If you thought 2013 was a big step forward for local beer, wait until you see what’s coming this year.
While more newcomers wait in the wings, existing breweries across the Spokane-Coeur d’Alene area are adding capacity, expanding distribution and considering canning and bottling.
Here’s a quick recap of last year’s highlights, along with what to look for in 2014:
2013: Launched No Boundaries monthly draft specialties and Expo Series seasonal line … began bottling Wrecking Ball imperial stout in 22-ounce bombers, plus 12-ounce four-packs of it and Jet Star imperial IPA … expanded distribution into North Carolina, Oregon and Western Washington, including Seattle’s Safeco Field and CenturyLink Field … added six 30-barrel and three 60-barrel brewing tanks … produced 5,500 barrels, up from 2,400 in 2012.
2014: Three more 60-barrel fermenters coming, boosting annual capacity to more than 10,000 barrels … distribution expanding into Hawaii, Western Canada, Ohio and Texas … considering Born & Raised IPA in 12-ounce bottles … adding beer engine for cask-conditioned ales, and a nitrogen tap for extra-creamy pours … Firkin Fridays specialty small-keg tappings to return.
ORLISON (Airway Heights)
2013: Formerly Golden Hills, launched rebranded all-lager brewery in June… began canning in October … won gold medal for Lizzy’s Red in first Washington Beer Awards … expanded distribution into southeastern Washington, Western Washington and Idaho … added three 60-barrel tanks to increase capacity to 3,000 barrels per year.
2014: Planning to further expand brewing system and distribution area, into Oregon and possibly beyond the Northwest … considering rotating line of 22-ounce bottles.
IRON GOAT (Spokane)
2013: Celebrated first anniversary in June … debuted barrel-aged beers … brewed second-annual fall beer with fresh hops contributed by customers … top seller at Inland NW Craft Beer Festival … expanded distribution into North Idaho and the Columbia Basin … produced close to 900 barrels.
2014: Just received three 30-barrel brewing tanks, doubling production capacity … planning line of 22-ounce bottles … considering distribution to Western Washington … expanding barrel-aged program and will release first sour beers.
SELKIRK ABBEY (Post Falls)
2013: Installed 15-barrel brewhouse, doubling previous size … began bottling … won gold medals for Deacon pale ale and St. Augustine rye saison at North American Beer Awards … celebrated first anniversary in June … started distribution into Canada … produced more than 700 barrels.
2014: Expanding distribution into Western Washington and Montana, and beefing up presence in Southern Idaho … bringing back (and bottling) DOMA coffee porter, a popular limited release last year … will begin annual spring release of a Belgian dubbel.
TWELVE STRING (Spokane Valley)
2013: Developed extensive line of beers aged in whiskey, wine and tequila barrels … began serving weekly cask-conditioned specialties … celebrated second anniversary in December … added two seven-barrel fermenters … produced around 400 barrels, up from 300 in 2012.
2014: Adding six taps (for total of 19), mostly for barrel-aged offerings … will begin bottling (22-ounce) this spring … offering daily “happy hour” reduced-price growler fills … planning to expand distribution into Idaho, and limited areas of Western Washington.
RIVER CITY (Spokane)
2013: Opened brewery in February, followed by taproom in November … produced special Riverkeeper Red to benefit Spokane River protection program … produced close to 1,000 barrels.
2014: Continue quarterly release of stronger styles, plus new Riverkeeper beer … may add second, bigger IPA … expanding distribution into Southern Idaho … hope to begin bottling or canning by year’s end.
TRICKSTER’S (Coeur d’Alene)
2013: Celebrated first anniversary in November … expanded distribution into Spokane and Pullman … produced more than 700 barrels.
2014: Likely will expand both brewing system and taproom … considering 12-ounce bottles, and distribution to Minnesota and North Dakota.
BUDGE BROTHERS (Spokane)
2013: Significant brewing system upgrade, including two 15-barrel fermenters … celebrated second anniversary in May.
2014: Tweaking brewhouse to further increase production … looking to expand local distribution … planning special taproom offerings every three weeks.
STEAM PLANT (Spokane)
2013: Under new brewer, released six new seasonals in addition to standard lineup … produced around 650 barrels.
2014: Plans call for more limited-release beers on additional 12th tap – including a reduced-gluten offering – and increased distribution outside the pub.
HOPPED UP (Spokane Valley)
2013: Opened in June … produced beers using homegrown hops, berries and spruce tips … began limited local distribution.
2014: Planning to increase distribution and make more specialty beers.
2013: Opened in December.
2014: Adding three 15-barrel fermenters to initial three seven-barrel … planning limited distribution, including specialty beer for neighboring Boiler Room pizzeria … will host beer dinners.
SLATE CREEK (Coeur d’Alene)
2013: Opened in March; produced more than 20 beer styles using small two-barrel system.
2014: Plans to install 15-barrel brewhouse by June and begin draft distribution and canning.
BIG BARN (Green Bluff)
2013: Completed first full farm season at Bodacious Berries, Fruits and Brews … produced 40 barrels off tiny 10-gallon system, including beers made with homegrown hops, berries and pumpkins.
2014: Readying seven-barrel brewhouse with hopes of beginning local draft distribution and canning … will increase hop production.
MAD BOMBER (Hayden)
2013: Opened in November.
2014: Upgrading to three-barrel brewing system, doubling capacity … looking to consistently offer 12 beers on tap … planning to add Thursday taproom hours to current Friday-Sunday.
And all that, plus the launch of the Inland Northwest Ale Trail in August, won national attention for the area, including Spokane being named a Beertown, U.S.A. by Draft Magazine.
Among the upcoming additions to this year’s Ale Trail, both Ramblin’ Road in Spokane and English Setter in Spokane Valley plan to open this month, while work continues on Spokane’s Perry Street Brewing and Zythum in Fairfield.
Spring could bring two new breweries to downtown Spokane’s growing east end – Black Label, in redeveloped space neighboring the Saranac Building, and Young Buck at the Spokane Public Market – as well as Hanson Brothers in Spokane Valley, and Paragon in Coeur d’Alene.
And summer may see a second Green Bluff brewery, The 238, and another Post Falls entry, Cloudburst.
• Iron Goat ushered in 2014 with a cherry chocolate imperial stout (8.1 percent alcohol by volume, 31 International Bitterness Units) that pits sour fruitiness over a cocoa background.
• Budge Brothers’ smooth, citrusy Expo ’74 imperial black oatmeal IPA (9 percent ABV) is a variation on the Thirteenth Reindeer eggnog stout, sans spices and liberally dry-hopped with Cascade.
• Two rye beers are due any day now – a Scottish-style version from No-Li, and an IPA at Mad Bomber – while River City has released its Deep Thaw winter warmer.