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Short Hops: Ales from a Bellingham brewing neighborhood

Rob Whitney, manager at The Local Public House, draws tickets for raffle prizes at the Bellingham Beer Lab launch party on July 1, 2015. The Public House is one of five locales for craft beer found within about a block of each other in corner of downtown Bellingham.
Rob Whitney, manager at The Local Public House, draws tickets for raffle prizes at the Bellingham Beer Lab launch party on July 1, 2015. The Public House is one of five locales for craft beer found within about a block of each other in corner of downtown Bellingham. The Bellingham Herald

Gone are the days when Bellingham was a one-brewery town.

These days, you can find five craft beer locales within roughly a block of each other in one corner of downtown. That’s two taphouses, The Copper Hog and the outdoor Schweinhaus Biergarten; two breweries, Aslan and Structures; and a kind of hybrid of both in The Local Public House and its house brewery, Menace.

Here’s a quick glance at a range of beers from the brewing neighborhood.

Aslan Batch 15 IPA. Sometimes, especially early on, Aslan seemed to hop up its beers for hops’ sake, but a little restraint has gone a long way, even in a style where it’s acceptable and expected to be extreme. This one’s got a tasteful balance of bitter but not ruthlessly bitter. Even people who don’t normally like IPAs could give this a shot. B

Menace Irish Red. On nitro this ale is creamy in the extreme, with a third of a pint of tan head, thick and rich as milk. Depending on the pour, that can be excruciatingly slow to dissipate. The body’s a deep ruby, a strong regal color, and the full look is reflected in the mouth-feel. On the tongue are medium-dark roasted malt flavors. B

Structures Mandarina/Blanc Pale. An opaque hazy glow of golden-orange, like a Wit, gives this ale a dreamy appearance. Contrary to the look, the flavor profile from hops and body gives a gritty undertone like wet earth that works, somehow, by melding with the sweeter, fuller, fruitier notes of apricot and, of course, mandarin. B+

Structures Table Beer. The pour is bright gold, with mild haze, beneath a crisp white pillow of head. Great full Belgian funk and citrus on the nose preludes more Belgian funk on the palate. That’s followed by an afterglow of just-right mild sour tang. The body’s on the brighter, lighter side. If it’s good, it’s good. And this is so drinkable. A-

Caleb Hutton: 360-715-2276, @bhamcaleb

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