According to a new report from the Brewers Association, there were 5,301 operating breweries in the U.S. at the end of last year – up 17 percent over 2015, on top of a 15 percent increase over 2014.
And the Inland Northwest continues to do its part. More than a dozen breweries are in various stages of planning around the area, in addition to the 31 already licensed in Spokane and Kootenai counties. Some updates:
TT’s Old Iron Brewery is wrapping up its licensing and hopes to next month become the third tenant sharing the seven-barrel system at the downtown brewery incubator, joining Little Spokane and Young Buck.
Long-discussed Knucklehead Brewery in Spokane Valley has applied for federal and state licenses. It plans to start distributing from a home-based one-barrel system and grow the business from there.
Also in the Valley, former Paradise Creek brewer Mike Detar has received federal approval and begun the state licensing process for his project, which will eventually produce barrel-aged wild ales.
Millwood Brewing, in the former Cunningham Studio off Argonne on Frederick, will begin construction this month with an eye toward opening its 10-barrel brewery and taproom this fall.
Pour House Brewing in Deer Park has its federal permit and is finalizing its state license, with plans to distribute to area pubs on a part-time basis off a half-barrel home system.
In North Idaho, Hayden’s Bombastic Brewing needs only Kootenai County and Panhandle Health District approval before launching. It will contract with larger breweries for mainstream offerings and produce specialty beers on a smaller in-house system.
Rathdrum’s Westwood Brewing, housed in an 1896-vintage former bank building previously occupied by the Westwood Saloon, is scheduled to open its bar operation April 21. An accompanying restaurant is expected toward the end of May and an in-house brewery later in the year.
Bent Tree Brewing in Athol is awaiting health department approval for its home-based business, which will include limited distribution off a half-barrel system, a growler club and homebrewing classes.
Catching up with more local craft beer news:
Whistle Punk, which has been distributing on a small scale, is close to opening its taproom downtown in the former Brooklyn Deli bar space at 122 S. Monroe, adjoining Texas True BBQ. We hope to have a full report in the next On Tap.
On Green Bluff, 238 Brewing has reopened for the season after being closed since the beginning of the year. Spring hours are Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6.
Moscow Brewing, which had closed last summer, is open again under new ownership. Hours are Tuesday-Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m., Friday from 4 to 10 and Saturday from noon to 10.
Coeur d’Alene’s Filling Station on 5th doubled its number of beer and cider taps from 25 to 50. Six of the new handles are reserved for a rotating selection of local beers, with Twelve String and Laughing Dog always available; another three or four will be dedicated to sours.
Steady Flow Growler House has started offering a food menu with a seasonal selection of appetizers, hot sandwiches, flatbreads and more.
The Steam Plant is pouring a pair of IPAs at opposite ends of the spectrum: the sessionable new Boiler 5 Red (5 percent alcohol by volume, 68 International Bitterness Units), hopped with fruity Mosaic and Citra, and the returning spring seasonal 1889 Imperial (8, 80).
Hopped Up’s Rumble Seat IPA (6.8, 70) is dry-hopped with Simcoe lupulin powder, part of a new line of powdered hop products; look for it as soon as this weekend.
The Clock Tower Imperial IPA at Bennidito’s Brewpub (9, 80) is liberally dosed with Amarillo hop extract.
Perry Street has introduced the third in its series of hazy, juicy New England-style IPAs (7, 70) – this one featuring Amarillo, Lemondrop and Simcoe hops – as well as an amber ale (5.5, 18) with a bready, graham cracker character.
Selkirk Abbey has released the latest in its Northern Cross line of non-Belgian beers, an amber (5.2, 35), and also has been sampling test batches of a pale ale.
The Permanent Vacation pale at Post Falls Brewing (5.3, 32) is lightly sweet and dry-hopped with spicy, floral Crystal.
English Setter is serving a light, tangerine-infused ESB dubbed Fuzzy Chew Toy (4.3, 49).
Twelve String has brought back its seasonal Rhythmic RyePA (6.4, 74) – hopped with a combination of Falconer’s Flight 7 C’s, Simcoe and Mosaic – and tapped a crisp, clean A Cappella Kolsch (4.9, 21).
Little Spokane is pouring a fruity Free Float Pale (5.6, 39).
Slate Creek’s latest is a big Suffocation Imperial Red (8.6, 85).
Georgetown’s Bodhizafa edged Bale Breaker’s Topcutter in a special tiebreaker round of Manito Tap House’s March IPA Madness and will receive a regular handle for the coming year.
Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA topped Georgetown’s Johnny Utah pale in the finals of The Lantern Tap House’s Month of Madness Craft Beer Bracket.
An Egyptian-inspired beer brewed with chamomile, black pepper, dates and honey was voted crowd favorite from Bellwether’s seven-week Purple Egyptian Barley Project, which featured small-batch beers made with the locally grown and malted grain. A full batch will be brewed for Spokane Craft Beer Week, coming May 15-21.
Save the date
Several local breweries will pour at this year’s Micros for Mamas, April 22 at Western Aviation on Felts Field. The event, which also includes food, live music and auction, benefits Spokane YoungLives, which supports teen mothers; tickets are $45.
Post Falls Brewing celebrates its first anniversary April 22-23 with new beer releases, food, live music and games.
Bellingham’s Wander Brewing will be featured in a five-course beer pairing dinner April 25 at Nectar Catering and Events downtown (tickets $49.99), and also in a tap takeover at The Steel Barrel on April 27.
A four-course Big Barn beer dinner April 28 in the Washington Cracker Company building will benefit Vanessa Beehan Crisis Nursery; tickets are $75.
The Washington Beer Commission’s inaugural Tri-Cities Craft Beer Festival takes place April 29 at the Southridge Sports and Events Complex in Kennewick, with 35 breweries from across the state. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door.
The Spokane Brewers Festival has announced it will return for a second year Aug. 4-5 in the Spokane Arena parking lot. Look for ticket information soon.
Send beer news, comments and questions to senior correspondent Rick Bonino at email@example.com.