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Whistling a new tune

The newest name on the Spokane brewing scene has been in the works for a while.

Whistle Punk Brewing was actually licensed in late 2013 as Hanson Brothers, but ran into trademark issues with a certain former boy band which contract brews its own Mmmhops pale ale under that name.

With that dispute recently settled, the renamed Newman Lake brewery is starting to move forward, distributing beer to select accounts around town while working toward a taproom.

“We’ve just been getting kegs out there, making a lot of different beers and looking for a place to sign a lease,” says co-owner Matt Hanson.

(As for the new name, Whistle Punk is an old logging term, and Hanson’s family was long involved in the timber industry.)

Beers from the three-barrel system have been on tap so far at such locations as Bellwether Brewing, both Bennidito’s, Jones Radiator, Post Street Ale House and the Baby Bar.

Recent releases have included a bright, fruity Citra IPA – relatively low in bitterness at 50 IBU, but full of flavor and aroma – and a Fresh Hop IPA (currently on tap at Bennidito’s Brewpub and coming to Jones), made with homegrown Cascade and Centennial, that's crisp and nicely bitter with citrus and spice notes.

A Winter Rye IPA is rolling out next, along with a holiday seasonal brown ale spiced with orange peel, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon.

And longer-range, an imperial stout is going into bourbon barrels with cocoa nibs and vanilla beans. That one might end up in 750-milliliter bottles.

Hanson says a website will launch soon, along with more visible events like tap takeovers.