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Midnight rambler

For a relatively small mammal, River City’s Midnight Marmot sure gets around.

The downtown brewery celebrates its seasonal imperial stout with the third annual International Marmot Beer Festival on Saturday from 3 to 8 p.m.

It will feature seven variations on the rich black elixir using ingredients from around the globe, including:

– Oranges and star anise from China.

– Coconut from the Pacific Islands.

– Vanilla and coffee beans from South America.

– Thai chilies.

– Mint leaf and cocoa nibs from Ecuador.

– Cognac and French oak chips.

– A wine barrel-aged version with Washington raspberries.

There’s also a grand cru blend of last year’s regular Marmot, its raspberry/oak, Indian curry and Madagascar vanilla versions plus Congratulator doppelbock.

Your ticket get s you 2-ounce samples of all eight beers, plus a 12-ounce pour of your favorite, for $25 in advance (at the taproom) or $25 at the door.

Food will be provided by the Nick’s Shameless Sausages truck.

A bigger Barrelfest

Twelve String’s fourth annual Barrelfest on Sunday is shaping up to be the biggest yet.

As many as 20 barrel-aged offerings are on the tentative taplist for the Spokane Valley brewery’s event from noon to 5 p.m., including the likes of:

– The last three anniversary beers: Volume 3 imperial red IPA aged in Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels, Volume 4 barleywine in Woodinville Whiskey barrels and Volume 5 imperial tart porter in Woodinville bourbon barrels.

– Also on the sour side, an Alternate Tuning sour imperial IPA blended with whiskey barrel Electric Slide imperial IPA; Don’t Fret porter in Woodinville Whiskey barrels; and a rare tequila barrel Lemon Lime Pale Ale.

– The always popular Tequila Barrel Imperial Mango Mambo

– Both a golden strong ale and the Jam Session IPA aged in gin barrels with grapefruit.

– PinaCoco imperial porter aged in rum barrels with pineapple and coconut.

– A rare Ardennes the Menace dark strong aged for three years in Woodinville Whiskey barrels.

– A cask huckleberry- and jalapeno-infused RedX XXX red ale in Woodinville Whiskey barrels.

– Drop D Stout in Woodinville Whiskey barrels, along with blackberry-infused Drop D in Liberty Lake Winery syrah barrels.

– Don’t Fret porter in Liberty Lake Winery cabernet barrels.

– Heavenly Black Fog, Double Drop D Stout in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels.

– Red Heaven imperial red IPA blended with Double Drop D Stout in Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels.  

– Beer de Cocoa, Double Chocolate Double Stout in Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels.

As usual, they’ll be served in 5-ounce pours for $3. Most also will be available to go in 32-ounce grunts for $18.  

Landrace to the finish

Bellwether is again breathing new life into old grains.

In February, the North Spokane brewery released a series of small-batch beers brewed with Purple Egyptian barley grown locally by Palouse Heritage and malted by Palouse Pint. It followed up in August with another series using another ancient variety, Scots Bere.

Now comes Saturday’s Landrace Grainfest, featuring eight beers brewed with those barleys by Bellwether and six other mostly local breweries.

“Landrace” refers to grains that were cultivated locally in regions across the globe, before the advent of more mass-produced, hybridized varieties. They provide distinctive flavors when used for baking and brewing.

“They’re so tall, they have much deeper root structures,” says Don Scheuerman of Palouse Heritage, which grows several strains on its farm between Endicott and St. John. “They can pick up micronutrients that aren’t available in the top two or three feet of soil.”

For Saturday, several brewers have made big beers with the Scots Bere, which contributes a deep, rich color and flavor. Those include a Belgian-style dubbel by Genus Brewing (at the Nu Home Brew supply store), a strong ale by Snohomish’s Lost Canoe (co-owned by a cousin of Bellwether’s Thomas Croskrey) and a barleywine by Young Buck.

On the lighter side, Black Label brewed an easy-drinking Kentucky Common with the fruitier, nuttier Purple Egyptian along with corn from the LINC Foods farmers’ co-op, the parent company of Palouse Pint. 

Both Scots Bere and Purple Egyptian were used in an amber autumn lager by Whistle Punk (which was conditioned over hazelnuts), an Amarillo dry-hopped pale by Bellwether and a strong bitter by Palouse Pint that included some lightly roasted Purple Egyptian.

An English-style strong ale collaboration by all the brewers features both roasted and smoked Purple Egyptian and Scots Bere along with a little landrace Red Russian wheat from Palouse Heritage.

The festival runs from 3 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $25 (available in advance at Bellwether and at the door), which includes a 12-ounce pour of the collaboration and 5-ounce tasters of the other beers; the first 120 people through the door get a souvenir glass.

There also will be bread and snacks for sale by Culture Breads using the Red Russian and other landrace grains.

And there’s more to come. A cooperative project called the Grain Shed, in a former grocery store on the north edge of the South Perry District (at Newark and Laura), will feature beers brewed with Palouse Heritage grains plus breads and small plates by Culture Breads. It’s in the permitting process and plans to open by spring.

“You’ll be able to come in and taste the full gamut, in food form, bread form and beer form,” says co-owner Joel Williamson, who's also the Palouse Pint maltster.

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.       

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).

The landrace is on

Whistle Punk's Matt Hanson (front) adds hops to his autumn lager while Palouse Pint's Joel Williamson works on his strong bitter during Monday's brew day for Bellwether's upcoming Landrace Grainfest.

A handful of local brewers did some old-school brewing Monday using some very old-school grains.

Brewers from Black Label, Genus, Palouse Pint, Whistle Punk and Young Buck gathered at Bellwether to cook up some homebrew-size batches using a pair of ancient barleys, Scots Bere and Purple Egyptian.

Those are among the “landrace” grains – pre-hybridized varieties cultivated locally around the world – grown by Palouse Heritage near Endicott, Wash.

Bellwether has done small-batch series featuring each of the barleys. Now offerings from all the brewers, including a collaboration, will pour there for a Landrace Grainfest on Nov. 11.

“These guys are my heroes,” Palouse Heritage’s Don Scheuerman said, surveying the scene as brewers scurried back and forth between boiling pots of aromatic liquid.

Several were making bigger beers with the Scots Bere, which provides a deep, rich color and flavor.

Young Buck’s Cameron Johnson was brewing a barleywine. “From what we know it was originally a distilling grain (in Scotland), which is part of the reason I did a big beer,” he said of the Bere.

“I got a lot more color than I expected,” Johnson added. “The aroma and flavor are very unique. It’s like an amalgam of pilsner, rye and Crystal 75 (malts).”

Genus, the brewing operation at the Nu Home Brew supply store, was working on a Belgian-style dubbel. “It’s going to be a beast,” said brewer Logan Cook.

On the lighter side, Whistle Punk’s Matt Hanson made an amber autumn lager with Scots Bere and some of the fruitier, nuttier Purple Egyptian, which will be further conditioned over hazelnuts.

And Black Label’s Dan Dvorak created an old-style Kentucky common using the Purple Egyptian, corn from the LINC Foods farmers’ co-op and caramelized brewer’s sugar.

Read full post ›

Another record at Avista

Whistle Punk Brewing photo

Another year, another attendance record for the Inland Northwest Craft Beer Festival.

There were 3,508 full-price admissions for the event Friday and Saturday at Avista Stadium, up 7 percent from the previous year. That follows a 14 percent increase last year over 2015.

“We’re going in the right direction,” said Eric Radovich, executive director of the sponsoring Washington Beer Commission. “I think people really enjoy the baseball setting. There’s good food, fantastic beer, and it’s family-friendly.”

More than 100 children came through the gates for Saturday’s all-ages session, he said, twice last year’s total. And 238 people paid $5 for designated driver admission throughout the weekend.

Along with the lines outside for Lyft and Uber rides, Radovich said, “That shows some responsibility on the part of the folks attending.”

Which is a good thing, considering that 31,269 five-ounce beers were poured over the two days – equivalent to almost 7,000 cases of 12-ounce bottles or cans.

Perennial favorite Fremont again led the way with 1,650 tokens, followed by first-timer Dirty Bucket from Woodinville. Four locals were next in line: Hopped Up, Big Barn, Twelve String and River City.

Forty of the scheduled 41 breweries showed up to pour. The brewery total will remain in that range for next year, Radovich said, with some tweaks: The top 10 breweries in the token count will be guaranteed entry, along with any newcomers. The remaining spots will be filled through a lottery.

“You can almost always count on a dozen or 15 breweries who weren’t there the previous year,” Radovich said.

The brewery number could be increased, and a third day potentially added, if attendance reaches 5,000, he said.      

This year marked the eighth year for the event (which began as Spokane Oktoberfest in Riverfront Park) and the fourth at Avista.

Avista preview: The details

All week long, we’ve been telling you about the beers coming to this year’s Inland Northwest Craft Beer Festival – the hoppy, the malty, the fruity and sour.

Now here’s everything else you need to know to make the most of your weekend at Avista Stadium:

Hours: The festival opens today with a 21-and-over night from 4 to 9, followed by an all-ages session Saturday from noon to 7 (last call is 15 minutes before closing).

Pricing: Tickets are $20 online (plus a $1.59 service fee), $25 at the door, which includes a tasting glass and your first six 5-ounce pours (extras are $2 each or three for $5). Admission is $15 for military with ID; designated drivers get in for $5, with free water and soda.

Food: Available from the 3 Ninjas, Mac Daddy’s, Meltz Extreme Grilled Cheese, Nick’s Shameless Sausages and Veraci Pizza trucks.

Entertainment: Live music tonight at 7 by Dimestore Prophets, and Saturday by Folkinception at 2 and Grand Avenue at 4.

For kids: Saturday, play area with bouncy houses and slide (under 21 admitted free with ticketed parent or guardian).

You can bring: Blankets, lawn chairs, food, water bottles (plastic or metal), coolers no bigger than 2 by 3 feet, strollers (on Saturday).

Leave at home: Pets, tents, folding tables, grills, glass bottles/glasses/dishes, weapons.

Parking: Plenty of it, for free.

Avista preview: Light, tart and fruity

This is the third and final in a series of posts exploring the beer lineup for this weekend’s Inland Northwest Craft Beer Festival.

Temperatures may have dropped, but that doesn’t mean everything at the Inland Northwest Craft Beer Festival needs to be big or hoppy.

Here’s a look at some of the mellower fare being poured Friday and Saturday, including fruit beers and sours:

Lighter fluids: Bringing blondes are Diamond Knot (4.2 percent alcohol by volume) and Iron Goat (5). Honey beers are arriving from Dirty Bucket, with its Not Yo’ Honey Cream (5); Orlison, Hill Climb Honey Wheat (5.1); and Pike, Hive Five (5.5). V Twin weighs in with its Wind Whipped Wheat (7).

On the lager side, look for Fremont’s Helles (5.1), Reuben’s Pilsner (5.4), Top Frog’s Wobbly Leg pilsner (6.2) and River City’s Inconceivable Imperial Pilsner (7). Ale/lager kolsch hybrids include Twelve String’s A Cappella (4.5), Paradise Creek’s Kugar (4.8) and Iron Horse’s Life Behind Bars (5.5), while Boundary Bay’s Thirsty Ghost (6) is a sake/kolsch combo brewed with rice.

Coffee and spice: Wake up with a pair of coffee-infused cream ales, Georgetown’s Gusto Crema (4.5) and Black Label’s Coffee Cream (5.3).

And stay awake with pepper beers including River City’s Girlfriend Golden infused with jalapeno, lime and cilantro (5), Schooner Exact’s serrano-spiked El Nino (5.5), Waddell’s habanero Dragon Slayer (5.5) and V Twin’s Hella Jalapeno (6).

Fruited labors: There’s an array of fruit beers packing less heat, including Twelve String’s Mambo Mango hefeweizen (4.3), Hopped Up’s pineapple/coconut Wicked Wahini cream (5) and Tangerine Man pale (5.3), Orlison’s Orangelicious giolden (5.3), Fremont’s Universale pale infused with berries, rosemary and sage (5.6), Ten Pin’s Groove Pineapple Wheat (5.8), Badass Backyard’s Daring Diva raspberry wheat (6) and New Boundary’s Lemon Kick hard lemonade (6).

For heartier tastes, there’s V Twin’s single-malt, single-hop Blue Barry SMaSH (6.9); Big Barn’s Blackberry Porter (6.8) and honeyed Raspberry Braggot (10.5); and Twelve String’s gin barrel-aged Grapefruit Golden Strong (7) and tequila barrel-aged Imperial Mango Mambo (8.3).

Tart nouveau: The popularity of sours keeps growing, and there are several to choose from this weekend, both fruited and otherwise.

Sour, salty gose wheat beers are coming from Reuben’s (4.3); River City, with its blueberry/cranberry/orange Gose-Way (4.2); and Young Buck, bringing its orange-infused Mimosa Gose (3.6).

Other kettle sours include Paradise Creek’s Huckleberry Pucker (4.6), Waddell’s habanero-enhanced Strawberry Wild Fire (5), Dirty Bucket’s BlackBerry (5) and Raspberry Lambic (5.5), Black Label’s Rhubarb Cherry (5.6) and Iron Goat’s Blackberry Apricot (6.5).

And for barrel-aged offerings, there’s Waddell’s red wine barrel Blackberry Sour (6.5); Young Buck’s Farmhouse Funk (6.5), a blend of Belgian golden ale and French saison aged in a chardonnay barrel with bacteria and Brett; and Iron Goat’s Chocolate Cherry Sour (7.1).

Tis the saison: There also are some non-soured French and Belgian farmhouse styles including White Bluffs’ wheated Biere de Mars (6.5), Paradise Creek’s Peach Saison (7.5) and Little Spokane’s Mi Reina Saison (7.9). Fremont is serving two saisons from its Black Heron Project on the rotating tap: a dark saison with Brett on Friday at 7, and a Brett French saison on Saturday at 3.

Avista preview: Going with the grain

This is the second in a series of posts exploring the beer lineup for this weekend’s Inland Northwest Craft Beer Festival.

Yesterday we told you about all the hoppy concoctions coming to this weekend’s Inland Northwest Craft Beer Festival. Now it’s time to give grain its due.

Here’s a look at the more malt-forward offerings pouring Friday and Saturday, including fall seasonals and bigger beer styles:

Season’s greetings: Oktoberfest started last Saturday in Munich, and interpretations of its traditional Marzen-style lager are on the way from Dru Bru (4.7 percent alcohol by volume), Boundary Bay (5.7), Northern Ales (6), Waddell’s (6.2), Silver City (6.4) and Young Buck (6.8) with its Bucktoberfest through a Randall of coffee, cinnamon and French oak.

Fall also means pumpkins, and beers like Blewett’s Pumpkin Ale (5.5); Big Barn’s Golden Pumpkin, with homegrown gourds from the Green Bluff farm (6.3); Pike’s big Harlot’s Harvest (8.3); and Schooner Exact’s even bigger, barrel-aged Whiskey Dick Cantwell (9.9). Two Beers is bringing the Pumpkin Spice from its corporate sister Seattle Cider (6.9).      

Other cool-weather offerings include a pair of Marzen-inspired ales – Diamond Knot’s Fog Bank (5.6) and 7 Seas’ Autumn (6.5) – and Reuben’s Roasted Rye (7), described as a cross between a winter warmer and an IPA. And the coffee cinnamon version of Fremont’s barrel-aged B-Bomb winter ale (14) will pour on the rotating tap Saturday at 1 p.m.

Great Scots: Northern offers its Okanogan Highlander Scotch Ale (6) and Silver City its heartier Fat Scotch (9.2). Bellwether brings its Albion (8.2) – brewed with peated malt and Scottish wild heather, which adds a sour touch along with its floral character – and will have a rotating tap with selections from its recent small-batch series using Scots Bere barley, which originated in the Orkneys.

Down with the brown: This lesser-seen style is represented by Badass Backyard’s coconut-infused No Alibi (5), Orlison’s Boulder Garden (6.1) and a whiskey barrel-aged version from Bennidito’s (6.8).

Read full post ›

Avista preview: Tops of the hops

This is the first in a series of posts exploring the beer lineup for this weekend’s Inland Northwest Craft Beer Festival.

The Inland Northwest Craft Beer Festival returns to Avista Stadium this weekend during the heart of fresh-hop season, and there will be no shortage of offerings for lupulin lovers.

This year’s lineup includes close to 20 beers brewed with freshly harvested hops, along with an array of other IPAs and pales among the almost 200 selections on tap Friday and Saturday:

Fresh sheet: Look for Centennial versions from Two Beers (6.2 percent alcohol by volume) and Dru Bru (7), an Amarillo/Centennial blend by Waddell’s (6.2) and straight Amarillo interpretations from Perry Street (5.5), Boundary Bay (6), Reuben’s (6) and Schooner Exact (6). Fremont is bringing its Centennial and Amarillo Field to Ferment releases plus the always-popular Cowiche Canyon organic blend (all 6).

Big Barn’s Midnight Harvest (6) is a black IPA brewed with Centennial, Cascade and Chinook from its first full-scale hop crop on the Green Bluff farm. Badass Backyard has homegrown hops in its Harju (5.6) and Young Buck uses local hops in its partially fresh-hopped Warp 4 (6.4), the latest in an experimental IPA series.

Simcoe stars in Twelve String’s session IPA (5), Paradise Creek’s Alpha Madness (6.8) and Blewett’s double IPA (9.5), while this year’s River City Funkadelicious (5.8) features Citra. And Perry Street has fresh-hopped the latest in its yearlong New England IPA series (6) with Simcoe and Loral.       

East Coast mentality: Hazy, juicy New England-inspired IPAs are the hottest style around these days, and a few more have made the Avista roster. Look for Reuben’s Nelson Crush (6), with winey Nelson Sauvin hops; Silver City’s Tropic Haze (6.4); Whistle Punk’s Cryo Hopped (7.1), with Mosaic, Citra and Simcoe hop powder; and Fremont’s Ales for ALS version (7.2), using a special hop blend for the benefit project.   

More experiments: Other adventurous approaches include Schooner Exact’s Wa’ Dat? (4.5), a dry-hopped blend of an IPA and a kettle sour; Iron Goat’s Blood Orange India pale lager (4.7), brewed with the winner of a homebrew contest; Steam Plant’s Boiler 5 Red IPA (5), using local Palouse Pint malt; and Bale Breaker’s Bale Finder collaboration with Founders (6.5), featuring experimental hop HBC 522.

Read full post ›

Sour you in September

If it’s mid-September, that must mean sour beer time at The Lantern Tap House.

The South Perry pub’s fourth annual Sours ‘n September festival runs Friday from 4 to 10 p.m. and Saturday from 2 to 10, with a dozen  or more different sours on tap in the outdoor beer garden each day and two more inside.

The lineup includes a pair of limited barrel-aged offerings from Spokane breweries. Iron Goat on Saturday debuts its Brett d’Or du Claret (7 percent alcohol by volume), a blend of golden ales fermented for two and four years in Barrister merlot and cabernet franc barrels with crushed wine grapes. After this, the rest will go into bottles.

And Young Buck on Friday brings its Cab Savvy sour saison (7), which spends two years in cabernet sauvignon barrels before being finished with apricot puree.

Among other locals, also look for Paradise Creek’s Huckleberry Pucker (4.6) on Friday, and Laughing Dog’s De Achste Hond peach sour (7.2), No-Li's guava/blueberry Unbreakable Imperial Sour (7.8) and Waddell’s Blackberry Sour (6) on Saturday.

The rest of the lineup includes:


– Almanac’s spiced Pumpkin Pie de Brettaville (7)

– Anderson Valley’s lemon/juniper G&T Gose (4.2)

– Breakside Passionfruit (5)

– Deschutes Cultivateur oak-aged saison (8)

– Dogfish Head Festina Peche (4.5)

– Firestone Walker’s Bretta Weisse (4.9) and lambic-style Sour Opal (6.8)

– Founders Green Zebra watermelon gose (4.6)

– Grand Teton Flanders Brown (8.4)

– North Coast Tart Cherry Berliner Weisse (4.1)

– Silver Moon’s cherry/lavender Barrel-Aged Elf (5.6)

– Uinta Hopscursion Brett IPA (6.5)


– Avery Ginger Sour (6)

– Boulevard’s dry-hopped Saison Brett (8.5)

– Crux’s Flanders-style Better Off Red (7)

– Fort George’s Sucker Punch kettle sour (4.1)

– Georgetown’s Boots, Berry & Murray raspberry gose (3.1)

– Grand Teton’s 2017 American Sour (8.5) and 2015 chardonnay barrel-aged version (8.2)

– New Belgium’s cherry-infused Transatlantique Kriek (8)

– Ommegang Pale Sour (6.9)

– pFriem Oude Kriek (5.6)

– Reuben’s dark rye Kentucky Common (5)

Tasting tokens will cost $1 each; you can get a 5-ounce pour for two to four tokens, depending on the beer, or a 10-ounce pour for four to eight.

Bottled sours also will be available inside including Avery's 2015 Fortuna, Firestone Walker's 2015 Agrestic, Fort George's Shady Grove, Mikkeller's Spontangreenapple, Reuben's Gose and VanderGhinste's Oude Bruin.   

There will be music and games in the outdoor tent, and live music inside each night at 9 by Tyler Aker on Friday and Lavoy on Saturday.

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Summer into fall

More than 100 regional beers and ciders will pour for the 25th annual Fall Fest this weekend at Schweitzer Mountain Resort.

This year’s event at the Sandpoint-area resort has been extended to four days, from Friday through the Monday holiday.  And there’s an expanded layout for the drinks tent (also including wine), food court, soda tent, kids’ activities, arts and crafts vendors and the music stage, with 11 bands performing through the weekend.

Beer tasting packages with souvenir glassware range from $15 for a five-ounce taster and four fills, to $40 for an 18-ounce copper mug and three fills; those can be pre-ordered online (plus fees) through midnight today, and will be sold onsite while supplies last. Extra drink tokens will be available for sale, and you can skip the packages and just buy tokens to get your beers poured in a regular plastic glass.

Beer tent hours are Friday from 4 to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Monday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Here’s the posted tap list (subject to change):

Alaskan: White Wheat, Big Mountain pale

Alpine: Duet and Windows Up IPAs

Bale Breaker: Field 41 pale, Dormancy stout

Ballast Point: Dead Ringer Oktoberfest, Sculpin IPA

Barley Brown’s: Saison, Point Blank red

Bayern: Pilsener, Dragon’s Breath dunkelweizen

Big Sky: Shake a Day IPA, Slow Elk stout

Black Raven: Kitty Kat Blues blueberry pale, Coco Jones coconut porter

Boise Brewing: Burn One Down brown, Black Cliffs stout

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Peak of their craft

The region’s longest-running beer festival, Silver Mountain’s Brewsfest, returns on Saturday for its 24th year.

Twenty breweries and two cideries are lined up for this year’s event at the four-season resort outside of Kellogg, Idaho. The gondola starts running at 9:30 a.m. and taps are open from 1 to 5:30 p.m.

There’s live music during the festival by Soul Proprietor and The Sara Brown Band, continuing afterward in the Gondola Village with the Sara Brown Trio.

Tickets are $30.95 in advance, $35.95 at the gate, which includes the gondola ride up the mountain, a souvenir mug and six 3.5-ounce tasters (extras $1 each); beer tickets also can be used for wine, soda and water. For another $15, add admission to the mountain bike park.

Children are welcome (at the full ticket price), as are well-behaved and leashed dogs. You can bring your own chairs, or rent them at the resort.

Here’s the beer and cider lineup:

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