Sustainable Sipping

Inside Bellingham Beer Week

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

If it were possible to save the world simply by drinking beer, Bellingham would be way ahead of the game.

This observation is not based solely on the premise that a city of 80,000 enthusiastically supports a whopping 10 breweries (and counting). It’s also predicated on the fact that this year’s Bellingham Beer Week—which kicks off Fri., April 21 with events at the Local, Elizabeth Station, McKay’s Taphouse, and Kulshan Brewery and concludes Sat., April 29 with April Brew’s Day—also boasts a number of happenings with sustainability in mind.

In addition to the “drink local” ethos that permeates the weeklong event, the first Saturday of celebrations also falls on Earth Day, bringing with it a variety of ways to pay homage to the planet we call home (and also drink a bunch of beer, natch).

To start with, the daylong “Beers & Gears” happening Sat., April 22 will feature Boundary Bay Brewery, Aslan Brewery, and Bayou on Bay teaming up to encourage car-free transportation to each locale. In addition to raising awareness for energy-efficient travel, the two breweries will swap out their new beers; Aslan will sell Boundary’s Cedar Dust IPA, Boundary will offer Aslan’s Captain Planet IPA, and Bayou will sell both. Provided visitors arrive sans vehicle, they can get a stamp at each locale and be eligible for raffle prizes (including two VIP passes for April Brews Day). Additionally, the more beer you consume, the more donations will go to Washington Trails Association, the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association, and the Hub Community Bike Shop.

From 10am-3pm, Bellingham Beer Week will also have a booth at the “Love Your Leftovers” Earth Day Block Party on Railroad Avenue being hosted by Sustainable Connections during the Bellingham Farmers Market. Beers sold will be donated to two of the aforementioned nonprofits (NSEA and WTA), and attendees can learn about the benefits of canning and take part in can competitions. Following that, Cloud Mountain Farm Center will host a “Growing Perennial Fruit in Small Spaces” from 3:30-5pm at Boundary’s beer garden, meaning you can glean easy strategies for designing and maintaining an edible perennial garden in urban spaces while enjoying a cold brew. 

That day and night, you can also join Stones Throw Brewery to plant hops at the Fairhaven Community Garden, attend a philanthropy kickoff at Elizabeth Station, and drop by Cafe Velo’s patio opening party.

Remarkably, these highlighted events are only a fraction of the beer-related brouhahas that will take place throughout the week. A Wander Beer Dinner at Ciao Thyme Commons (April 21); Cedar Dust Alley, a mountain biking-focused gathering featuring a skills course, live music and bike demos at Boundary (April 23); a lecture series hosted by Chuckanut Brewery (April 24-26); and Beer Week Bingo at the Bayou Annex Bar (April 25) are also worth a mention.

But that’s far from all. To celebrate craft beer—and the earth—find the event that’s right for you, and relax with a cold brew.

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