With all the new breweries popping up locally and regionally, it’s easy to get distracted and neglect the older, more established breweries. But that would be an unfortunate mistake. You really have to stay beer focused, and keep putting one foot in front of the other on the Tap Trail.
Take Boundary Bay Brewery, for example, which has a lot going on these days. Opened in 1995, it is by far the oldest and most established brewery in Bellingham. Even though many other breweries have opened in and around the city in recent years, demand for Boundary Bay’s award-winning beers hasn’t declined. In fact, production has increased in order to keep up with demand.
“After adding three, 60-barrel tanks last autumn, we’re anticipating a production increase from 6,000 barrels last year to 8,000 barrels this year,” says Bryan Krueger, one of the Boundary Bay brewers. (A beer barrel is equal to 31 gallons. Learn more about commercial keg sizes under “Barrel” here.)
This increased capacity will allow the brewery to expand its barrel-aging program, as well as its distribution to other areas of northwest Washington.
Of course, it also allows the brewery to keep up with all the thirsty locals. Boundary Bay is still one of the highest-producing brewpubs around, and one-third of its beer is sold on the premises. According to the New Brewer Industry Review, Boundary Bay is the largest, single-onsite brewpub in Washington and the 10th-largest in the nation. Based on beer production alone, it is the 17th-largest in Washington.
Lockstep with that growth, Boundary Bay continues to garner awards and accolades. This year alone it won three medals at the North American Beer Awards and one medal at the Washington Beer Awards. Food & Wine Magazine named it one of the Top 10 Breweries in America. And it was named Washington’s Small Philanthropic Business of the Year for its dedication to the local community and charities.
Boundary Bay is also branching out with more seasonals and specialty beers. Cedar Dust IPA and Safety Break ISA have been wildly popular, so they are both being brewed more frequently. For the recent Oregon Brewers Festival, Boundary Bay made a single-hop pale ale with Sorachi Ace hops. And this year’s Traverse Red IPA will be made with a new recipe, which will be slightly lighter and more sessionable.
“We have marked a couple ‘firsts’ this year in brewing,” Krueger says. “We’re making our first kettle-soured beer called Steady as She Gose, and our first wild/Brett beer called Safety Brett, which is a version of our Safety Break Session IPA that’s 100-percent fermented with Brettanomyces lambicus yeast.”
As we roll closer to fall, be on the lookout for an Oktoberfest made with Bohemian and Belgian floor malt, the seasonal Harvest Rye, and a Fresh-Hop IPA.
Along with other area brewers, Boundary Bay also helped to brew this year’s Bellingham Beer Week beer at Chuckanut Brewery, which is described as a Northwest hoppy lager.
Boundary Bay also has many special events planned through the end of the year. August 29 will be the last beer-and-food-pairing dinner in Boundary Bay’s Summer Supper Series. And, last but not least, Boundary Bay turns 20 this year, so stay tuned for a huge, 20th-anniversary party this September.
For more info, visit www.bbaybrewery.com.