Beer is pouring everywhere in Bellingham while the snow is piling up in the mountains. We’ve got 7 breweries with 2 more on the way. Our tap houses are bringing in world class beer and offering great eats alongside them. This time of year Mount Baker is becoming more obscured by the clouds that will usher in the powdery fun. Soon our town will be full of skiers and snowboarders. During the 1998-1999 ski season, the Mount Baker Ski Area broke the world record for snow fall with 1,140 inches. That is 95ft, or 29 meters of snow! Every year, it competes for the most snow pack. Bellingham is a beer and ski town destination.
Head up to for early first tracks and finish skiing about mid-day. Ski past Chair 7 and the lodge and head for your car after your final lap at Mount Baker. You’re heading back for a lap on the Bellingham Tap Trail.
Bellingham Tap Trail’s Winter Tap Trail
51.5 miles by car
1.5 miles by foot (optional walking section)
Breweries, Beer and Eats
1) North Fork Brewery – Avalanche Amber, Meat Grinder
2) Kulshan Brewing Company – Kitten Mittens Winter Ale, StreatFood Butternut Stew
3) Wander Brewing – Belling-Hammer Wee Heavy, Goat Mountain Carmelized Onion Pizza
4) Chuckanut Brewery – Porter, BrewMaster’s Meatloaf
Drive towards the The North Fork Brewery and Beer Shrine. North Fork is one of the most unique breweries on the Bellingham Tap Trail. Nestled along the side of scenic Highway 542, The North Fork Brewery and Beer Shrine has a really comfortable and casual wood cabin feel. If you don’t have a Bellingham Tap Trail map yet ask your bartender or waiter for one and start collecting your stamps! My favorite eats are the customized calzones, deep dish lasagna and the meat or veggie grinders. The lasagna takes a little bit longer (about 30 minutes), so be prepared for that. The grinders evoke the most nostalgia for me. I’ve ordered the Meat Grinder many times after returning from a few days of hiking. Saddled up to that deep wooden bar with a grinder and a pint is the best way to return to the real world!
Eric, The North Fork’s Head Brewer, has crafted delicious beers such as Son of Frog, Avalanche Amber, Spotted Owl Barley Wine, Disappearer Sour Blond Belgian, and the Aged Brett Beer, to name a few! If, after staring at the bottom of an empty barley wine, you have a hankering to get married, they have a wedding chapel.
The rest of the drive down Highway 542 takes you past the Highway 9 turnoff and through Deming, WA. Direct your designated driver to head down James St. off Sunset Drive and pull up outside of Kulshan Brewing Company. Currently, Kulshan is opening a 2nd location just down the road from it’s flagship. We are excited to see it finished. “Kulshan”, which is the Lummi Indian name for Mount Baker, would be a fitting location after a day of skiing. Tom, Kulshan’s Head Brewer, has put together an incredible list of beers. Bastard Kat IPA, ReisterBrau Russian Imperial Stout, Royal Tenenbaum Christmas Beer (made with actual douglas fir cedar boughs), and many more.
Kulshan has an assortment of food trucks to choose from. Grab a pint of the Kitten Mittens Winter Ale and a burger from StreatFood. StreatFood is one of Bellingham’s favorite food trucks and serves up elevated, tasty, and accessible food that goes GREAT with beer. Don’t forget to grab a stamp from your server for that beer you ordered!
You have two choices from here. Ask your driver to take you to our next stop on the Winter Trail, or if it’s still light out park and walk the rest of the way. Pull out your Tap Trail map! As you can see on your map, since you left North Fork you’ve been traveling on our “Brewery Trail”, which is one of Bellingham Tap Trail’s 6 Trails! You’ve got an easy 3/4 mile (15 min) walk to Wander Brewing!
Wander Brewing is one of Bellingham’s newest breweries. Owned and operated by Chad and Colleen, they’ve brought some amazing beer to The Tap Trail. Chad used to work at Hilliard’s Brewery in Seattle before “wandering” his way to Bellingham and gracing us with beers like Wanderale, Global Mutt Porter, Together Belgian Double and Petite Monk Table Beer. Has his wine barrel project been tapped yet? Belllingham has been waiting! Either way, you’re going to be really happy drinking his award winning beers.
Is Goat Mountain Pizza’s food truck on site? You need to try this pizza. Charlie is one of the owners and he’s spent years working on this crust. It has even been voted Best Pizza in Bellingham a few times. If not, Wander hosts equally great food trucks to choose from.
Finish up (don’t forget to get your Passport stamped) and use your Bellingham Tap Trail map to find your way to your next stop, Chuckanut Brewery, which is only a 3/4 mile away via the bike and foot trail. If you’re walking, you’re going to really enjoy yourself!
See those trail markers along the way? Notice any similarities? Mmm?
On your way, you’ll be travelling through Maritime Heritage Park. This is my favorite park because Whatcom Creek creates a beautiful waterfall that runs right through the middle of town that winds it’s way into Bellingham Bay. The bottom of the fall is a popular salmon fishing location. Don’t be surprised to see Great Blue Herons sitting patiently for fish of their own.
The walk is gorgeous and ends on Holly St., about 100 ft. from Chuckanut Brewery.
At Chuckanut Brewery you’ll be treated to award winning beer and great eats. Head Brewer, Bryan, has crafted beers such as Kolsch, Pilsner, Alt and British IPA. When it comes to the food, I enjoy the BrewMaster’s Meatloaf because, well, my mom made great meatloaf! Bryan works in a highly technical brewery that you should get a peek at on one of their brewery tours. Make sure you buy a beer and get another stamp on your Passport! If you’re still up for it, head out to the other amazing Tap Trail locations near Chuckanut Brewery. Elizabeth Station has a selection of 1,000 beers, or the nation’s largest selling brewpub 3 years in a row, Boundary Bay Brewery!
Well, you’ve done it! You’ve skied or snowboarded, drove and potentially walked your way to some amazing beers and across 53 miles! Snow, scenery, food, beer and community along the way. Bellingham has a world renowned ski area and world renowned beer. We think we’ve made it pretty apparent that Bellingham is an amazing ski and beer town.
We want YOU to try the Winter Tap Trail! Where and what are you drinking this winter? Share your adventures by clicking here, or by using #taptrail.