Beer drinkers in Bellingham travel far and wide for beer festivals throughout spring and summer. Lucky for us and our constantly expanding beer market, we don’t have to wait a whole year to drink beer with our friends in Bellingham’s own Depot Market Square. In fact, a month from today, you can do exactly that at the Bellingham Bay Rotary Club’s Brewers by the Bay event.
This isn’t the first time that Bellingham will have the opportunity to attend the beer-centric Rotary event. However, after 12 years of putting on Brewers by the Bay, the event has grown from a small fundraiser into a large portion of the Rotary Club’s contributions to youth and family-focused charities throughout Whatcom County like the Bellingham Food Bank, Northwest Youth Services, and Whatcom Hospice over the years.
“What we do is find ways to fund different organizations,” Josh Barrett, committee member for Brewers by the Bay said. “Rotary is also known for a lot of international projects, like eradicating polio from the world. That’s been one of our number one missions over the last hundred or so years.”
Set up much like April Brews Day, another charity beer festival, there will be breweries set up around the perimeter of the Depot Market Square. Attendees will get a certain number of tickets automatically with the purchase of admission into the event, each ticket good for one beer in the custom Brewers by the Bay glass they receive.
This year, attendees will get to taste beer (and some cider!) from some breweries not always readily available at their finger tips, like Mazama Brewing (Corvallis, OR), Lindeman’s (Belgium), Ayinger (Germany) and Portland Cider Company. There will also be a variety of local selections such as Chuckanut, Boundary Bay, Melvin Brewing and beer from the highly anticipated opening of Twin Sisters Brewing. The list of breweries committed to the event is still growing as the event nears.
“It’s an opportunity to taste brews from around Washington, Oregon, and we’ve had breweries from California come in years past,” Barrett said. “It’s a great opportunity for people to gain exposure to different beers while raising money for a good cause.”
As the beer community in Bellingham grew, the Rotary Club was more inclined to host an event that revolved around craft beer. Breweries donate their kegs, allowing 100% of the proceeds to go to the Rotary Club, who in turn donates somewhere between 50 thousand to 100 thousand dollars every year to local charities large and small.
We all go through beer-festival-withdrawals between April Brews Days, and Brewers by the Bay may be the perfect cure. This year, it will be held on Sunday, July 29 from 1-5 pm and feature not only a wide array of breweries all the way from Bellingham to Europe, but also food trucks and live music by local band Lost At Last.