Aslan Brewing Company: What’s been brewing
by Aaron Kayser and Aaron Apple
After transforming the old Signs Plus location on N. Forest Street, Jack Lamb, Frank Trosset, and Pat Haynes opened Bellingham’s first 100 percent organic microbrewery: Aslan Brewing Company. The newly-renovated building has large windows overlooking downtown, and let in plenty of natural light. The exposed concrete walls are highlighted by large wooden beams and ceiling, and the open dining area offer views of the brewery equipment in back. There is bar seating, a few large communal tables with barstools, a couple smaller tables for small groups, as well as a several tables outside. Tables are also hidden away upstairs, which overlook the dining area below. Overall the space is impressive with a nice, open atmosphere, making the renovation completely worth the wait.
In additional to enjoying Aslan’s brews around town over the last few months, we both have frequented the brewery multiple times since opening. Opening day was packed, and there seems to be no sign of slowing down. The wait staff has been attentive and friendly no matter how hectic it may seem. The food and brew arrive quickly, which has been quite impressive at times. On a side note, when it gets busy it may be easier to try and find a seat and wait for the server to place an order. The line at the bar can get long and may take much longer than anticipated unless they increase the number of bartenders in the front.
Luckily for us, during the afternoon we came in for our review, we found a nice table end and were promptly greeted by our waitress. After ordering a pint of the Jah Hemp (which is brewed using hemp) and the CDL (Cascadia Dark Lager) we decided to first split an order of the Waffle Fry Poutine ($9). This delicious poutine consists of Beecher’s cheese curds, herbs, and a roasted mushroom gravy, all smothered over giant, crispy waffle fries. It turns out that this paired great with the brew – imagine that. The only thing that could have made the poutine better is more cheese, but when is more cheese not always better?
After Apple finished his pint of the surprisingly smoky and delicious CDL, he ordered a pint of the Ginger Rye Ale and the Bacon Bison Burger ($13). This juicy bison burger is slathered with rich bacon jam, mayo, arugula, and topped with blue cheese crumbles. The bison was juicy and not over-cooked, which is always appreciated. The bacon jam really set this burger apart though, so thank goodness for the folks at Skillet in Seattle who have popularized this wonderful burger topping. The well-seasoned, crispy waffle fries came in a classy aluminum pale on the side that fit the rest of the food’s presentation. Apple also determined that the Ginger Rye Ale is a magical elixir that can probably cure any aliment. It packs quite the ginger punch!
Kayser ordered a pint of the Irie Eyes Red Ale and the Hawaiian pork sliders ($11). This plate consisted of three sliders full of cilantro-lime slaw, sweet chili mayo, and tender pork shoulder, all surrounding a small mason jar of pickled vegetables. The sliders were delicious and sweet, with a hint of spice from the picked jalapeños he added. Kayser was also pleasantly surprised how full he was after finishing his meal, which was not something he expected from an order of sliders.
Each of Aslan’s (“dank”) craft brews are available in 4oz tasters ($2), 8.75oz schooners ($3.50), 16oz pints ($4.50), and 21.5oz imperial pints ($5.50), as well as pitchers and flights. Local cider and wine are also available, as is a variety of iced tea lemonade. If in the area, be sure to check out one of Bellingham’s newest members to the microbrew scene. Not only does Aslan Brewing Company have well-made beers on tap, they have great food coming out of their kitchen.
Aslan Brewing Company is located at 1330 N Forest St in downtown Bellingham. They are open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Call (360) 778-2088 or visit www.aslanbrewing.com.