Bellingham Beer Week has wrapped up. The best beers were drank. The best memories were made. But a reminder: All those beers you drank, were poured by Bellingham’s elite sud-slingers. These fine people not only know how to pour a beer, they know a lot about beer.

But it’s more than the beer. These people, the best ones – the most memorable ones – have that special something that’s hard to put your finger on, that je ne sais quoi. Maybe they’re just really nice. Or maybe they’re just assholes, but in a way that makes you like them. Maybe they have a deep knowledge of craft beer. Perhaps it’s because they pour the best nitro pints. Or they have worked in all the taphouses and craft breweries, so their industry knowledge runs deep. Maybe you have a favorite beertender because he/she doesn’t say a damn word and just pours what you ask. Whatever that reason is, you have a favorite.

Bellingham’s best beertenders bring you back not just for their beer, but for who they are. They are the front line of every taphouse and brewery and we need to honor them for it. That’s why we’ve created the most elite of voting competitions, Bellingham’s Best Beertender.

2016 Sponsors

Head Sponsor


Schooner Sponsor


This year our Head Sponsor is Skagit Valley College’s Craft Brewing Academy. They have developed a renowned Craft Brewing Academy that has quickly gained popularity and just graduated its first class. Want to learn how to brew craft beer? There’s even a brewer or two from the Tap Trail that teaches classes, including Bryan Krueger of Boundary Bay. Academy graduates walk away with a Certificate in Craft Brewing and it’s right in Skagit. They already have a graduate opening their own business. The academy has a waiting list for it’s classes, but it will be enrolling again for the Winter 2017 classes. Get on board!

Our Schooner Sponsor is Bellingham’s core neighborhood real estate specialist, Hoppis Real Estate. Joe Hoppis can be found discussing community and dreaming of possibilities with clients over pints across the Tap Trail. Also, did you notice that German last name? That’s your favorite key beer ingredient! Family folklore has it that his family were hop farmers before coming to Ellis Island from Germany. So, like, could we have picked a better Schooner Sponsor for this competition?!

The 2015 Winner

Wander Brewing’s Hope Collins took the 2015 trophy home. As reigning champion, she sits comfortably on her hoppy thrown, hop vine scepter at her side, slinging pints better than the best. But the best are always pursued and she’ll be fighting like mad to retain that crown.

But will she win again?! Bellingham’s craft beer community is riddled with talent and magic. Perhaps in the last year some new blood has come on the scene that deserves our attention, appreciation and, as a result, bigger tips. That’s something else: You need to reward the winner of this prize with larger tips than usual, at least on your first bill, as a congratulations. Regardless of who wins, always tip your beertender well!

Slinging suds is tough business. I used to bartend and I can’t say I was very good. Granted, I was making grape knee highs and cosmopolitans, but I can tell you the stress is real back there. Being in the weeds in a rush hour is not something one dreams of…unless you’re Bellingham’s Best.

This is how the competition works!

It’s broken into four rounds with each round lasting one week. We’re upping our game this year. We’ll be writing profile articles (maybe a video?!) of those in the later rounds, so you can get to know them and decide whether to grab a beer from them that week to test their worthiness. We’ll crown the winner at the end of the nomination.

Voting Rules

  1. BeerTender must serve at one of the 22 Tap Trail Locations
  2. We also want to note that we have all sorts of devices in place for cheaters, ballot stuffers and all-around mean people who would attempt to mar the process and crown a less than worthy champion. But there’s always ways to cheat, so we’re relying on you. Want to win? Campaign!
  3. Tap Trail will have a hand in vetting those nominated to ensure they are worthy of this auspicious title.

Round – Start Date

Nominations – 9/28

Quarter Finals – 10/5

Semi Finals – 10/12

Finals – 10/19

Winner Announced!

We’ll share the nomination page here very soon, but we wanted to announce just how important this whole process is to Bellingham’s craft beer scene. Let’s celebrate our beertenders! Spread the word. Prime the taps and think hard about who you would nominate. This is going to be a no-holds-barred, all out beer brawl…well, not really since all the beertenders are friends, but we’ll have some fun with it anyway! Stay tuned and be ready to nominate on 9/28. Again, thanks to our sponsors Skagit Valley College Brewing Academy and Hoppis Real Estate!