With Thanksgiving upon us, the local craft beer calendar is understandably sparse over the next few days. But things pick up the following weekend with the return of several pre-holiday highlights:
River City celebrates its seasonal Midnight Marmot imperial stout with the third annual International Marmot Beer Festival on Dec. 2 from 3 to 8 p.m.
It features seven variations on the rich black elixir using ingredients from around the globe, including oranges and star anise from China; coconut from the Pacific Islands; vanilla and coffee beans from South America; Thai chilies; mint leaf and cocoa nibs from Ecuador; cognac and French oak chips; and a wine barrel-aged version with Washington raspberries.
There’s also a grand cru blend of aged Marmots with raspberries, curry and vanilla along with last year’s Congratulator Doppelbock. Food will be provided by the Nick’s Shameless Sausages truck.
Tickets are $20 in advance at the brewery, $25 at the door, which includes 2-ounce samples of each beer plus a 12-ounce pour of your favorite.
Also Dec. 2, the 21st annual 12 Ales of Christmas runs from 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. at Capone’s Pub & Grill in Coeur d’Alene.
You get 7-ounce pours of a dozen winter beers, an all-you-can-eat buffet, a custom T-shirt and a goodie bag for $55 ($50 if you hurry into Capone’s today to buy your ticket).
There’s also an ugly sweater contest and, after all that beer, a free cab ride home (in the Coeur d’Alene area).
For its second year, No-Li’s FrostFest small-batch beer festival moves from the brewery to the Spokane Arena concourse on Dec. 9 from 2 to 6 p.m.
The winter carnival theme will include ice carving, fire dancing, aerial performers, magicians, live and DJ music and more. A dozen one-off specialties will be tapped including five barrel-aged creations and three hazy offerings: Secret Santa dry-hopped Born & Raised IPA, Snow White & No-Li pale dry-hopped with Topaz and a fruity Belma dry-hopped Pie in the Sky red.
Admission includes a T-shirt, tasting glass and your first five 4-ounce pours. Tickets are $30 and must be purchased in advance from TicketsWest through Tuesday, while supplies last; add that night’s Spokane Chiefs hockey game for another $10.
A portion of proceeds will help support the Washington State Fallen Heroes Project’s Illuminating Courage memorial statue at the Arena.
Back for the holidays is Hopped Up’s rich, malty Destroy My Sweater (8.5 percent alcohol by volume, 40 International Bitterness Units), finished with homegrown spruce tips.
Last year’s vintage of the Twelve Strings of Winter (7.4, 74) is pouring again at Twelve String.
The new 5 Mile IPA from Waddell’s (6.2, 50) is hopped with an earthy, spicy, fruity blend of Galena, Columbus, Chinook, Citra and Mosaic.
English Setter is serving an Ole Yeller lemon pale ale with a touch of tartness (4.7, 52).
The latest arrivals at Whistle Punk include a tart winter Berliner Weisse (4.5) conditioned on cranberries, orange peel and ginger.
Save the date
Green Bluff’s 238 Brewing reopens for the holiday season Friday at 10 a.m. with pre-selection of Christmas trees from the farm; get photos taken with Santa on Dec. 2, 3 and 9.
For Black Friday, Selkirk Abbey has special pricing on its premium bottled beers from 10 a.m. to noon, specialty bottles from noon to 2 and regular bottles from 2 to 4.
Small Business Saturday specials include $1 off pints plus merchandise discounts, food trucks and live music at Post Falls Brewing, and $2 pints and $10 growler fills at River City.
Trickster’s celebrates its fifth anniversary Dec. 2 (details to be announced).
Bellwether’s Hygge Holiday Market on Dec. 3 will include handmade leather goods, jewelry and soaps along with locally roasted coffee, fresh aebelskivers and mulled ale.
Community Pint has a Christmas party Dec. 7 featuring specialty beers from Firestone Walker, Fremont and Georgetown.
Twelve String is readying a tequila barrel-aged double stout for its sixth anniversary party Dec. 10.
Badass Backyard hosts a gingerbread house building party Dec. 10 with holiday-themed drinks, music and decorations (bring your own materials).
Bellwether’s Old World Winter Feast on Dec. 11 will feature five courses by former Clover chef Travis Dickinson paired with winter specialty beers. Tickets are $69, available online through Eventbrite.
For a full rundown of local beer events and news see www.spokane7.com/blog/ontap.