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Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro

Not Rated.
Boundary Bay Brewery & BistroBoundary Bay Brewery & Bistro
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

49 Ratings
Ratings: 49
Reviews: 38
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 10.51%
Active Beers: 68
Beer Ratings: 702
Beer Avg: 3.68
Taps: 0
Bottles: 0
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

1107 Railroad Ave.
Bellingham, Washington, 98227
United States
phone: (360) 647-5593

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
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Ratings: 49 | Reviews: 38 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of slander
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%

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.

slander, Nov 06, 2012
Photo of John_M
4.36/5  rDev +6.6%

No disrespect to the many outstanding places on the East Coast, but this place pretty much typifies why I'll always lean to the left when it comes to great beer establishments in th U.S.

The atmosphere of this place is drop dead NW. It has a completely laid back, nothing pretentious feel to it. Although the beer here is clearly world class, the atmosphere is unassuming, ho-hum, go with the flow West Coast. The crowd here really says it all. On this particular Monday afternoon there were families, young hipsters, and old farts like myself hanging out, relaxing, and just having a mellow time hanging out with friends and having a good time. As one enters the brewpub one sees off to the left a medium size bar with around 10 bar stools. There are some rickety old tables and chairs, high ceilings, and left over sails adorning the walls. The furnishings are pretty stark and are nothing fancy, giving the brewpub a minimalist, easy going, nothing pretentious vibe.

The quality of the beers here is off the charts. The regular line-up is stellar, with even the blond and amber worth a try. The imperial oatmeal stout is world class, and the seasonals... sigh. The dunkel bock was pretty much the best I've tasted in the U.S., and the Old Bounder barleywine and imperial IPA just fabulous. My test for outstanding DIPA's is that they have to be so hoppy that they wear my ass out, almost causing indigestion because of the excessive hoppiness and richness. The DIPA here more then meets that test.

The service here is the type of service that is so good it's hard to describe. This is a regular's bar, with most of the customers making this place their home away from home. The cute young bartender, at least on the day I was here, treated everyone accordingly. She seemed to know everyone by name, gave everyone a well deserved ration of shit, and then treated them like they were visiting relatives. She was friendly but polite, familiar but considerate.

As for the selection, the day I was here they had some 9 different beers on tap. Everything was pretty outstanding, though of course some things were better then others. The IPA and scotch ale were no better then fair, but pretty much everything else was outstanding.

This is the sort of place I only wish my friends on the East Coast could visit. At least from my experience so far, there is nothing quite like this on the East Coast, as it completely epitomizes the NW experience. There are plenty of fabulous places here on the East Coast, but there is NOTHING like Boundary Bay. This place is an absolute diamond in the rough; a complete gem. What I wouldn't give to have a place like this in Baltimore....

John_M, Apr 08, 2008
Photo of barleywinefiend
3.73/5  rDev -8.8%

A: Stopped in here on a Saturday, busy World Cup day, farmers market and WWU graduation. Busy but I saw some beer shirts. Laid back.

Q: Beer quality at BB is always good to very good

S: Slow at times but not bad, it was a busy day afterall.

S: 7 regular handles and 3 seasonals but nothing exciting at all

F: Fish tacos and burger were bland, bad, we did NOT finsh them. Not bad on price for the food but I have had better pub food for sure

Overall a good stop and glad I went but probably would not go out my way to go back.

barleywinefiend, Jun 13, 2010
Photo of dirtylou
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%

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.

dirtylou, Jul 27, 2011
Photo of Rifugium
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

Rifugium, Aug 16, 2014
Photo of MilwaukeeCrusher
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%

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.

MilwaukeeCrusher, Oct 19, 2011
Photo of BillRoth
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

BillRoth, Feb 07, 2014
Photo of RedDiamond
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%

It's tempting to think of Bellingham as the quintessential northwest city. It's comfortably mid-sized with a mix of historic charm, modern adaptations and a lively personality. That might also describe the Boundary Bay Brewery and Bistro. It enjoys a great broken-in feeling courtesy of the building's origins as a downtown waterfront industry. The bar has worn, wooden floors, suspended sails and a dingy, and windows into the brewery. Plus, there's a beer garden, a patio, and isolated views of the bay.

The brewpub is in the heart of downtown Bellingham immediately across from the Farmer's Market. It's extremely popular among Bellinghammers. The diverse food menu is reasonably priced, tasty and falls mainly into that imprecise category called "comfort food." Try splitting a mac & cheese and a salad with a friend or the grilled portobellos if available.

The bar has just six seats. But the bar room and dining hall probably hold 100 or more people and will be packed during peak service hours. Expect a twenty-minute wait for a table on a Friday night. Service is responsive and pleasant. On one occasion my server forgot to bring me a beer menu for perhaps 15 minutes but compensated for this with a pint on the house. Apparently it's their policy.

Ten house beers include about seven regulars, three seasonals, one nitro tap and no guests. Cask ales are tapped on Thursdays. Boundary Bay enjoys a solid reputation for fine ales though my experience has been mixed. Most beers are American and British Isle derived with rare excursions into continental territory. 22-oz. bottles are available to go at the service counter.

RedDiamond, Nov 12, 2009
Photo of Metalmonk
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%

Unassuming in the front, but once inside, Boundary Bay is welcoming (ie. not trendy or upscale) and enormous. Two separate indoor rooms with high ceilings, adjoined by two adjacent doorways, and a great multi-level beer garden--a deck, and another space below it on ground level, and next to that a tent with yet more picnic tables. Would be a kick-ass place for Oktoberfest, or any kind of occasion really. Nobody was in that area when I went, maybe because it was too cold and kind of drizzly.

Service was excellent, very attentive and knowledgeable about the beer. The beer itself was delicious--I had the bock and IPA. Expertly-crafted stuff that would keep me going back even if the food sucked (it didn't, although what I had was merely good).

Local art was displayed on the walls, and was for sale, and from reading the menu as well, it seems they're very much in support of their local community, in terms of the ingredients they use. They were even selling copies of Tom Robbins' new book, 'B is for Beer' (a kids' book for adults, or an adult book for kids), which I happened to have read just before leaving for my trip northwest.

A great place whose atmosphere and service is recommended, but of course it's the beers that you shouldn't pass up if you're ever in the area. So glad I went.

Metalmonk, May 15, 2009
Photo of bigkingken
4.7/5  rDev +14.9%

This is about as good as it gets, folks.

Located a handful of miles south of the Canadian border, Boundary bay may be the perfect local brewpub. The restaurant is set in what once must have been a large garage, because a giant garage door separates the main dining area from the patio area open when the weather is nice.

But other than that, you'd never know it was a garage. The tables, decorations, bar, televisions and general atmosphere has nothing "garage" about it. The giant boats, sails and mounted fish adorning the ceilings and walls is a bit over the top, but overall, I loved the feel of this place.

The menu is *almost* typical pub fare. The difference is the ingredients: the combinations of local ingredients and freshness of what is available.

For example, my dining partner got a delicious pizza topped with smoked salmon and pesto. I had a sandwich stacked high with a fresh filet of salmon. And the pumpkin cheesecake to top the meal off wasn't too bad either. It tasted just like the perfect pumpkin pie, which I've never had, because apparently the perfect pumpkin pie is a pumpkin cheesecake.

The beer is absolutely outstanding. They had nine of their own beers, each of which was heavy on the malts, giving it the depth and complexity so sorely missed by many brewpubs looking to sell a lot of beer. The malt level means it is more expensive, and you can't drink as much, because it is filling as hell. But I loved absolutely everything they put in front of me.

And the service was great. Good suggestions. Attentive. Brought my large sampler out in flights so that they didn't get too warm.

bigkingken, Jan 27, 2010
Photo of beertunes
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%

okay, full disclosure. as a resident 'hamster this is my local so i am not completely neutural. the beer is excellent. the inside passage ale (ipa) is probably the best seller. ten taps include six or seven regular choices and three or four seasonals. try the latest in the single hop series. they make a pale ale with the same malt bill and only one type of hop. each time they make it they use a different variety of hop. the cabin fever winter ale is my favorite beer of the year here. the place is always busy so bring your patience. when the weather is good the beer garden is the way to go.

beertunes, Sep 26, 2007
Photo of loren01
4.58/5  rDev +12%

Went here while in Bellingham a couple weekends ago. Had been here one other time and had an awesome time here and remembered how good everything was. Went somewhat early...maybe like 4pm and the place was packed....looks like the locals love this place as well. Parking was a bit of a challenge but finally found a spot. We ended up having to wait for a table but the staff said we could grab a beer and go out on the patio so thats what we did. Looked like down below the patio they were setting up for some music that night. I started off drinking a double red which was one of their seasonals on the menu. The double red was amazing! Finally some guy left so we grabbed his table in the bar area and sat down. Service was very prompt...and we ordered our food and another beer (dopplebock this time). The dopplebock was even better than the first beer. We ended up getting nachos and a side of beef stew. Both of which were amazing. Its a good thing boundry bay isn't in the town I live in cause I'd be there probably more than I should. A must visit while in Bellingham.

loren01, Apr 19, 2010
Photo of freed
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%

For a college kid, this was a great place to take the parents. A nice mix of house brews, pleasantly decorated building, and really good food.

Boundary Bay sits just west the main drag, and is within fairly easy walking distance of much of the town. Its in a old shop building with a vacant lot on one side, which lends itself well for projecting movies onto the wall of the opposite building. Its hard to beat watching a cult classic on the deck with beers during the summer.

The beers themselves are solid NW style beers. Hoppy, Malty, and good. I sometimes find it difficult to distinquish between them, but they are quite good. The Doppelboch is excellent.

A wide variety of foods that really are quite cosmopolitain, and very good. I've never had a bad meal here. Service is good, but nothing that distinquishes itself from other places. There's a nice green feeling about the place, almost like an old Park lodge.

freed, Aug 16, 2003
Photo of KStark
4/5  rDev -2.2%

KStark, May 13, 2014
Photo of dbalsock
4.13/5  rDev +1%

So I've gone a couple times with different experiences each time. I've tried 7-8 of their beers and they were all at least decent. The scotch ale is better than the highland scotch ale, and their oatmeal imperial stout smells a little bit like wet dog, but other than those comments, the only thing I can say about their beer is: very good! The service has been good every time I've gone, with the servers noticing every time I was ready for a new beer. The atmosphere has been pleasant with nice seating and good lighting. Two times I went I ordered a pizza, and each time it had a very different crust. The first was big and fluffy and just how i like it, similar to pizza port in some ways. The second time was flat and not like pizza dough, but like flat bread. Both tasted good, but I definitely prefer the fluffy ones.

dbalsock, Jun 13, 2008
Photo of Viggo
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%

Went down to Bellingham to visit a friend of mine, luckily he lives about 15 minutes walk from the brewery. Atmosphere is a mix of tourists and locals, pretty neat. Big merch area right as you walk in, including a fridge full of bombers to take out. We went and sat at the bar, friendly and knowledgable enough bartender, nice wooden bar, wooden tables, miscellaneous water related items hanging around the bar. I think they had about 11-12 taps, all BB. I had three beers, which were all pretty solid to excellent. The menu is pretty varied and the lamb burger I had was quite nice. I found the prices to be pretty competitive and very reasonable. Very good place, have wanted to go for a while and will definitely go again next time I'm out this way.

Viggo, Feb 25, 2008
Photo of canucklehead
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%

Had a little bit of trouble finding this place as Railroad Ave is very short but the effort was worth it as I can safely say that these guys brew some great beer.
The bartender set me up with a taster and then threw in all the extra seasonals for free which is nice when a BA's interest is rewarded with being able to taste the whole range. What a range; everything from a light ale to a barley wine , Double IPA ,Dunkelbock and every style in between. Every beer is good with some such as the Double IPA and Barleywine approaching great. The brewer skip came out told me that he is taking over a brewpub in Port Angeles so I hope ther quality will continue.
The food was nicely made and presented and the space was big and bright with lots of outdoor tables for summertime.

canucklehead, Apr 14, 2004
Photo of Derek
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%

Well worth the cross-boarder trek, (and only a couple of blocks from the bottle shoppe).

You can see the stainless steel mash tuns from the seats up front. Great atmosphere for a brew pub.

A tray of six 5-oz samples is a reasonable $8. A limited number of their brews are available in 22oz bottles for take-out, and they'll fill a growler with anything on tap.

Some of their beers were a little murky (no finnings or filtering), but they were packed full of flavour. Lots of Pacific Northwest hops.

Not your typical pub grub menu... lots of tasty things to choose from, as well as vegitarian and pescitarian options.

Friendly staff, good service. I'd go out of my way to make it there again!

Derek, Dec 18, 2005
Photo of carln26
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%

I had dinner and a few beers here several years ago when on a sailing trip to the San Juans, but this was my first opportunity to really sit, enjoy, and review this pub. It’s located in downtown Bellingham, very accessible on Railroad Street. Decent space. It looks like it might have been a converted garage, as I sat in the bar area, and there is a large garage door on the front wall. Rustic styling with lots of regional decorations, and some sports goods (bikes, skis, etc) hanging from the ceiling.

Nice friendly staff with prompt service. I like the people here. Primarily locals. Workers, professionals, and college students. Fleece and blue jeans are the attire here, not the dress clothes I had on (I was on my way back from a business meeting in Vancouver), I like the laid back atmosphere.

Nice selection of beer. About 8 on tap including a seasonal winter warmer, and several regulars. All the beers were obviously very fresh, and pretty tasty. Their IPA is exceptional.

Nice selection of food. Plenty of salads, sandwiches, wraps, pasta, fresh seafood, and pizzas. The Thai wrap I had came with a side salad. It was a tasty, light dinner, and was perfect with the hoppy beers I was enjoying. Prices are reasonable, not cheap, but under control.

All together a great place. Worth a stop if you are in the most northern city in the mainland US.

carln26, Jan 15, 2006
Photo of berley31
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%

Dropped in for lunch and a beer on the way to Seattle from Vancouver. Atmosphere was comfortable enough, but not exactly what I'd call 'cozy' or 'warm'. Sat in the bar area where there's basically a bunch of picnic tables. Ordered their Blonde (which was pretty good) and the Yellow Curry as a meal, which was also good. They had a bunch of their other beers on tap that I would have been interested in trying if we'd only had the time. Waitress was friendly and fast. A nice enough spot that I'd easily visit again if in the area.

berley31, Oct 22, 2009
Photo of Sound_Explorer
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Sound_Explorer, May 18, 2014
Photo of Bfarr
3.58/5  rDev -12.5%

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.

Bfarr, Jun 27, 2010
Photo of Erik-P
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%

Erik-P, Sep 27, 2014
Photo of BDTyre
3.85/5  rDev -5.9%

Decent joint in downtown Bellingham. Nice decor, although the size of the building can make it seem a little spares at times. The white walls don't help. The place was decked out for Christmas, which was a nice touch. That it is non-smoking/all ages is a definite plus.

Service lost some points due to speed. They were friendly enough, but almost painfully slow. It wasn't busy when we got there, although it had picked up quite a bit at the end. Only one server was on, so I can't really blame her.

Good selection of food, almost a something for everyone place. The food itself was quite good. I've had better, but not often.

Wish i could have tried more of their beers.

BDTyre, Dec 21, 2006
Photo of mabermud
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

This local Bellingham pub epitomizes the Bellingham culture. Down to Earth, natural, somewhat artsy, and laid back. They serve a solid IPA. For me, it is especially tasty on cask. This is one of our favorite places to go in the summer for afternoon beers, plus it is very much, kid friendly. The outdoor seating/beer garden is nice, the events they have here are always fun, and it is centrally located in downtown Bellingham. Their beers are solid, the food is good, and the people are nice.

mabermud, Apr 08, 2014
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Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro in Bellingham, WA
91 out of 100 based on 49 ratings.