The past year has seen Orlison Brewing make a couple of major moves to up its game.
Last August, the Airway Heights-based brewery opened a taproom in downtown Spokane. And after specializing in lagers since launching in 2009 (originally as Golden Hills), it started adding ales to the mix to broaden its appeal.
Both some new ales and some special lagers will be pouring for the taproom’s first anniversary party Saturday from 2 to 9 p.m.
Two new test-batch ales will be on tap – Devil’s Toenail double IPA (named after a rock feature on the Spokane River) and Half-Day Imperial Chocolate Stout – along with revised versions of two former offerings, Weekend at Bernie’s IPA (honoring brewmaster Bernie Duenwald) and Palouse Pint Pale Ale, made with locally produced malt.
Lager fans can look for Havanuther light pilsner infused with grapefruit zest, a dry-hopped IPL (India pale lager) and some barrel-aged selections.
There also will be food, music by singer/guitarist Jake Johnson at 4 and raffle drawings for prizes including lift tickets to Mount Spokane and 49 Degrees North, day passes to Wild Walls Climbing Gym, a stainless steel Hydro Flask growler and pint glasses, and brewery hats and shirts.
“It’s helped people discover us,” Orlison’s operations manager, Kristen Silver, says of the taproom at 1017 W. First Ave., in the former Luxe Coffee House space. “Being out in Airway Heights, people didn’t really know who we were. It’s given us the home base that we needed.”
With 16 taps to play with, it also has provided a place to test new recipes for customer feedback, including the ale series by head brewer Blaine Serrin. Serrin, who came on board in March, previously brewed at Mack & Jack’s in Redmond, Washington and Salmon River in McCall, Idaho.
The first full-production ale, a year-round Shin Splints IPA, debuted in April followed by seasonal offerings Orangelicious Golden Ale and the newly released Boulder Garden Brown.
“It’s kind of evened out our portfolio, made us more popular with the general public,” Silver says. “The people who found our ales are now finding our lagers, and the people who have known our lagers have been finding our ales.”
The Palouse Pint pale and imperial stout are in line for future full releases along with a red ale and an ESB.
On the lager side, original flagship Clem’s Gold and the IPL will continue year-round. Havanuther is moving to the seasonal lineup, joining the likes of the Asian-inspired Toasted Dragon (brewed with Thai basil, lime, ginger and Szechuan peppercorns) and Roast House coffee stout.
And there’s another new twist: house-made root beer and cream soda, for the non-alcoholic crowd. The root beer also will be served Saturday, but leave the kids at home; the taproom is 21 and older only.