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Spooky sips

Halloween is all about candy, of course, but beer certainly has its place at the party. Among the goings-on at area breweries and craft beer bars:

– Coeur d’Alene’s Filling Station on 5th gets things started Friday at 8 with its Dark Woods night, featuring big barrel-aged beers from Deschutes, Firestone Walker, Fremont and Grand Teton. There will be a Halloween costume contest with male, female and duo/group categories.

The lineup includes:

• Deschutes’ Black Butte XXIX imperial porter, 2015 and 2016 Abyss imperial stout and Fresh Squeezed IPA.

• Firestone Walker’s 2017 Parabola imperial stout, 2016 Velvet Merkin oatmeal stout, 2017 Pacific Gravity weizenbock and 2017 Stickee Monkee quad.

• The 2016 and 2017 coffee and 2016 Spice Wars versions of Fremont’s bourbon barrel-aged Dark Star imperial oatmeal stout, plus its rare Unicorn Tears imperial oatmeal milk stout with cherries.

• Grand Teton’s barrel-aged Black Cauldron imperial stout and Double Vision doppelbock, Coming Home rye barleywine, Sour Brown and session Ale 208.   

Community Pint’s Halloween Weekend from Friday through Sunday will include rotating Randall-infused versions of the house Community IPA along with Dogfish Head’s Oak-Aged Vanilla World Wide Stout and Almanac’s sour Pumpkin Pie de Brettaville. Come in costume and get $1 off drinks. 

– Moscow’s Rants & Raves has a costume contest Friday with judging at 6:15 for kids (13 and under), teens (14-18) and themed families, and at 7:15 for adults, themed couples and best overall costume. And all weekend, vote for your favorite server costume (winner announced Sunday during trivia).

Post Falls Brewing’s Halloween Bash on Saturday will offer family fun with treats for kids from noon to 4 p.m., live music by Andy Rumsey from 1 to 4, food from Pi-daho Artisan Pizza until 8, a costume contest with prizes and a dance party starting at 6.

Hopped Up hosts an all-ages Fall Frenzy fundraiser Saturday starting at 2 for the Rock Star Wheelers, a 4x4 off-road vehicle group that supports local charities. Look for a costume contest, pumpkin painting, a pie-eating contest, candy for kids, raffles and more.

Mad Bomber’s third annual Halloween party Saturday starting at 8 will include singles and couples costume contests, a pumpkin carving contest, beer specials, merchandise giveaways each hour and live music by John Frayer and Tom Applegate.

Badass Backyard’s Halloween Haunted Beer Bash from 5 to 9 on the actual Halloween next Tuesday will feature new beer releases, a costume contest (voting after 6 p.m.) and games.

Nectar Wine and Beer’s Halloween Trivia Bash on Tuesday from 7 to 9 will include costume contests for individuals and groups along with drink specials (call 509-290-5239 in advance for reservations for groups of six or more). 

Selkirk Abbey is running a Halloween growler fill special, $10 for core beers ($9 for College of Cardinals members).

Open-and-shut case?

Customers crowd Slate Creek's taproom for its closing night last Wednesday. (Carolyn Lamberson photo)

Two weekends ago, No-Li’s John Bryant participated in a panel discussion at the Great American Beer Festival about the challenges facing breweries today.

“In this room, we can look left and right, and we probably all won’t be here in three years,” he told fellow brewers in the audience. “I hate to take the romance out of what we’re doing, but we’ve gone from a couple thousand breweries (nationwide) to coming up on 6.000 and it’s getting really crowded out there.”

This past week, Bryant’s words hit home with the announced closures of two North Idaho breweries, Coeur d’Alene’s Slate Creek (already shuttered) and Post Falls’ Downdraft (final weekend Nov. 17-19).

They’re the fifth and sixth local breweries to hang it up over the past four years, following BiPlane (Post Falls) in 2013, Ramblin’ Road (Spokane) in 2015, and Budge Brothers (Spokane) and Zythum (Fairfield) last year.

Declaring trends can be tricky. Most of those decisions have involved personal and family issues beyond any business concerns, and each brewery has its own financial needs and goals.

Downdraft, the only one to publicly discuss its reasons for closing, said it simply can’t afford to invest the time and money it would take to succeed in an increasingly competitive market.

“From a business perspective, we had our best year this year, so we’re really proud of that,” Downdraft’s Aimee Brayman says. “We’ve just been burning our candles at both ends working full-time jobs on top of running the brewery.”

And with competition continuing to grow, she says, “Sadly, I think we won’t be the last to make this type of decision.”

Five years ago, there were nine operating breweries in Spokane and Kootenai counties. Now, even without Downdraft and Slate Creek, there are 33 with at least nine more in various stages of progress.

“Unless there’s a burst in the population of craft beer enthusiasts, every time a new brewery opens, there’s a brewery somewhere else that struggles,” says Jeff Whitman, owner of Kootenai County’s oldest brewery, Selkirk Abbey, which opened in Post Falls in June 2012.

“It’s a tough business,” Whitman says. “We’re struggling. I know a lot of other people are struggling. It comes down to who can stay the distance until things shake out.”

North Idaho can be a particularly challenging market, he adds: “There are still a lot of fizzy yellow beer drinkers over here.”

Read full post ›

Your weekly roundup

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

• With Halloween right around the corner, Christmas can't be far behind. And tickets are on sale for the 21st annual 12 Ales of Christmas on Dec. 2 at Capone's in Coeur d'Alene.

Admission again includes a dozen 7-ounce winter beer pours, all-you-can-eat buffet, souvenir T-shirt, goodie bags, ugly sweater contest and free cab rides home (in the Coeur d'Alene area). Tickets are $50, available at the pub.

• Congratulations to No-Li and River City, who were among the seven finalists in the small business category at Thursday's annual Philanthropy Awards presented by the Spokane County United Way.

Badass Backyard has begun brewing on its new 3.5-barrel electric system, a big step up from the original half-barrel brewhouse. A one-off IPA was the first brew, followed by a sour.

• Bombastic is taking bottle orders for a limited release of its Murder Imperial Stout and two new beers, the Aggravated Murder (with maple syrup and cold-pressed coffee) and English-style Stubborness Barleywine. Pickup will be Nov. 4 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hayden brewery.

Selkirk Abbey has discount pricing through Nov. 1 on cases of four saisons in 22-ounce bottles: the standard Saint Stephen, black Saint Thomas, rye Saint Augustine and imperial Saint Joseph.  

Your weekend planner

A look at this weekend in local craft beer:

SATURDAY

– Pints Alehouse has an East Meets West Festival of Hops with six fresh-hop beers – Bale Breaker/Cloudburst Citra Slicker, Fort George Fresh IPA, Founders Harvest, Fremont Amarillo, Georgetown Johnny Utah and pFriem Mosaic Pale – plus two hazy New England styles, Breakside What Rough Beast and Modern Times Critical Band.  

– Whistle Punk's Punktoberfest features seven German-style beers on tap, a bratwurst cart, German music and special-edition steins. 

– V Twin celebrates its first anniversary with an Oktoberfest beer, pint discounts and prize drawings.

– IPA Week wraps up at Twelve String with $1 off glasses and growler fills of all 13 hoppy offerings on tap.

– River City's Randall for the weekend is Riverkeeper IPA through Ruby Red grapefruit.

– The Viking's OktoBeerFest will include seasonal beers and food, live music, games and prizes; admission is a $5 cover, or donate a gently used coat for entry plus a drink ticket. 

– Republic Brewing's Oktoberfest features Bavarian-style beers, games and prizes for customers who come in costume.

SUNDAY

– Bellwether releases a Stout Porter imperial oatmeal milk stout brewed with Demerara sugar, lactose and toasted oats.

One down for V Twin

V Twin is gearing up for its first birthday party.  

The motorcycle-themed Spokane Valley brewery celebrates its anniversary Saturday from 1 to 10 p.m. with pint discounts, drawings and food starting at 4.

Owner/brewer Barry Black hopes to have an Oktoberfest ale ready for one of his 12 beer taps, along with the likes of the best-selling Suicide Shifter IPA; the newer, lighter, more balanced Hop On Let’s Ride IPA, his latest favorite; and the popular Hella Jalapeno pilsner.

Black doesn’t get out on his Harley as much as he’d like these days. He stays busy brewing two-barrel batches on his electric system, along with occasional small-batch specialties.

Also in the works are a pumpkin ale, a new stout and a barleywine. “I just keep experimenting,” says Black.

Overall, he says, “We’re just trying to survive. The first year is definitely a learning curve. It’s been a good experience, up and down, sad and glad.”

While business hasn’t quite met his expectations so far, Black soon hopes to begin self-distributing beer to local bars and restaurants.

“It’s been a crazy ride of a year, for sure,” he says. “Hopefully we’re into the home stretch.”

Roll out the stout

With days growing cooler and darker, big stouts are sounding better and better. Three imperial versions are being featured in special events this week:

– Enoteca has a release party Thursday from 5 to 8 for Aggravated Murder, the latest offering from Bombastic, in both bottles and draft. Brewed with maple syrup and cold-pressed coffee, it weighs in at a hefty 13.5 percent alcohol by volume.

It follows the Hayden brewery’s vanilla/cinnamon Attempted Murder and regular Murder, which also adds cocoa nibs, Ancho chilies and cayenne to the mix.

The Blood Orange Dazzle wit also will pour for Thursday’s event, with food available from the Las Brasas Mexican Grill truck.

Community Pint introduces this year’s Breakfast Stout from Michigan’s Founders (8.3 percent ABV, 60 International Bitterness Units) on Thursday from 5 to 9.

The seasonal release is brewed with flaked oats, bitter and imported chocolate and two types of coffee. Community Pint is pouring it straight and through a rotating Randall filled with coconut from 5 to 6 p.m., barrel-aged Cravens coffee from 6  to 7 and bacon (hey, it’s breakfast) from 7 to 8.

Founders’ All Day IPA and nitro Rubaeus raspberry ale also will be on tap.

– Orlison’s winter seasonal Snowplough Imperial Chocolate Stout (8, 45), brewed with chocolate malt and fermented with Dominican cocoa nibs, makes an early debut Friday at 9 at The Viking.

Both regular and barrel-aged versions will be available along with the spinoff Holiday Party, a milk stout (7, 10) conditioned with fresh orange zest and cocoa nibs.  

Downdraft announces closure

North Idaho is losing its second brewery in the past three days.

Downdraft said in a Facebook post this morning that it will close its Post Falls brewery the weekend of Nov. 17-19 after three years in business. Regular operations will continue until then.

Coeur d'Alene's Slate Creek on Sunday announced without explanation that tomorrow is the final day for its taproom.

"As we have grown, we've found the market to be far more competitive and time-consuming than it was only five years ago when we contemplated this venture," Downdraft said in its announcement.

"As all of our partners work full-time, we realize that the nurturing and additional funds required to break through in the market have increased substantially. After evaluating our current position, future growth prospects, and how we would define success, we determined that it's best to press pause on Downdraft, for now.

"This has been a hell of a ride that has enriched our lives in many ways. We love and will miss our customers, many of whom have become friends, and thank each of you for support," it continued.

"Last but not least, we have had the honor to work with some of the industry's best and we thank our friends in our local craft community for the laughs and shared knowledge. Simply put: we came, we saw, we drank, and we are ready for our next chapter in life to begin. Thank you for making this venture so rewarding and memorable!"

Downdraft becomes the sixth area brewery to close in the past four years and the third in North Idaho, along with Post Falls' BiPlane in 2013.

Remaining breweries in Kootenai County include Daft Badger and Trickster's in Coeur d'Alene, Bombastic and Mad Bomber in Hayden and Post Falls Brewing and Selkirk Abbey in Post Falls.

Slate Creek runs dry

Slate Creek is closing, just days after being publicly put up for sale.

The Coeur d’Alene brewery has posted a “Last Call” for Wednesday from 5 to 10 p.m., pouring pints and filling growlers of the Norse Nectar juniper pale ale and High Route Hefeweizen for the final time.

Slate Creek has been quietly offered for sale by word of mouth for the past several months. Last Thursday, a Facebook post made that public with a “last chance” pitch to cash buyers.

The entire operation – main 15-barrel and pilot two-barrel brewing systems, recipes, taproom etc. – was listed for $310,000. Two lesser options were offered for $120,000: a majority partnership interest in the whole business, or the taproom and two-barrel system only.

Brothers Jason and Ryan Wing opened the brewery, named after their favorite fishing and kayaking spot off the St. Joe River, in March 2013.

It’s the fifth area brewery to close in the past four years, following BiPlane (Post Falls) in 2013, Ramblin’ Road (Spokane) in 2015, and Budge Brothers (Spokane) and Zythum (Fairfield) last year. Moscow Brewing also closed in 2016, but recently reopened under new ownership.

There still are 33 operating breweries in Spokane and Kootenai Counties, with at least nine more in various stages of progress.     

Your weekly roundup

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

• Black Label won best pairing for the third straight year at Saturday’s Girl Scouts Craft Beer & Cookie Fest in Spokane, matching its S.M.O.G. imperial stout with caramel/coconut Samoas.

• The people’s choice winners at The Lantern Tap House’s Freshtival fresh-hop festival were Breakside’s What Fresh Beast on Friday in the southern region (Oregon/Southern Idaho), and Iron Goat’s Citra IPA on Saturday in the northern region (Washington/North Idaho).

• No-Li’s Wrecking Ball imperial stout has arrived in stores in six-packs of 12-ounce cans, joining the brewery’s Red, White & No-Li pale and Big Juicy and Born & Raised IPAs in that format.

Steam Plant fans will have to wait a little longer for the downtown restaurant/brewery to reopen. That had been expected sometime next month, but now has been pushed back to January.

• Another nanobrewery is taking shape in Spokane Valley. No Drought Brewing has applied for its state microbrewery license, with owners Damon Netz and Dillon Waybright planning limited distribution from a small home-based system for starters, and eventually a larger operation with a taproom.  

Your weekend planner

A look at this weekend in local craft beer:

SATURDAY

– The Lantern Tap House's fifth annual Freshtival fresh-hop beer festival continues from 2  to 10 p.m. with 15 offerings from Washington and North Idaho in the outdoor tent. Cost is $10 for a tasting glass and five drink tokens (4-ounce pour for one token, 8 ounces for two, full pint for four); extra tokens are $1 each.

– Special beers from Cascade, Deschutes, Firestone Walker, Fremont, Grand Teton, pFriem and Young Buck will pour for the inaugural Blackbird Invitational from 3 to 7; cost is $50, which includes a Silipint silicone pint glass, 15 drink tokens (each good for 2 or 4 ounces, depending on the beer) and appetizers.  

– Sandpoint's 219 Lounge presents its second annual Fresh Hop Beer Fest from 3 to 7 with offerings from hometown MiickDuff's and Laughing Dog along with other regional breweries. 

– The Girl Scouts' fifth annual Spokane Craft Beer & Cookie Fest, from 4 to 7 at the program center, 1404 N. Ash, will pair Girl Scout cookies with beers from Alaskan, Badass, Big Barn, Black Label, English Setter, Iron Goat, Lagunitas, New Boundary, River City and Waddell's. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door, which includes a tasting glass, five 4-ounce pours, a $5 voucher for the Left Coast Fusion and Meltz Extreme Grilled Cheese trucks and live music.      

– Bellwether has a release party for its Wind on Sea spruce Scotch ale, with a potluck at 4 (elk and venison burgers plus salmon provided while they last, with Facebook reservations requested, bring a side dish) and bring-your-own cigar session at 7. 

– An Oktoberfest celebration at North Idaho Mountain Brew in Wallace will include the release of the homebrew club's Figtoberfest beer plus German food.

– River CIty's Randall for the weekend is Girlfriend Golden through fresh apples and cinnamon; there also are $2 pours of Gose-Way and Inconceivable Imperial Pilsner to make way for the upcoming Midnight Marmot imperial stout.

– Orlison is offering $3 pints of its Boulder Garden Brown, which won a gold medal last weekend at the Great American Beer Festival.

– The Ruins is donating $1 from every pint of Iron Goat beer sold to the memorial fund for the brewery's late co-founder, Paul Edminster.

– Community Pint this month is donating a portion of sales from its house Community IPA (brewed by TT's Old Iron) to The Lands Council

SUNDAY

– Twelve String has a welcome party for its new head brewer, Kevin Pierce, from noon to 4 with special pricing on his Tremolo Scotch Ale.

– Green Bluff's 238 Brewing releases a special benefit Ales for ALS Eclipse IPA from noon to 5 and also brings back the seasonal Smooth Operator black IPA, with the Meltz Extreme Grilled Cheese truck on hand. 

Cookies and craft

It’s again time for milk to take a back seat to beer when it comes to cookies.

The local Girl Scouts’ Craft Beer & Cookie Fest, pairing area brews with those iconic Girl Scout cookies, returns for a fifth year in Spokane on Saturday and for the second time in Coeur d’Alene next Thursday.

The Spokane event runs from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Girl Scout program center, 1404 N. Ash. Black Label, the top vote-getter for its pairings the past two years, will defend its title along with fellow returnees Alaskan, Badass Backyard, English Setter, Iron Goat, Lagunitas, New Boundary, River City and Waddell’s plus newcomer Big Barn.

Black Label has claimed its crown with a couple of very different combinations: Espresso Stout and Thin Mints in 2015, and Fox’s Pale Ale with the lemony Savannah Smiles last year.

“Most people like beer and everyone likes cookies,” says Black Label’s Dan Dvorak. “So when you are able to bring the two together and have it support such a great cause it is a very true win-win.”

For the first time, food trucks will be on hand: Left Coast Fusion and Meltz Extreme Grilled Cheese. Live music will be provided by Bill Bozly followed by Blue Mustangs.

In Coeur d’Alene, at Uva Italian restaurant from 5 to 7:30 p.m., Daft Badger ((last year’s winner with Kahlua Porter/Thin Mints), Mad Bomber and Slate Creek will be back for another round along with first-timers Post Falls Brewing and North Idaho Cider, plus music by Bozly.   

Tickets for each event are $20 in advance (see links above), $25 at the door, which includes a tasting glass, five 4-ounce pours and food (a $5 food truck voucher in Spokane, house hors d’oeuvres in Coeur d’Alene). Proceeds support Girl Scouts programs.

Pleasures of the fresh

The biggest fresh-hop festival this side of Yakima returns to Spokane this weekend.

The Lantern Tap House’s fifth annual Freshtival will feature more than 30 beers and ciders made with just-picked hops from this year’s harvest, from Oregon and Southern Idaho on Friday and Washington and North Idaho on Saturday. Winners in people’s choice voting will be announced at 9 each night.

For $10, you get a commemorative tasting glass (good for both days) and five drink tokens, with a 4-ounce pour for one token, 8 ounces for two and a full pint for four. Extra tokens are $1 each.

A dozen Southern Region offerings will pour in the outside tent on Friday from 4 to 10 p.m., including:

• Beer Valley’s Black Madness imperial IPA/stout blend (10 percent alcohol by volume)

• Breakside’s What Fresh Beast, a New England-style IPA (Mosaic hops, 7 percent ABV)

• Cascade Lakes Sizzle Juice (Simcoe/Cascade/Warrior, 5.7)

• Crux Crystal Zwickle Belgian-style pale (Crystal, 6)

• Deschutes Hop Trip pale (Crystal, 5.9)

• Double Mountain Killer Green IPA (Centennial/Simcoe, 7.6)

• Double Mountain Killer Red IRA (Perle, 7.3)

• Ecliptic Altair pale (Centennial, 5.4)

• Everybody’s Head Stash IPA (Citra/Simcoe, 7.1)

• Fort George Fresh IPA (Citra, 6.4)

• Payette Wet ‘n Wilder (Chinook, 5.5)

• pFriem Amarillo Pale (5.5)

And on Saturday from 2 to 10, look for 15 tent taps from the Northern Region:

• 7 Seas Hop Prophet (Citra/Comet, 6)

• Bale Breaker/Cloudburst Citra Slicker IPA (6.2)

• Fremont Cowiche Canyon pale (organic Citra/Simcoe, 6)

• Georgetown Fresh Hop Bodhizafa IPA (Citra, 6.9)

• Icicle Apres Harvest pale (Centennial, 5)

• Iron Goat Citra Fresh Hop IPA (7.4)

• Matchless C.L.S. Farms Centennial IPA (5.8)

• MickDuff’s Wet Hop IPA (Amarillo, 5.9)

• Paradise Creek Alpha Madness IPA (Simcoe, 6.8)

• River City Funkadelicious pale (Citra, 5.8)

• Silver City Juicy Denali IPA (Denali, 7.7)

• Trickster’s BoatLoad IPA (Simcoe/Loral, 6.5)

• Twelve String Simcoe Fresh Hop Session IPA (5)

• Waddell’s 1.21 Gigahops IPA (Amarillo/Centennial, 6.2)

• Young Buck Warp 4 IPA (local homegrown hops, dry-hopped with regular El Dorado, 6.4)

Also pouring inside the Lantern on Saturday will be Backwoods Citra Fresh Hop IPA (6.5), Laughing Dog Hop Dog (Amarillo, 6.2), Ten Pin Fresh Lanes IPA (7), Two Beers Fresh Hop IPA (Centennial, 6.2) and two fresh-hop ciders from Finnriver (Cascade, 6.5) and Tieton (Mosaic, 6.9).

Live music will be provided inside each night at 9:30 by The Lamb Band on Friday and Fat Lady on Saturday.       

Rare, Special, Varied Pours

The Blackbird is inviting seven of its favorite breweries – and you – to a party on Saturday.

The inaugural Blackbird Invitational from 3 to 7 p.m. will feature specialty beers by Cascade, Deschutes, Firestone Walker, Fremont, Grand Teton, pFriem and Young Buck. Each will pour four selections, including:

Cascade: Sour offerings Sang Noir (imperial spiced red ale blend aged in bourbon and wine barrels with Bing cherries), One Way or Another (Bruery Terreux collaboration blend of tripels aged in oak wine barrels with marionberries and Meyer lemons), Vlad the Imp Aler (oak and bourbon barrel-aged blonde quads and tripels blended with spiced blondes) and 2015 Cranberry (wheat beer aged in wine barrels on cranberries, orange peel and cinnamon).

Deschutes: 2017 Cultivateur sour saison aged in oak barrels with Brett, 2015 Jubel barrel-aged imperial winter ale, 2014 Not the Stoic barrel-aged quad and Chasin’ Freshies fresh-hop IPA.

Firestone Walker: 2017 bourbon barrel-aged Pacific Gravity Weizenbock, 2016 Feral One barrel-aged blend, 2014 Parabola barrel-aged Russian imperial stout and 2012 Double DBA barrel-aged imperial special bitter.

Fremont: Brew 2000 barrel-aged barleywine, 2014 bourbon barrel-aged B-Bomb winter ale, Sour Weisse and Cowiche Canyon organic fresh-hop blend.

Grand Teton: Bittercreek Cuvee barrel-aged wild ale, Good Fences Oud Bruin sour brown, Black Cauldron imperial stout and bourbon barrel-aged Double Vision Doppelbock.

pFriem: Pruim barrel-aged Lambic-inspired sour with plums, Pilsner, Brett IPA and Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout.

Young Buck: Cab Savvy barrel-aged sour saison with apricot puree, Oud Bruin sour brown, a Biere de Table Vinifera blended barrel-aged sour with homegrown grapes and Warp 4 partially fresh-hopped IPA.

The beers will be accompanied by a series of small plates from the Blackbird kitchen. Tickets are $50, which includes a Silipint silicone pint glass and 15 drink tokens (each good for 2 or 4 ounces, depending on the beer); they must be purchased online in advance.

Blackbird owner Patrick McPherson says the event is inspired by the Firestone Walker Invitational hosted by the California brewery each year, one of his favorite festivals.

“We’re trying to give a really good value this year so people are excited for next year,” he says. “If we get a good response, we’ll put up a tent in the parking lot and do it even bigger next time.”

Orlison grabs GABF gold

Orlison brewer Rachel Nalley poses with the Brewers Association’s Charlie Papazian after winning a gold medal Saturday at the Great American Beer Festival.

For the second straight year, a Spokane brewery is bringing home a gold medal from the Great American Beer Festival.

Orlison's Boulder Garden Brown topped 62 other entries in the English-Style Brown Ale category in Saturday's annual competition at the Denver festival, the nation’s most prestigious beer event.

"It is a real honor to be among such accomplished brewers and breweries," Orlison brewer Rachel Nalley said via e-mail. "I am so excited for what Orlison and the Spokane brewing scene is creating and what we are bringing to the national spotlight."

Orlison is the fourth Spokane-area brewery to take GABF gold since the competition began in 1987, and the third in the past six years. The former Coeur d’Alene Brewing won for its Centennial Pale Ale in 1988, No-Li for Crystal Bitter (now Spin Cycle Red) in 2012 and Perry Street for its Session IPL last year.

There were almost 8,000 entries from more than 2,000 breweries nationwide this year, spread across 98 style categories. 

Other Washington gold-medal winners included Chuckanut, for both its Kolsch and Dunkel Lager; Reuben’s, Triumvirate IPA (Australian/international-style pale ale); Silver City, Ridgetop Red (Irish-style red); and Wander, Correspondent (export stout).

Taking silver were Fremont, for Field to Ferment Amarillo (fresh/wet hop ale); Ghostfish, for Meteor Shower Blonde Ale (gluten-free beer); Ram/Big Horn Lakewood, Hefeweizen (South German-style hefeweizen); and Ram/Big Horn Seattle, Udder Chaos (coffee stout/porter).

In all, 293 medals were handed out to 266 breweries. Go here for the complete list of winners, and here for video of the awards ceremony.

Perry pours for Rare Beer Tasting: Perry Street may not have returned to the awards podium this year, but it was one of 68 breweries nationwide featured at this year’s Denver Rare Beer Tasting on Friday. The brewery’s chardonnay barrel-aged tripel poured for the event, which benefits Pints for Prostates

Pullman's Paradise Creek and Moscow's Rants & Raves were among more than 800 breweries with booths at the main festival. 

No-Li's Bryant talks survival: No-Li’s John Bryant participated in a panel discussion Friday on the challenges facing midsized breweries in today’s increasingly competitive craft beer market.

“In this room, we can look left and right, and we probably all won’t be here in three years,” Bryant said during the GABF Brew Talks session sponsored by Brewbound. “I hate to take the romance out of what we’re doing, but we’ve gone from a couple thousand breweries to coming up on 6.000 and it’s getting really crowded out there.”

But smaller brewers have some advantages over their more corporate counterparts, he said: “You’re risk-takers, you believe in something greater than a dollar bill. And that’s what will set you apart from the larger brewers. … It’s when you get comfortable and you become risk-adverse that you will lose.”

Commitment to community is one key to success, said Bryant, who has made ongoing charitable activities a priority at No-Li. “You’ve got to give more than you take,” he said. “However you choose to interact in your community, be deeply a part of it – it’s got to be meaningful, it’s not posing, it’s real. You’ve got to give until it hurts.”

Personal commitment is crucial as well, he added: “I do believe No-Li is a cause, and if I don’t believe it’s a cause, I shouldn’t get out of bed because it’s too much damn work. You have to believe it’s a cause and that because you exist, the world’s a better place or craft beer’s a better place or your community’s a better place or the people you work beside every day for countless hours make it a better place.”

You can watch a replay of the session here (starting at the 36-minute mark).

Steady, fresh, flow

If you didn’t get your fill of fresh-hop beers at Manito Tap House this week, there’s another opportunity tomorrow in the Valley.

Some 20 offerings will pour for Steady Flow Growler House’s Fresh Hop Flow Fest from 2 to 8 p.m., with happy-hour pricing all day and $5 off three-packs of 32-ounce crowler cans.

At last report, the lineup included (with more on the way):

– Backwoods Citra Fresh Hop IPA

– Double Mountain’s Killer Green (Centennial/Simcoe) and Killer Red (Perle)

– Ecliptic Altair pale (Centennial)

– Fremont’s Field to Ferment Centennial, Amarillo and Citra, plus Cowiche Canyon (organic Citra/Simcoe) 

– Georgetown’s fresh Johnny Utah pale (single-hop Citra) and Bodhizafa IPA (regular recipe with fresh Citra)

– Laughing Dog’s Hop Dog (Amarillo)

– MickDuff’s Wet Hop IPA (Amarillo)

– Paradise Creek’s Alpha Madness (Simcoe)

– Perry Street’s Amarillo Fresh Hop Pale

– River City’s Funkadelicious (Citra)

– Trickster’s BoatLoad IPA (Simcoe/Loral)

– Twelve String’s Simcoe Fresh Hop Session IPA

– Waddell’s Hop Tart sour (several homegrown varieties)

– Yakima Craft 48˚ North (Centennial/Amarillo)

So enjoy, but save some taste buds: The Lantern Tap House today announced its fifth annual Freshtival for next weekend (Oct. 13-14), with 32 fresh-hop beers pouring from Oregon on Friday and Washington/Idaho on Saturday.