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Three’s the trick

Tricksters has done some growing up, and out, in its third year of operation.

Since signing with major regional distributor Odom in August, the Coeur d’Alene brewery has increasingly focused on beer sales outside its cozy taproom.

The place will likely be packed when Tricksters celebrates its third anniversary on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The star of the show will be a bourbon barrel-aged oatmeal stout, blended with some of the brewery’s big Daedric Druid stout and served on nitro.

“We’re excited about it,” says owner Matt Morrow. “It’s pretty bourbon-y.”

Some of last year’s seasonal Naughty Nick – a cookie-inspired version of the oatmeal stout brewed with cocoa powder, vanilla, cinnamon and brown sugar – also is likely to make an appearance, along with a tap featuring nearby Summit Cider.

Like last year, customers will receive raffle tickets with every pint purchased for prize drawings throughout the day.

Over the past year, Tricksters also released a new flagship IPA, the fruity Juice Box, and continued to fine-tune its original Hipster Juice pale, which was repositioned as a session IPA.

And it issued its first bottled beers – limited-release bombers of the Druid and a Professor Funkhouse spiced sour stout – and won its first major competition medal, a bronze for Bear Trap Brown at the North American Beer Awards in Idaho Falls. (Hipster Juice also made it to the final judging round, but didn’t place, at both NABA and the Great American Beer Festival.)

Plans for the coming year call for building on all of that. Marketing efforts will continue to expand, with Morrow and a brewery rep making a sales trip to Central Washington on Friday.

“We’re just trying to get the beer out there,” he says.    

Spring will see the release of Juice Box and the Hops on Parade imperial IPA, and possibly the Druid again, in 22-ounce bottles. Morrow plans to enter the top-selling Juice Box in several competitions this summer.

And more barrel-aged beers are on the way, including a sour porter that will be bottled when the time is right.

“The aroma is excellent, but the flavor isn’t there yet,” Morrow says. “We really want that one to pop. We’re going to keep adding sugars and let it do its thing.”

More beer dinners at area restaurants, including Spokane, also are on the agenda as Morrow works to build the brewery’s reputation.

He recently passed the professional exam to become a Certified Cicerone – the beer version of wine’s sommelier – becoming the sixth area resident to achieve that honor.  

“I really just hope to show that I’ve got the knowledge to take care of our customers,” he says.