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Roll out the anniversary

The Steel Barrel this weekend celebrates two brewery birthdays and welcomes a newborn.

The first anniversary party Thursday through Saturday at the downtown taproom will feature special beers from original in-house breweries Little Spokane and Young Buck, and the initial release from newcomer TT’s Old Iron.

Little Spokane will pour its Dark & Lovely oatmeal stout through a Randall of morita chilies, smoked at the adjoining Zona Blanca eatery. Young Buck will have its orange-spiked Mimosa Gose tart wheat beer and Cab-Savvy barrel-aged sour blend. And the vintage auto-themed TT’s will introduce its Ruckstell Rye IPA (named after a Model T axle).

Patio parties all three days will feature Zona Blanca’s pozole carnitas tostadas on Thursday beginning at 5 p.m., with live music at 7 by Haley Young & The Bossame followed by The Holy Broke; beer pong on Friday at 5 along with Mexican street corn, and pineapple habanero margaritas plus pork rib al pastor tostadas on Saturday starting at 2.

It all caps what Little Spokane’s Joe Potter and Young Buck’s Cameron Johnson call a successful first year for the unique brewery incubator operation, designed for up to five beginning commercial brewers to share a seven-barrel brewing system.

Each has four rotating beers on tap in the Steel Barrel – which fills the rest of its 30 handles with guest beers and ciders, and serves specialty cocktails and wine – and also distributes to outside accounts.

“The first year we were trying to get our feet underneath us, get squared away with the brewery and the taproom,” Johnson says. “Now I can focus more on the Young Buck side of things and barrel-aged sours, get more unique stuff out there.”

Potter, whose output has centered around more mainstream styles, says he’s ”ready to do some fun stuff, do some big beers and get some barrels back there.”

Read full post ›

Your weekly planner

UPDATES THURSDAY 6/22

– No-Li is pouring a one-off Mack Daquiri variation on its March Forth Citrus IPA that's infused with coconut and raspberry along with the original orange.

– Perry Street is serving the latest version (yeast Generation 8) of its hazy, juicy New England-style IPA.

– The Coeur d'Alene Growler Guys is offering a half-price pint with growler fills through Saturday.

 

UPDATES WEDNESDAY 6/21

Twelve String is pouring its tequila barrel-aged Mango Mambo, along with a cask of Rhythmic RyePA dry-hopped with Citra. 

 

UPDATES TUESDAY 6/20

– Orlison is offering $3 pints and $10 growler fills of Boulder Garden Brown in the downtown taproom all week.

 

A look at the upcoming week in local craft beer:

WEDNESDAY

– Pints Alehouse hosts a 20th anniversary Founders night starting at 5 featuring Rubaeus raspberry ale on nitro, All Day session IPA, Witchcraft Baltic Porter, Backwoods Bastard barrel-aged Scotch ale, Sumatra Mountain imperial coffee brown ale, barrel-aged Kentucky Breakfast Stout and barrel-aged Lizard of Koz blueberry/chocolate/vanilla stout.

– A Boneyard brewery night from 6 to 8 at Manito Tap House will include Pabo Pils, Incredible Pulp blood orange pale, Bohnee and Hop-A-Wheelie IPA and Hop Venom double IPA.

THURSDAY

– The Steel Barrel begins a three-day first anniversary celebration with specialty beers from in-house brewers Little Spokane, Young Buck and TT's Old Iron on the patio beginning at 5, live music at 7 by Haley Young & The Bossame and The Holy Broke plus pozole carnitas tostadas from Zona Blanca.   

– Steady Flow Growler House's Hood River tap takeover from 5 to 7 will feature beers from pFriem and Double Mountain.

– A New Belgium night with pint and taster specials starts at 5 at The Lantern Tap House, with live music by Jenny Anne Mannan at 8. 

– Capone's in Coeur d'Alene hosts a Boneyard pint night from 6 to 9.

FRIDAY

– Post Falls Brewing's Summer Kick-Off Party from 4 to 10 will include $1 off OPC Hefeweizen and shandys, food from Tacos Los Panchos and Malvagio's wood-fired pizza, and music by Current Flow.  

– The Steel Barrel's first anniversary celebration continues with beer pong on the patio at 5, street corn from Zona Blanca and specialty beers from in-house brewers Little Spokane, Young Buck and TT's Old Iron.   

– Bottles hosts a Georgetown tasting starting at 5 featuring L.A. Woman Crystal Kolsch, Roger's Pilsner, Johnny Utah Pale, Lucille and Bodhizafa IPAs and 9lb Porter plus live music and food from Toby's BBQ. 

SATURDAY

– The Steel Barrel wraps up its first anniversary celebration with pineapple habanero margaritas and Zona Blanca pork rib al pastor tostadas on the patio starting at 2, plus specialty beers from in-house brewers Little Spokane, Young Buck and TT's Old Iron.   

– Bellwether's Braggotfest from 3 to 9 will feature a dozen honey beers including collaborations with Hierophant Meadery, Young Buck and Nu Home Brew plus offerings from Badass Backyard, Four-Eyed Guys, Northern Ales, Rants & Raves and Top Frog. Admission is $15, which includes a commemorative mug and your first six drink tickets.

– The Lantern Tap House's Summer Concert Series continues with music by Super Sparkle plus New Belgium beer specials.

And as always, keep coming back for more info about everything happening throughout the week.

Tokens of affection

We already told you that several Inland Northwest breweries brought home medals from a beer competition at last weekend's Washington Brewers Festival.

And several of them also had good success selling beer during the annual three-day event at Marymoor Park in Redmond, which featured 128 breweries from throughout the state.

Paradise Creek, whose popular Huckleberry Pucker sour propelled it to a second-place finish in last year’s token count, came in seventh this year – one spot behind Iron Goat, which repeated its Top 10 showing.

Waddell’s (14th), Ten Pin (19th), Twelve String (21st), River City (22nd), No-Li (26th) and Steam Plant (27th) also placed among the top 30.

Arlington’s Skookum led this year’s list, followed by Black Raven (Redmond), Triplehorn (Woodinville), Postdoc (Redmond) and Heathen (Vancouver).

Other area breweries pouring at the festival included Orlison, Riverport and first-timer Young Buck.

Winners’ circle

Led by River City with a pair of golds, Spokane-area breweries won nine medals in the Washington Beer Awards, announced this morning at the Washington Brewers Festival in Redmond.

River City took top honors in the strong lager category for its 2015 Congratulator Doppelbock and in British-style imperial stout with Midnight Marmot.

Other gold medalists included Bellwether, Baltic porter for Fernweh; Orlison, English dark ales for Boulder Garden Brown; and Kettle Falls’ Northern Ales, smoke beer for Smoked North Porter.

Bringing home silver were Big Barn, specialty and historic beers, Mead Honey Lager; Perry Street, New World pilsners, PSB Pils; and Clarkston’s Riverport, chili pepper beers, 5/5 Pepper Beer. Waddell’s won bronze for barrel and wood-aged sour beers with its wine barrel-aged Blackberry Sour.

The fifth annual event attracted 1,207 beers from 165 breweries in 64 style categories, making it the largest single-state professional competition so far in the United States.

Other Eastern Washington winners were Ten Pin (Moses Lake), silvers for Snake Eye Stout, Angle Amber, Bowler's Biere de Garde, Barrel Aged BeWILDering B and Groove Pineapple Wheat; Old Schoolhouse (Winthrop), silver, Blonde Ale and Rendezvous Porter and bronze, Uncle Big's Brown and Rule Breaker IPA; Icicle (Leavenworth), gold, Crosscut Pilsner and bronze, Priebe Porter; Bale Breaker (Yakima), bronze, Wood & Wire Imperial Stout; Blewett (Leavenworth), bronze, Nut Brown Ale; Snipes Mountain (Sunnyside), gold, Red Fox Irish Lager; and White Bluffs (Richland), gold, Nectar of the Gods IPA.

Marysville’s 5 Rights Brewing won small brewery of the year honors, Tacoma’s E9 topped mid-sized breweries and Bellingham’s Chuckanut was named large brewery of the year with a record eight medals. Go here for full results. 

A cross to bear

Selkirk Abbey celebrates its new non-Belgian brand on Saturday, but the event is about much more than beer.

The Post Falls brewery is donating proceeds from the day’s sales of its Northwest-style Northern Cross beers to the family of the late Coeur d’Alene Police Sgt. Greg Moore, who was killed in the line of duty two years ago, and to two Bonner County Sheriff’s deputies wounded in January.  

In a heartfelt Facebook post, Selkirk Abbey owner Jeff Whitman explains the personal impact of Moore’s death in May 2015: “I wanted to do something. I needed to do something; but each time I went to the police station to inquire what to do, I felt as an intruder … because of the losses I had faced in my own life and because I knew how difficult it must be for them to put on the brave face.

“I agonized over my lack of spine and outward appearance of apathy for ultimately doing nothing when it would have actually been appropriate to have made a gesture of condolence.”

After Bonner County deputies Justin Penn and Michael Gagnon were shot during an arrest, Whitman was talking with two friends, fellow deputy Austin Rosedale and Bulldog Pipe & Cigar owner Paul Banducci, about offering their support. So he decided to formally launch the Northern Cross line and make it a benefit for those lawmen and for Moore .

“It’s a message that needs to be sent,” Whitman says. “There’s such a lack of unity in this country right now, and I’m hoping to help bring that back.”

Two Northern Cross beers have made appearances in recent months: a mellow amber that Whitman says is more akin to an English mild, and a roasty stout. A version of the stout also will be served that was infused with frozen huckleberries.

“It’s not something we’re going to be able to repeat, we just thought it would be fun for the party,” Whitman says.

Brand new is a sessionable pale ale (4.4 percent alcohol by volume) that Whitman calls “a lovely, easy-drinking thing. It’s a fabulous summer beer – clean, clear and dry.”

That will be replaced in the lineup come September with a heartier rye pale for the cooler months. A revised, drier version of last fall’s original Northern Cross release, an IPA, also is in the works.   

Selkirk Abbey’s core Belgian-style beers also will be available inside the taproom for Saturday’s event, which runs from noon to 8.  Two outdoor stations will be devoted to the Northern Cross offerings.   

Also look for wood-fired pizza from the portable Malvagio's oven and cigars by Bulldog Pipe and Cigar

Your weekly planner

UPDATES FRIDAY 6/16

Steady Flow is offering $2 off Dad's first pint or growler Sunday for Father's Day.

English Setter will have $4 pints for fathers on Sunday, with the Citrus Setter orange/grapefruit pale back on tap.

– Whistle Punk is pouring a Passion Fruit/Guava IPA and Huell Melon Saison.

– The latest version of the experimental Fibber McGee's IPA is on tap at Bellwether.

 

UPDATE TUESDAY 6/13

– Ballast Point's Summer of Sculpin comes to the Newport Highway Growler Guys on Friday from 5 to 7, featuring variations on the base IPA including pineapple and unfiltered. 

 

A look at the upcoming week in local craft beer:

MONDAY

– Black Label has tapped a Crumb Kolsch brewed with 50 pounds of toasted bread from neighboring Common Crumb Artisan Bakery.

– The second release from Bottle Bay Brewing, a Citra-hopped pale ale, is on tap at the Rocket Market.

– Pints are $3 all week at Orlison's downtown taproom.

TUESDAY

– Paradise Creek will be on hand for trivia night at Steady Flow Growler House from 6 to 8.

WEDNESDAY

Pilgrim's presents a free tasting with Tacoma's Wingman Brewers starting at 3:30, including Razma Attack raspberry weisse, Ace IPA, Pocket Aces double IPA and P-51 Porter.

– Perry Street is featured for this month's Fried Chicken & Local Beer Dinner starting at 6 at The Wandering Table in Kendall Yards; cost is $35 for the family-style meal and three pints.

Badass Backyard releases the latest in its series of guest beers by homebrewers, Tim's Shotgun Pale Ale.

THURSDAY

Bombastic Brewing launches its first two beers – Attempted Murder vanilla/cinnamon stout and Puddle pale ale – in a release party from 5 to 9 at Enoteca in Post Falls.

– Capone's in Coeur d'Alene presents a Payette pint night from 5 to 8 featuring Fly Line Vienna lager and the Recoil and Blood Orange Rustler IPAs. 

FRIDAY

– Several local and regional breweries will be featured in the grand tastings of the inaugural Crave NW food and drink festival Friday and Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. at CenterPlace in Spokane Valley, including Bellwether, Laughing Dog, No-Li, Orlison, River City,Twelve String, Grand Teton, Iron Horse, Ninkasi, Yakima Craft, Wander and gluten-free Ghostfish. Advance online tickets are $35 per session, $50 for both. 

– The Coeur d'Alene Growler Guys hosts a Wingman tasting from 4 to 7.

SATURDAY

– Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp Across the World collaborations will be featured in a tap takeover from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the North Onion Bar & Grill's Area 51 Taphouse. Advance VIP packages are available for $30 including tasters of all 12 beers, a T-shirt, appetizers and more; call (509) 482-6100.

– Selkirk Abbey’s fifth anniversary celebration from noon to 8 will feature its non-Belgian Northern Cross line (pale, amber and stout), with sales benefiting the families of North Idaho law enforcement officers shot in the line of duty; Malvagio's Wood Fired Pizza will also be on hand.

Northern Ales in Kettle Falls celebrates its 10th anniversary from 3 to 10 with live music all day.

– Hopped Up has a patio opening party starting at 6 with music by Too Many Men.

– The first in The Lantern Tap House's Summer Concert Series will feature beers from Double Mountain and music by Von the Baptist and Table Top Joe starting at 9.

And as always, keep checking back for more info on everything happening throughout the week.

A hazy shade of 3-Way

One of the Northwest’s biggest buzz beers is back, buzzier than ever.

The 3-Way IPA collaboration from Fort George, always a much-anticipated spring release, was even more anticipated this year. It’s in the hazy New England vein – the hottest beer style on the planet these days – and jointly brewed with two masters of that approach, Great Notion and Reuben’s.

At 7 percent alcohol by volume and 65 International Bitterness Units, it’s hopped with a fruity combination of Azacca, Strata, Mosaic and Citra. An opaque honey gold, it has a solid tropical and stone fruit aroma; it starts soft and juicy, but that quickly dissolves into a pronounced, lingering citrus-rind bitterness.

Devotees are debating where it fits into the recent 3-Way hierarchy, following the legendary 2014 version with Boneyard and Block 15, the more sessionable (and disappointing to some) 2015 release with Georgetown and Pfriem and last year’s return to burlier form with Melvin and Barley Brown’s.

While it just arrived in Spokane, you might want to hit your favorite bottle shop soon. There’s talk of can shortages on the West Side, given limited early supplies and this vintage’s attractiveness to traders and hoarders, though that’s likely to ease over the summer as the initial demand levels off and production catches up.     

A killer debut

After years of priming, Bombastic Brewing is about to drop.

North Idaho’s newest brewery arrives Thursday with a release party at Enoteca in Post Falls starting at 5, featuring Attempted Murder vanilla-cinnamon stout and a Citra-hopped pale dubbed Puddle.

It’s the three-year-old project of three avowed beer geeks: former Enoteca owner Russell Mann, who brings business savvy; railroad engineer Phil Hottenstein, who handles marketing; and Matt Skillicorn, a mechanical engineer and longtime homebrewer. Between them, they’ve sampled beers from every state in the U.S. and drank their way through Europe.    

“Our slogan is ‘We know beer,’ and we honestly do,” says Hottenstein, who stars in a “How to Be Bombastic” video series on everything from the best tool for opening a beer to choosing the right glassware and pouring it properly.

There’s also plenty of playful attitude. Beers take their names from groupings of various animals (except for eventual barrel-aged offerings, which will honor assorted deities). Stark but intricate black-and-white label designs come from Hottenstein’s former tattoo artist.

Attempted Murder is a variation on Bombastic’s standard stout recipe, Murder (named after a group of crows), which includes vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa nibs, Ancho chilies and cayenne. Since it’s missing those latter three ingredients, it’s “almost Murder”; its label pictures two evil-looking crows, but not the knifed crow corpse they’re standing over on the regular Murder label.

With intense cinnamon balancing the vanilla sweetness, it’s quite approachable for its hefty 10 percent alcohol by volume. On the opposite end of the scale comes Puddle (platypuses), an easy drinker at 5.5 percent ABV.

“We tend to do the biggest beers we can, but we realize everybody isn’t about that,” Hottenstein says. “A beer like Puddle is a good entry point. It allows people to start going up our ladder of beers.”

Other offerings in the works include an IPA, Wisdom (wombats), which opens with the soft juiciness of the New England style followed by a decidedly West Coast hop kick; and an imperial porter dubbed Sleuth (bears), brewed with dark wheat malt and honey for a roasty aroma and smooth flavor.

For now, everything is made on a half-barrel pilot system in the Panhandle Area Business Council incubator at the Hayden airport. While that’s intended for small-batch specialties, negotiations are underway to rent excess capacity at established area breweries for larger-scale offerings – the sort of so-called “gypsy” brewing done by such creative cult favorites as Mikkeller and Evil Twin.

Initial batches are being split between a small keg or two for events like Enoteca’s and a limited run of 22-ounce bottles, which will be available only at the brewery. Bottle releases will be announced through Bombastic’s email list and website.

Hottenstein hopes those will eventually capture some of the excitement of similar release events at breweries in more sophisticated markets, which can draw folks from far away. “I’ve met many people standing in line to get beer that I’m still in contact with today,” he says.

“We want to grow the beer culture in the Spokane area,” Hottenstein says. “You’re going to see craft really taking hold here, brewers getting more experimental, pushing the envelope more. We want to be at the forefront of that.”

Your weekly roundup

Catching up with more news from the week in local craft beer:

• No-Li is no stranger to taking home medals from beer competitions. And now it's starting to win business awards, too.

Spokane's largest brewery won the Entrepreneurial Spirit trophy at Wednesday's annual AGORA Awards, presented by the Greater Spokane Incorporated business development organization. That recognizes "innovation, creativity, perseverance and leadership when launching or growing a business or idea."

The new award follows the silver medal No-Li took in April for Food Processor of the Year in Seattle Business magazine's Washington Manufacturing Awards.

• Make your reservations now for a pair of beer dinners coming up on June 20:

– Nectar Catering and Events downtown is hosting a five-course pFriem dinner featuring spicy adobo pork shank with Blonde IPA; country terrine with mustard and stone fruit vinaigrette salad, with the Saison; fried fish and pommes frites with Spring Pale Ale; house-made sausage with glazed carrots and cassoulet puree, with Abrikoos barrel-aged apricot sour; and stone fruit strudel with fresh cream, with the Pilsner. Tickets are $49.99.

– A six-course Sierra Nevada dinner at Clover will include a nettle puree, pea shoot, pecorino and radish salad with the Pale Ale; green tea-encrusted ahi tuna and charred asparagus with Nooner pilsner; octopus ceviche with blueberry salsa, snap pea salad, chili mango gel and crispy chorizo, with Otra Vez prickly pear/grapefruit gose; foie gras and chicken liver pate with Ovila Belgian-style wit; wild boar carnitas with masa cavatalli and summer succotash, with Hoptimum triple IPA; and coconut brown butter cake with chili mango ice cream and beer/papaya reduction, with Tropical Torpedo IPA. Cost is $69; call (509) 487-2937.

• And speaking of Sierra Nevada, its Beer Camp Across the World collaborations will pour in a tap takeover next Saturday at the north side Onion Bar & Grill from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Expanding on its previous Beer Camp Across America, Sierra this year paired up with six U.S. breweries and another six from around the world for everything ranging from a ginger lager to a dry-hopped barleywine.

You can get an advance VIP tasting package for the Onion event that includes tasters of all 12 beers plus a T-shirt, grunt, lanyard and sausage appetizers with Sierra Nevada mustards; call (509) 482-6100.

A mix pack of the bottled beers also is available. Look for those at Total Wine, JB's Foods & Bottleworks and the Yoke's on Montgomery.     

Fill up on Fremont

Fremont takes center stage Saturday as Coeur d’Alene’s Filling Station on 5th celebrates its second anniversary.

Eleven beers from the Seattle brewery will pour for the all-day party beginning at 11 a.m. at the combination growler house/gastropub, most at pint prices of $5 or less.

“It’s been a great year. It’s been fun,” owner Keith Carpenter says. “We want to give back to everybody.”

The lineup includes some of the usual suspects: Summer Ale, Wandering Wheat, Session Pale and The Sister imperial IPA.

Then things get really interesting. There’s also Summer Ale infused with blackberries and mint, Wandering Wheat with pineapple and coconut, and Interurban IPA with Thai basil, ginger and lime.

Toss in a pair of cask-conditioned firkins: the newer Lush IPA with Citra and Mosaic, tapping at noon, followed by Interurban dry-hopped with Chinook at 3 p.m.

And for good measure, add both the 2015 and 2016 vintages of Coffee Cinnamon B-Bomb barrel-aged winter ale.

“I don’t know how I’m going to make it all day,” Carpenter jokes. “I’ll have to take a break and go hike around Tubbs Hill.”

There also will be prize giveaways including special Fremont bottle packs for the customers who kill the firkins. Blow the Interurban and get the 2013 and 2015 First Nail imperial stout with licorice and smoked barley, and this year’s barrel-aged Rusty Nail version; the Lush slayer receives last year’s bourbon barrel-aged Dark Star imperial oatmeal stout plus its coffee and Spice Wars variants.

Most of the action will take place up front in the adjoining Collective Kitchen restaurant, with live music by Gabe Green from 6 to 8.     

The headline for Year Two was the doubling of the beer and cider tap count to 50 in March, with 25 added in Collective Kitchen (operated by Carpenter’s half-brother, Jason Rex) in addition to the original row in the back bar.

A cooler was added around the same time for sour and barrel-aged bottles, to drink there or to go. Each Thursday, four selected bottles are featured at 20 percent off; with any bottle purchase during the following week, you get a raffle ticket for a free bottle drawing the next Thursday.

Finishing its first term

For a fairly small establishment, Beerocracy is planning a pretty big party for its first anniversary.

From Friday through Sunday at the Garland District pub, says owner Tyler Riggs, “We will have almost every handle packed with rare, one-off and hard-to-find beers. It’s going to be a special event.”

The lineup features three custom infusions from Fremont that Riggs designed with brewers there: Interurban IPA with grapefruit and Amarillo hops, Wandering Wheat with blood orange and Citra and a firkin of Universale pale with tequila barrel staves and experimental hops.

From Deschutes, there's the new Passion Fruit IPA and Cultivateur barrel-aged Brett saison, usually a pub-only offering in Portland and Bend.

Other assorted treats include the first local keg of this year’s much-anticipated 3-Way IPA from Fort George, a hazy New England-style collaboration with Great Notion and Reuben’s; the Space Ghost Golden Session Barleywine collaboration between Ecliptic and Melvin; and pFriem's limited-release lemon saison.

Live music begins each night at 8, with Ruthie Henrickson followed by Brian Stai on Friday; Abraham and the Old Gods plus The Holy Broke on Saturday; and Tyler Aker and Chad Moore on Sunday.

Over the past year, Riggs has quietly built one of the most distinctive taplists in town, starting with 12 taps that recently expanded to 19 including a nitro handle.

There typically are five IPAs, a lager, pale, red/amber, Belgian, sour, two dark beers, two ciders and a “retro rotator” for domestics like Rainier, Oly, Molson and Labatt, plus a few random selections. “I can pretty much please just about any beer drinker,” Riggs says.

It’s all served up in a cozy space with a funky lodge feel, with wood paneling and animal heads hanging above the bar. You’re likely to be greeted by the very much alive and affable Woodrow, the designated door-dog.

Seating has almost doubled from the original 26 people to 46, thanks to more tables and expandable leaves that take them from three-tops to four-tops. Those are in place for trivia on Tuesdays, when patrons prefer to stay seated, and come down to allow more standing room for music nights (at least two Saturdays a month).

It’s not unusual for the place to be packed. Riggs says year one “has exceeded my expectations by a lot. I vastly underestimated how thirsty people were here for good beer.”

With regulars ranging from Colville to Seattle, he says, “It continually amazes me how supportive the neighborhood and the whole region have been. I’m on my way to hopefully becoming a beer destination.”

A taste of Palouse Pint

If you’re curious what craft malting is all about, tomorrow is a great opportunity to find out.

Five beers made with locally produced Palouse Pint malt will pour for a Brews & Bites tasting Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. in Masselow’s restaurant at Northern Quest Casino in Airway Heights.

Cost is $30 plus gratuity, which includes four 6-ounce beer samples; additional 6- and 12-ounce pours will be available for purchase. It also includes hors d’ouevres made with fresh ingredients from farmer members of the LINC Foods co-op, Palouse Pint’s parent company.

The beer lineup features something for just about every taste from an assortment of Spokane breweries:

– Little Spokane’s new Pampalouse wit (4.5 percent alcohol by volume, 16 International Bitterness Units), brewed with Palouse Pint’s pilsner and triticale malts and finished with grapefruit.

– The lightly tart Simon and Gruitfunkel collaboration between Bellwether and Four-Eyed Guys (4.5, 3), with white wheat and pilsner malts plus parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.

– The Steam Plant's Boiler 5 red IPA (4.9, 50), brewed with English pale and hopped with fruity Citra and Mosaic.

– The new Palouse ESB from Black Label (6.4, 36), featuring the wheat, English pale, light Munich and crystal 40 malts.

– Bellwether’s Fernweh Baltic Porter (6.5, 50), a dark lager that includes the pilsner, Munich and crystal 40.

Palouse Pint, which just finished its first year of operation at the Spokane Business & Industrial Park in Spokane Valley, is part of a budding movement across the country to make more flavorful malt with locally grown grains. The malts produced by major suppliers have been geared to the big macrobreweries and don’t always suit the needs of craft brewers.

Business started out slower than expected, says Palouse Pint’s Joel Williamson. “It’s a big cultural kind of shift,” he says. “There have been the same malts and the same companies for a long time.

“We focus on heritage grains, and it can be harder to figure out what to do with them. But people who work with them regularly are starting to get familiar with them and becoming more adventurous with the beers they make.”

That’s spreading beyond Spokane. Terminal Gravity Brewing in Enterprise, Oregon is using the triticale malt in a summer pale ale, Williamson says, while Priest Lake Brewing, which plans to open this summer, is building some of its recipes around Palouse Pint products.

And it’s spreading beyond beer. Two Seattle distilleries, Copperworks and Westland, are including Palouse Pint in their single-malt whiskeys. “It wasn’t something I anticipated, but it’s definitely helping to keep us busy,” Williamson says.

Some farmers also are starting to have Palouse Pint malt their grains so they can sell directly to brewers, another unexpected but welcome development.

Put it all together, Williamson says, and come harvest time this fall, “I think we’re going to be the busiest we’ve been yet – maybe even at full capacity, which would be exciting.”

The grain varieties Palouse Pint works with also are expanding. It started out with Baronesse barley and Cashup white wheat, both from LINC member Joseph’s Grainery in Colfax. Those were followed by a pair of ancient grains from Ritzville growers – spelt from Homestead Family Grain and triticale from MJW Grain – and more recently rye from MJW.

Rosalia’s Palouse Pastured Poultry, which produces organic grains for feed (and distilling), is growing a new barley variety called Lyon that was developed by Washington State University specifically for craft brewers. Palouse Pint will get its organic certification to malt that.

“It was where we wanted to go anyway, but didn’t have any farms doing that yet,” Williamson says.

And Endicott’s Palouse Heritage, whose historic Purple Egyptian barley was featured in a series of beers at Bellwether earlier this year, is looking at doing the same thing with another variety, Scots Bere, that originated in Scotland’s Orkney Islands.

While that’s previously been used in the United States, Williamson says, “We’re probably the first ones to malt it and brew with it here in 200 years. The flavor just blew me away.”            

Your weekly planner

UPDATE FRIDAY 6/9

Badass Backyard releases a coffee stout in conjunction with its neighborhood bike ride starting at 6.

Whistle Punk is pouring a new Mosaic Saison in addition to its recently released Mosaic Ekuanot IPA.

– Kari's Irish Red Ale has returned at Daft Badger.

 

UPDATES WEDNESDAY 6/7

– Black Label has tapped a new Palouse ESB brewed with locally grown and produced Palouse Pint malt.

Whistle Punk is pouring a Mosaic dry-hopped saison.

 

A look at the upcoming week in local craft beer:

TUESDAY

Dru Bru from Snoqualmie Pass is pouring for the weekly pint night at Geno's from 4 to 6 with their Kolsch and IPA. 

WEDNESDAY

– The Passion Fruit Gose returns as a summer seasonal at Twelve String.

Badass Backyard taps a new Snow Melt Chili Stout aged on habaneros. 

– A Pike tap takeover from 5 to 7 at Paragon Brewing will include Hive Five honey ale, Monk's Uncle tripel and Double Hopulus IPA. 

THURSDAY

Brews & Bites runs from 4 to 7 at Masselow's in the Northern Quest Resort and Casino, pairing hors d'ouvres made with local farm ingredients and beers brewed with locally produced Palouse Pint malt, including Bellwether's Fernweh Baltic Porter and its Simon & Gruitfinkel collaboration with Four-Eyed Guys, Little Spokane's Pampalouse grapefruit wit, Black Label's Palouse ESB and the Steam Plant's Boiler 5 Red IPA; cost is $30 plus gratuity, which includes your first four 6-ounce pours.

FRIDAY

Beerocracy celebrates its first anniversary from Friday through Sunday with special beers from Boneyard, Breakside, Deschutes, Ecliptic, Fort George, Fremont, Great Notion and Reuben's plus live music each night at 8.  

– The Elk Public House hosts the local launch of Georgetown's new canned beers, including Lucille and Bodhizafa IPAs and Roger's Pilsner, in conjunction with the Elkfest music festival from Friday through Sunday (the $2 cover for the outdoor beer garden will be waived from 3 to 5 p.m.).

SATURDAY

– The Filling Station on 5th's second anniversary party starting at 11 a.m. will feature five special Fremont firkins and infusions, plus the 2015 and 2016 Coffee Cinnamon B-Bomb.

– The Newport Highway Growler Guys hosts a Pints for Pups fundraiser for SCRAPS from noon to 4, with all proceeds from select beer and cider kegs going to the animal protection agency.

– Laughing Dog will be featured for Second Saturday from 5 to 9 at The Local Deli in Hayden, with $2 pints, $8 growler fills and live music.

SUNDAY

Steady Flow Growler House hosts a Ballast Point tap takeover from 4 to 6.

And as always, keep checking back for more information about everything happening throughout the week.

NABA-ing more medals

Laughing Dog's Fred Colby won a gold medal and a career appreciation award at this weekend's North American Beer Awards in Idaho Falls.

Four North Idaho breweries found themselves in a familiar place this weekend: the winner’s circle at the North American Beer Awards.

Wallace Brewing won two medals while Laughing Dog, MickDuff’s and Selkirk Abbey took one each in the 21st annual competition at the Mountain Brewers Beer Fest in Idaho Falls. Judges sorted through some 1,800 entries from more than 100 breweries across the U.S. and beyond.

Wallace earned gold in the schwarzbier category with its 1910 Black Lager and silver in amber lagers for its Compressor SMaSH, a single-malt, single-hop beer brewed with Bonlander Munich and Northern Brewer.

Laughing Dog won gold in the experimental category with its Imperial Pecan Porter. Co-owner Fred Colby also received an appreciation award “for years of support of and contribution to the Mountain Brewers Beer Fest and the North American Beer Awards.”

MickDuff’s took gold among Vienna lagers with its Se Habla Cerveza, while Selkirk Abbey nabbed silver in the Belgian strong ale category with its 12˚ strong dark. The four breweries now have combined for more than 25 medals over the past eight years.

Among Eastern Washington breweries, Winthrop’s Old Schoolhouse won its fifth and sixth medals over the past three years – gold for English-style barleywine and a silver for Rule Breaker IPA – while Moses Lake’s Ten Pin took the gold for imperial stout with its Black Eyed Katy.

Bottle Bay sets sail

Bottle Bay Brewing is making a small splash on the Spokane beer scene.

The home-based brewery’s first offering – a more malt-forward, well-balanced IPA – is pouring at the Rocket Market on the South Hill, where owner/brewer Marco Plastino works.

The rich amber-hued beer checks in at around 6.5 percent alcohol by volume and 65 International  Bitterness Units. A light malt sweetness meets moderate citrus notes up front, followed by a spicy, piney finish from a combination of Warrior, Cascade and Chinook. With a fairly soft mouthfeel, it’s flavorful yet easy-drinking.

(Plastino also is a visual artist; while you’re at the Rocket, check out his large, layered mixed-media piece on the patio wall, “Earth Landing Through Time and Space,” a rather cosmic take on a world map.)

Plastino says he’s still getting his single-barrel system dialed in while beginning to ramp up production. The IPA and an accompanying pale ale should start showing up in a few weeks at other places around town, with growler sales at farmers’ markets also in the plans.

“I’ve got three or four accounts lined up and will go from there,” he says. “We’ll see where this takes me.”