It’s no secret Bellingham is a hub of great local craft beer. In this series, we introduce you to all the fantastic head brewers behind all the delicious beer produced in our town.
First up, Frank Trosset of Aslan Brewing.

Aslan Brewing has only been in business for over a year, yet they have quickly found so much success in the community. With their prime location, beautiful building, and organic recipes, Aslan has no doubt made a name for themselves.

Frank TrossetTap Trail: How did you first get into brewing?

Frank Trosset: I entered the craft in the same manner that most do, as a homebrewer. The difference is that I was only a homebrewer and did not have the fortune of knowing what I wanted to do until very recently. As such I never went to school for fermentation science, or attended any formal training on professional brewing. I tried to get a job when I first moved to Bellingham (Nov 2011) at Chuckanut, Pyramid, Redhook, Stone and a handful of other small breweries as a keg washer but go no response. Which I can totally understand. I had no experience in brewing, chemistry or microbiology. So my only option was to create an opportunity for myself. Which I did with the financial backing of Jack Lamb and the moral support of more people than I can name.

How do you think Aslan fits into the brewing community here in Bellingham?

Well we make beer, so we have that going for us 🙂 And we make similar styles of beer as other breweries here in town. So we fit in in those ways for sure. Other than that I firmly believe that we march to the beat of a different drum. My philosophy on beer is different or probably even strange to some. For example, we are totally dedicated to making 100% certified Organic beer because we firmly believe its better for the consumer all the way down to farm hand who tended to our hops and our malt and on to the environment itself. Not a lot of people are doing it because its difficult and expensive but to us its worth the head ache and the reduced profit margin. The organic aspect is the most obvious but one of many philosophical differences that I/we hold.

If you could only choose one Aslan brew to drink for the rest of your life, what would it be?

If I could only drink one of my own recipes for the rest of my life Id get really bored with that beer 🙂 but if I had to choose I would go with Blueprint. Its our session IPA. I think it is a world class example of that particular style of beer. I really love session IPA’s (when done properly) because they can exemplify hop flavors to a greater degree than any other style that is currently in wide circulation. And I know, its not cool to like IPA’s anymore, but I don’t care, I love them. I think that is obvious when you come to our brewery.

When you’re not at Aslan, where could we find you drinking a pint?

When Im not at Aslan I like to spread to love to all the local watering holes. I dont have a “spot” but if I want to discover a new favorite beer and great food I go to the local. But when I want to hang out with an Olympia I got to caps. That is probably my favorite bar in town.

Give each Bellingham brewery a class superlative:

Boundary Bay is the grand daddy of them all. There is a certain charm that you get when you drink Boundary beer. They represent the sophomore class of craft beer. That puts them in a pretty damn impressive catagory of breweries and I will always respect them for what they have done in getting the ball moving for the greater craft movement. Without them, Id probably doing something not nearly as fun with my life.

Chuckanut. The obvious statement here is that they absolutely dominate the lager brewing field at large. Will Kemper is a legend in the industry and he has tutored many men who are currently legends or one day will be. When you look at the approach they take at beer, being so scientifically driven and precise, I have an immense amount of admiration and respect for that. On top of that fact that Will, Bryan and the rest of the crew there have been so good to me and taught me so much. We are blessed to have their presence in this community.

Kulshan. These guys did an amazing job of spanning the gap that once existed in our brewing community. At one time, not so long ago, it was only Chuckanut and Boundary. And I think Kulshan did an amazing job, and still does, spanning that gap that exists in both style and philosophy between the “old guard”. You will never go to Kulshan and have a beer that is done poorly. They are very good at making beer that is to style and there is a lot of skill in that.

Menace. I cant think of a nano brewery that exists in this country that does a better job making excellent craft beer with a limited budget. Im convinced that Ben and crew over there never sleep. They are constantly taking on new work and are doing such a good job. If you arent a Menace fan than you should re-evaluate why you love craft beer.

The North Fork. Hands down Eric Jorgensen makes the best sour beer around on top of the fact that he is the nicest dude you will ever meet. The owner, Sandy, is also a craft beer legend and if you ever have the fortune of meeting him, consider your self very lucky, He is one of the grandfathers of craft beer. On top of sour beer, If you want the best barley wine your money can buy, Eric made it. But even beyond that their clean beers are great and that goes for ales and lagers. The Deming Lager is one of my favorite pilsners.

Wander. Being the other “new” brewery Wander has done a fantastic job of making an array of beer that can be enjoyed by all pallets. Chad is excelling with his barrel program and I think his stout is the best in town. On top of the fact that they are the only brewery that connects you directly to their brewspace. That is awesome for the customer!

If you could get a drink with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?

It would have to be Sam Calagione
[of Dogfish Head Brewing]. As far as I can tell he has a very similar view on beer and began his career in a very similar way as I. So I think we would have a lot to talk about. But honestly this is a tough question! Id drink a beer with just about anyone haha.

Tell us your favorite memory since brewing at Aslan.

My favorite memory brewing at Aslan has to be my first brew as a “professional”. It was what is loosely now our Northwest Red Ale. I had no clue what I was doing since it was literally the first time I had ever used the equipment and made beer on that scale. Ben from Menace showed up late in the afternoon and gave me some pointers (something I will be forever grateful for) and it was probably the guinness record for longest brew ever. But over all it was an amazing day. It represent the end of my life living on food stamps and building this brewery and the hopeful beginning of something that I had been dreaming about for a long time.

What do you love about Bellingham?

Wow it would be easier to point out what I don’t love! I love living here because it is a community of people who dont necessarily have millions of dollars, but when I look around I see some of the richest people Ive ever lived around. We have so much at our finger tips here. It is a place where you can be a small business owner who starts from nothing and can give back. Its a place that provides as much out door entertainment as you can handle. You can always meet a new friend, but you will always run into an old one. It is the most serene landscape Ive seen in my life travels and we are close enough to two of the largest cities on the west coast that there is litterally nothing that you can not do or achieve. And we dont have any traffic (dont tell Seattle). This is the only place I have lived, and I lived in many states and cities, that I can say I would happily live here for the rest of my life.

And finally: Tell us a secret.

A secret?! Well it wouldnt be a secret if I told you, but if I must….Aslan is not named after the Narnia 😉