Well Bellingham, you’re all grows up. You’re officially 10. Stones Throw Brewing Company officially opened its doors last weekend, giving Bellingham 10 breweries to choose from. When will the insanity stop?! Hopefully, never. That’s one brewery for every 8,000 people. That means we’ve surpassed Seattle for breweries per capita.
1) Aslan Brewing
2) Boundary Bay Brewing
3) Chuckanut Brewing
4) Kulshan Brewing
5) Kulshan Brewing – K2
6) Menace Brewing
7) North Fork Brewing Company & Beer Shrine
8) Stones Throw Brewing Company
9) Structures Brewing
10) Wander Brewing
Tony, Jack and Tap Trail Business Manager, Mindy Pelton, met years ago in college at WWU and have kept in touch ever since. We’ve enjoyed watching their beer and business mature since then, when Jack Pflueger and Tony Luciano embarked on this dream two years ago. After a few years of experience in the brewing industry at various regional breweries, including a cellarman, the two friends decided to make a go of it by opening their own brewery. The process of opening a brewery is fraught with peril, unknowns and will test even the most patient beer lover. But they have prevailed. And have they ever! Tap Trail biked on over to Stones Throw last weekend for a pint and met up with a very excited and proud Head Brewer, Tony Luciano.
Tony met us with a smile, poured us up a flight of all six of Stones Throw’s beers. Currently on tap are the Flat Penny Pale Ale, Two Dollah Porter, Neighborhood IPA, Blanchard ESB, Hose Blend and North Brewer Dry Hop IPA.
My favorites had to be the Two Dollah Porter and the Dry Hop IPA. Tony also brewed up a ginger ale. The Hose Beer is actually a combination of Flat Penny and the Porter. It’s the beer left over in the hoses that runs from the brewery tanks to the tap room. Tony said he did that because he didn’t want to waste the beer and felt the combination turned our pretty good. It was Mindy’s favorite of the bunch, so it must have worked
Every brewery that opens up in Bellingham seems to offer something completely new, in terms of aesthetics. For me, Wander Brewing offered Bellingham its first industrial brewery experience. It reminded me of sitting in a brewery like Upright Brewing out of Portland. You sit right in the brewery, with little definition between the brewing equipment and the customer area. You’re part of the brewing experience while you’re tasting.
In one way, Structures Brewing took it one step further. They brought us an experience very much centered around the beer. There are no extravagant, or ornate pieces that distract you from the expertly crafted beer. The spartan aesthetic creates a very intimate and immersive drinking experience.
Stones Throw went a different direction. They built a brewery that reflects their ethos, “adventure.” The brewery was built right near the Interurban Trail, which takes you deep into the Chuckanut Mountains, or towards North Bellingham. Biking their is really enjoyable, especially from downtown Bellingham. You can take the trail through Boulevard Park and up Taylor Dock into Fairhaven. Follow 10th Street then hop a left onto Larrabee Avenue. It sits back a bit from the street, a few houses us on the left hand side. Fairhaven Stones Throw Brewing sits at 1009 Larrabee Avenue. On our bike ride we actually ran into four bikers looking for the brewery. I saw them searching a block away, figured they were looking and directed them to Stones Throw.
The brewery’s feel is warm, naturally lit, and has all the little nooks and crannies you’d expect to find from “adventure.” There’s a hand crafted bench under a cedar tree in the sun. A deck overlooking Fairhaven and a bar built out of the bridge that fell into the Skagit River a few years back. Tony poured us our taster flight in the paddles he built. I told him he’s going to need more.
Mindy and I drank our beers on the back patio. On the patio below us was a gas powered fireplace customers could drink around in the waning sun after a day on the trail. We ended up drinking our flights and another pint in the front of the brewery so Sloan, our daughter (the brewery is family friendly), could run around more freely.
After Tony was done pouring pints he host a video walk through for us. The brewery doesn’t officially open until April 13th, when hours will be 11am – 9pm Wednesday through Sunday. Until then, Tony said they’d be open Friday-Sunday and maybe a sporadic day between there. The Grand Opening party details are in the works. As Tony texted me,
It’s about to get real.
Bellingham, you better believe it! Checkout our video tour and photos below. For those of you wondering, Stones Throw will be on the next Tap Trail Passport. For now, make sure you go there and check it out and share your experience with us via the #taptrail.