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Walk on the river side

It’s March, and that means it’s time to walk – Riverwalk, that is.

River City Brewing on Friday releases this year’s version of its Riverkeeper IPA, which benefits the Spokane Riverkeeper water protection program.  A launch party from 5:30 to 8 at Numerica Credit Union’s downtown branch, 502 W. Riverside, will include live music and food from Caruso’s.

And starting Monday, 10 downtown-area restaurants near the river are participating in the second annual Riverwalk promotion, which runs through the end of the month.

Riverwalk forms will be available at each stop. Visit five or more and order a Riverkeeper pint and/or a meal to receive a commemorative pint glass (Numerica will donate $5 to the Riverkeeper program for each glass given away); go to all 10, and you’re entered in a drawing for a half-day Spokane River rafting trip with ROW Adventure Center.

Participating restaurants include The Blackbird, Borracho Tacos & Tequileria, Central Food, David’s Pizza, Fast Eddies Bar and Grill, Nectar Wine and Beer in Kendall Yards, Ripples Riverside Grill, Spencer’s for Steaks and Chops, Steelhead Bar & Grille and Veraci Pizza.

The Riverkeeper IPA recipe has changed each year since it was first released in 2014. This year’s version (6.5 percent alcohol by volume, 70 International Bitterness Units) includes eight hop varieties: Bravo, Centennial, Chinook and Columbus in the kettle, and Cascade, Citra, Simcoe and Mandarina Bavaria – a newer hybrid known for its fruity, tangerine/citrus character – for dry-hopping.  

“The focus this year is to make the brew more aromatic and drinkable,” says River City brewer Todd Grove. That involved more late-addition hops (double the amount of dry-hopping this year), plus a lower mash temperature for a leaner, crisper malt body.    

The beer is available year-round, with a portion of sales donated to Spokane Riverkeeper.

Two special events also are scheduled during Riverwalk. On March 18, a River Cleanup Day to collect litter along the riverbank begins at 1:30 at Glover Field in Peaceful Valley; gloves, bags and garbage pickers will be provided (meet afterward at River City).

And on March 25, for Riverwalk Pub Crawl Day, representatives from the Riverkeeper program will visit participating restaurants to talk about their work.