In the Pacific Northwest, we take our recreation—and our beer consumption—very seriously.
The mad geniuses at San Juan Cruises are onto this pertinent fact, as evidenced by their most recent excursion addition. Every Thursday in August, they’re hosting a “Brews Cruise” through the waters of Bellingham Bay, and, judging by ticket sales, it seems people were just waiting for a chance to climb aboard.
My fella and I secured a couple of tickets to the virgin voyage aboard the Victorian Star last Thursday, and conditions were perfect. In addition to clear blue skies and copious sunshine, a gentle maritime breeze billowed through the open windows and doors of the watercraft, making the elevated August temperatures tolerable as we motored out of the Bellingham Cruise Terminal and into open water.
Of course, with three local breweries on board ready and willing to share their hoppy concoctions with the masses, there was little danger of any of the 100-plus passengers getting overheated. Representatives and brewers from Boundary Bay Brewery, Chuckanut Brewery, and Kulshan Brewery were slaking thirsts left and right, and they all seemed happy to be there.
“Do you think your experience would be enhanced by live music?” Boundary’s Janet Lightner asked me as I sidled up for a second sample of their oh-so-refreshing Ginger Peach Blonde Ale—which, by the way, can’t be found on tap other than at festivals and special occasions (and on the Brews Cruise every Thursday).
I told her I’d think about it, and then grabbed my guy to snag a spot on the starboard bow for some quality quaffing and shore-and-seawater gazing. We’d already done a loop along Taylor Dock and Boulevard Park, and were now motoring past Post Point and farther along Chuckanut Drive.
To our left, sandstone coves, madrone trees and secret swimmers could be spotted, while to our right were crisp views of the San Juan Islands, sailboats fluttering along on their merry way, crab pot buoys and, of course, the ever-present sunshine.
While my date pointed out topographical items of interest—such as stone stairs he’d help construct at Teddy Bear Cove—I went and fetched a couple more samples of the goods. I’d already had a smoky Rauch Marzen lager from Chuckanut, so this time I went with Kulshan’s Bastard Kat IPA and grabbed a Boundary Bay Scotch Ale for him.
I’m sure there’s some scientific theory explaining why food and drink taste better when consumed outside, but I wasn’t thinking about the particulars as we sipped our beers and enjoyed the bounty of nature provided to us by simply getting on a boat.
Although it had seemed like the craft would be overcrowded when we all jammed our way onboard, by the time the cruise came to an end, I realized that had been an illusion. Some cruisers stayed outside the entire time, while others found private tables and took in the views from inside. Either way, there was plenty of room.
For those looking for more particulars, Boundary Bay will take part in the remaining four brews cruises, and will be joined by a variety of regional brewers, including Diamond Knot Brewery, Schooner Exact Brewing Company, Anacortes Brewery, and Port Townsend Brewery. Excursions are filling up quickly, so act fast.
I never did get back to Janet about that music thing, but after thinking about it for a few days, I believe it to be unnecessary. After all, with brews and views to concentrate on, it might take focus away from the important things in life.
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