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
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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-