Five downtown-area breweries are inviting you to get smashed, and live to vote about it.
Through August, special single-malt and single-hop (SMaSH) beers are on tap at Bellwether, Black Label, Mountain Lakes, Whistle Punk and Young Buck (the latter at The Steel Barrel). The winner in customer voting will received the fabled Lester Cup (more on that later).
The competitors include:
Bellwether: The Vienna Jester, a farmhouse-style ale brewed with Vienna malt and British-bred Jester hops (5.9 percent alcohol by volume).
Black Label: Pullman Patio Crusher pale, with Lyon malt (from a barley variety recently developed by Washington State University) and Belma hops (5.6 percent ABV, 32 International Bitterness Units).
Mountain Lakes: Loral & Hearty session IPA, with locally produced Spokane Pilsner malt and Loral hops (5.3, 44).
Whistle Punk: Lyon Pale, with Lyon malt and Mosaic hop powder (5.2, 40).
Young Buck: Go Cougs! IPA, with British ESB malt and Glacier hops from WSU’s breeding program (7, 60).
Pick up a ballot at your first stop, have it stamped by each brewery along the way and choose your favorite at the end. If you want some company, and some exercise, Le Tour de Lester bicycle pub crawl starts at Bellwether at 1 p.m. on Aug. 19 and hits all five.
Voters will be invited to a private awards ceremony. As for the titular Lester: The official story is that he defeated time-traveling teen thugs trying to steal his Holy Grail-related cup by, um, smashing them. (Don’t worry, it will make more sense after the third or fourth beer.)
Ales for the Trail returns to Coeur d’Alene’s McEuen Park on Saturday bigger than ever, with 35 breweries and cideries set to pour.
The sixth annual event, from 2 to 8 p.m., benefits the North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation. Admission is $30, which includes six 5-ounce tasters (extras are $2 each); for advance tickets, go to alesforthetrail.org.
Designated drivers and minors accompanied by legal guardians can enter for free (but not drink, of course), and there’s a complimentary bike corral for anyone arriving on two wheels.
Participating breweries include Alaskan, Bale Breaker, Big Sky, Boise Brewing, Deschutes, Downdraft, Elysian, Fremont, Grand Teton, Ground Breaker (gluten-free), Hunga Dunga, Icicle, Iron Goat, Iron Horse, Kootenai River, Laughing Dog, Mad Bomber, Melvin, New Belgium, No-Li, Odell, Paradise Creek, Post Falls, Radio, Rants & Raves, River City, Roadhouse, Selkirk Abbey, 10 Barrel, Ten Pin and Trickster’s. Each will tap at least two different kegs.
Cider will come from Coeur d’Alene Cider, North Idaho Cider, Tieton and Trailbreaker. Also look for raffles of outdoor-themed and other prizes, a variety of food trucks and live music by The Rub.
No-Li again is selling “Spokane Has Heart” T-shirts to benefit a worthy cause, this time local youth nonprofits Teen & Kid Closet, Odyssey Youth Movement and Crosswalk. Get yours for $20 online at nolibrewhouse.com (in the “Store” section), or at the pub starting Aug. 15.
We’re sorry to report the South Hill Growler Guys has closed its doors after almost four years of operation. But on a brighter note, Steady Flow Growler House has set a Sept. 7 grand opening for its new outlet in the former River City taproom downtown (the original Spokane Valley location celebrates its third anniversary Oct. 6).
Distribution-only nanobrewery Four-Eyed Guys is preparing to launch limited releases in 12- and 16-ounce cans. Follow the brewery’s social media for more details.
Black Label is serving a summery Red Raspberry Sour (5 percent alcohol by volume, 20 International Bitterness Units).
V Twin launched a Small Batch Summer Series last week starting with a Mosaic IPA (6.7, 47), to be followed by a raspberry peach lager.
Daft Badger laughs in the face of summer with a Woodinville bourbon barrel-aged stout dubbed The Big Chill (12, 30).
The seasonal Ssssick & Rowdy imperial IPA (9, 85) has returned at Post Falls Brewing.
The Steam Plant is pouring a Honeymoon Hefeweizen (5.4) with a hint of banana.
Whistle Punk’s Weizenhop (4.7) is hopped with late-addition Citra powder for tropical notes along with banana from the yeast.
Iron Goat has tapped both an Ach Du Lieber dunkel (dark) bock (6.4, 19) and a Dry Fly gin barrel-aged Citrus Fruited Imperial IPA (8.2, 90).
Save the date
Bellwether’s biweekly Year of the Sainted Brewers series continues Thursday with a wine barrel-fermented spelt beer, in conjunction with The Grain Shed, honoring St. Lawrence, patron saint of maltsters.
The “Sorry For Party Rocking” party at Post Falls Brewing on Friday and Saturday will include new beer releases, live music and food vendors.
Badass Backyard celebrates its third anniversary starting Sunday with seven days of beer releases and activities; see the brewery’s Facebook page for details.
Silver Mountain’s 25th annual Brewsfest on Aug. 18 will feature 22 breweries, eight cideries and three bands. Tickets are $34.93 in advance at www.silvermt.com, $40.23 at the gate.
For more local craft beer event listings, see www.spokane7.com/ontap.