The Garbage Goat sculpture in Riverfront Park is known for gulping down whatever bits of trash visitors put in its mouth.
Now local beer lovers are eagerly guzzling the new ales from its namesake brewery, Iron Goat Brewing Co.
The Impaler, an imperial India pale ale that was introduced to the Spokane market three weeks ago today, and its kid brother Head Butt IPA have become popular pours at such establishments as Jones Radiator and Manito Tap House – even before Iron Goat officially opened to the public.
After a “soft opening” last weekend, the taproom – in a 100-year-old industrial building east of downtown, shared by pastel/oil painter Sheila Evans’ studio – is ready for more visitors this weekend.
Iron Goat is a partnership between a pair of creative couples: Evans and her husband, Paul Edminster, and Greg and Heather Brandt.
The idea was born last spring when Greg Brandt and Edminster, both webmasters by trade and avid homebrewers, met at Jones. They started talking about shared interests – hard cider, motorcycles – and soon found themselves brainstorming a brewery.
“I said that my wife and I owned a building, and it kind of took off from there,” Edminster recalled.
When he got back that night, Evans said, “It was quite obvious this was no ordinary meeting. He doesn’t get that excited about that many things.”
Greg Brandt, who plays keyboards in local Latin band Milonga, was equally enthused returning home to his wife – though, he added, “I wasn’t sure what her reaction would be.”
Heather Brandt, a financial services professional and herself a homebrewer, was in, too. By mid-May last year, the four partners had their business license. By late June, they had their brewing equipment: an 8.5-barrel system that originally belonged to Spanish Peaks Brewing in Bozeman.
Evans designed the logo and labels, and received the blessing of Sister Paula Turnbull, the sculptor who crafted the Riverfront Park goat for the recycling-themed Expo ’74 World’s Fair: “She thought it was great. I gave her some stickers.”
Iron Goat’s taproom uses recycled materials from the building’s grounds wherever possible – wood for the bar and tabletops, metal posts for the table supports.
The partners did most of the work themselves, honing new skills along the way: woodworking for Heather Brandt and Evans, welding for Greg Brandt and Edminster.
The final occupancy permit from the city arrived the day before the rich, amber-hued Impaler (8.5 percent alcohol by volume, 72 International Bitterness Units) was unleashed at Jones, followed shortly by the golden, creamy-yet-crisp Head Butt (6.7, 90).
Both get a biscuity character from Munich malt, and fruity flavors and aromas from Southern Hemisphere hops: Australia’s passionfruit-scented Galaxy in the Impaler, and New Zealand’s lemon/lime Motueka in the Head Butt.
Coming soon are Garbage Pale and Goatmeal Stout. An imperial stout spiked with locally roasted Anvil Coffee is under consideration.
“A shared priority for all of us is keeping things as local as possible,” Heather Brandt said.
She’s seen that same sentiment among the pub owners who embrace locally brewed beers.
“We’ve had a lot of fun visiting the taverns that have had our beer, and got a lot of good feedback,” she said. “But to be able to bring people into the taproom is very exciting.”
On the North Idaho front, Selkirk Abbey in Post Falls debuted its White and its Infidel Belgian IPA at the Mountain Brewers Beer Fest in Idaho Falls earlier this month. The brewery’s public grand opening is set for June 30.
And in Coeur d’Alene, Trickster’s has received its federal brewing permit, though construction delays have held up city and state approval. They still hope to begin brewing at month’s end in advance of a July opening.
Gold, silver, red
MickDuff’s Brewing out of Sandpoint picked up a pair of medals in the North American Beer Awards judging at the Mountain Brewers festival: a gold in the light ale category for its Tipsy Toehead, and a silver in English-style IPA for the Strom Hammer.
And Wallace Brewing took home the bronze (behind Killian’s and Sam Adams) in the Irish-style red ale competition with its Red Light, named in honor of the town’s promiscuous past.
Out and about
MickDuff’s will be one of 15 breweries serving two beers each for the second annual Summer’s Here Coeur d’Alene Brewfest, Saturday from 2 to 8 p.m. at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds.
The lineup features lesser-known locals like Clarkston’s Riverpoint Brewing, Pullman’s Paradise Creek and Kootenai River from Bonners Ferry; regional favorites Laughing Dog, Deschutes, Big Sky, Ninkasi, Elysian, Redhook and Widmer; Colorado’s Odell and New Belgium, even Kona from Hawaii.
Admission is $10, which includes your first five 4-ounce pours ($1 each after that). Tickets also may still be available for a noon food and beer pairing event; that’s $30, which includes festival admission.
• The next brewer’s dinner at C.I. Shenanigan’s, June 21 at 6:30 p.m., will feature a four-course Mexican-themed meal accompanied by the house-brewed Washington Blonde, Barefoot Wit, Dark Lupe Matter IPA and Buttface Amber. Cost is $29.99 per person; call (509) 455-6690.
• Those new No-Li bottles have been so successful in Spokane that North Idaho distribution has been delayed until next week while the brewers catch up.
• Three new beers are in the works at 12 String: the Imperial Electric Slide IPA, due any day now, along with a Hip Hop Doo Wop red ale and summery Mango Mambo wheat beer, both another week or two out. Speaking of summery, the new patio may be open by the time you read this, weather permitting.
• Budge Brothers is putting the finishing touches on a lower-alcohol, single-hop (Galena) summer IPA. It will be available in very limited quantities at the taproom and select accounts.