The local beer scene continues to explode, and Spokane Craft Beer Week is keeping pace.
The third annual celebration, which runs from Monday through May 21, features a bigger-than-ever array of special beers and events at area breweries and bars.
It again starts with our On Tap kickoff party Monday from 5 to 8 p.m. at Perry Street Brewing (stop by and say “hi”). There will be guest beers from Daft Badger (Blood Orange IPA), River City (orange/coffee Riverkeeper IPA), Waddell’s (barrel-aged imperial Alligator Stout) and Young Buck (a blended barrel-aged sour), plus brewery tours and raffles; a dollar from every pint sold will benefit the Spokane Humane Society.
The week’s centerpiece again is a Collaboration Festival next Thursday from 4 to 7 at No-Li, featuring 16 beers jointly brewed by pairs of local breweries. Admission is $10, which includes your first five 4-ounce tasters; proceeds go toward a security system for the Native American community’s Salish School of Spokane, which was vandalized last week.
The beer lineup includes hoppy sours from Paradise Creek/Waddell’s and Rants & Raves/Riverport; a passion fruit/guava sour from Black Label and Iron Goat; a tart gose-style gruit (herbed beer) by Bellwether and Four-Eyed Guys; a Belgian rye pale ale from Orlison/River City; a Belgian wit by Whistle Punk and Young Buck; a tart saison from Little Spokane and Young Buck; a Mexican-style lager by Laughing Dog and MickDuff’s; and a Mexican-style chicha corn beer from Little Spokane and New Boundary.
There’s also a red honey lager from English Setter and Steam Plant; a honey wheat with lemon and lemongrass from Big Barn and Top Frog; a maibock by Northern Ales and Republic; a hoppy kolsch from Quartzite and Twelve String; imperial IPAs by Perry Street/Trickster’s (hazy New England style with Loral hop powder) and Daft Badger/Post Falls (with lemon/lime Motueka hops); and a Cascadian dark ale from the area’s smallest brewery, Badass Backyard, and the largest, No-Li.
Things start winding down Saturday with Iron Goat’s fifth anniversary party beginning at 11 a.m., which will feature the debut of the brewery’s first canned beer, a new Brick and Steel IPA. There also will be special beer releases throughout the day, a taco bar (with vegan option) and music on the patio by Nick Grow, Don and Thomas Thomsen, Fun Ladies, Fat Lady and Buffalo Jones; a portion of proceeds benefits the Second Harvest food bank.
And that only scratches the surface of the full calendar. Among the highlights of the week’s other happenings (as announced by press time):
Twelve String has a vertical tasting of its last four anniversary beers along with some offbeat barrel-aged offerings Tuesday, an IPA day Wednesday, dark beer day Thursday and summer beer day Saturday.
Perry Street presents a new Friday Firk-Off with Seattle’s Fremont Brewing – each pouring two experimental casks (plus another small-batch surprise from Fremont) – along with its familiar Night of the Living Kolsch on Tuesday.
Whistle Punk, which celebrates the grand opening of its downtown taproom starting Tuesday, will be featured along with Fremont in a summer beer party Thursday at Nectar Wine and Beer and release a barrel-aged stout Friday.
River City has a pint night at Manito Tap House on Tuesday that will include a New England version of its sessionable Afternoon IPA.
Iron Goat releases a series of beers leading up to its anniversary party including bourbon barrel-aged Cap’n Kidd Scotch ale Tuesday, Blood Orange and Grapefruit Summer IPA on Wednesday, Head Butt IPA aged in gin barrels with Fuji apples, Chinook hops and juniper berries Thursday, and a New England-style IPA on Friday.
Bellwether pours an Egyptian-inspired beer brewed with locally grown and malted Purple Egyptian barley on Wednesday and will start serving the entries in a homebrewer competition Thursday, with the winner in customer voting announced Saturday.
Hopped Up releases a dark sour Wednesday, hazelnut brown Thursday and a strong ale with ginger root Saturday, along with an IPA day Friday.
Badass taps a series of beers accompanied by games and activities including Whitewater Snow IPA on Wednesday (darts), a doppel weizen Thursday (cornhole), grapefruit IPA on Friday (giant Jenga) and an oatmeal stout Saturday (group bike ride).
Black Label will have $4 pint specials throughout the week with a cornhole tournament Wednesday, Merlyn’s Comics game night Thursday, a firkin Friday and live music Saturday.
Big Barn will be featured in a beer and food pairing Wednesday at the North Onion Bar & Grill, and a tasting Saturday at Huckleberry’s Natural Market.
New Boundary’s second annual Pints for Paws, a 5K run to benefit SpokAnimal, starts at the Cheney brewery at 11 a.m.; entry fee is $35, which includes a custom stainless 24-ounce water bottle, snacks and a hot dog lunch (walkers and well-behaved, vaccinated dogs welcome).
More events are being announced all the time, so keep checking our On Tap blog (spokane7.com/blog/OnTap) and the Craft Beer Week website (spokanecraftbeerweek.com).
The latest in Perry Street’s series of hazy, juicy New England-style IPAs (6.5 percent alcohol by volume, 60 International Bitterness Units) is hopped with experimental “Ron Mexico” for tropical, coconut notes.
Young Buck’s Punky Pale (4.9, 50) is brewed with rye and oats, fermented with mango and pineapple and dry-hopped with Nugget for a moderately fruity, spicy, dry-finishing beer.
The Scotch-style One If By Land at Mad Bomber (7, 26) is dry and smooth with a smoky malt base.
Bombastic is fully licensed and has begun brewing at the Panhandle Area Business Council incubator in Hayden. It plans to produce small-batch specialty beers in-house and contract with larger area breweries for more mainstream offerings; keep an eye out for word on the initial releases.
Also licensed and ready to roll is Bottle Bay, a small home-based distribution brewery in Spokane. Look for an IPA to debut soon at Rocket Market, where owner/brewer Marco Plastino works.
No-Li is creating a special version of its golden ale for the inaugural Crave NW food and drink festival June 15-18 at CenterPlace in Spokane Valley, with a limited release of 22-ounce bottles shipping to stores this month.
Other local and regional craft breweries in the Crave lineup include Bellwether, River City, Twelve String, Pullman’s Paradise Creek, southern Idaho’s Grand Teton and Seattle’s gluten-free Ghostfish. Discount tickets are available through June 1 at cravenw.com.
Mark your calendar for Bellwether’s Braggot Fest on June 24, which will feature a dozen-plus honey beers from eight local brewers including a collaboration between Bellwether, Young Buck and Hierophant Meadery.