North Cascades Highway (HWY 20) provides plenty of trails for hikers and backpackers, but only one brewery: Birdsview Brewing. Just outside the small town of Concrete, WA, Birdsview Brewing’s unique location is one of its greatest draws. Whether you’ve spent the day in the mountains or at the lake, Birdsview is a convenient stop for food and beers at the bottom.
Family owned and operated, Birdsview Brewing was born in 2006. “Brewmaster” Bill Voigt and his wife Kris run the place with their children. Stepping into the taproom is like going over to a friend’s house for dinner: it’s comfortable, laid back, and homey. Upon entering you will notice hundreds of growlers hanging from the ceiling. If you happen to bring along a growler that they don’t already have, the Voigts will send you home with a free growler of their own beer. Just like mom and pop would.
From the epic soaring-eagle-carrying-two-pints logo to the octagonal huts the brewery and taproom are housed in, Birdsview Brewing has tons of character. The taproom’s main source of illumination is a big, sustainable skylight (we Bellinghamsters love that sort of thing). The taproom space is relatively small but laid out in a comfortable, efficient manner. Near the entrance is a grill where “Deli Queen” Kris Voigt cooks up some tasty grub. Opposite the entrance is a small bar, and another corner is set aside for live music with instruments decorating the wall. Outside, a cozy beer garden with picnic tables and swings awaits.
Eight beers were on tap during our most recent visit, with witty names like “SasScotch Ale”, “Screaming Eagle IPA”, and of course “Ditsy Blonde”. Birdsview offers a generous sampler with all of their beers on board (usually 8 – 10). We visited last year when the sampler contained 11 different styles. After a few they all sort of tasted the same to us. Maybe it was just the high alcohol content getting to our heads (all of Birdsview’s current taps are above 6.8% ABV), but we started out impressed and became less-so as the sampler wore on. Fortunately our most recent visit was pleasant and the beer seems to have made some improvement. After a day of hiking in the Cascades, nothing could be more refreshing than a dangerously easy-drinking 7.7% ABV “Amber Luscious”. Luscious indeed.
Birdsview is our preferred Brewhub for the North Cascades Highway (HWY 20) area, including the following hikes: