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Forging a new LINC

Local craft malting has a new name in Spokane.

What’s been operating as Palouse Pint is being rebranded as LINC Malt in keeping with its parent company, the LINC Foods farmer co-op (which stands for Local Inland Northwest Cooperative).

That will formally launch at a Spokane Craft Beer Week event next Wednesday at Cochinito Taqueria featuring a half-dozen local brews made with the malt.

“We’ve been around for a while and are starting to spread our wings a bit more,” Dan Jackson, LINC Foods’ sales and marketing director, says of the malting operation. “Having the LINC name gets us more in line with who we are.”

LINC Foods distributes member-grown goods to restaurants, grocery stores, school districts and other institutions throughout the Inland Northwest.  

It launched Palouse Pint in April 2016 at the Spokane Business & Industrial Park in Spokane Valley. Since then it has sold malted barley, wheat, triticale and other locally grown grains to 15 breweries and five distilleries in the Spokane area and beyond.

Beers from six of those brewers will pour at next Wednesday’s event from 5 to 9 p.m.:

– Bellwether’s Mexican-style amber Cochinito Lager, brewed with lime juice and zest as the house beer for the downtown restaurant.

– Badass Backyard’s Marzen.

– Black Label’s Palouse ESB.

– A Summer Wheat from Genus Brewing (at Nu Home Brew & Bottles in Spokane Valley).

– The Steam Plant’s Boiler 5 red IPA.

– Whistle Punk’s Baronesse Pilsner, named after LINC Malt’s main barley variety grown at Joseph’s Grainery in Colfax.

They’ll be accompanied by a pairing menu matching each beer with a different type of taco, along with free appetizers using produce from LINC farms. LINC maltster Joel Williamson and Joseph’s farmer Bill Myers will be on hand.

LINC malts also were used as the base grains in the beers brewed for Bellwether’s annual Brewers’ Showdown homebrew competition for Craft Beer Week. That kicks off next Thursday at the brewery and customer voting will continue through Saturday.

“It will be fun to see what those guys experimented with,” says Brian Estes, LINC's Malt Partnerships Coordinator.

LINC Malt is preparing an expansion to double its annual capacity to 400 tons starting this fall to meet growing demand.

Nectar of the beer gods

Nectar Wine and Beer promises its “most epic taplist ever” for Saturday’s third anniversary party.

Special pours will fill the Kendall Yards drinkery’s 16 taps starting at noon, some obtained through distributors and others personally picked up from West Side breweries.

The lineup includes:

– A Sweet Nectar Peach Smoothie imperial IPA brewed by Whistle Punk as a collaboration beer for the event.

– Four Eyed Guys’ big, earthy Beet Barleywine collaboration with Post Falls Brewing.

– Young Buck’s The Imp imperial saison.

– Holy Mountain's Solarian oak-fermented, mixed-culture, dry-hopped saison. 

– Fremont's Welcome cucumber/lemongrass sour weisse. 

– Cascade’s Pearpawsterous pear/paw paw wheat sour collaboration with Indiana’s Upland Brewing.

– Urban Family Peacharillo, an Amarillo dry-hopped peach sour.

– Three Magnets All Shook Up hazy IPA.

– Matchless’ classic West Coast-style Old Pine IPA.

– Skookum Creative Control>Commercial Control IPA.

– The Bruery’s ninth anniversary Saule bourbon barrel-aged old ale.

– Fish Tale Poseidon’s imperial stout.

– Seapine German Hefeweizen.

– Crux Pilz.

– Finnriver Honey Meadow cider with chamomile and lemon balm.

– Hierophant's ginger pear session mead.

Several of those also will be offered as part of special six-beer flights next week for Spokane Craft Beer Week.

Saturday’s event runs through 11 p.m., with drink specials and door prizes.

Your weekly roundup

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

• The Hidden Mother is beginning to birth some ambitious beers.

The recent Liberty Lake startup, which plans to specialize in wild ales and other adventurous offerings, so far has distributed creative takes on mainstream styles to more than 20 accounts around the area.

On Friday, it ran wort through a hollowed-out, 17-foot section of Ponderosa pine as part of the brewing process for a Pink Peppercorn Saison.

"It has just the right amount of pitch, I can tell," said owner/brewer Mike Detar. "It's going to be awesome."

Look for it to debut May 14 for a Spokane Craft Beer Week event at The Lantern Tap House (right around the corner from our On Tap kickoff party at Perry Street that evening). Other beers pouring will include a morel mushroom-infused version of the already released Smoked Red.

• The Spokane Brewers Festival will return for its third year in the Spokane Arena parking lot as a one-day event Aug. 4; stay tuned for more details.

• Steady Flow Growler House is preparing to open a second location in the former River City taproom downtown this summer.

• Selkirk Abbey is opening on Sundays for the summer starting this weekend and continuing through Labor Day.

• Mad Bomber has begun selling beer to go in custom-filled 19.2-ounce cans out of the Hayden taproom. 

River City Youth Ops is May's designated nonprofit at Community Pint. The organization receives a portion of Bellwether tap sales at the pub all month, and $1 from all beers served at a Pints for Community Night next Thursday.  

Your weekend planner

A look at the weekend in local craft beer:

FRIDAY

– River City's monthly First Friday brewery party from 4 to 10 p.m. features $4 beers – including two firkin variations on its Kung Fu Death Monkey imperial IPA, one with Citra cryo hops and one with blackberry puree – plus food from the Couple of Chefs truck and music by Ragtag Romantics.

– A Ninkasi tasting from 4 to 7 at the South Hill Growler Guys will include Yours Truly blonde, Pacific Rain pale, Maiden the Shade summer IPA and the limited-release Whiteaker Series No. 2 Double Hopped IPA.   

– For Star Wars Day, wear your movie-themed gear and get $2 off your first beer at English Setter from 5 to 8:30 and $1 off your first pint at Big Barn all day

– Post Falls Brewing pints will be $2 from 5 to 8 p.m. for First Friday at The Local Deli in Hayden, with live music by David Reed.

– The Rocket Market offers a European spring beer class from 7 to 9. Cost is $25; call (509) 343-2253 for reservations. 

Daft Badger releases a pineapple-infused Hazy Daze of Summer IPA.

Post Falls Brewing taps a hazy new She Knows I'm Legit IPA.

– Badass Backyard's weekly small-batch releases are a Golden Ale and Lawnmower Stout.

Community Pint taps Fremont's latest Head Full of Dynomite hazy IPA and Cascade's Manhattan NW cherry/apricot sour for First Friday. 

SATURDAY

– The Inland Brewers Unite (IBU) club celebrates National Homebrew Day with group brewing demonstrations starting at 11 a.m. at Nu Home Brew (all are welcome to come and brew), plus a potluck (burgers and hot dogs provided, bring side dishes/salads/desserts).

– Mad Bomber's annual EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) Memorial Fundraiser starting at 11 will include a special beer release, bomb suit beer pong (winner gets a free beer each day for a year), music, food and a gun raffle; a portion of proceeds benefits the EOD Warrior Foundation.

Laughing Dog will feature a beer from Sandpoint's 7B Hop Heads club for National Homebrew Day beginning at 3.

Community Pint's Cinco de Mayo party features four Pelican beers – El Pelicano Mexican-style lager, Citricumulus pale, Queen of Hearts gin barrel-aged saison and Berried at Sea currant/blackberry stout – plus live music at 7 by the Working Spliffs.   

Bellwether releases a red pepper flake beer for Cinco de Mayo.

Perry Street is offering a pint of pilsner and two house-made Gordita Crunches for $10. 

Big Barn brings back its Miss Maggie's Lavender IPA as it opens its regular taphouse for the season, and also is pouring a sage-infused Mead Honey Lager.

SUNDAY

Bellwether brings back its Whiter Shade of Pale lager.

Badass Backyard taps Young Buck's Timesuck Podcast IPA. 

– The Newport Highway Growler Guys is taking $1 off fills for nurses with employee badges for National Nurses Day.

No-Li wins World Beer Cup silver

For the first time, a Spokane brewery has won a medal in the prestigious World Beer Cup awards.

No-Li's Born & Raised IPA took silver in the competition's Double Red Ale category in judging announced tonight in Nashville, Tenn. at the annual Craft Brewers Conference.

"This is amazing and speaks to Spokane craft beer and this community," No-Li owner John Bryant said via e-mail.

Both the conference and the competition, which has been held every two years since 1996, are organized by the Brewers Association trade group.

“The World Beer Cup showcases the breadth of the global brewing community and winning an award symbolizes one of the greatest brewing achievements," Charlie Papazian, the association's founder and past president, said in a press release.

This year, 8,234 beers were entered by 2,515 breweries from 66 countries, in 101 style categories. They were evaluated by 295 judges from 33 countries.

Read full post ›

Your weekly roundup

Catching up with more local craft beer news:

• Nectar Wine and Beer in Kendall Yards is pouring a slew of specialties to celebrate its third anniversary in May.

It all kicks off Thursday at 6 with the tapping of six limited releases: a German Hefeweizen from Seattle's Seapine, Boneyard's Loose Ends IPL collaboration with Cloudburst, Crux's Bubble Wrap Hazy IPA, Fremont's Trial By Haze IPA, Matchless On the Lash Irish dry stout and The Bruery's Terreux Frucht raspberry sour. You can get a flight for $10 until 8 p.m.

For the anniversary party proper on May 12, all 16 taps will be devoted to rarities from the likes of Holy Mountain, Urban Family and Three Magnets along with local offerings including a collaboration brew with Whistle Punk, plus drink specials and door prizes.

And several of those will be featured in a special six-beer flight the following week for Spokane Craft Beer Week.

• Iron Goat has added another offering to its bottled lineup, Buzzsaw McThunder Juicy IPA. It joins the recently bottled Brick and Steel IPA along with the original four offerings in 22-ounce bombers (Trashy Blonde, Head Butt IPA, Impaler imperial IPA and Goatmeal Stout).

And the Goat has begun packaging its beers in 32-ounce crowler cans for customers to take out from the downtown taproom.

• Look for more Black Label beers around town in the near future. The downtown brewery's recent addition of two fermenters has boosted production, allowing for wider outside distribution.

• Young Buck has brewed a Timesuck Podcast IPA that will pour for the live recording of the Dan Cummins podcast May 6 at the Spokane Comedy Club.

• Finally, No-Li is among five nominees statewide for Destination Brewery in the Best Northwest Escapes contest by Seattle's King 5 television. Two other breweries from east of the Cascades, Icicle and Wenatchee Valley, made the cut along with Seattle's Pike and Bellingham's Boundary Bay; text BREW to 33438 for voting information through Friday.

New order at Selkirk Abbey

Departing Selkirk Abbey head brewer Steve Milnes (left) with assistant Jordan Luikens and owner Jeff Whitman.

Steve Milnes got his first taste of professional brewing back in 2009, when he made a Belgian golden strong ale with the Ram restaurant/brewery in Lakewood, Wash., for a pro-am homebrew competition.

Now a beer based on that recipe will be released at Selkirk Abbey on Friday, Milnes’ last day as head brewer there, for his going-away party.

After working at the Belgian-inspired Post Falls brewery since its inception in 2011, Milnes is returning to his previous profession as a low voltage electrician to earn more money toward his daughter’s education.

“The opportunity presented itself,” he says. “I’ve got a daughter finishing her first year in high school, and she wants to go to college. I don’t want her to struggle like I did.”

Friday’s tap lineup, which will pour at discount prices, includes such specialties as barrel-aged Guilt imperial porter, Atonement tripel and a pair of recent releases under Selkirk’s non-Belgian Northern Cross label, a Russian imperial stout and a barleywine.

There’s also another debut: Father Cilwick’s Old Ale, a mixture of Saint Joseph imperial saison and imperial blonde ale aged in Dry Fly wheat and triticale whiskey barrels and a Templeton Rye barrel. Big, boozy and complex, it packs a wallop at around 14 percent alcohol by volume.

By comparison, the Belgian golden strong is deceptively easy-drinking for its 9 percent ABV, effervescent with a light sweetness up front and a drying, spicy yeast character.

Asked about his favorite beer he’s brewed at Selkirk Abbey, Milnes doesn’t hesitate: Saint Augustine rye saison. “It might be one of my favorite three beers anywhere,” he says. 

That one almost didn’t get off the ground. Selkirk owner Jeff Whitman says he had sampled several rye saisons, and “they all tasted like soggy rye bread. I said it couldn’t be done.

“Steve came back and brought me a growler and said, ‘Here’s that beer you didn’t want me to make.’ I sent him a two-word text, after I finished the growler: bring more.”

Along with the Augustine and Joseph, Milnes has brewed four other Selkirk saisons: a standard Saint Stephen, black Saint Thomas, a Summer Saison and one in 2014 for the Coeur d’Alene Triathlon.

“I can say with confidence that Steve has done more for the saison style than any other brewer in the country,” declares Whitman.

Now the torch passes to assistant brewer Jordan Luikens, who started at Selkirk Abbey in 2013. Milnes, meanwhile, will be digging out his old homebrew setup.

“It’s not like I can stop brewing,” he says, adding with a sly grin: “That’s not fair to the world.”

Your weekend planner

A look at the weekend in local craft beer:

FRIDAY

Selkirk Abbey bids farewell to head brewer Steve Milnes with daylong discount prices on a special 12-beer lineup including the release of his new Belgian Golden Strong.

– Bombastic and Downdraft debut a collaboration black IPA for Idaho Craft Beer Month with a release party at Downdraft from 4 to 7; bottles can be ordered in advance through Bombastic for pickup at the event.

– Bottles hosts a New Belgium tasting starting at 5 featuring the Sour Saison, Le Terroir dry-hopped sour, Honey Orange Tripel, Juicy Haze and The Hemperor IPAs and Fat Tire.

– An '80s night at Beerocracy beginning at 6 will include drink specials, dancing and a costume contest.

– The Lemon Cream Ale is back on tap at Hopped Up.

SATURDAY

– Daft Badger's The Big Something party from 12:30 to 8 p.m. will feature a special barrel-soured ale release, Philly cheesesteaks outdoors and live and DJ music (plus a tent in case of showers).

– Bellwether releases a Dankberry Braggot brewed with whole raspberries and raspberry blossom honey along with barley and oat malts, catnip, hops and a hint of star anise.   

SUNDAY

– Mad Bomber hosts a chili cook-off from 2 to 4; entries are full, but customers can sample for free and vote for their favorite.

Your weekend planner

A look at the weekend in local craft beer:

SATURDAY

Bombastic opens its Hayden brewery from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for pints and growler fills of Uncommon Wisdom English IPA, Common Wisdom imperial IPA and the Coffee Malice and Chocolate Murder Cake imperial stouts, plus free tastes of a test batch of barrel-aged stout.   

Post Falls Brewing continues its second anniversary celebration starting at noon with special beer releases, food trucks and live music.

– Local beers, ciders and food will be featured in this year’s Micros For Mamas from 6 to 9 at Dealers Auto Auction in Airway Heights. Tickets are $45, with proceeds supporting the the Spokane YoungLives program for teen mothers.

– Bellwether taps a keg of its Cochinito Amber Lager, brewed for the downtown taqueria but not usually served in the taproom; get a free coozie with a pint purchase.

Black Label has released a Coffee Cream Ale and Peach/Mango Sour.

SUNDAY

Twelve String releases its Drop D Stout aged in Barili Cellars port barrels from noon to 5, with Barili's Liquoroso Port also available for side-by-side tasting along with stout brownies.   

Big Barn is donating a portion of its Earth Day sales to The Lands Council, with the seasonal Bluff Top Belgian back on tap and the Mac Daddy's food truck on hand.

High and go seek

Where's Waldo? Probably meeting his buds at 4:20 p.m. to get stoned and go look for a fabled garden of ganja.

That's the legend of The Waldos, the California crew whose '70s high school exploits led to an unofficial national marijuana holiday on April 20.

They also inspired The Waldos' Special Ale, released annually for the occasion by Lagunitas (whose own past pot-related indescretions are commemorated in its Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale.)    

The golden-amber Waldos' tips the ABV scale at 11.3 percent, nudging it into triple IPA territory. It's still quite drinkable, with just a touch of syrupy sweetness and a huge hop character that lives up to the weed-like descriptions (and a long finish that coats the mouth like an intense toke).

It's being tapped at the appointed hour today at the South Hill Growler GuysThe Filling Station on 5th and Community Pint; also look for it in the regular lineup at Steady Flow Growler House, Nectar Wine and Beer, Newport Highway Growler Guys, Coeur d'Alene Growler Guys and The Viking.

Nectar and Community Pint also are pouring New Belgium's new The Hemperor hemp pale, as is the Newport Highway Growler Guys as part of a New Belgium tap takeover beginning at 5 p.m. That one has been making its debut on draft here, and should start showing up in bottles before long.

Turning two, serving six

Post Falls Brewing celebrates its second anniversary this weekend with six special beers.

The festivities Friday and Saturday from noon to 10 also will feature food trucks and live music. Beer-wise, here’s what to look for and when (those marked with an * are small batches and not available to go in growlers):

FRIDAY

Noon – The Waffling Belgian Imperial IPA (9.8 percent alcohol by volume).

2 p.m. – *Violet, You’re Turning Violet, Violet Blueberry Milkshake Imperial IPA (9.8).

5 p.m. – The return of Coffee Catalyst Pale Ale (5.5).

SATURDAY

Noon – *Scrumdiddlyumptious Imperial Stout (11.4).

2 p.m. – *Beet Barley Wine collaboration with Spokane’s Four-Eyed Guys Brewing (14).

5 p.m. – Doma Warrior Coffee Brown Ale (4.9).

For food, Pi-daho Artisan Pizza will be on hand both days, along with Bean & Pie on Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. and Las Brasas Mexican Grill from 4 to 10.

The music schedule includes the Devon Wade Band on Friday from 6 to 9, Justin James on Saturday from 2 to 5 and The Powers on Saturday from 5 to 8.

The event is family-friendly with no cover charges. And for those who really want to party, nearby Red Lion Templin's Hotel is offering special room rates.

Your weekly roundup

Catching up with more local craft beer news:

• The schedule is starting to fill up for this year's Spokane Craft Beer Week, just one month away May 14-20. Among the events announced so far:

– Things again get rolling with our On Tap kickoff party May 14 at Perry Street Brewing, which also reprises its Night of the Living Pils pilsner fest May 17 and Firk-Off firkin showdown with Fremont on May 18.

– Bellwether hosts this year's Collaboration Beer Fest on May 15, featuring cooperative efforts from area brewers. 

– Twelve String has a release party for its French saison collaboration with Badass Backyard on May 14, a tasting of its last four anniversary beers May 15, IPA Day on May 16 and a joint Valley Brewery Day on May 17.

– The Steel Barrel's three house breweries – Little Spokane, TT's Old Iron and Young Buck – release special beers May 18 including a collaboration tripel.  

– Hopped Up has beer releases throughout the week including a Bloody Mary pickled jalapeno ale, Coffee Blaster pale, Wild Red cherry sour and Bananas Foster imperial stout.

– Iron Goat has its own beer dinner May 14, another at the North Side Onion Bar & Grill on May 16 and tap takeovers at The Observatory on May 18 and Logan Tavern on May 19. It also launches crowler cans May 15 with discount pricing.

• In Coeur d'Alene, The Filling Station on 5th hosts a six-course Trickster's dinner April 29; tickets are $45 and must be purchased in advance.

• Big Headlights Blonde from TT's Old Iron is this month's featured beer at Community Pint, with a portion of every sale benefiting Spokane Public Schools' Community of Montessori Parents.

The Grain Shed is shooting for an early May opening in the South Perry District. The project combines the Culture Breads bakery with an onsite nanobrewery, both using ancient grains grown on the Palouse. 

• Green Bluff's 238 Brewing, which operates seasonally, is scheduled to reopen June 1 on Fridays and Saturdays only

Your weekend planner

A look at the weekend in local craft beer:

SATURDAY

– Bellwether releases a March Hare's Mad Gruit brewed with traditional tea herbs and spices: hibiscus, rose buds, lemongrass and catnip.

– Perry Street has tapped a Juicy Double IPA.

Selkirk Abbey is pouring a barrel-aged Old Ale (14.5 percent alcohol by volume).

– The weekly small-batch releases at Badass Backyard are a Habanero Blonde and extra special bitter.

Mountain Lakes launches

Dave Basaraba (left) and Tim Hilton are the men behind Mountain Lakes Brewing.

You’ll know when you’ve arrived at downtown Spokane’s newest brewery, Mountain Lakes.

A canoe paddle is the front door handle for the taproom at the southwest corner of Riverside and Browne (next to the Lion’s Lair), which opens Thursday.

Inside, the tap handles are paddle tops, with the blades used for taster trays. A canoe hangs from the pressed tin ceiling, and a photo triptych of – you guessed it – a mountain lake adorns the wall next to the bar.

Co-owner/brewers Dave Basaraba and Tim Hilton got the concept from a 1920s-era promotional postcard that reads, “50 mountain lakes welcome you to Spokane.” Now they hope to create a destination of their own for thirsty visitors.

“We want this to be an inviting place to hang out,” Hilton says. “We really like the idea of a spot where people can come after work and have a beer and take a growler home.”

Six house beers occupy the 14 taps for starters, tending to the sweeter and more accessible.

There’s an American-style Wheat Wheat, Don’t Tell Me (5.8 percent alcohol by volume, 24 International Bitterness Units) with a noticeable Citra/Cascade hop character. Woodwork Pale (6.3, 35) gets a sweet touch from honey malt and earthy, floral hop notes from Columbus and East Kent Goldings.

The well-balanced Big Red Wagon amber (6.4, 50), with spicy Goldings, Northern Brewer and Tettnang over caramel and toasty Kiln Amber malts, is joined by a bigger 2-Alarm Double Red (7.8, 70) featuring more of those malts and a citrusy, peppery hop bill of Ekuanot and Cascade.

Rounding things out are the Riverside Browne brown (6.2, 40), with chocolate malt notes accented by Chinook and Centennial hops, and a malt-forward, English-inspired Live at Leeds IPA (7.2, 70) with a subtle hop presence from a combination of Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Amarillo and Northern Brewer.

Read full post ›

Turning nine with a shine

The Lantern Tap House celebrates its ninth anniversary with a series of events starting Sunday:

 – A Fort George Sunday Fun Day from 3 to 6 p.m. will feature $5 pints of six beers from the Astoria, Oregon brewery: the recent Bad Ryeligion IPA collaboration with Iron Goat plus Quick Wit Belgian-style ale, City of Dreams hazy pale, Fields of Green IPA, From Astoria With Love imperial stout and last year's 10th Anniversary Barleywine.

– Iron Goat's new Vienna-style lager, Goatorade, will debut at a launch party Tuesday with $3 pints starting at 6. Look for it to continue as a permanent tap handle at the Lantern.

– The acclaimed, bourbon barrel-aged KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders will be tapped Wednesday at 5 along with the Michigan brewery's Solid Gold lager, sessionable All Day IPA, flagship Centennial IPA, Red's Rye IPA and Dirty Bastard Scotch ale.

– Festivities wrap up April 19 with live music by Montana's Dodgy Mountain Men starting at 8, with $5 pints of Fremont beers. Admission is free for all ages.