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Double vision

UPDATE WEDNESDAY 2/15: The Love at First Sight is no longer on tap at Steady Flow Growler House. 

Four-Eyed Guys officially landed on the Spokane beer scene today with a bifocal release.

The bright, citrusy Hoptometry IPA began pouring at Hop Jack’s in the Spokane Valley Mall. And a Valentine-themed Love at First Sight – infused with chocolate and rose water – went on tap at LeftBank Wine Bar and Steady Flow Growler House.

Hoptometry, refreshing and easy-drinking for its 6.3 percent alcohol by volume, gets a crisp, mildly bready character from white wheat and light Munich malts (both locally produced by Palouse Pint). A combination of Citra, Amarillo and Lemondrop hops provides fruity flavors and aromas, from lemon to orange to tropical, with just a slight bitterness.

Love at First Sight, over a smooth, clean kolsch (ale/lager hybrid) base, has a healthy, well-integrated dose of chocolate in the middle followed by a lightly floral finish. The straight, non-infused version also is on as a guest tap at Black Label Brewing downtown, a short stroll from LeftBank for comparison purposes.

Those won’t last long, though; both the infused and regular renditions went out in smaller sixth-barrel (5-gallon) kegs. There’s a standard half-barrel keg of the Hoptometry at Hop Jack’s, so it should be around for a while.

Brewing on a tiny one-barrel system, Four-Eyed Guys plans to supply accounts around town while working toward an eventual taproom of its own.

“We’re just trying to get our name out there,” says co-owner and brewer Alex Rausch. (As for the name, both he and business partner Brian Lollis wear glasses.)     

His most popular beer among friends so far has been a hoppy pilsner. Other mainstays include a coffee porter and Vienna lager. But Rausch’s real passion is for gose, the tart, salty wheat beer style that’s becoming more familiar as sours increase in popularity.

Experimenting with different salts, he’s mastered a summery watermelon version (which was on tap as a collaboration at Bellwether in October) and for Christmas did one with fir needles and cranberry. Rausch envisions having a half-dozen rotating goses in the lineup at the taproom when that time comes.

At this point, he’s in no real hurry. “So far, it’s all been loan-free, and we’d like to keep it that way,” Rausch says.

And with limited production capacity, he adds, “We don’t want to grow so fast we can’t keep up.  People will taste the difference in a rushed beer compared to one you take your time on.”