1. North Fork Brewery
6186 Mt. Baker Highway, Deming
The home of the Beer Shrine, North Fork was established in 1997 by Sandy and Vicki Savage. Sandy is the former head brewer at Triple Rock Brewery in Berkeley, CA. He brews in very small batches, so the beer menu is in regular rotation. The North Fork is known for more than beer, though. Not only is there great pizza, there is a wedding chapel on-site. Just in case you fall in love over a pint. Cask-conditioned ale is served every Friday at 5:00.
2. Skagit River Brewery
404 South Third St., Mount Vernon
With their brown ales and crisp hoppy IPAs, Skagit has a pour to please anyone. They have several regular beers available, as well as excellent seasonal beers like the Trumpeter Stout, timed with the arrival of the Trumpeter Swans in the Skagit Valley in November. Skagit’s restaurant serves excellent pub fare, and the whole operation is centrally located in downtown Mount Vernon.
3. Mt. Baker Vineyards
4298 Mount Baker Highway
Set along Route 542 in the foothills of Mount Baker, this lovely vineyard also produces excellent wines. They produce 12,000 cases a year, sourcing both locally and from eastern Washington. The vines in the Mt. Baker Valley are Muller Thurgau, Siegerrebe, Chasselas, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Madeline Angevine. They operate a tasting room and offer regular tours.
4. Tulip Valley Vineyard and Orchard
16163 SR 536, Mount Vernon
Vintners of the official wine of the Skagit Tulip Festival, Tulip Valley not only creates complex, excellent wines, they also brew hard cider from their orchard. The distinctive red barn and friendly tasting room make them a wonderful stop on your wine tour.
5. Challenger Ridge Vineyard and Cellars
43095 Challenger Road, Concrete
As with every local winery, Challenger contracts with vineyards in eastern Washington, but their excellent pinot noir is from their vineyard in Concrete. They process and bottle 3000 cases a year, and they are currently producing chardonnay, pinot noir, syrah, sangiovese and cabernet.
6. Eagle Haven Winery
On Sims Road off Highway 20 East toward Sedro-Woolley
Sedro-Woolley, an old logging town, is also home to a fine winery. Eagle Haven began making wines in 2003, and they produce 4 fruit wines and 5 grape wines from their 40-acre apple orchard and vineyard. The winemaker is Chuck Jackson, whose artisan winemaking skills have earned him a solid reputation. The tasting room and wine garden are a nice respite on your wine journey.
7. Samson Estates Winery
1861 Van Dyk Road, Everson
Family-owned and unpretentious, Samson Estates makes the most of the fruit its own berry farm. The traditional wine varietals are labeled under Samson, and the fruit-based dessert wines are labeled under Delilah. Much of the fruit is grown on-site on the family’s berry farm.
8. Bellewood Acres Distillery
6140 Guide Meridian, Lynden
Drawing on their extensive orchard and farmlands, Bellewood operates two handmade Vendome Copper and Brass Works stills. They grow, harvest, ferment and distill their spirits entirely on-site at their farm. They offer apple brandy, gin, three types of vodka and will be offering liqueurs soon. Well worth a visit. If you get hungry, they also have a great bistro with locally sourced farm-fresh ingredients.
9. Mount Baker Distillery
1305 Fraser St., Suite D2, Bellingham
Offering a new twist on an old favorite, Mount Baker specializes in moonshine, which is adorably labeled and packaged to look like the original stuff. They work from a recipe handed down from “Grandpa” Abe Smith, the story of whom is on the label. They also distill a fine vodka, and offer tours and tastings.
10. Golden Distillery
9746 Samish Island Rd., Bow
This distillery is located on the lovely, quiet Samish Island. Golden is among the only whiskey distillers in our area. They’ve won gold and silver medals for their golden Samish Bay Single Malt Whiskey. They use local ingredients and work in very small batches, getting the most flavor into every bottle.
11. Boundary Bay Brewery
1107 Railroad Ave.
A converted warehouse, Boundary is a lively, bustling beer hall with an extensive menu of English stile ales and great noshes. The beer garden rocks all summer with regular live music and the occasional outdoor movie. The beers are very forward, hoppy and packed with flavor. Seven beers are on permanent tap, with rotating seasonal beers floating year-round.
12. Kulshan Brewing Company
2238 James St., Bellingham
Kulshan burst onto the scene a few years ago, and has been burgeoning ever since. With a packed beer garden and a family-friendly taproom, it’s a favorite among Bellinghamsters. Located in the spirited Sunnyland Neighborhood, Kulshan pours nine full-time beers and rotates an outstanding seasonal menu. Tom Eastwood, head brewer, has won several awards in the past few years. Speaking of menu, the food trucks parked nearby offer great eats for cheap.
13. Chuckanut Brewery
601 W. Holly
Chuckanut distinguishes itself by departing from the usual English ale styles normally served in our area, and choosing instead to go for German-style beers like pilsner, weissen and Kolsch. Set along Whatcom Creek, it’s a refreshing, breezy spot for downing a few. The food menu is varied and excellent, featuring a variety of locally sourced items. Founded by Will Kemper of Kemper root beer fame, it’s quickly become an institution.
14. Menace Brewing & The Local Public House
1427 Railroad Ave., Bellingham
It’s been a big year for beer in Bellingham, and Menace is one of the newer additions. The Local Public House is in the former Chichiiti’s Pizza on Railroad. Polished, rough-hewn wood benches and a substantial bar are a welcome change. The food is some of the best in town, and pairs perfectly with their nice collection of Menace beers.
15. Wander Brewing
1807 Dean Ave., Bellingham
The newcomer, the upstart, the wild child of local brewing, Wander is a stripped-down, no-nonsense, serious beer-drinking beer hall. Do not expect cloth napkins or stained glass — these people are not about anything but good beer. A fun and funky atmosphere with plenty of places to park your bike.
16. Aslan Brewing Company
1330 N. forest
No, the name has nothing to do with Narnia, but this new kid on the block is coming in shining. With an excellent location right in the heart of downtown Bellingham and a great, open space, Aslan is quickly becoming a new favorite. Good pub fare and excellent pours make this a brewery worth checking out.
17. Honey Moon Mead and Cider
1053 N. State St., Bellingham
Honey Moon has been charming locals for almost ten years now. The drink of choice in the Thane’s Hall in the Epic of Gilgamesh, mead is a nice change from the usual hoppy beers and tart wines of summer. Honey Moon also offers a tasty menu and lots of great live music. The space is cozy and industrial at the same time, a nice mix for big gatherings or an intimate date night.
18. Chuckanut Bay Distillery
1115 Railroad Ave., Bellingham
Regionally sourced, Chuckanut distilleries spirits are already garnering awards and kudos, both nationally and by word of mouth. They keep their list small — potato vodka, wheat vodka and gin. They have a tasting room in downtown Bellingham where you can sample their spirits.