In this series, we introduce you to all the fantastic head brewers behind all the delicious beer in our town. Catch up with past articles on Kulshan Brewing and Aslan Brewing.
Boundary Bay is the founding father of the Bellingham craft beer world. They were the first brewery to open up in Bellingham and have been setting the standard for the past 20 years!
While this series focuses on head brewers, Boundary Bay operates with a “brewing team” of three people rather than a single head in charge. In this article, we highlight one of those three: Bryan Krueger.
How did you first get into brewing?
I started homebrewing at 19, with a roommate while attending Evergreen in Olympia. I had the opportunity to create some of my own coursework by an Independent Contract and thought it would be cool to study brewing and receive credit for it. Long story short, I arranged an internship and part-time job at Fish Brewing. After I graduated and spent a winter ski-bumming in my native Utah, I was hired on full-time at Fish and moved back to work with Tony Powell (Head Brewer at Bellevue Brewing Company) and Dave Vitt (Kulshan founder). These two were instrumental to my foundation knowledge of brewing professionally and I have immense gratitude for their friendship and the camaraderie we’ve shared.
How do you think Boundary Bay fits into the Bellingham Beer Community?
Seemingly obvious answers are often most difficult to conjure. If there was a storehouse of potential in Bellingham, Boundary Bay is it. Boundary Bay is simultaneously “Grand-dad” in the back room, the hand-built stone foundation of the historic, and microscosm of the hopes and dreams of Bellingham. Of any of the breweries in town, Boundary has the depth of longevity to surprise one most. It’s a Bellingham Beer “Institution”!
If you could choose only one Boundary Bay brew to drink for the rest of your life, what would it be?
My favorite Boundary beer is the one we’ve yet to make. I tend to head up a large majority of the experimental ventures in the brewery- it’s probably the single-most effort that keeps me engaged and passionate about beer, so I tend to get the most excited about the (sometimes extremely) small batch “experiments” with wild yeasts and bacteria, collaborations with fellow brewers (and distillers, read: Chuckanut Bay Distillery), and limited release brews like this year’s Harvest Rye (made with locally grown and malted Skagit Valley Malt), “Steady as She Gose” (a kettle-soured wheat beer with Salish Sea Water from off the shore of Lummi Island), and the occasional Belgian-inspired brew. I’m probably known around the brewery for NOT taking a liking to the most hoppy of beers, though fresh Cedar Dust and Safety Break can be pretty irresistible.
If you’d like to check out the most elusive and surprising of our beers, come check out our Barrel Tasting event this December- we’ll have more than a half-dozen special project barrel-aged beers available to try and take home (limited quantities) in waxed-bottles.
When you aren’t drinking at Boundary bay, where could we find you grabbing a pint?
I rarely get out in town, but I love checking in with the other brewers around and sharing beers. You’ll likely find me at home or in the forest- nothing makes a good hike great, like a trail beer! I try to peruse Mychael’s selection at the Downtown Co-Op often for new beers. McKay’s Taphouse occasionally, bumping into Steve DeMoney.
Give each Bellingham brewery a class superlative.
High School Style?! Most likely to…
Aslan– throw a hippy disco dance!
Wander– brew the world’s first, original (and authentic) International (and interesting) beer style
Chuckanut– “suave-up” your taste buds
North Fork– destroy your perceptions of well-behaved and good natured beer
Menace– Ura , tovarishch ! (Cheers, Comrade!)
Stone’s Throw– BUILD it!
Gruff– make you a believer.
Structures– keep it a secret. (What’cha building in there?!)
If you could grab a drink with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
My wife. Anyone want to babysit?
Tell us your favorite memory since brewing at Boundary Bay.
My favorite memory at Boundary (that’s permissible to discuss), was at the Craft Brewers’ Conference in Portland this past Spring. At a certain point, having the realization that the 10,000-plus people immediately around you, are all craft brewers. Awesome!
What do you love about Bellingham?
I live just a couple blocks from the Sehome Arboretum and get to have salmon, oysters, crab, wild mushrooms (and locally grown, Organic mushrooms a la Cascadia Mushrooms), nettles, apples, berries of forest and field, possibly all at one meal! The local PNW cuisine is limitless; beer pairing opportunities abound!
And finally: Tell us a secret.
My 4-year-old daughter and I brought home some roadkill the other day.