Another year is winding down and before we say hello to 2012, we thought we’d say a fond goodbye to 2011 with some of our favorite moments of the past year. Here at Boundary Bay Brewery, 2011 gave us lots of opportunities to expand on previous successes and was jam packed with brand new adventures as well:
* We partnered up with Dry Fly Distillery (in Spokane, WA) to try barrel aging a couple of our beers. First up was our Scotch Ale which was consumed with gusto and our Oatmeal Stout is currently aging – to be released soon. The project was a great success and we’re already looking forward to trying more barrel aging in the new year.
* We brewed up our very first Cascadia Dark Ale and cast our two cents in the debate about what to name this elusive beer style. We still think Black IPA just doesn’t cut it and retain our vote for Cascadia Dark Ale in honor of the region this iconic style was birthed in.
* We jumped in to our first of (hopefully) many Beer vs. Wine dinners at Semiahmoo Resort. Craft Beer is gaining ground as a food pairing phenomenon and we’ve had a lot of fun challenging Washington wineries like Chateau Ste. Michelle to see which beverage comes out on top. We’ve got our next Beer vs. Wine dinner on January 28th, so why not make it one of your New Years resolutions to join us and open your mind to the possibilities of beer and food pairings?!
* We began highlighting our Local Connections through short video blogs, which turned out to be a great way to connect our customers and our suppliers. It’s been inspiring to connect with those who are passionate about what they do, and we’ve enjoyed visiting the farms who grow our food and the great cafés, bars and restaurants who serve our beer! We’ll start the new year with a behind-the-scenes peek at Ralf’s Bavarian Pretzels and show you exactly why we love working with this awesome local business.
* We came up with some new merchandise to tempt you: a new 2L growler and a Cabin Fever Hoodie. Our hoodies continue to be known as Bellingham’s unofficial uniform and our Save the Ales slogan is recognized far outside of our little corner of the Northwest. We hear about our customers being stopped in Disneyland, in New York and even in New Zealand when someone recognizes our iconic shirt. A lot of you have probably even seen our Munzinger shirt on the Discovery Channel special “How Beer Saved The World.”
* Our relationships with craft beer lovers across the country (and into Canada!) are continuing to grow and strengthen: our beer was officially poured for the first time in Hawaii when we took part in the Kauai Beer Festival, we’ve expanded our distribution into British Columbia which has been received with MUCH enthusiasm and our little brewpub was even written up in the Vancouver Sun, EnRoute: the AirCanada in-flight magazine and the American Airlines in-flight magazine!
* We were honored to find out that Bellingham Firefighters refer to our brewpub as Station 7 (since there are 6 official fire stations here in town) – so, with their input, we created a Station 7 shirt and are donating the proceeds from shirt sales to Camp Phoenix which is a camp for child burn victims.
* We have continued to take full advantage of our own success and to spread that love by doing everything we can to support local nonprofits. Every year, we donate to over 100 local charities and this year, for the first time, we became a sponsor of the Dirty Farm Trek – a physical and mental obstacle race put on by the VZ Foundation.
* The Bellingham Firefighters Pipes & Drums band has, unofficially, become our house band! We’re delighted that they feel welcome enough here at the brewpub to just drop by for spontaneous performances and entertain our customers with their tunes.
* Our General Manager, Janet Lightner, has been the driving force behind Bellingham’s St. Patricks Day Parade and we were thrilled to help her put on another successful parade in 2011 despite the unfavorable weather. Amazingly, it’s almost time to start thinking about next year’s parade too! This year, the 2011 Paddy’s Day Parade will fall on the 17th – St. Patrick’s Day itself, so mark your calendars and plan on a whole day of Irish-inspired festivities.
* We brewed the very first Ski to Sea ESB – commemorating 100 years of racing and look forward to continuing that tradition next year. And, the Boundary Bay Brewery women’s Ski to Sea Team enjoyed another win in the Competitive Women’s Division and continues to be the ONLY team in Ski to Sea history to win their division 11 years in a row!
* We are thrilled to have been named the Best Brewery in Washington, the Best Brewpub in Washington and the Best Scotch Ale in the Northwest by the Northwest Brewing News Reader’s Choice Awards and were named the Best Bar in Bellingham by the Bellingham Herald Readers Choice Awards.
* And, the biggest news of all for 2011, is our impending expansion! We’ll take over the lease of the new space on January 1st and are excited to start the new year with lots and lots of construction. ;)
As we look back on 2011 and ahead to whatever may come in 2012, we want to take a moment to say thank you to all of YOU – our beloved friends and customers who have become a part of the Boundary Bay Brewery family! We are so proud to be a part of this incredible community (both Bellingham and the craft beer community at large) and honored to have your support as we move on to another year of handcrafted beer and great local food. We truly couldn’t do what we do without you. Cheers, from all of us here at Boundary Bay Brewery!