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Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro
Active Beers: 54
Beer Ratings: 496
Beer Avg: 3.69
Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]
1107 Railroad Ave.
phone: (360) 647-5593
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Reviews by slander:
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
Working our way up the coast to the forbidden zone, when Phil unexpectedly (to me, anyway) detours off the interstate for the scenic route, and then promptly stops at a random antique store (used loosely) on the side of the road. Wish I could get that harpoon back to NY with me. No, it’s a bad idea. Used a lifeline and called Carl Ronson for placement and disposition, and then came rolling into Bellingham. Spotted ‘Boundary Bay’, and thought, “Wasn’t that the name of Khan’s ship in the Star Trek episode?” Oh, wait, okay. Hey, there’s a beer festival happening across the street, stars, they be alignin’…
Early 20th century cinder blocky building standalone; with a center roll up garage door for when weather permits, and doors & panel windows on both ends. A small reception room off the far entrance with shwag sales & 22’s a cooler of 22’s gives way to the big room; just shy of 2 dozen tables across the room for the sittin’, some pushed together for parties larger, and a straight plank topped bar, slat base, & piping foot rail, with seating for 6 on green stools to the rear.
Slat wood barback units of shelving, glassware & growlers, split by a doorway to somewhere. To the center of the larger one side (the off center?), 10 taps on a stainless steel panel with vertical black slat pieces above, beer names printed there in colored markers, and a pair of handpumps off to the left. More glassware shelved below, and wines, too. Red, blue, & silver streamers lining the top side with strung baby frosty mug lights from end to end. Flats in both corners atop, and pieces in between (a ‘cask conditioned ales’ sign, a croquet set, mugs, other glassware, a pink flamingo, ceramic growlers, toy trains, a football helmet, house bombers, a mini leg lamp from ‘A Christmas Story’, oh, and a 3rd place award for a 2006 barleywine festival at Coles, a long way from home. It’s even got a little buffalo on top, cool).
Worn fat wood plank floorings, and beige walls & a high ceiling with a darker trim. Drop martini glass lamps over the bar and in rows about the rest of the room, with strung lighting from lamp to lamp. Nice vertical ‘Beers of Washington’ framed print to one side, and a corner not as small as it looks brew room to the left of the bar, with large brew room view windows; events and happy hour board above, and World Beer Cup awards displayed alongside. Piano against the inside wall with ‘Kayak ski to sea’ awards on top, black & white pics of things ski, brew, & boat (what else is there?) mounted, and a long loooong row of North American beer awards displayed. A giant sail affixed to the ceiling above the bar, and other sails mounted about the walls & ceiling lined with strung lighting. A great little boat mounted, a kayak, a beer & food 3D piece, international flaggings, & large boat art on the far wall. Old handpump set up, more croquet, & a barrel, with the kayak over the side room entrance vestibule.
And there’s a rear room long and narrowish with more seating; 2 and a ½ dozen tables pushed together in the places you need that to happen. Local prints for sale back there, and access to an outside side deck, a dozen + pic-a-nic tables there, and I think there’s an outside space I missed? It’s comfortably cool out today, I would like this weather for always, please.
So, beer; 6 house regulars (Bellingham Blonde, crisp, nice hop bite; Best Bitter, nice bitterness, a solid ESB; Amber, hoppier than maltier, good body; Inside Passage Ale, very nicely hoppy IPA; Scotch, good sweety, malty, and non-bandaidy, like too many others are; Dry Irish Stout, in lieu of the Impy Oatmeal Stout, chocolatey nose, bit of licorice, a little thin but most quaffable), 4 seasonals (Imperial IPA, a bit on the sweet side, as they generally are; Maibock, some sweet alcohol, a very nice example to style; Pilsner, nice bite, dry, crisp, good clean Pils; Highland Reserve Scotch Ale, biiiig alcohol & peaty), and both handpumps live (currently pouring the IPA & ESB). I’d say that Best Bitter, Amber, Inside Passage Ale, & Pilsner were my faves, but there were no clunkers here. None.
And food. I wanted a salad and chowder combo but Phil ordered 4 pretzels for the 2 of us (What’s your malfunction, carny?) I don’t give a shit though ‘cause I’m not leaving without having me the salmon chowder, and this one was excellent; potato, celery, carrots, onions, & big chunky salmon action.
Food fixed my head, and the beer was solid. It’s a good, comfortable house. Janet showed up with tix for the beer festival (well, that’s a day changer), and Ed dropped over, too (hey man, good to see you again). Really just super nice folks, but you already knew that, didn’t you? Well, off to the ‘Brewers by the Bay’ festival, I’m in no rush to see Vancouver anyway.
11-06-2012 02:48:33 |
More by slander
More User Reviews:
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.75 | $$
It definitely helps that it's a beautiful day, but walking up to the brewery with the view of the bay is stunning on a day like this.
Greeted by hop vines growing just inside a fenced off area next to the entrance, the seating is open and airy. It probably could get kind of stuffy during the winter when it's socked in, but on a bright sunny day like this it's airy and open.
Really friendly staff everytime I've come in, whether just to pick up some bottles or to eat. Even when it's super busy they are good about communicating that fact and keeping things moving.
Delicious food, handmade using local ingedients for the most part... priced about on par with standard stuff of the type.
Wholeheartedly recommend stopping in anytime you're in Bellingham, or northewest washington in general for that matter
05-08-2013 20:54:51 |
More by kemoarps
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3 | $$$
Oh Boundary Bay Brewery, you are a staple in the Bellingham community. When I was first introduced to craft beer you were my love. Your scotch ale was delicious, but soon things started changing.
Your service was sub-par. I would sit waiting to be served for 5-10 minutes without even being so much as talked to. Your servers were curt and not very friendly.
We started growing apart as I found better and better craft beers and bars/eateries that had better beer on tap. I began to notice that pretty much all your beers tasted the same, hoppy and sweet. My massive headaches after just two of your beers were attributed not long enough fermentation times.
You're getting better though and i hope our relationship can be mended in the coming years.
11-12-2012 20:43:07 |
More by SecondStage1983
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 1 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$
By far one of the most over rated brewerys i have ever been to. The restaurant itself is nicely laid out with a big open bar to sit and enjoy some beer. They also have a wonderfull beer garden great to enjoy a few beers and usually listen to some great local music.
Service is usually a little slow. Sometimes coming off as pretentious, but thats just B-Ham for ya.
The food has always been pretty decent, with a menu based on local farms. Unfortunately for my experience's the beer has been just ok, without really sticking out from any other brewery. I feel the beers are rushed through the final stages of brewing, creating an unfinished balance at the end of every drink.
Seems they have a devoted local following, which is good to see people appreciate and support local business.
Suprisingly there is much better beer down the street at chuckanut without said following.
11-21-2011 05:22:39 |
More by long4hops
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
On the way to see Mt. Baker, I decided to stop in to this brewery. While it was not difficult to find a good IPA in the region, this place did well across the board for a change, as their stronger and darker beers ranged to above average to exceptional. I don't recall anything too bold as far as styles, but for what they had I was very pleased. Service was slightly above average to very good and I didn't try the food. One beer for me that stood out definitely was their Imperial Porter, which I had to buy a bottle on the way out. I would stop here again, if and ever in Bellingham again.
10-19-2011 06:03:54 |
More by MilwaukeeCrusher
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$
Bellingham is such a sweet little town - worth the trip for scenery, vibe, food, and this cool little brewery.
garage doors, open air, full of space and exposed brick. cool place.
Boundary Bay has a solid arsenal of brews, most certainly headlined by the stellar IPA which is difficult to track down (in the bottle) outside of the brewery.
The 15th anniversary was a nice potent strong ale and the ESB was fairly good.
Service is strong and attentive, with a rotating-staff approach to ensure all needs are met.
We only had a light chips/salsa appetizer just to pass the time but the salsa was solid and the chips were standard.
So far, easily one of my favorite washington brewers.
07-27-2011 00:48:38 |
More by dirtylou
British Columbia (Canada)
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
Old building with high ceilings and some tacky art work. Old wooden mismatched tables and chairs on a nice wood floor. You dont go here for the food or the atmosphere, but for the beer. Their IPA is quite nice and the Imperial Oatmeal Stout is very good. The seasonals look to be outstanding. Had a Belgian Pale Ale served in a nice brandy snifter. Cascadian Dark Ale coming out soon. Would have probably given higher marks in the summer when the outdoor patio opens and I had more than 2 of their pints.
02-14-2011 02:06:16 |
More by LazyL
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
Atmosphere: Nice long bar, plenty of tables in the place. My favorite thing about Boundary Bay (besides the beer) is the beer garden. A great place to sit outside with plenty of seating and they also have a couple kegs out there so you don't have to walk inside. If you sit inside the place feels so open.
Quality: For what they have, the quality is great. Just take a look at all the medals and awards littering the walls.
Service: Plenty of staff. Always someone walking around that you can flag down if you need something. If you sit at the bar the bartenders are always attentive. Never had a problem with the service.
Selection: More than a dozen beers to choose from. BB always has most of their "staple" beers on tap, and then a rotating seasonal list. I'm a big variety fan so BB is a good place where I can always get something I haven't had in a while.
Value: Overall, a bit on the pricey side, but their beers are top notch. One of my favorite places in Washington.
10-26-2010 12:01:23 |
More by otto251068
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Boundary Bay is one of our all-time favorite brewpubs. The atmosphere is convivial and laid-back. The beers are award-winning, top-notch, with a good variety always on tap. The food is creative, fresh, local and delicious (try the Yam Alecheladas). And the ownership is engaged and cares deeply about the Bellingham community.
The 21+ bar area is the best place to sit, and it seems no matter what time you are there it's packed with everyone from the 21-year-old WWU student to the 65-year-old local fisherman.
Also of note is the beer garden, open roughly late spring through early fall with frequent events like live music, community events and even weddings. It's one of the largest beer gardens around, and it seems like it's always sunny in Bellingham.
Boundary Bay is a great place to stop on the way to or from hiking or skiing at Mt Baker, or we also enjoy spending the whole weekend in Bellingham to soak up the outdoorsy northwest vibe.
10-11-2010 18:29:23 |
More by WaBeerBlog
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3 | $$$
Boundary Bay has a lot to offer. Family dining, tap room with a couple of TV's, a beer garden, and an almost constant stream of events throughout the year. There is a good amount of seating available when the outside is open but limited at all other times.
Boundary Bay is all about the beer. They are very prompt at getting your beers out to you. However, the servers (and some bartenders) are not always very knowledgeable about what they have and what to recommend. Being a fan on facebook I have often been more knowledgeable about the different beer they have. That being said, they are always trying new things and have different taps rotating in conjunction with their regulars and the new cask engines they put in make choosing even more difficult. Definitely not a bad problem at all!
The food is good though in my opinion not as spectacular as they like to promote. They have a wide variety of offerings for the family and even brew a house root beer for the kids, although my root beer connoisseur son states it's just above average. They are also quite slow at the best of times. Last Friday it took over 20 minutes to get a couple appetizers out to our table, which I suppose does give you time for more beer which is what they may want in the first place.
They are a bit pricey for what you get relative to other locations. In fact, I can get a growler of seasonal brews (which they refuse to sell at Boundary Bay) down at the Porterhouse Pub in Mount Vernon for the same price they sell their regular offerings. I think this is due to a lack of competition in the area and the fact that they have been firmly entrenched in the community for a long time.
Overall, Boundary Bay is certainly a worthwhile stop if you're ever around the city of Bellingham.
06-27-2010 17:36:49 |
More by Bfarr
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Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro in Bellingham, WA