Bellingham you nominated many beertenders in our qualifying round from all over the Tap Trail (strangely, some from places not even on the Tap Trail.) After sniffing out some ballot stuffing, the following six sud slingers made it into the semifinals of the 1st Annual Bellingham’s Best BeerTender competition.
Below, you can read the beertender profile they submitted, which introduces themselves and gives some background on their craft beer experience. You are more than welcome to vote right away, but we suggest going to grab a pint from each of them over the next 7 days and find out how good they really are! Read through them, read what days they work (in bold) and find where they work. By grabbing a pint from each of them, you’ll learn a ton about craft beer and get to know more locations on the Tap Trail. You’ll also be doing your due diligence because this is an auspicious title and you want the best to win it! Is your friend on this poll? How good are they really when stacked up against the competition? Best to test the field!
Then, when you’ve had a pint poured and questions answered, come back here and VOTE at the bottom of this page. We’ll take the Top 3 from this list and have our big Final Vote to determine Bellinghams’ Best BeerTender!
Hope Collins – Wander Brewing
Rob Whitney – The Local Public House
I’m the restaurant manager at the Local Public House and occasional brewer for Menace Brewing. I’ve been involved with beer since I used to drink my dads beer when I was 3. Many beers later, I find myself home brewing and wanting to one day open my own brewery. I am a certified judge with the BJCP program and certified beer server with the Cicerone program. I find myself reading everything I can about beer, brewing, it’s history and culture, as I love beer.
At the Local Public House I get to pick out all the great beers in WA, OR and some from BC. 22 beers and one cask, each tap being a beer style so you’ll get 22 styles of beers.
My favorite beer is probably the world’s best beer…free beer! But seriously, if I could pick one beer it would be Oktoberfest/Marzen style as it is a perfect balance of malt, hops and also the season.
If had to choose one, I would find myself drinking at one of my favorite breweries and also the first brewery I visited when I moved to Bellingham 6 years ago: Chuckanut Brewery. These guys make world-class lagers and ales and kill it with the food.
If you want to come in to visit me, I’m at the Local during the day on Tuesdays and in the evening Thursday-Saturday. I would love to pour you a pint (or two) and talk to you about beer.
Kiersten Umbinetti – Elizabeth Station
Hey Bellingham! You can call me Kiersten and/or Beersten. I am so thrilled (and shocked!) to be nominated after moving here only 10 months ago!
Thankyouthankyouthankyou! I got my start in the world of beer a few years ago at a small brewery in northern Colorado and I immediately fell in love. Going from brewery life to the strangely beautiful wonderland that is Elizabeth Station was a big jump for me, but I have loved every second. Getting to experience hundreds of different beers and getting to know all of you lovely people has been so fun!
People often ask what my favorite beer is and with the selection we have at The Station, it really changes almost daily. The answer will most likely be a sour (I’m drooling over a Nightmare on Brett as I write this) but I also love a good dry porter or west coast IPA. As far as favorite breweries go, Avery Brewing in Boulder, CO will always have my heart. Eremita VI haunts me. I’ve got recommendations for every palate though, so come see me at the Station (Tuesday–Saturday evenings) and I will help you find your perfect beer! If you ever want to spot this Beertender in the wild, I can usually be found at Aslan with a pint of Ginger Rye or Disco Lemonade chatting with the bearded goofball in the brewhouse. Come find me and let’s geek out about awesome brews together! Cheers, friends!
Kelly Davis – McKay’s Taphouse
Hi, my name is Kelly Davis and I am the daytime bartender and draft technician at McKay’s Taphouse & Pizzeria. It’s a really fun place to work with the best regulars and staff in town. With 47 lines of beer, 3 ciders, 3 wines, and a cask engine returning soon (really I promise), we have the best selection of draft brews in the North Sound. When I’m not at my own pub enjoying our bountiful selection, I like to have a few pints with my mates down at the World Famous Up & Up Tavern.
I have been a beer appreciator since I first discovered the magical elixir way back when punk rock was still alive, Madonna was still relevant, and Tony Hawk wasn’t doing commercials for Honda. I have been working in the food and beverage industry for over 20 years now, with much of that time spent behind a bar, all the while paying very close attention to the beer I’m serving. I have a hard time picking any one favorite brewery or beer, I appreciate all kinds. That being said, one brew in particular changed my views on beer in a big way, Illchee Moongirl Mild poured from a cask at the Olympic Club in Centralia. Low ABV, smooth, loaded with flavor, I was awakened. Since then I have always sought out these traditional English styles wherever I go. I highly recommend trying any cask ale when given the opportunity (soon to be flowing at McKay’s, I mean it). Cheers!
Steve DeMoney – Elizabeth Station
My name is Steve DeMoney, and I got into beer (professionally) in 2012 with the inception of Elizabeth Station. For the first two years I brewed beer at varying locations for Elizabeth Station at breweries like Two Beers in Seattle and Island Hoppin’ on Orcas. After Elizabeth Station I worked for a year at Wander doing cellar-work, deliveries, and pouring beer. I have worked for North Corner Brewing Supply for 3 years as of September, becoming well versed in the brewing process. I’m back at the Station now and have picked up brewing for the store right where I left off.
Elizabeth Station is a great place for me to share my knowledge of all things beer related. Teaching folks who may be new to the world of beer and guiding customers through a maze of variety is rewarding for me. Being able to share information and learn from people continues to inspire me to keep exploring every aspect of beer.
My favorite beer is Chuckanut’s Pilsner. Lagers tend to be my favorite beers, I enjoy the nuance of the style. We are seeing a renaissance in lagers and low ABV in the U.S. i.e. Gose, Pilsners, and Berlinerweisse are blowing up right now and the Germans have had it figured out for hundreds of years. Which leads me to my favorite Brewery; Chuckanut Brewery is making German beer better than the Germans and they have the awards to prove it. I drink at Chuckanut, but I can also be found at Bayou or McKay’s. You can catch me at the Station for some beer talk weekdays until 5 and Saturday 10-5.
Spencer Ebel – Chuckanut Brewery
I began beertending at my hometown brewpub the Snoqualmie Falls Brewing Company. I worked there for a couple years doing anything I could to contribute. When I decided to move to Bellingham in 2012 I really wanted to stay in the brewery scene that I had grown so fond of. I was offered a position at the Chuckanut Brewery and Kitchen, and I could not have been happier to join this team. I have learned so much about beer and the industry from working here over the last three years. I bartend, serve tables, and represent Chuckanut at beer pouring festivals and events.
My experience and knowledge of the industry help me to be the great beertender that I am. Chuckanut has won many awards for our European style beers at the most competitive competitions in the country, I consider myself lucky to serve such a beautiful product. I would say that my favorite beer would have to be the Chuckanut Fest Bier, I can drink it all day because it is so crisp and clean. Oktoberfest season is my favorite, the beer epitomizes autumn for me. I feel at home in the Bellingham beer industry, and I have loved seeing it grow as much as it has since I have been a part of it. This city has an overwhelming amount of great places to drink high quality beer, and that makes it hard to say where I like to drink other than at work. I do really enjoy going to Aslan and Wander Brewing. I work Tuesday and Wednesday nights, Friday during lunch, and all day Saturday. Come on down, I would love to pour you a beer and chat.
Until we get the Top 3, we’ll be keeping the results private. Top 3 announced on 10/26.