Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Bellingham's Elizabeth Station

There is only one thing preventing me from moving to Bellingham in order to patronize this outstanding business on a daily basis. Well, two things, because I have an incredible girlfriend who is currently studying in Vancouver...but Elizabeth Station seriously needs espresso-based drinks! They have everything else I love in the world: obscure beers on tap, a cereal bar, a broad range of candy, and one of the largest canned and bottled craft beer selections in the Pacific Northwest. However, they only serve filtered coffee, which is a bummer. Before I was lucky enough to explore Elizabeth Station myself, a friend from Bellingham had difficulty describing the store to me: “It’s essentially a convenience store, except the proprietor has dedicated 80% of his inventory to delicious, rare beers and meads from the West Coast. Like, you have to look hard for things like milk and bread because there is so much friggin’ beer everywhere.” He actually did a good job of describing it, but it is hard to understand how amazing this place is until you experience it for yourself. 

The last time I visited Elizabeth Station, I bought two beers that I would highly recommend. You may be able to find them in a specialty beer shop, if you live in the Pacific Northwest. The first was New Belgium Brewing's Tart Lychee Ale. Dominated by lychee and cinnamon flavours, the sweetness of this complex brew is counteracted by the yeasts that the brewers have used, which provide the beverage with a puckering dryness. It's a perfect balance of sweet and sour, and the 7.5% abv really ties the room together. The second spectacular beer I bought was Sound Brewery's Humulo Nimbus Double IPA. One can't help but be intimidated by the title "Double IPA" but Sound's take on this Northwest-specific brew is totally approachable. With IBUs under 80 and tropical-tasting hops, this is a bold yet drinkable India Pale. It is mildly carbonated and slightly amber in colour, which also sets it apart from many bottled IPAs made in Washington and Oregon. 

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