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Wet your Whistle

Whistle Punk has quietly landed on the downtown brewery scene in a big way.

No fewer than 13 house beers are pouring for this week’s soft opening of the taproom in the old Brooklyn Deli bar space, from saisons to stouts, pilsners to IPAs.

“We want to brew new things all the time,” says co-owner Matt Hanson, who runs the business with his dad, Craig; mom, Jeneen; and wife, Daniella.

The beers still are made on the family’s home-based three-barrel system in Newman Lake, from which Whistle Punk has been distributing to bars on a limited basis to build name recognition and test the market.

Now they’re being served in the former Brooklyn Nights lounge at 122 S. Monroe, off an alley between First and Second Avenues.

“I really liked that bar. I hung out there quite a bit,” Matt Hanson says. “It’s kind of funny to be here now.”

He and Craig exposed more of the sunken space’s wood-beamed ceiling and brick and rock walls, and built the assortment of high and low tables (some of the latter at windows overlooking the alley). The copper-topped bar from Brooklyn Nights remains, and is being extended as a penny bar into a formerly closed-off rear space for additional seating.

As busy as they’ve been with all that, they’ve been just as busy brewing to fill up their 14 taps.

On the lighter side, there’s a crisp, filtered American-style wheat beer (5.5 percent alcohol by volume) and a pair of lagers – a Bohemian pilsner (5.6) and a German festbier (5.8) – with delicate but substantial malt characters. An amber (5.9) is lightly toffee-sweet in the middle but finishes dry and roasty.

The standard saison (6.2), earthy and increasingly citrusy as it opens up, is brewed with rye, oats and wheat. There’s also a wheat version (6.5) conditioned on Oregon strawberry puree for a clean, balanced berry flavor.  

Hoppier beers tend to the fruit-forward, including a pale ale hopped with orange-accented Mandarina Bavaria (5.5); a bright Belgian spring IPA with a subdued yeast character (6.2); a single-hop Mosaic IPA with citrus and blueberry notes (6.7); and the flagship Coast to Coast (6.4), a soft, hazy, juicy New England-style IPA with a bit of West Coast bitterness. Adventurous palates will enjoy the aggressively spicy rye IPA (6.5) and a sweeter, more resinous imperial (8.8).   

Maybe most distinctive is the espresso milk stout, conditioned on bourbon-soaked vanilla beans and blended with cold brew Anvil coffee. With a huge coffee nose and more balanced, smooth flavor from lots of chocolate malt, it drinks far easier than its 7.1 percent ABV.  

That and the Coast to Coast will be mainstays, with a rotating selection of other styles. The final tap is filled by a cider, currently the huckleberry from One Tree, which plans to open a tasting room this summer around the corner at 111 S. Madison.

There’s also a limited (for now) wine selection and non-alcoholic options including soda and sparkling water.  

Whistle Punk will celebrate its grand opening starting next Tuesday for Spokane Craft Beer Week, building up to the release of a big, barrel-aged imperial stout on Friday.

Hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 4 to 9 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 3 to 10. Food is available from the neighboring Texas True BBQ.      

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