It’s not quite Christmastime yet, but area brewers are putting good things in small packages.
Laughing Dog and Orlison last week became the first Inland Northwest breweries to can their beers, using the mobile services of Portland-based Northwest Canning.
Laughing Dog’s standard India pale ale and 219-er pilsner are rolling out in six-packs of 12-ounce cans; check the locations where you’ve seen the brewery’s bottled beers.
Orlison, which hasn’t previously packaged its lagers, is distributing 16-ounce four-packs of the Havanuther light pilsner, Clem’s Gold and Lizzy’s Red to Rosauers and Yoke’s supermarkets and such specialty stores as Bottles and Total Wine.
And No-Li’s biggest beers, the Jet Star imperial IPA and Wrecking Ball imperial stout – which have only been available in 22-ounce bombers – will show up in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles beginning Nov. 1.
• No-Li’s Winter Warmer, a perennial favorite, is back in 22-ounce bottles and on tap. At 7.5 percent alcohol by volume and 72 International Bitterness Units, the rich, ruby-red ale balances its caramel malt sweetness with spicy, piney hops.
Also coming soon on draft from No-Li is an unusual new creation, a milk stout brewed with oatmeal and blueberries. Breakfast, anyone?
• Slate Creek in Coeur d’Alene is celebrating fall with Fly’n Kilt Scotch (7.3, 30), in the malt-forward wee heavy style. Something special also is in the works for Thanksgiving.
• River City’s new Midnight Marmot imperial stout and a returning porter from Trickster’s are among the winter seasonals scheduled to be poured at the PowderKeg festival Nov. 8-9 in conjunction with the Snowlander Expo winter sports show at the Spokane Convention Center.
Other breweries in the lineup include Alaskan, Deschutes, Diamond Knot, Elysian, Hopped Up, Icicle, Iron Goat, Ninkasi, No-Li, Orlison, Ramblin’ Road, Steam Plant and Wallace, as well as the Finnriver and Twlight cideries.
Various tasting packages are available for $12, $20 and $25. That’s in addition to expo admission, which costs $7.
More than 20 breweries from Eastern and Central Washington, North Idaho and Montana are expected at the Battle of the Breweries on Nov. 9 from noon-6 p.m. at Northern Quest Resort & Casino.
The winning brewery, as determined by popular vote, will receive a cash prize. And everyone attending will be entered in a drawing for a 46-inch flat-screen television.
Admission is $20 for five sample tickets (additional three-ounce samples are six for $5), or $35 for all you can drink ($12 for designated drivers, with all-you-can-drink soda and water). Food is included.
The event is presented by the Spokane Eastside Reunion Association, a nonprofit that provides community and youth services.
• Mad Bomber, the North Idaho brewery project by a former Army bomb squad technician, has announced its grand opening starting at noon Nov. 1. Find it at 9265 N. Government Way in Hayden.
• Trickster’s in Coeur d’Alene is scheduled to expand its draft-beer distribution across the state line to Spokane and Pullman early next month.
On the tube
Beer is the focus of an upcoming episode of Washington Grown, a new cable television series that celebrates the state’s agriculture.
Part of the Nov. 3 episode is spent at Waddell’s Neighborhood Pub & Grille in Spokane, where chef-owner Michael Noble prepares a brisket sandwich with barbecue sauce using Laughing Dog’s Anubis imperial coffee porter.
The show also visits the hop harvest at a farm in Sunnyside and explores spirits with a stop at Spokane’s Dry Fly Distilling. It airs at noon and 8:30 p.m. on Northwest Cable News.
• Some rare offerings from California’s Firestone Walker Brewing, including sours, stouts and barleywines, will be poured at a pair of leading local taphouses next month.
Original brewmaster Jeffers Richardson will be on hand for the special events Nov. 6 at Enoteca in Post Falls and Nov. 7 at Manito Tap House in Spokane.
• JB’s Foods & Bottleworks at 5503 N. Alberta St., a favorite stop for in-the-know beer buyers, has upped its game.
More of the extensive bottled beer inventory is now chilled thanks to a new 10-door cooler, and a 15-tap station has been added for growler fills of rotating selections. There also are beer and wine tastings on Fridays; for more information, call (509) 325-9105.