Selkirk Abbey is beginning to branch out with more familiar offerings while deepening its Belgian beer roots.
The first release under the Post Falls brewery’s new Northern Cross label, an old-school Northwest-style IPA hopped with Cascade and Centennial, started making its way into the market this week.
At the same time, Selkirk Abbey has introduced a strong, golden Atonement tripel – its first take on that classic Belgian style – and brought back its seasonal Cuvée de la Nuit Profonde blend of barrel-aged beers.
Both will be on tap at the brewery along with six specialties from the cellar for Big Beer Black Friday starting at 10 a.m. “We just wanted to do something fun,” owner Jeff Whitman said.
The same can be said for the Northern Cross line, designed to both broaden the brewery’s appeal and give its brewers an opportunity to experiment.
“We’ve deliberately made Selkirk Abbey kind of a pinky-out, nose-in-the-air brand,” Whitman said. “This will be more feet-on-the-table, yukking it up.”
The IPA (6 percent alcohol by volume, 85 International Bitterness Units), which will debut any day now at Nate’s New York Pizza in Post Falls, has some caramel malt richness and a hop character that leans to the piney and resiny.
“Cascade is a fantastic hop that everybody seems to have forgotten about,” Whitman said. “Everybody has jumped on board with the new melony, fruity, tropical hops – which are outstanding, and we plan to use, too – but we’re going back to the reason the Northwest is known for hops.”
While almost all of Selkirk Abbey’s Belgian-style beers have been bottled, Northern Cross will focus on draft. A flavorful yet lighter (around 6 percent ABV) export-style stout also is in the works, along with an amber ale.
Offerings will rotate regularly, with only a couple of core beers, Whitman said. “I want to give (brewers) Steve (Milnes) and Jordan (Luikens) room to play,” he said. “Things have been pretty locked down the last four years. They need to be able to express themselves.”
On the Belgian side, Selkirk Abbey is making up for lost time with Atonement (hence the name).
“We’ve spent so much time concentrating on the darker abbey styles and our saisons, and we’re so committed to everything being just so, that we couldn’t get to it until now,” Whitman said.
At 8.6 percent ABV, it’s deceptively drinkable, with a fruity nose and dry, spicy body from the Belgian yeast. The recipe includes pilsner, Vienna and wheat malts along with Hallertau and Saaz hops.
A limited, 70-case run of 22-ounce bottles is awaiting labels before shipping out to stores.
The dark, rich Cuvée de la Nuit Profonde also goes down smooth for its strength, which Whitman estimates around 9 percent. He finds it similar to last year’s initial offering but with more chocolate notes.
The beer is a blend of the brewery’s 8˚ dubbel, 10˚ quadruple and Guilt imperial porter aged anywhere from six to 18 months in a variety of barrels including burgundy, cabernet franc and malbec wines plus wheat and rye whiskeys.
Barrel-aged 8˚, Guilt and Grace Scotch ale also are part of the Black Friday lineup along with the regular 10˚, the 12˚ strong dark and Saint Joseph imperial saison. That fills all eight taps at the brewery.
“Atonement will be the light beer for the day,” Whitman joked, adding: “There had better be some taxis and Ubers running.”
The beers will be available to go in 32-ounce growlers (plus 64-ounce for the Atonement) as well as by the glass.
Selkirk Abbey’s barrel-aging program will take a big step forward at the first of the year when Whitman acquires an additional 3,000 square feet of space adjoining the brewery, which he plans to fill largely with more barrels beyond the current 28.
Downdraft’s spiced seasonal Gingersnap Stout (7.7 percent alcohol by volume, 29 International Bitterness Units) has returned stronger, smoother and with more ginger in the aroma.
The vanilla-accented KB Porter (5.6, 24), a temporary small-batch offering when V Twin opened last month, is back as a full batch.
Waddell’s Brewpub is pouring a Brute Squad imperial IPA (9.5, 80), a slightly revised version of its former Shattered Glass, and a Kiwi Peach Sour (5.5, 13).
Young Buck and Bellwether have collaborated on a Winter Woods IPA (7.2, 70) brewed with birch bark, juniper berries and fir tree resin.
Young Buck also has released an Abuelita Amber (4.5, 30) aged on local Roast House coffee and guajillo chiles, and Bellwether its winter Ancestry Ale (7.4), an unhopped dark gruit with chamomile, orange peel, allspice, cinnamon, grains of paradise and elderberries.
New Boundary has bottled its Lemon Kick hard lemonade (5.5) in 22-ounce bombers for taproom sales and outside distribution.
Save the date
Help Bellwether decorate its Christmas tree Saturday (bring a small ornament if you like) and get your first pint for $4; an aged year-old Hearthstone Barleywine will be released. And the next day, Bellwether begins a Sunday series of warm mulled ales.
Portland’s gluten-free Ground Breaker Brewing, the gold medal winner in that category at this year’s Great American Beer Festival, will be featured in tastings Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. at Pilgrim’s in Coeur d’Alene and Thursday at 6 p.m. at Manito Tap House.
Capone’s in Coeur d’Alene hosts its 20th annual 12 Ales of Christmas party Dec. 3, with 8-ounce pours of a dozen winter seasonals plus buffet food and a goodie bag including a souvenir T-shirt. Tickets are $55.
Perry Street Brewing and Casper Fry’s second annual Winter Jubilee Beer Dinner on Dec. 5 begins at the brewery with a tour and the first course and accompanying beer, then moves down the street to Casper Fry for the remaining four courses (built around a local Cascano Farms pig). Cost is $65; for reservations, call (509) 535-0536 or (509) 279-2820.
Send beer news, comments and questions to senior correspondent Rick Bonino at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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