Kulshan opened a second brewery, affectionately named “K2”, with a tap room and 30 barrel brew house. Kulshan Brewing must be doing something right. With community support and brewing prowess, their explosive growth reflects their mission statement to produce “exceptional beer, bring people together, maintain a fun and fulfilling workplace for our staff, and give back to our community.” Boundary Bay’s Cedar Dust IPA is on sale now for only $9.49 per 6-pk. We also carry their original India Pale Ale, Scotch Ale and seasonal Irish Red Ale for $4.49 per 22 oz.

Kulshan Go East India Pale Ale – 7.4% alcohol by volume / 74 IBU – is named in honor of outdoorsy folks – hikers, skiers, snowboarders, and the like – who make their way to winter adventures in the Cascade Mountains and Mount Baker. Kulshan’s Go East IPA is a bready, resinous IPA has a rich golden, orange color with a slight sweetness and hint of bready biscuit malts with assertive hops. Kulshan’s latest IPA features Admiral, Chinook, Golding and B. Gold hops, as well as an interesting balance of Vienna, Crystal and Chocolate malts. Kulshan Brewing’s Go East IPA is now on sale for $10.49 per 6 pk.

By: Claire

ClaireClaire Harlock Garber loves to eat and drink and write about it. She has worked in the food industry for nearly a decade and was on staff at the Skagit Valley Co-op from 2010-2018, writing the regular columns Skagit Brew Corner, The Cheese Whisperer, The Bounty of Bulk, and What's Dippin' in the Well for the Co-op's blog, as well as articles for the Natural Enquirer newsletter.