You may have noticed a couple changes at 2416 Meridian St., maybe the blank sign out front, or the fact that their doors are shut and will be for the remainder of the week. The blank sign acts as a blank slate for a new brewery coming to Bellingham, replacing what once was Melvin Brewing Bellingham. While Melvin moves onto cities like San Diego and St. Louis, Bellingham gains a new brewery called 122 West Brewing Co.
We spoke with 122 West before they had their name, while owner Gary Pickering was making decisions related to what exactly his newly acquired turn-key brewery would be called. 122 West is the longitude running through Washington, Oregon, parts of California and territories in western British Columbia.
While 122 West is in the same location as Melvin once was, there will be quite a few changes ahead beyond just rebranding. Pickering prioritized keeping Melvin’s hardworking staff on board, but 122 West will have an entirely new menu, tap list, merchandise and atmosphere. Instead of Kung-fu and IPAs, you’ll walk into 122 West and most likely find a football or soccer game on the TV’s and a wider variety of beers, occasional guest taps and even local nitro coffee.
Head Brewer Robert Sanner has a long list of reasons to be excited for this transition, one of them being the ability to branch out into both more traditional and more experimental beers and brewing techniques. With the opening of 122 West, Sanner is bringing a handful of new beers to the table including a Japanese Lager, Cherry Gose, a new Double IPA and a variety of single-hopped ales. Some of those hops may be reliable favorites like Mosaic and Simcoe, but Sanner is one to dip into the experimental pool when it comes to hopping.
“I’m trying to develop some nice, core/base styles that have balance and approachability, that generally won’t make you overly intoxicated after one (though those are coming),” Sanner said. “I personally just really value intention behind flavors and well-crafted brew. There will be plenty of time to get weird later.”
In other words, Sanner is working towards a well-curated draft list of reliable favorites. In the near future, whether it be through house made beers or upcoming collaborations, you can see some stranger things coming from the basement of 2416 Meridian St.
When it comes to atmosphere, General Manager Jessica Anderson is focused on reaching a larger age range when it comes to audience and the demographic you’ll see filling the seats of 122 West.
“I think we want to be approachable to all members of society. We want the space to be cool and fun, but not too isolating to an older age group. Channel the Northwest style of going outside when you can & work hard, play hard,” Anderson said.
Playing off of location will be a central part of 122 West when it comes to the atmosphere, and has potential to influence the tap list and food menu. The Pacific Northwest is a special place to open a brewery and restaurant, in the sense that while Bellingham is an extremely casual town, people are looking for unique and elevated dining and drinking experiences. One of the 122 West team’s goals is to be approachable to more than one age group and part of the Bellingham beer community.
Though 122 West will be playing Seahawks games and other select sporting events, they aren’t to be perceived as a typical sports bar. With the transition comes not only new beers, but new, healthier menu options too. With the exit of Melvin Brewing from our community comes the hesitancy of some community members to give this location a second chance. We are hopeful that 122 will be a breath of fresh air with their dedicated staff, evolving menu and willingness to branch out into a wider variety of beers featured on their tap list.
122 West will be closed for the rest of the week preparing to welcome a whole new clientele alongside a group of loyal regulars through the doors of Bellingham’s newest brewery. Saturday, August 31 is the start of their week-long soft opening, with a grand opening on September 6 from 3 pm to 11 pm. If you’re looking for new beer in Bellingham, this snuck up on us too, but it’s right around the corner.