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On Tap: 30 breweries set to join third annual Spokane Brewers Fest at Spokane Arena

The official cup for the 2017 Spokane Brewers Festival photographed on Friday, August 4, 2017. The festival returns Aug. 4 with a new, cooler location. Literally. The event will move from the outdoors into the air conditioned comfort of the Spokane Arena. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

The Spokane Brewers Festival returns Aug. 4, a little more compact and a lot cooler.

The third annual event moves inside the air-conditioned comfort of the Spokane Arena after a pair of sweltering years outside in the parking lot. Last year’s festival also saw wildfire smoke which triggered a case of emphysema.

“Between that and the hot temperatures out there on the asphalt, we had a lot of requests from guests and brewers alike to see what we could do,” said Matt Gibson, the Arena’s general manager. “Judging from the reaction from both ticket sales and brewers, we made the right decision.”

The all-ages event has been trimmed from two days to one, mostly to make it more convenient for out-of-town brewers who now won’t need to spend the night, Gibson said.

There are 30 participating breweries and cideries this year, down from last year’s 40. That’s largely because of brewers’ scheduling issues, Gibson said, though it also helps keep things manageable. “It got a little crazy last year,” he said.

Newcomers on the list include English Setter, Millwood Brewing, Wallace Brewing, Wenatchee Valley, Ice Harbor (Kennewick), Hop Nation (Yakima) and Seattle gluten-free specialist Ghostfish.

There’s also a new cidery, Liberty, joining returnees North Idaho Cider, One Tree, Summit, Tieton and Whiskey Barrel.

Returning local breweries include Badass Backyard, Bellwether, Bennidito’s, Black Label, Iron Goat, Little Spokane, No-Li, Post Falls, River City, Steam Plant, TT’s Old Iron, V Twin and Young Buck. Also back again are Hunga Dunga (Moscow), Ordnance (Boardman, Oregon), Yakima Craft and California’s Lagunitas.

Each will pour two beers, with a third in reserve in case kegs blow. There will be live music throughout the day along with food trucks.

Pricing is the same as last year: $25 in advance, $30 at the door (free for children accompanied by parents, $5 for designated drivers). That includes a tasting mug and 13 tokens good for 2-ounce pours (extra tokens $1 each). Parking in the Arena lot costs $10.

The money goes to a different charity this time: the Wishing Star Foundation, which replaces last year’s Feeding Washington.

Brewery watch

Humble Abode, a one-barrel nanobrewery, has received its state license and is busy brewing in anticipation of a mid-August opening at 1620 E. Houston (north of Francis and east of Nevada).

Spokane Valley startup Bardic Brewing has launched a Kickstarter campaign for phase one of its project, a cidery. Plans call for a brewery and a full-scale brewpub with food to follow over the next two years.

Sandpoint’s Utara Brewing, a planned British-style ale and curry house, has opened Monday through Saturday serving guest beers for starters. Look for the first house beers in early August followed by appetizers later in the month.

Coeur d’Alene’s Paragon Brewing has begun construction on a brewery next to the pub. It opened in 2014 and has been serving some house recipes brewed at MickDuff’s in Sandpoint along with guest taps.

MickDuff’s is the latest regional brewery to offer beer to go in custom-filled crowler cans, which also now are available at Spokane’s Community Pint beer bar.

Freshly tapped

Little Spokane’s dry, crisp SOGO summer pale (5.8 percent alcohol by volume, 32 International Bitterness Units) has a floral, earthy hop aroma with a fruity finish.

English Setter is serving a lighter-bodied but still roasty Padfoot Porter (6.3, 39) along with a small-batch Martin’s Red Collar imperial red (9.8).

Whistle Punk’s dark, sessionable English Mild (3.9) is brewed with Belgian specialty malts for plum and caramel notes.

The easy-drinking Coil Box Brown (5.6, 36) from TT’s Old Iron is hopped with Chinook.

The latest in Young Buck’s series of experimental IPAs, Warp 9 (7, 65), gets spicy notes from rye malt and a fruity hop character from Azacca, Amarillo and Glacier.

Mountain Lakes’ Nutty Spaceman (4.9, 44) is a variation on its English Golden infused with almond and local cold brew Spaceman Coffee.

SMaSH hits

Five downtown-area breweries – Belllwether, Black Label, Mountain Lakes, Whistle Punk and Young Buck – will serve summery single-malt, single-hop beers in August, with the winner in customer voting receiving the inaugural Lester Cup. Look for more info in our next On Tap.

Save the date

Bellwether’s biweekly Year of the Sainted Brewers series continues Thursday with a wine barrel-aged Albion heather ale honoring St. Abdon, the patron saint of barrel-makers.

Community Pint celebrates its first anniversary Aug. 1-4 with a series of special tappings.

River City’s monthly First Friday garage party Aug. 3 will feature $4 pints plus live music by the South Hill and food from D. Lish’s hamburgers and the Scoop ice cream.

The 39th brewer’s dinner at Hills’ Restaurant and Lounge on Aug. 5 will include four courses paired with Bayern’s Citra Charged Dump Truck summer bock, Trickster’s Juice Box IPA, Bale Breaker’s Topcutter IPA and Deschutes’ Black Butte XXIX imperial porter. Cost is $55 (includes tax and tip); call (509) 747-3946 for reservations.

More than 30 breweries and cideries will pour for the sixth annual Ales for the Trail on Aug. 11 in Coeur d’Alene’s McEuen Park, to benefit the North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation. Look for full details in the next On Tap.

For more local craft beer event listings, see www.spokane7.com/ontap.