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Post Falls Brewing set to open the tap

Post Falls Brewing is landing on the local craft beer scene in a big way.

Its 15-barrel brewhouse is larger than most established breweries around the area. Its beers tend to the beefy side, with a session IPA clocking in at 6.5 percent alcohol by volume.

And when it opens its doors at 2 p.m. Friday, it will have an ambitious list of eight selections on tap, one reason the debut has been delayed a bit.

“We couldn’t open up with just four beers,” said co-owner/brewer Alex Sylvain. “It’s your chance to see whether people like what you’re doing.”

That feedback will be important, added brewing and business partner Dan Stokes: “We want people to tell us what they want to drink, instead of us telling them what to drink.”

Stokes and Sylvain, both engineers in their day jobs, met as college roommates at Northern Arizona University. Their early experiments were of the brew-in-a-bag variety but turned more serious as they moved on with their careers, Sylvain in Phoenix, Stokes in Denver.

And after Sylvain moved to Post Falls six years ago, followed by Stokes, they started talking about taking their efforts commercial, based on the reception their homebrew received. “The neighbors kept showing up with empty growlers,” Sylvain said.

In cooperation with non-brewing partner Steve Cervi-Skinner, a Coeur d’Alene doctor and old friend, they decided to take the plunge.

Their system is a decided step up from Sylvain’s 30-gallon home rig – still in operation for test brews – with four 30-barrel fermenters (that’s 930 gallons each) to allow for double batches when the time comes. “We figured we’d just put our five-year plan in action right away,” said Stokes.

While they initially planned to focus on outside distribution, once they secured their scenic location overlooking the Spokane River (just west of Templin’s, across from the historic water tower that inspired their logo), the taproom became more of a priority.

The newly constructed space captures a retro-industrial vibe, with stained concrete floors, shiny metals and reclaimed farmhouse wood throughout. The bar and table tops were fashioned from a single Douglas fir.

Two large, glass garage-style doors on the west wall (with another to the south) offer views of the river, mountains and spectacular sunsets. There’s seating for 65 people inside plus more on the patio, with picnic tables that can be pushed together communal-style.

There are 12 taps for starters, with another 12 in the works for a planned “imperial row.” As Sylvain put it, “There are going to be a lot of hop bombs here.”

He and Stokes have initially dialed down the hopping from their homebrew recipes, not knowing how the larger, more efficient system would respond, but intend to bump that back up.

Their first batch, Catalyst Pale Ale (5.5 percent alcohol by volume, 40 International Bitterness Units), has a lighter malt character with fruity, tropical notes from Simcoe and Glacier hops. There’s also a version infused with coffee from nearby Doma.

The standard Stoney MacGuyver IPA (7.5, 85) strikes more of a malt balance with its hop charge of Chinook, Simcoe, Citra and Mosaic. An SnR (Sssssick-n-Rowdy) imperial IPA (9, 90) is suitably powerful but fairly dry for its strength.

Their Drifter Session IPA (6.5, 50) got a bit out of hand for the style, but the brewers bring their mellow game with the light, crisp, clean Cheap Prick (4.5, 10), designed for those accustomed to more macro brews (or who want to buy a pint for a buck less).

The initial lineup also includes OPC Hefeweizen (5.5, 40), with orange peel, coriander and honey, and a smooth, medium-sweet Totes McOats Milk Stout (5, 20).

Offerings will constantly evolve, part of the overall goal of keeping things interesting. “We want this to be a fun place, with a lot of energy,” Sylvain said.

“We’re serious about making good beer, but we don’t take ourselves seriously,” added Stokes. “Our jobs are very technical. This allows the other side to come out.”

Freshly tapped

  • Bellwether’s seasonal, Nordic-inspired Kulning (6.1 percent alcohol by volume, zero International Bitterness Units) is a gruit braggot – non-hopped honey beer – brewed with yarrow, juniper, toasted oak and peated malt for a smoky touch.
  • Slate Creek in Coeur d’Alene is pouring an easy-drinking, amber First Light Vienna lager (4.6, 15).
  • The Bitchin’ Brown Porter (5.5, 30) at Cheney’s New Boundary is similarly lighter-bodied for springtime.

Goose Island landing

Goose Island is bringing its traveling Migration Week show to Spokane the first week of May.

The Chicago-based brewery is taking the annual tour to 30 U.S. cities this year, plus Canada, Mexico, Europe, China and Brazil, with a series of special events at each location.

“It’s taking our culture on the road and doing it in an authentic way,” says Jack Blake, the brewery’s event coordinator. “We want that introduction to Goose Island, whether people have heard of us or had our beer, to be reflective of what we do in Chicago.”

The Spokane itinerary includes a kickoff party May 3 at the Washington Cracker Company building; a screening of the film “Grit and Grain,” about the brewery’s Bourbon County Stout, at the Magic Lantern on May 4; and a closing reception May 6 at The Blackbird, with more to be announced.

For more information, go to gooseisland.com/migrationweek.html and select Spokane from the pulldown list.

Save the date

  • This year’s Micros for Mamas, Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Western Aviation hangar at Felts Field, features beers from Big Barn, Black Label, English Setter, Orlison, Paradise Creek, Perry Street, River City, Steam Plant, Wallace and Waddell’s, plus One Tree hard cider. Admission is $40, which includes six tasting coupons plus appetizers, dinner, live music and silent and live auctions; proceeds benefit Spokane YoungLives, which supports teen mothers. Call (509) 570-3921 for ticket availability.
  • Iron Goat’s grand opening at its new downtown location, 1302 W. Second Ave., will be April 29-30 with special beer releases, live music and food trucks.
  • LINC Foods will introduce its locally grown and produced Palouse Pint malt with an event May 11 at 6 p.m. at its Spokane Business & Industrial Park facility, featuring beers made with the malt by Bellwether, Big Barn, Black Label, No-Li, Perry Street and Young Buck and spirits from Tinbender, plus a pig roast. Tickets are $43.19, with proceeds supporting Second Harvest Inland Northwest; call (509) 990-4247.

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


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