Road Trip from Seattle, WA to Vancouver, BC

Discussion in 'Northwest' started by beatjunkee, Jan 9, 2014.

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  1. beatjunkee

    beatjunkee Devotee (394) Sep 25, 2010 Virginia

    Hey BAs,
    I'll be doing a road trip between to/from Seattle & Vancouver soon (along the I-5).
    I was wondering what are the hot spots to hit up: mainly the quality breweries and bottleshops that might be along the way -- that won't be too much of a detour off the main I-5 route.
    I'll mainly be looking for stuff that doesn't make their way out of the PNW area, and/or the west coast. I'll be coming in from the eastcoast (DC area), so i'm excited to be in that corner of the country to try some good brews, and (mostly) pick up bottles to bring back east. Any help is appreciated!


    I'll be doing this in early may, so any tips on beer events, releases or limited/seasonals that i may be conveniently-timed in the area for would be a great bonus, too!
  2. Prufrockstar

    Prufrockstar Initiate (0) Jan 15, 2013 Washington

    Seattle Beer Week is May 8-May 18 this year, if that falls into your "early May" range.
  3. BuckeyeOne

    BuckeyeOne Initiate (0) Mar 9, 2008 Washington

    Quickly off the top of my head, I can think of Elliott Bay Pizza in Mill Creek (just north of Seattle) and Skagit River Brewery (about 45 minutes north of Seattle). Both of these are just off of I-5 --- you can even see Skagit River from the freeway. [Helpful tidbit: We don't call it "the I-5," just I-5.]
    NWer and distantmantra like this.
  4. distantmantra

    distantmantra Pooh-Bah (2,954) May 23, 2011 Washington
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Boundary Bay and Kulshan aren't too far from I-5 in Bellingham.
  5. WhiteJordan

    WhiteJordan Initiate (0) Sep 6, 2012 Washington

    Are you going to have time to explore or just stop along the way?
  6. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Grand High Pooh-Bah (7,282) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Admittedly I'm biased because I love my home, but I think you should plan on spending at least 1 overnight in Bellingham. We've got 3 great breweries in town (Boundary Bay and Kulshan make great NW style ales, and Chuckanut makes some of, if not THE best Lagers in the country), and 2 more (Wander and Aslan) are supposed to be open sometime in the spring. In addition, a little bit out of town is one of the PNW's most hidden secrets, North Fork. We've got several great beer bars in town as well.

    Hitting Skagit River and North Sound in Mt. Vernon, Anacortes Brewing/Rockfish Grill in Anacortes, and Flyers is also strongly recommended. Just north of Everett is Skookum, and I'm a big fan of their beer as well. Honestly, a 3 day/2 night stay in Whatcom and Skagit counties is a worthy beer stop. And, depending on what your non-beer interests are, there's plenty to do as well. Shoot me a message when you're headed up and I'll get some suggestions to you, and we can meet up for a few pints.
    NWer and BuckeyeOne like this.
  7. beatjunkee

    beatjunkee Devotee (394) Sep 25, 2010 Virginia

    Hi all,
    Thanks for the suggestions... I've never actually heard of some of the spots above.
    Dang, pretty bummed i'll be missing out on Seattle Beer Wk, that would've been perfrect.

    I'm actually gonna be flying into Seattle 5/2, then driving up to Vancouver to run the Vancouver Marathon on 5/4 -- so the beer intake will be at a minimum, and bottle pickups to a maximum. And then I drive back Vancouver-to-Seattle on may6th and/or may7th. So basically, I plan on exploring the area in the few days after the race; drive around and check out the area (beer/non-beer related sightseeing) and just take in as much as i can. I don't have much of an itinerary or plan yet; I have some between now and then, so trying to get a feel for what to include on this trip -- and any time i can include good local beer & good local breweries, it's a good thing.

    Bottle pickups will also be good, because from Seattle, i'll be finishing out the week flying out and camping in Zion for 4days -- so relaxin with any great beer that is suggested/recommended is the plan! =P
  8. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Grand High Pooh-Bah (7,282) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Is the marathon in downtown Vancouver? Depending on waits at the border, Bellingham is +/- an hour away, depending on timing and prices, you might want to stay on the U.S. side of the border, and just shoot across the border for the race. Bottles from the larger local/regional breweries are available all along the I-5 corridor, while the bottles from the smaller breweries might only be available at, or close to, the brewery. Things vary and/or change a lot around here, so checking back closer to your trip will let us help you better. BTW, while you're in BC grab as much Central City beer as you can, great beer and the cans will be lighter for your trip to Zion.
    sharpski likes this.
  9. JonnyBeers

    JonnyBeers Savant (1,187) Oct 24, 2012 Canada (BC)

    While you're in Vancouver, make sure you grab/taste: Four Winds, Driftwood, Central City, Brassneck, Parallel 49, 33 Acres, Powell St, Storm, Howe Sound, Lighthouse, Longwood etc etc etc. BC has a tonne of breweries you will likely not find anywhere else but in BC. We also have Diue Du Ciel and Trou Du Diable from Quebec now.

    Best places to shop in Vancouver: Brewery Creek, Legacy Liquor Store, FireFly, Viti, 16th St, and depending on the area of the city many small little shops with occasional goodies. There is a good chance you will find various US beers that have sold out in Seattle, still on the shelf in Vancouver.

    fyi, there is quite often a 30-60+ minute border crossing wait if you don't have Nexus.
    Kurmaraja likes this.
  10. NWer

    NWer Pooh-Bah (2,145) Mar 10, 2009 Washington
    Pooh-Bah Society

    I would add Special Brews in Lynnwood on the way back to Seattle from Vancouver. A great place to stock up your stash with limited number but high quality taps to quench your thirst.
    In Vancouver be sure to stop at Central City Brewing in Surrey. Grab a Red Betty. Yum.
  11. BuckeyeOne

    BuckeyeOne Initiate (0) Mar 9, 2008 Washington

    Don't we get Red Betty around Seattle? Not saying he shouldn't get it at the source, just curious.
    NWer likes this.
  12. distantmantra

    distantmantra Pooh-Bah (2,954) May 23, 2011 Washington
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    If you've got time to explore, hit up North Fork on the Mt. Baker Highway.
    We do, but only the IPA and Imperial IPA. They make a ton of other great beers not distributed down in the states.
    NWer likes this.
  13. NWer

    NWer Pooh-Bah (2,145) Mar 10, 2009 Washington
    Pooh-Bah Society

    Where have I been??? I haven't seen it but haven't looked for it either. Didn't know. Great news.
  14. distantmantra

    distantmantra Pooh-Bah (2,954) May 23, 2011 Washington
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Central City came back into WA in late November after being gone for almost a year. They're going with a distributor out of California now. We get cans and bottles of Red Betty (Racer) IPA and Imperial IPA.

    I really hope Driftwood comes back to WA after they finish the new brewery.
  15. Gaffattack

    Gaffattack Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2013 Washington

    Check out Skagit River Brewery in Mt Vernon exit 227. Trumpeter stout is their seasonal right now and they have a really good Brown Ale. Also, check out boundary bay in Bellingham. Great food at both breweries and Skagit is literally just a few turns off the interstate. Chuckanut brewery in Bellingham has great reviews and Mickeys Taphouse in bellingham has a lot of rotating taps to choose from. Let me know if I can help anymore. I'm over on whidbey isand.
  16. beatjunkee

    beatjunkee Devotee (394) Sep 25, 2010 Virginia

    How easy/difficult is it to get to Victoria? from Vancouver, or from Seattle? is it worth it to go over to the island, or just look for that area's brews on the mainland?
  17. Aleforme

    Aleforme Initiate (0) Nov 26, 2008 Washington

    It would take up almost a full day for the most part to go back and forth and I don't think there would be enough there to make it worth the trip in terms of beer. It's a 30 minute drive just to get to the ferry from Vancouver, 1 1/2 ferry ride (I think?) and then a 20 minute drive into Victoria from the landing in Sydney.

    I would just stay in Vancouver and enjoy the city and it's local breweries and pubs. Victoria is amazing, just not worth it for a beer trip.
    BBThunderbolt likes this.
  18. Kump

    Kump Initiate (0) May 23, 2013 Canada (BC)

    Many of the best BC breweries are on the island, but you can get all their stuff on the mainland. Probably not worth the trip on your short stay (driftwood isn't even open on weekends).
  19. beatjunkee

    beatjunkee Devotee (394) Sep 25, 2010 Virginia

    Thanks for the heads up, everyone.
    My trip is a month away, but since my time is really limited (for this trip, but i'm sure i'll be back) I think I'll try to hit up in a whirlwind trip, or at least have tried to narrow it down to try to stop into:
    St.Augustine's, Alibi Room, Sunset Grill Tap House (maybe Chambar)
    Central City, Parallel 49, Viti Wine & Lager, Firefly Fine Wines/Ales, Brewery Creek Store, Special Brews
    ..and will definitely be on the lookout for Storm, Driftwood, Central City, other locals on tap or if by bottle.

    and, yea, victoria will be a trek, so i'll just stick to the mainland; and check out the vancouver sights/restaurants/etc.

    any chance there'll be some limited/special release to look out for?

    [also -- tho the legistics of this might be tight -- anyone up for an IP trade while i'm around? i have some stuff on my trading block, and have access to stuff available out here in the DC/Maryland/VA area and surroundings (seekabrew dot com if that helps). lemme know.]
  20. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Grand High Pooh-Bah (7,282) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Wander and Aslan both have beer out now, and their tasting room (Wander) and restaurant (Aslan) should be open in a few weeks. If you want to pull off I-5 for a quick pint or 2, shoot me a message.
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