Saturday, May 31, 2014

Aslan joins the Bellingham beer scene

     Imagine Aslan, the wise lion who came with the witch and the wardrobe in the C.S. Lewis books, walking into the leonine barber shop and asking to have his mane shaped in the silhouette of a hop bud. That's the logo for the latest brewpub to open in our city of subdued excitement.

    Like Elliott Bay,Laurelwood, and a few other brewers in the region, Aslan is striving to source all its ingredients from certified organic growers.  As we are accustomed to paying a little bit more (but not a fortune) for organic foods, Aslan will be testing our competitive beer market with slightly higher prices. The most illustrative instance appears in the growler case.
Like Kulshan and Foggy Noggin (and I remain surprised that the idea hasn't caught on more), Aslan stocks already-filled growlers which can be exchanged for an empty growler, their own glass, for a set price.  If you bring in some other branded growler, you can have it filled by hand, for a considerable premium.  For example, a 32-oz. fill of their OPA, exchanging their own glass, is $7, while the cost to put 32 ounces of that beer in your own "growlette" (the term used here) is $11.
Kulshan has a similar upcharge for manual filling of some other brewer's glass.  One can understand a brewer's desire to put incentives in its own loyalty program.  There is floor space for a cooler, and in Kulshan's case, the investment in a high-speed growler filler from Austria (see Everybody's Growing post a few weeks back).   The downside is that beer travelers who don't live in the brewer's town are discouraged from taking some beer back to where they came from to compare with the local brews.  And that organic price differential? Kulshan exchanges regular (non-imperial, etc.) styles in their glass for $10 a full growler, $6 for a half, that Aslan exchanges for $12 and $6, respectively.
     Aslan brews on a modern 15-barrel system designed and built by the Criveller Co. in Healdsburg, Calif.
I tried several of the styles listed in the first picture.  The Ginger Rye is a distinctive flavor: a true blending of ginger ale and malty ale.  The B'ham Brown adds another quality entry in our north sound region to the oft-overlooked English brown ale style.
(Visited 5/24/14

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