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For Paul’s sake

When Iron Goat co-founder Paul Edminster died Sept. 30 from complications of cancer, it left not only a huge hole in the craft beer community but a small mountain of medical bills.

All proceeds from two events this weekend will go toward covering those costs:

Manito Tap House on Saturday is pouring three kegs donated by Fremont for the cause: a hazy New England-style version of the Cowiche Canyon organic fresh hop pale; the latest in the hazy Head Full of Dynomite IPA series, hopped with Azacca and Ekuanot; and a yet-unnamed specialty IPA brewed with Vienna malt, rolled oats and Comet and Crystal hops. Sales support the Edminster fund.

– On Sunday, nYne Bar & Bistro hosts a Craft & Community evening starting at 4 p.m. with a cocktail hour (your first Dry Fly signature cocktail is free, no-host bar after) and appetizers by Perry Street Brewing and Boots Bakery & Lounge.

At 5, seven small plates will be served from Casper Fry, Clover, Iron Goat, Lantern Tap House, Manito Tap House, Ruins and restaurant supplier Sysco Spokane (which is donating all the food), accompanied by beer pairings from Black Label, Iron Goat, No-Li, Paradise Creek, Perry Street, Quartzite, River City.

A live auction of high-end art starts at 7, and there also will be a silent auction of items donated by various businesses (plus a brown paper grab bag of specialty wines and beers for $10). Live music will be provided throughout the evening by Don and Thomas Thomsen, Mama Doll, Dario Re and friends.

Tickets are $50, in advance and at the door if available (sales are limited to the first 250 people). The event is 21 and older only.     

Paul Edminster: 1966-2017

UPDATE TUESDAY 10/3

Several local breweries and bars are holding benefit events for Paul Edminster's memorial fund:

Whistle Punk is donating all proceeds from a guest keg of Iron Goat's Trashy Blonde. 

Nectar Wine and Beer is donating proceeds from a keg of Iron Goat's Back East IPA. 

River City is donating $4 from each pint sold, plus tips, on Thursday from 3 to 10 p.m.

– Artists from the "Better Spokane Headlines" show at Community Pint are donating all proceeds from First Friday sales.

The Observatory is matching all profits from sales of Iron Goat beers through the weekend.

 

We’re sorry to report that Paul Edminster, co-founder of Iron Goat Brewing, passed away Saturday at age 51 from complications of cancer.

“It is with great sadness that we announce we have lost a great friend, husband, father, partner and co-founder,” the brewery said this afternoon on its Facebook page.

Memorial donations to an account set up for his children can be made at GoFundMe.  

“Paul was my best friend,” Iron Goat co-founder/brewer Greg Brandt said in an e-mail. “It’s still very hard to accept that he is really gone. But with that being said he’s really not.”

With their wives, Sheila Evans and Heather Brandt, he wrote, “The four of us worked late into many nights trying to build something that we could all be a part of and be proud of. Paul loved, and was very good at, working on anything mechanical, always wanted to figure it out, how to make it better. He’d spend hours poring through manuals and electronic parts and always seemed to figure things out.

“He loved the brewery with a passion, as do Sheila, Heather and myself. Our hearts and souls are invested in every part of Iron Goat. So when I say that Paul is not gone it’s because when I see a pump, a fermenter, a cooling system, the bar, the front door, everything, I see Paul, and Sheila, and Heather, and me.

“He will be forever sorely missed. Iron Goat will continue to move forward and grow stronger because of four people with a dream, one of them my very best friend Paul Edminster.”

Brandt and Edminster met at the old Jones Radiator beer bar in spring 2011 and soon found themselves brainstorming a brewery. Iron Goat opened in June 2012 in a century-old, out-of-the-way industrial building at 2204 E. Mallon that housed Evans’ art studio.

Sales grew steadily and Edminster, a former Navy nuclear machinist, left his job as web services manager at Gonzaga University in the spring of 2014 to focus full-time on the brewery. Iron Goat began bottling its beers the following February, and in April 2016 moved into a larger, more accessible space downtown at 1302 W. Second where it could boost production.

In July, it launched distribution in Western Washington, where Edminster grew up. “This has been a long time coming and it means a lot to me,” he posted on Facebook at the time.

As news of his death spread Monday, other area brewers began paying their respects.

Fellow downtown brewery Black Label recalled on its Facebook page how helpful Edminster had been when it was starting out: “Paul has inspired us to pay forward the hospitality to newer and upcoming breweries in the same manner he and Iron Goat showed us at our beginning. … It’s a sad time to see someone so great leave us.”

Selkirk Abbey’s Jeff Whitman wrote: “Paul was a kind, gentle man with a warm disposition and genial manner. In the eight years I knew him I never heard him utter an ill world toward anyone. His advice was sound and considered, and never offered frivolously. He was a man for whom I had great respect and admiration.”

Glory haze

The “haze craze” is starting to reach Spokane.

Hazy, juicy New England-style IPAs – with their smooth mouthfeel, fruity flavors and low bitterness – are the hottest craft beer trend across the country. Such Northwest breweries as Great Notion in Portland and Reuben’s Brews in Seattle have been winning acclaim for their interpretations.

Now three local versions – from Iron Goat, Orlison and Perry Street – have gone on tap in the past week. Daft Badger in Coeur d’Alene is planning another.

And Whistle Punk, which has been distributing its rendition on a limited basis for several months, will make that the permanent IPA offering at its upcoming taproom in downtown Spokane.

All the major components of brewing play a part in creating the style. Special yeast strains stay suspended in the beer and produce fruity notes. Large amounts of late-addition hops contribute to both the aroma and the appearance, with their residue. Oats and wheat in the grain bill lend both smoothness and proteins that can add to the haze. And higher levels of chloride in the water soften the beer’s body.     

Perry Street in January announced it was planning a yearlong series of New England-style IPAs, experimenting with all of those ingredients.

“Each one will be different,” says owner/brewer Ben Lukes. “What’s fun about this is that we’re learning with our customers as we go along.”

Lukes sampled as many authentic versions of the style as he could find from friends in the beer-trading scene to prepare for the project.

His first offering (6.7 percent alcohol by volume, 60 International Bitterness Units) was hopped with Citra thoughout the boil, and massively dry-hopped –four pounds per barrel – with Denali, a newer, intensely fruity variety, and powdered Mosaic.

A bright but opaque golden, it’s soft and aromatic with juicy pineapple and peach flavors and a crisp, lightly bitter finish. “If this is any indicator, I’m excited about where we’re going,” Lukes says.

His second release will feature Galaxy hops, an Australian variety known for its passion fruit character, and huskless, malted oats called Golden Naked. The beers will continue to get hazier as he harvests and reuses the yeast from each batch, Lukes says.

“I’m having a good time playing around with it,” he says. “It will be fun to take a whole year and work with one style, and see what we can achieve.”

Read full post ›

Straight lotta cold beer

Several Spokane breweries put their best beers forward for Blake Shelton before his appearance at the Spokane Arena last night.

When the country star played here in 2014, he liked No-Li’s offerings so much that he had a supply shipped to his next tour stop in Tacoma, then bought another $200 worth to take to his dates in British Columbia.

This time, No-Li delivered a custom case of “Blake Shelton – Doing It to Country Music” golden ale bombers to the Arena backstage before the show, along with a large steel key to the brewery. And Iron Goat, River City, Perry Street and Badass Backyard chipped in with bottles and growlers of their own.

No word whether the “Straight Outta Cold Beer” singer and his crew consumed the entire stash before leaving town.

A grand new Goat

UPDATED SATURDAY 4/30

(Photo by Terry Nichols)

After a Friday night grand-opening party that was bursting at the seams, Iron Goat does it all over again today starting at 11.

A line started snaking onto the sidewalk outside the brewery's new downtown home at Second and Adams not long after the festivities kicked off at 4 p.m. The taproom eventually reached capacity, with people only being admitted after others left.

To handle the overflow, the Goat opened up its patio-in-progress, in the alley on the west side of the building, for the first time since moving into the new space three weeks ago.   

Friday also marked the debut of the in-house kitchen, which served a limited menu – charcuterie plate, Caesar salad, two pita sandwiches (sausage and chickpea) and a handful of pizzas – alongside offerings from the 3 Ninjas food truck.

“The kitchen staff is excited to get out there and share some of what they’ve been creating,” co-owner Heather Brandt said.

The Couple of Chefs truck will be on hand today. Live music starts at 2:30 with Nick Grow, with Dead Serious Lovers, Summer in Siberia and Fun Ladies also on the schedule.

Along with the regular lineup, Friday's beer offerings included the return of the lemon gose collaboration with Everybody’s Brewing as well as Manito Triple IPA, Irish Kate imperial red and barrel-aged Cap'n Kidd Scotch ale and Goatnik imperial stout, plus a couple of guest taps.

The Goat still is catching up with production after a temporary hiatus during the move, with beer selling faster in the taproom than anticipated.

"It’s been exceeding expectations in terms of traffic by far,” Brandt said.  “A lot of existing customers have been coming back, which is great, and a lot of new faces have been coming in.”

Rotating local ciders have been added to the tap list, and a license to serve wine is on the way any day now.

Finding its footing

Josh Davis photo

After a busy opening weekend, Iron Goat is settling into a new routine at its new home downtown.

The big, brick-walled taproom at 1302 W. Second opened Saturday to crowds of familiar faces from the former location on East Mallon as well as curious newcomers.

“It was a fantastic weekend,” co-owner Heather Brandt says. “The weather was perfect. We were able to open the doors and it was like you were sitting outside.”

The garage-style doors on Second and on Adams will open to sidewalk seating once permits are in place. But even when they’re shut, the industrial-style space is bright and airy from large windows along both streets and the high, open-beam ceiling accented by metal gridwork.

Two long communal tables command the middle of the room, with smaller tables closer to the windows (couches are on the way for one corner). There’s bench seating along the wall to the west, which is adorned with colorful paintings of wild mushrooms by Neicy Frey, who’ll be the featured artist for First Friday in May.

That wall also includes the cutout window, covered for now, where you’ll pick up food orders when the kitchen opens in a couple of weeks. The menu will center around sandwiches, salads and pizza, with vegetarian options.

Once food service starts, hours will be 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Until then, the all-ages taproom opens at 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and noon on Saturday and Sunday.

The beer supply also is a work in progress, with 10 of the 26 taps pouring on Monday. The special Lemon Gose collaboration with Everybody’s Brewing blew early in the day, though it’s scheduled for an encore along with several other stockpiled treats for the grand opening party April 29-30.

In the meantime, the spring seasonal Irish Kate imperial red has returned along with familiar favorites from the regular lineup.

The brewery operation (visible through sliding glass doors on either side of the long bar) is almost hooked up, with the first brew – Trashy Blonde, a big mover in draft distribution – scheduled no later than Thursday.

Goodbye, old Goat

Photo by Rita Vigil

At first glance, it was just another Wednesday-night packed house at Iron Goat – the kind so familiar from last year’s weekly Year of the Goat small-batch releases.

Most of the familiar faces were there, human and canine. The Couple of Chefs food truck was again parked outside the door.

The beer and conversation flowed freely, but this time, the laughter was tinged with a wistful tone. These people were there to bid farewell to a friend, for the final time.

After almost four years, it was the last night of operation at the small, out-of-the-way East Mallon taproom before the brewery moves to its bigger, more visible home on the west end of downtown Spokane.

Co-owner/brewers Greg Brandt and Paul Edminster hauled the last tank to the new location before returning to rejoin the party with their wives and business partners, Heather Brandt and Sheila Edminster.

There’s still much to move, and plenty of preparations to complete. If all goes smoothly, beer will be pouring again sometime next week, with a kitchen to open shortly afterward.

Last night’s crowd talked eagerly about the new place – the more convenient location for many, the more than doubling of the taps to 26, the resumption of the popular Thursday night trivia.

But everyone knew they were leaving a small piece of themselves behind in the little brick building on the edge of nowhere.      

New kid on the block

Top, looking from the brewery space under construction at the new Iron Goat toward what will be the taproom, with the bar in the middle; bottom, co-brewers/owners Paul Edminster and Greg Brandt on the other side of the bar, behind the metal coating they created with beer, linseed oil and a torch. 

In about a month, the new Iron Goat will make its debut downtown.

The former Jones Automotive Engines building at 1302 W. Second is a buzz of construction activity in preparation for the move in late March. That’s when the Goat needs to be out of its current taproom at 2204 E. Mallon, which has been sold and will be converted into a recording studio.

Both are brick buildings around 100 years old, but the new location is more than twice as large – 10,000 square feet, compared to 4,000 – allowing for an expanded brewing operation and a bigger taproom with food service.

“We’re taking it back the way it was,” co-brewer/owner Paul Edminster says of the new location, which will be on the national, state and local historic registers. “We’re able to save an old building downtown instead of having it turned into a parking lot.”

Adds co-brewer/owner Greg Brandt: “Before, we took an old building and made it into something special. We’re doing the same thing here.”

While the new space isn’t as intimate, the Goat crew hopes to bring the same homey vibe. Some walls will be painted in the rust color familiar from the current taproom, and again, there won’t be any TVs.

“We want people to talk to each other,” Brandt says. “At the old place, a lot of friendships were born because people talked to each other.”

They’ll be able to talk over more beverages than before – with 26 taps, compared to the current 10, including a cask handle – and a dozen-item menu centering around sandwiches and pizza. You’ll order at the bar, and pick up your food at a window.

Beth McRae, former Flying Goat general manager and more recently a sales representative with Iron Goat’s distributor, Click, will oversee the kitchen operation as well as outside sales. The taproom will be open seven days a week, from lunch until around 11 p.m.

There will be couches in the corners and some long, common tables in the middle, with a restored terrazzo floor and space for a music stage. Edminster and Brandt are building the tables and the bar, both topped with reclaimed wood; the base of the bar is covered in metal that they coated with linseed oil and beer and torched, creating unique, swirling patterns.

The brewery operation will be visible through glass above and on either side of the bar, with tanks lined up along the large windows on Adams Street. Barrels of aging beer will occupy the opposite brick wall, with a quarantined space on the other side for wild and sour beers; at least one of those is expected to be on tap for the opening, a sour aged for two years with brettanomyces, lactobacillus and pediococcus.

Along with room for more fermenters and eventually a new brewhouse, the brewery space will include such amenities as an office, lab and showers. “We won’t be stumbling over each other anymore,” Brandt says, referring to their current, cramped quarters.

The increased production capacity will allow for more consistent distribution of both bottled and draft beers in the local market, and eventual expansion into Western Washington.                

Happy old Goat year

So this is how the Year of the Goat ends – not with a bang, but with a Sahti.

The traditional Finnish juniper beer was Wednesday’s 52nd and final offering in Iron Goat’s 2015 weekly release series, themed after the Chinese Year of the Goat. (That actually runs into February, but they started early.)

Along the way, tasters were treated to everything from such floral and fruity concoctions as a hibiscus gose and strawberry rhubarb saison to a Hatch pepper IPA, bourbon-barrel Belgian pumpkin ale and an obscure German-style Kottbusser pale with oats, honey and molasses.

For the fruity, sweet-tart Sahti, co-owner/brewer Greg Brandt used both juniper boughs and berries along with rye and some souring bacteria. He couldn’t find authentic Finnish breadmaker’s yeast, so he blended three other yeasts in an attempt to approximate it.

“Originally (co-owner/brewer) Paul (Edminster) and I thought we might not be able to come up with enough different beers,” Brandt says. “Once we got to 40, we realized we could go another year and still not do all the beers we wanted to do.”

“It was a really good exercise to explore some things we don’t normally do, using different processes and yeasts,” says Edminster. “It was more like an introduction to each style. Then we can decide if we want to go down that road again, and if we do, do we want to change it, and how much.”

Since none of the owners has to tend bar on Wednesdays, it also was a good opportunity to sit down and interact with customers, he adds.

“We got to try some crazier things and see instantly how people reacted to them,” says co-owner Heather Brandt.

Most were only 10-gallon batches (though a few big-batch seasonals  and collaborations sneaked into the rotation), so the popular ones went fast; both the Azacca IPA in March and July’s imperial India red blew in under two hours.

Look for some of the favorites to return after the brewery moves into its new downtown space at Second and Adams sometime in March. The Goat crew plans to continue the tradition of new Wednesday releases – though not every week – and they’ll have 25 taps to play with, compared to the current 10.

The specialty batches will be bigger, meaning more for taproom customers plus some distribution to outside accounts, says Edminster. And with the weekly pressure removed, Brandt hopes to do more beers that require longer aging, like the sour that’s been sitting around for two years.

Collaborations with other breweries will continue as well, following previous projects with Oregon’s Ninkasi and Breakside. Next up is a gose with Everybody’s Brewing from White Salmon (in the Columbia Gorge), to be brewed in mid-January.    

Goats to roam

Paul Edminster (left) and Greg Brandt examine the space that will become the new Iron Goat Brewing.

Iron Goat’s new home in downtown Spokane is about to start taking shape.

A construction loan is scheduled to close by the end of the month for renovation of the former Jones Automotive Engines building at 1302 W. Second Ave., just around the corner from River City. If all goes smoothly, the new space could be open before the December holidays. 

It will allow for both expanded brewing operations and a larger, more visible taproom with food service. The current location will close.

“The idea is that this will be our second home, and our last home,” says Heather Brandt, who owns the brewery along with her husband, Greg, and Paul Edminster and Sheila Evans.

Despite the increased space, Edminster adds, “We’re really going to try to keep that intimate feel.”

Iron Goat launched in June 2012 in a 100-year-old brick building bordering an industrial area northeast of Sprague and Napa.

It has won a following for its quirky, homey atmosphere and wide range of beers (including weekly Wednesday small-batch tappings), but has outgrown its production capacity, particularly since it began bottling beer in February.

The new location covers 10,300 square feet – more than double the brewery’s current 4,070 square feet – and can house enough extra tanks to increase production to an annual 10,000 barrels, including a broader variety of bottled beers, compared to this year’s expected 1,500.

It’s perfect for a brewery, with 16-foot ceilings to accommodate tall tanks and reverse-truss supports that leave the space open, with no posts. “It’s very rare to find something like this downtown,” Greg Brandt says.

The brewing operation will be visible through a glass wall from the taproom, in the southeast corner of the building at Second and Adams. Its 25 taps will pour a wide range of Iron Goat beers, including several barrel-aged and other specialties; there also will be guest taps, and local ciders and wines.

A food menu, still taking shape, is expected to include around a dozen made-from-scratch items. There won’t be table service; customers will order and pick up their food from the bar.

While it needs a new ceiling and floor, there’s no other significant structural work to be done on the building, which is being placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Constructed in 1921, it has been vacant for five years.

A roll-up door will lead to outside seating along Adams, and a large alley patio on the west side of the building can house live music and other events.

Brewery owners are looking forward to participating in downtown activities like First Friday, and becoming more involved with the bicycling community.

“We’re really hoping to be that neighborhood place for Browne’s Addition and the lower South Hill,” Heather Brandt says, noting that many of the brewery’s current customers come from those areas.

Parking will be along the street, with several four-hour meters and free spaces nearby.

On the move: Iron Goat isn’t the only local brewery with relocation and expansion plans.

Twelve String has begun initial work on its new space in the Spokane Valley along Pines north of Sprague, two miles from its current location. A kitchen is planned along with a larger taproom and brewery operation.

And No-Li continues exploring locations for an expanded production brewery, including the East Central area north of Sprague.     

Curve in the road: If Ramblin’ Road reopens, it will be under new ownership.

The Belgian-inspired brewery abruptly closed "for maintenance” last month (though its Facebook page and website continue to list regular hours).

“The brewery is going through an ownership/management transition right now,” founder Brian Guthrie said today in an email.  “This has resulted in the temporary closure of the taproom.  Unfortunately, I am not able to provide specific details at this point as negotiations are ongoing.”

Guthrie and his wife Dani, who had their first child in April, have told other brewers they no longer had time to run the brewery and were returning to Seattle.

 

A new beer pear-ing

Iron Goat is back in the collaboration business, with another Oregon heavyweight.

The Spokane brewery, which last year joined with Ninkasi to make Goatörhead triple IPA, has teamed up with Portland’s Breakside for Nice Pear – a Belgian golden ale made with lemon peel and aged in gin barrels over pears.

It’s one of six collaborations with “favorite up-and-coming and established breweries from across the country” to be released at events around Portland in conjunction with the national Craft Brewers Conference the week of April 13, Breakside announced today.

Other collabs include a bourbon barrel-aged porter with Stone, a barrel sour red with Colorado's Bonfire, an imperial honey IPA with North Carolina's NoDa, a session black IPA with Pinthouse Pizza in Texas and a “multiculture ale” with Seattle's Elliott Bay.

Look for a limited quantity of Nice Pear to show up at the Goat sometime after the conference, possibly as part of the weekly Wednesday small-batch “Year of the Goat” series.

Last Wednesday’s YOTG release, a juicy, fruity IPA with newer, experimental Azacca and Jarrylo hops, also will be poured in Portland during the conference at an event sponsored by the American Dwarf Hop Association.

Today’s offering is the return of the Belgian-inspired Farmhouse Ale (6.2 percent alcohol by volume, 30 International Bitterness Units), slightly fruity and spicy with an earthy, dry finish. If you can’t make it now, no worries – this is a big-batch seasonal that will be around all spring and summer. 

Bombers away for Iron Goat

 

You’ll soon be able to get your Goat in 22-ounce bottles.

Iron Goat today bottled its first beers – 420 cases of Head Butt IPA and Impaler Imperial IPA – working with Issaquah-based Mobile Bottling Source (formerly Microbeer Source).

“It was pretty hectic, probably because we’re not used to it,” co-owner/brewer Paul Edminster says of the 4½-hour session. “It’s extremely physical, and bottle caps are very sharp.”

Still, he says, “We only broke one bottle. We dropped an empty one – we didn’t waste any beer that way.”

The brewery’s Trashy Blonde and Goatmeal Stout will be bottled during a second run in two weeks. Look for the beers to start showing up in Rosauers and Yoke’s supermarkets and area specialty stores sometime next month.

“There’s something different about seeing your beer on a shelf,” Edminster says.

“The first time I sat down in a taphouse and somebody at the bar asked for a taste of one of our beers, then ordered it, that was pretty cool. But to go in a grocery store and actually see your beer in bottles, that’s kind of a milestone for us.”

Wednesday gold for Iron Goat

The hottest beer ticket in town is Iron Goat’s weekly Wednesday small-batch tappings.

To celebrate the Chinese Year of the Goat, the brewery is serving up a 10-gallon batch (two 1/6-barrels) of a different specialty “prototap” beer each week – and the response has been rabid.

“It’s been well beyond our expectations so far,” says Greg Brandt, co-owner and brewer.

The beers started selling out within a couple hours after the Goat opened its doors at 4. So beginning last week, they were limited to one pint per person – and still were gone by 6:30.

In all fairness, that had a little something to do with the #SpoBU online beer group making it their monthly meetup with the local Yelp chapter.

But be forewarned: If you want a taste of tonight’s offering – a big, rich, fruity Baltic Porter (7.5 percent alcohol by volume, 35 International Bitterness Units) – get there early.

The Goat is planning prizes for people who sample the most prototaps. “I’ll be surprised if somebody gets them all,” Brandt says.  

So far, 20 diehards have made it all four weeks. They’ve been treated to an imperial rye IPA, a Belgian wit with juniper and lime, a traditional British extra special bitter and a hoppy oatmeal pale ale (pictured above).

Future releases are “going to be kind of all over the place,” Brandt says, allowing: “I imagine there will be a few down the road that aren’t so great. When you’re doing 52, that’s bound to happen.”

But there’s one sure-fire winner in the works, based on events of the last few days. Says Brandt: “It sounds like we’re going to have to do a pumpkin peach ale.” 

Liquid lunch bunch

The beer dinner is a common concept these days, but Central Food is taking it a step forward – or maybe backward – with the beer lunch.

The Kendall Yards restaurant’s second such event, Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., will feature Iron Goat. Pints of the styles pictured above will be poured for $3, with the Goat crew on hand to chat about their beer.

In addition to the regular lunch menu, there will be pretzels with beer cheese sauce, and butterbeer ice cream, both made with another Iron Goat brew, Trashy Blonde.

“It’s a lot different vibe than doing a formalized dinner,” says chef-owner David Blaine. “The brewers kind of work their way around the tables and sometimes throw out a little schwag.”

And, he adds, “There seems to be interest in doing some day drinking on Fridays.”

Central Food’s first beer lunch, with Twelve String in early December, was a “huge hit,” Blaine says.

“We just did it to kind of see how it would go,” he says. “I was really kind of blown away. We got to meet a lot of new people.”

The lunches will continue throughout the year, Blaine says, though there’s no set schedule.

“The idea is to keep working our way through all these great local breweries,” he says. “Since there’s been so much expansion in the market, it’s a good chance for people to get caught up.”

He’s also planning Central Food’s first beer dinner, Feb. 22 with Twelve String. Keep an eye on the restaurant’s Facebook page for further details.

Goat of the week

The Year of the Goat doesn’t officially start until Chinese New Year on Feb. 19, but Iron Goat Brewing is getting a head start.

The Spokane brewery today launches its Year of the Goat Series. Each Wednesday, it will tap a small-batch “prototap” brew (no more than 10 gallons each) for as long as it lasts.

First up is a Rye Imperial IPA (9 percent alcohol by volume, 83 International Bitterness Units) full of Simcoe, Amarillo, Citra and Cascade hops. More than 30 other recipes already are in the works, from barleywines to sours; each beer will be announced the day before it’s tapped.

“It’s a creative outlet for us,” says co-owner/brewer Paul Edminster, as well as a way to satisfy beer geeks always searching for something new.

You can sign up for a scorecard in the taproom to keep track of how many prototaps you taste over the course of the year, with merchandise prizes awarded at the end for various levels of participation.

Along with all the new brews, an old favorite is on the way back: Goatorhead, the triple IPA originally created last January as a collaboration with Oregon’s Ninkasi Brewing.

The Goat crew recently did a new batch that should show up in the taproom next month. It and the brewery’s Manito Triple IPA (regularly available at Manito Tap House) also will be poured as part of the second annual Washington Hop Mob Triple IPA Roadshow series of events in Seattle in February.