Summer is in full swing, and so is the local craft beer event calendar. Among your options this weekend:
River City’s third annual Christmas in July on Saturday brings back fond memories of cooler temperatures.
The beer lineup features reserve kegs of winter seasonals, including the 2015 and 2016 vintages of Congratulator Doppelbock, the coffee-infused version of this year’s Mad Latvian Baltic porter and several takes on Midnight Marmot imperial stout: conditioned on oak chips soaked in Canadian and American whiskeys; Oako-Coco, aged on oak chips and cocoa nibs and served creamy from a nitro tap; and a wine barrel-aged Congratulator/Marmot blend dubbed Horned Marmot Shadow Ram.
More befitting current conditions, there also will be a lemon zest-infused Huckleberry Ale and the return of the summer seasonal Gose-Away tart wheat with cranberry, acai and orange. River City’s regular offerings also will be on tap; beer tickets cost $3 each (8-ounce pours for one ticket, full pints for two).
This year’s event, from 2 to 10 p.m., also includes food from the Couple of Chefs and Nick’s Shameless Sausages food trucks, music by Dimestore Prophets at 5 and L.O.S. (Left Over Soul) at 7:30 and such lawn games as cornhole and ladder ball.
Nonperishable food items again will be collected for the West Central Community Center. And there will, of course, be the requisite holiday decorations and music, plus photos with Santa from 2 to 4 – but, fortunately for heat-stroke considerations, no ugly sweater contest.
Six local breweries will pour for the inaugural Great Northwest Barbecue & Beer Festival on Saturday at The Old Airport Armory, 1662 W. Wyoming at the Coeur d’Alene Airport in Hayden, Idaho.
North Idaho’s newest brewery, Bombastic, will debut its Sleuth imperial porter – brewed with dark wheat malt and honey for a roasty aroma and smooth flavor – and also bring its easy-drinking, Citra dry-hopped Puddle pale.
It will be joined by Mad Bomber, Orlison, Paragon, Post Falls Brewing and Selkirk Abbey, with both its original Belgian-inspired beers and newer Northwest-style Northern Cross line. Also look for North Idaho Cider and spirits from Up North Distillery.
Drummin Up BBQ, Boars Nest and Daley’s Cheap Shots will have food for sale, along with a barbecue competition, grilling demonstrations, a vintage barbecue display and pie-eating competitions.
There will be country and folk music by local artists throughout the day, leading up to a concert by former “American Idol” contestant Kristy Lee Cook at 9. Games will include bounce houses and an inflatable water slide for kids (bring their swimsuits) and mechanical bull riding for adults.
The event runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is $8 in advance online, $10 at the door ($6 for active military and veterans with ID, free for kids 12 and under). The concert is an additional $25; various ticket packages are available at www.eventbrite.com/e/the-great-northwest-barbecue-and-beer-festival-tickets-34659775321.
A portion of the proceeds benefits Rathdrum’s Running W Ranch, a therapeutic riding center for people with disabilities.
Waddell’s Brewpub hosts a parking lot party Saturday from 3 to 8 p.m. with a new beer release, a sour Strawberry Berliner Weisse; a Strawberry Wildfire version infused with habanero peppers; and the return of Dragon Slayer pale with roasted habaneros and cilantro.
Rounding things out will be door prizes and drink specials, plus an appearance by the Fireball Girls from the cinnamon whiskey purveyor. Admission is $15, which includes a burger and your first beer.
Oil change of pace
Perry Street, the first Spokane brewery to experiment with the new lupulin hop powder, has turned its attention to hop oil.
He Who Spelt It … Dealt It, a spelt wheat IPA collaboration with Missoula’s Draught Works that was released over the weekend, uses distilled El Dorado hop oil – a new product from Montana’s Glacier Hops Ranch – along with regular Denali and Simcoe pellets.
The result is an intense, mouth-coating but clean bitterness and distinctive hop character, at 5.5 percent alcohol by volume and 65 International Bitterness Units.
“We went to the high end of the (oil) scale and really jammed it through,” said Perry’s Ben Lukes. “It doesn’t necessarily remind me of fresh hop beer, but it’s definitely got that green oil flavor to it.”
Lukes next plans a beer using both powder and oil, dialed down a bit.
Iron Goat is serving a draft version of its Brick and Steel IPA (6.7 percent ABV, 67 IBU), bright and aromatic from Mosaic hop powder, which was introduced in cans for the brewery’s fifth anniversary in May.
River City’s Kung Fu Death Monkey (8.9, 78) is designed to be drier and more drinkable than the previous seasonal it replaces, Clocktower Imperial IPA.
Young Buck’s Warp 2 (6.2, 75), the second in a series of experimental IPAs, gets its big grapefruit character from dry-hopping with Summit as well as Chinook and Cascade.
A dry, spicy Ruckstell Rye IPA (6.8, 70) is the first offering from TT’s Old Iron Brewery, the latest addition at the downtown brewery incubator/Steel Barrel taproom (along with Young Buck and Little Spokane).
Black Label’s Drink N’ Debate Porter (6, 22) honors the Sunday night shows of that name at the Spokane Comedy Club.
Whistle Punk is pouring a traditional Bavarian Hefeweizen (5.5) with banana, vanilla and lemon notes.
The seasonal Slackline Saison (6.7, 18) has returned at Slate Creek in Coeur d’Alene.
Trickster’s has a hazy New England-style NW Chunky IPA (6.7, 60).
Save the date
The Spokane Edible Tree Project, which harvests unused fruits and nuts for the needy, will receive $1 from every pint sold Thursday at Bellwether.
Top Frog in Newport, Wash., celebrates its fourth anniversary Saturday with new beers plus the return of Raspberry Ale, food vendors and live music.
The Coeur d’Alene Growler Guys presents a Pint for a Pint Blood Drive on July 20 from 1 to 4:30 p.m.; donate a pint of blood and receive a voucher for a pint of beer.
The Steel Barrel hosts a Firkin Fest on July 21 with special casks from in-house breweries Little Spokane and Young Buck plus Laughing Dog and Paradise Creek.
Send beer news, comments and questions to senior correspondent Rick Bonino at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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