Trickster’s is tapping a pair of barrel-aged specialties for its fourth anniversary party Saturday.
One is the Vol. 2 version of Professor M’s Funkhouse. While last year’s Vol. 1 was a sour mixture of spiced winter ale and porter, the new take is straight Soul Warmer porter aged for nine months in cabernet sauvignon barrels with lactobacillus and Brettanomyces.
“There’s just kind of a tinge of sour to it,” says Trickster’s owner Matt Morrow.
There’s also a bigger Daedric Druid imperial stout that was aged in bourbon barrels, conditioned with whiskey-soaked coffee beans and blended with fresh porter to cut its intense bourbon flavor. “I enjoyed drinking it (unblended), but I’m not sure anybody else would,” Morrow says.
That was naturally carbonated in the keg and will be served through a smoother nitro tap.
Also pouring for the party from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Coeur d’Alene taproom will be the hoppy new WILbrr winter India lager (5.8 percent alcohol by volume, 60 International Bitterness Units) with a touch of chocolate malt.
For Trickster’s, 2016 was the year of Juice Box, its fruity flagship IPA hopped with Simcoe, Mosaic and Chinook (7, 85).
The brewery began bottling both that and the imperial Hops on Parade IPA in 22-ounce bombers in April, but now is focusing on the faster-selling Juice Box, which accounts for 70 percent of production.
While sales have been booming in Central Washington, the goal for 2017 is increasing Trickster’s presence in Spokane, Morrow said. A series of Juice Box promotional nights at watering holes here is underway.
Juice Box also gained some national attention, reaching the Sweet 16 round of the Brewing News’ National IPA Championships in March before falling to Barley Brown’s Pallet Jack, the 2013 winner.
“We were going up against some pretty stellar beers,” says Morrow. “We’re excited that we got as far as we did.”
It will be back in next year’s competition, he says, improved by a series of small tweaks along the way.
“That’s the way brewers like to do it, in small steps so the average drinker won’t even notice,” Morrow says. “If you change the beer ever so slightly, it keeps their palate fresh.”