The Grain Shed just might be the epitome of farm to table – and tap handle.
A long-vacant grocery store on the edge of the South Perry District has been reborn as the co-op home of Culture Breads bakery and Grain Shed Brewing, both using ancient grains grown by Palouse Heritage.
For starters, those include a pair of barleys – the rich, bready Scots Bere and fruity, nutty Purple Egyptian (think Grape Nuts cereal) – along with the fragrant Red Russian wheat, which has herbal, coriander notes.
“They’re very nutrient-dense and flavor-dense,” said Don Scheuerman of Palouse Heritage, which operates a farm between Endicott and St. John. “The flavors are deep and robust.”
Those flavors will vary from year to year, depending on conditions. “The best way to think about it is like wine (grapes),” Scheuerman said. “The weather will impact the nutrients, and flavor follows nutrients.”
“These grains are so unique, I’m super excited to try everything coming down the pike,” said Grain Shed brewer Joel Williamson, who also prepares them for brewing in his day job with LINC Malt. “We’re trying to come up with core recipes for all the different grains, along with some fun variations.”
The beers so far are moderate in strength (around 4 to 5 percent alcohol by volume) and malt-forward. When he asks bakery customers if they want to try the beer, Williamson said, “A lot of people say, as long as it’s not too hoppy. I tell them, you’re in luck.”
Williamson and co-brewer Teddy Benson are working off a tiny 10-gallon setup tucked behind the bar but soon will replace that with a 1.5-barrel (46-gallon) system. They plan to brew regularly on Thursdays and Saturdays, so customers will know when to watch.
While that will supply the taproom, they also expect to contract with Bellwether, which is installing a 10-barrel system, to produce beers for bottling and canning. Bellwether was the first to brew with Palouse Heritage grains for a series of special releases last year.
Along with the house brews, Bellwether beers and guest ciders round out the Grain Shed’s eight taps. Beers are available as flights, 12-ounce pours and full pints.
All pair well with baker Shaun Thompson Duffy’s creations from a custom wood-fired oven. Those include a variety of breads (which tend to sell out quickly), sandwiches, toast plates and pastries, plus pizza on Monday nights.
Table and counter seating is scattered throughout both the bakery and brewery sides of the building, and a patio with two large picnic tables.
Hit the new Trail
The Grain Shed is one of six new names on this year’s Inland Northwest Ale Trail map, joining Millwood Brewing, Mountain Lakes, Moscow Brewing, Utara (Sandpoint) and Fired Up (Colville).
Maps are available online at inlandnwaletrail.com or in printed form at participating locations. Visit a dozen breweries out of the 46 on the list and receive a souvenir 32-ounce growler.
Out of hiding
Recent Liberty Lake startup The Hidden Mother made a big splash at this year’s Washington Brewers Festival in Redmond over Father’s Day weekend, winning both gold and silver in the experimental category of the Washington Beer Awards for Pine Tree Peppercorn Saison and Morel Mushroom Red.
And it finished fourth out of 100 breweries in festival sales, just behind Pullman’s Paradise Creek (where The Hidden Mother’s Mike Detar previously brewed) and just ahead of Seattle heavyweights Georgetown and Fremont.
Other Spokane breweries winning Washington Beer Awards were Iron Goat, gold, Oatmeal Brown; No-Li, silver, Born & Raised IPA; and River City, bronze, Colonel Crusher barleywine.
Orlison goes down
For those who haven’t heard, Orlison has stopped producing its own beer lineup, though it will continue brewing for No-Li on a contract basis.
It’s the second downtown brewery taproom to close in the last six months, following River City (which continues to brew for distribution). But the former River City space soon will become a second outlet for Steady Flow Growler House, joining the original Valley location.
Mountain Lakes is serving a raspberry/vanilla R.V. cream ale (6 percent alcohol by volume, 25 International Bitterness Units).
No-Li has a light, lemony Atomic Shandy (4.8, 22).
Perry Street’s El Pino IPA (6.9, 65) uses fruity El Dorado hop oil.
Post Falls Brewing is pouring the second in its imperial IPA series, a Mosaic-hopped The Stallion Pt. 2 (9.6, 84).
Hopped Up’s Captain Chaos imperial IPA (11, 100) is hopped with whole-cone Citra.
Waddell’s M.T.F.U. Scotch ale (6.7, 44) recognizes the local Man The Family Up social media movement.
Save the date
Bellwether’s biweekly Year of the Sainted Brewers special release series continues Thursday with a spiced apple ale honoring St. Benno.
Badass Backyard’s Bicycle Brewery Crawl on Saturday leaves the taproom at 5:30 p.m. with stops at Hopped Up, Twelve String, Millwood Brewing and V Twin.
Get $3 pints for River City’s First Friday happy hour July 6 from 4 to 7 p.m.
For more local craft beer event listings, see www.spokane7.com/ontap.