Written by Chris Ellis- THANKS CHRIS!
Week 42 of 52
6186 Mt. Baker Highway
Deming, WA 98244
Type of Establishment: Brewpub, ultimate après-ski hangout
Visit: Thanksgiving weekend, our first trip to Mt. Baker of the 2010-2011 snowboard season
Beers on Tap (at time of visit):
Hair of the Frog Barleywine
Son of Frog English Style Ale
The North Fork prides itself on its variety of pizzas, but the menu also includes calzones, grinders, sandwiches, steamers, salads and a French onion soup made with vegetarian(!) stock. I usually go with pizza or a veggie grinder/onion soup combo, but opted for the soup and veggie calzone this time. The French onion soup is always a great treat for me, as it’s rare to find a place that makes it without beef stock. The Calzone was big, baked to perfection and provided ample sustenance after a day of riding.
This place can best be described with one word: magical. Situated on the Mt. Baker highway about half way between Bellingham and the Mt. Baker ski area, the North th Fork is truly an isolated gem. I first discovered the North Fork on a late September day trip to Mt. Baker. Being new to the Northwest, a friend and I decided to venture north and explore a legendary portion of this great state of Washington.
We were pleasantly surprised to find the Beer Shrine, shining alone like an oasis in a remote land. I became rather obsessed with the North Fork’s logo, proudly emblazoned on their roadside sign. The logo is a medieval-style wood carving of what appears to be two monks brewing beer; ancient alchemists conducting sacred work. The image’s style was one I was previously fond of, and having found the perfect drawing, I decided I wanted it tattooed somewhere on my body. I contacted the person who maintains their website, requested a high-res copy of the image, and in the winter of 2009 I had it permanently inked on my left arm.
Now that you have that bit of history, allow me to describe the actual bar. It’s rustic, comfortable and warm. It feels like being inside a log cabin, meticulously decorated with antique beer memorabilia. Hundreds of vintage bottles and cans are displayed along shelves, and old-timey beer advertisements and signage adorn the walls. Families sit at tables, enjoying pizza, and locals are camped out at the bar watching college football on the single TV.
Beers on tap vary, but they’re all made in-house. Thankfully, barley wine was available the day we stopped by, hands-down their finest (and strongest) brew. The IPA leaves something to be desired in the flavor department, but the Son of Frog was a pleasant surprise having never tried it before.
If you leave Mt. Baker any later than 2:00, expect to wait at least 45 minutes for a table, as the North Fork is an extremely popular destination for locals and those traveling back to Bellingham or Seattle after a day on the slopes.