Joe Martin Field
Team: Bellingham Bells
Affiliate: N/A (West Coast League)
Ballpark Basics: A community ballpark with a rich history.
Joe Martin Field has certainly seen its share of Pacific Northwest baseball history. Affiliated ball started in 1973 with the Bellingham Dodgers. However, the real fun started when the Bellingham Mariners moved in in 1977. Future M’s such as Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez and Dave Henderson got their professional start on this field. In 1994, the Bellingham Mariners moved down to their current location in Everett. The San Francisco Giants moved replaced them for two years before moving on, this time to Salem-Keizer. In 1999 the Bellingham Bells made Joe Martin Field home and have been there ever since. The team does a great job of incorporating this history with banners around the ballpark signifying great players from the past.
The concrete and cinder block grandstand forms an almost hexagon look with the enclosed press box covering the seats below. It almost looks as if a spaceship has landed behind home plate. There are sets of bleachers down each baseline to add additional seating options. A small hill along the field line acts as berm seating with many of the locals bringing their own chairs. This was a very popular spot on our visit.
Best Spot For Beer: There was a Elysian Brewing beer truck behind the third base bleachers with a couple of local taps. However, if you are looking for local, Boundary Bay Brewing Company has its own stand on the first base corner. They have a number of taps including the Fielder’s Choice Golden Ale, the official beer of the Bellingham Bells.
Situated in a sports complex with a football field and aquatics center, Joe Martin Field appears to be an anchor for the surrounding community. The night of our visit the stands and berms were packed with people. With the history surrounding the team and the ballpark it is easy to see how the Bellingham Bells became a local institution.
Boundary Bay Brewing
Brew Basics: a border town bistro with a space for any occasion.
Bellingham is a small town just south of the Canadian border with a cute historic district and, like much of the Pacific Northwest, expansive scenery. It’s also home to Boundary Bay Brewing and Bistro. They’ve got great food and traditional style beers. Walking up you’ll see a stone facade with two large side doors and a third, garage bay door in the middle, which you might find up on nice days.
Similarly you’ll also find three seating options, the first being a nicer, restaurant style, dining room. The Brew Pub area is more casual, with seat yourself wooden tables, a couple of TVs and a mishmash of chairs, some of which are upholstered with jeans – pocket side up. Finally, a large outdoor area with a deck and downstairs beer garden also known as “Bellingham’s Backyard”.
When diving in to the beer options at Boundary Bay, the “Classic Sampler Boat” seemed to be the clear way to go, as your beers are actually served in a little wooden boat. However – and this was entirely our fault – read the menu carefully. The beers that are available for the Classic Sampler are marked with an anchor on the menu. However, there are more anchors than spots in your sampler. We would have skipped the Pilsner and ended up missing out on some we would have liked to try. The six we did have were:
Pilsner (5% ABV/ 45 IBU) – Clean and light, yellow in color. A standard Pils, built with Czech and Saaz hops with a strong malt backbone, of which Vienna malts are the most pronounced. This is best cold and while not our favorite, would be a good craft alternative for those who trend more toward Lites.
Summer Vibes (5.3% ABV/ 30 IBU) – Summer Vibes is a golden ale that is golden brown in color, with visible carbonation. It has minimal aroma and sort of a flat, standard golden ale taste but with a surprisingly bitter finish. Did not get summery vibes from this one!
Best Bitter ESB (5.6% ABV/ 45 iBU) – Though falling into the Extra Special Bitter beer style, you’ll find the Best Bitter listed in the “light on the palate” section of the Boundary Bay menu. This chestnut colored beer was another without much of a bouquet. The taste is sweet at first with a cracker/toast finish and light caramel notes. This English Pale Ale finishes malty and is one of their better beers.
Scotch Ale (6.4% ABV/ 31 IBU) – Iced tea smells malty and a little chocolatey. Seven malts combine in the beer to produce a strong raisin and anise beer that is smooth, with unpronounced hops.
Oatmeal Stout (9.6% ABV/ 37 IBU) – Smells roasted and sweetly malty. The addition of barely gives this one added character, and it’s not as dry as many an oatmeal stout. The final palate notes are slightly sweet, chocolatey and a little touch of smoke.
Inside Passage Ale (7.5% ABV/ 78) – The Inside Passage Ale is -of course- an IPA. The color is dark, almost toffee like, with visible carbonation and a floral smell. It tastes balanced but hoppy, and is a solid, traditional IPA.
1107 Railroad Avenue
Bellingham, WA 98225