Black Label Brewing Company
19 W. Main Ave., Spokane, WA
This brewery on downtown’s trendy East Main strip shares space in the Saranac Commons retail complex with a bakery and a biscuit sandwich shop, providing some tasty pairings for the dozen-plus beers on tap. While it initially focused on more sessionable offerings, Black Label has branched out into bigger beers like its Atrocity imperial IPA and seasonal Gingerbread Winter Warmer.
Opened: January 2015
The story: After more than two years of preparation, longtime homebrewing buddies Dan Dvorak and Steve Wells opened this brewery with a focus on organic, homegrown and local ingredients, and sustainable energy practices.
The scene: Black Label is one of a handful of small businesses in the new Saranac Commons complex in the trendy stretch along Main Avenue east of Division. The layout is open, with common seating areas beneath a high wooden ceiling dotted with skylights; a large hanging chandelier-style artpiece incorporates vintage bottles dug up along the Spokane River. Black Label’s space is done up in repurposed brick; the central focus is a large wooden cable spool refashioned into a table, with a round light fixture overhead made from old whiskey barrel rims. Wells and Dvorak pieced together the bar top from a cedar post along with fir, redwood and Peruvian maple; a stained-glass Black Label logo, done by Dvorak’s mother, hangs to one side, with more of her work in the windows. Old-time brewery photos recalling Spokane's pre-Prohibition past line a hallway that leads to the patio out back.
Food: Available from the neighboring Common Crumb bakery and Biscuit Wizard-ry sandwich shop.
Live music: Occasional
Specials: Happy Hour pint discounts Sunday-Thursday from 3-6 p.m.; $10 growler fills on Thursdays.
Brewhouse size: Four barrels
Taps: 20 (two nitro)
Beers: Regular offerings include the likes of Piper's Pilsner (4.5 percent alcohol by volume, 21 International Bitterness Units), Honey Blonde (5, 26), Northwest Pale (5, 20), American Wheat (5.6, 16), Mt. High Amber (5.5, 37), Rees' Red (6.2, 53), Beezus Brown (5.7, 26), The Burgundy Scotch (6.2, 9), Deecepicable Porter (5.8, 26), coffee-spiked Indaba Stout (6.2, 24) and the Main Ave. (6,5, 76), Tropical Thunder (6.8, 80) and Monstrosity IPAs (10, 63).
Other options: Guest taps featuring other area breweries, plus cider and wine.
Don’t miss: The signature, Irish-style red – named after Wells’ young son, who liked to hang out during homebrew days – has deep flavors from darker caramel malt and roasted barley, and an earthy, spicy-floral hop character from Nugget, Kent Golding and Mount Hood.