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CdA craft beer fan makes his dream a reality with Filling Station on 5th

“Fill ’er up” has a new meaning for Coeur d’Alene beer buffs.

The city’s first growler specialty shop, the Filling Station on 5th, had its official opening last weekend in the back of Scratch Bistro at Fifth and Sherman.

The 20-tap operation is a project of Keith Carpenter and his half-brother, Scratch owner Jason Rex. Carpenter is the craft fan in the family.

“I’ve had a T.W. Fisher’s tap handle in my truck (as a gear shift knob) since 1990,” he said, recalling Coeur d’Alene’s pioneering brewpub. “I’ve always liked the bigger beers.”

The initial lineup reflected that, with such offerings as Left Coast’s Asylum tripel (11.8 percent alcohol by volume), Odell’s Barrel Thief imperial IPA (10.3), Firestone Walker’s Double Jack and 10 Barrel’s double IPA (both 9.5), and North Idaho Mountain Brewing’s Loft Honey (8.5) from Wallace.

Other Inland Northwest offerings included No-Li’s limited-release Matthias imperial IPA, Wallace Brewing’s English strong ale, River City’s Inconceivable Imperial Pilsner and Downdraft’s Exit 5 Brown.

Along with regular growler fills ($10 to $24, depending on the beer), you can get tasting flights ($9 for five 4-ounce pours) and pints ($4-$8) – including to-go pints, in 16-ounce containers that take a standard growler cap, which Carpenter said have “been selling like crazy.”

Carpenter said he started dreaming about the business after stopping by the Growler Guys in north Spokane last fall. Then he won big over the winter in online fantasy sports gaming and suddenly had the means to make it a reality.

“This is my daily fantasy sports now,” he said, gesturing around the homey space. “It takes so much time to do this.”

Seven stools squeeze around the basic wooden bar, along with eight folding chairs at the three tables. Beer signs on the walls and some old bottles that share shelf space with empty growlers make up the decor.

Carpenter, who works at Kaiser Aluminum’s Trentwood plant, did all of the remodeling work himself. It’s not quite done, as the rough, unfinished floor shows, but customers don’t seem to mind.

“I grew up in Kingston (Idaho), and this is kind of like the river bars over there,” said Carpenter, who previously worked in sawmills and the Shoshone mines.

The bistro menu is served in the Filling Station, and all the beers are available in the restaurant. Beer dinners are planned, starting with Firestone Walker sometime this summer.

Brewery watch

• Iron Goat – which last year collaborated with Ninkasi on the Goatörhead triple IPA – has joined with another Oregon brewery, Portland’s Breakside, for Nice Pear. The Belgian golden ale is made with lemon peel and aged in gin barrels over pears. It will be poured at the national Craft Brewers Conference in Portland the week of April 13 and make an appearance sometime afterward in the Goat taproom.

• Modern Monk has received building permits to renovate a former mechanic shop at 2019 N. Monroe St. and hopes to open by the end of summer. Along with more common styles, the small single-barrel brewery is planning to produce braggots – a type of mead made with malted barley in addition to honey – including some infused with herbs.

Freshly tapped

• The revised-recipe India Red Ale pouring at Perry Street Brewing (5.6 percent alcohol by volume, 50 International Bitterness Units) features fruity Citra, Equinox and Azacca hops.

• Waddell’s Hop Comet (5.5, 37) is a single-hop spring seasonal with a tropical, citrus character (passionfruit, tangerine, melon) from Comet hops.

• Orlison’s latest limited release is Hops’In (6.6, 65), a variation on the Pilsner 37 dry-hopped with Amarillo for an intense citrus aroma.

• Back for the spring and summer at Iron Goat is a Belgian-style Farmhouse Ale (6.2, 30), lightly fruity and spicy with an earthy, dry finish.

• Daft Badger has lightened things up with the easy-drinking, slightly sweet Final Mile Golden Ale (5.5, 25), made with Munich and honey malts.

• Black Label’s clean-finishing, dry-hopped American Wheat (5.6, 16) is light-bodied and refreshing with citrus notes from Cascade hops.

Save the date

• This month’s sixth-anniversary events continue at the Lantern Tap House with a Wednesday tasting of Deschutes’ 25th-anniversary Black Butte imperial porter from 2013, and a Pelican Brewing tap takeover on April 23.

• Tickets are on sale for No-Li’s third No Boundaries on the River small-batch beer festival, featuring a dozen barrel-aged, infused and other specialties along with food specials and live music. The last one sold out in advance; admission is $20, which includes a souvenir tasting glass and five 5-ounce beer samples.

Send beer news, comments and questions to senior correspondent Rick Bonino at boninobeer@comcast.net.

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