March Madness again is officially underway – the liquid kind, that is.
Manito Tap House is into the second week of its third annual IPA March Madness. Each week for four weeks, customers can get blind flights of four different Washington IPAs for $5 and vote for their favorite.
Those four weekly winners then face off in a Final Four round for the right to a permanent tap handle at Manito for the coming year.
Instead of using Facebook nominations to narrow the field to 16, like before, this year’s lineup was based on a blind tasting of 36 contenders by Manito’s staff. “We wanted to get the list more accurate and make sure the right field was in there,” said owner Patrick McPherson.
Like the typical tournament, there are some surprises. Nectar of the Gods (NOG) from Richland’s White Bluffs – hardly a household name around here, though it won gold in last year’s Washington Beer Awards – came in third in the preliminary tasting.
Finishing fifth was the hazy new Resolution IPA from Mac & Jack’s (Redmond). And the Magneto IPA from TT’s Old Iron, which launched just last June at the downtown Spokane brewery incubator, placed eighth.
“That’s pretty exciting,” McPherson said. “I knew he was doing some good stuff.”
Locals Perry Street IPA and River City Riverkeeper also made the cut, along with Backwoods Logyard (Carson), Bale Breaker Leota Mae (Yakima), Bellevue IPA, Boundary Bay Cedar Dust (Bellingham), Dru Bru IPA (Snoqualmie Pass), Fremont Lush (Seattle), Georgetown Bodhizafa (Seattle), Icicle Bootjack (Leavenworth), Puyallup River Hazey’s Comet (Puyallup), Reuben’s Crikey (Seattle) and Silver City Tropic Haze (Silverdale).
Trickster’s Juice Box IPA has advanced to the Final Four of its bracket in this year’s National IPA Championships presented by the Brewing News. It topped the AlphaDankopotamus from California’s Hop Dogma Brewing in judging over the weekend and next faces the Breaking Bud from another California brewery, Knee Deep. Winners in the competition’s three brackets will meet to decide an overall champion.
Slate Creek’s grand reopening party will be March 24 with live music in the parking lot starting at 6 p.m. and food from the Las Brasas Mexican Grill truck. The Coeur d’Alene brewery, which closed last October, is being revived as a two-barrel nanobrewery by a longtime employee.
A new north Spokane nanobrewery has completed a successful Kickstarter campaign. Humble Abode Brewing, which collected more than $9,000, is finalizing a lease for warehouse space northeast of Francis and Nevada.
Owner Matt Gilbreath has only been homebrewing for about a year but just finished his 52nd batch. He plans to turn out a wide variety of styles from a one-barrel system and rotate them on six to eight taps in a family-friendly tasting room.
Downtown nano Mountain Lakes, which had hoped to open today at the corner of Riverside Avenue and Browne Street, has delayed that until next month because of scheduling and licensing issues.
Erin go brew
Area breweries and beer bars are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this weekend with offerings that go beyond green beer (though there’s some of that, too):
Badass Backyard on Saturday will have new beer releases, Irish music all day and a funniest T-shirt contest at 5 p.m.
Bellwether taps two Irish-style beers Saturday, a red and a stout, along with Reuben panini and Irish stew.
Whistle Punk will pour three Irish-inspired beers Saturday including a dry stout on nitro.
Millwood Brewing will serve a green version of its 3BuckChuck session blonde Friday and Saturday along with food trucks.
Perry Street is pouring this year’s aromatic rendition of Kumquat IPA (7 percent alcohol by volume, 70 International Bitterness Units) with a tartness from fresh early-season fruit and fruity hop notes from Citra powder and dry-hopping with Mosaic.
The spring seasonal Rhythmic RyePA (6.4, 74) has returned at Twelve String with a more pronounced spicy rye character.
Iron Goat has released a hazy Buzzsaw McThunder Juicy IPA (7, 68) hopped with Amarillo, Simcoe, Citra and Mosaic.
Young Buck offers both a Friggin’ Millennials Hazy Pale (5.4, 50) with grapefruit, orange and papaya notes from Ekuanot and Summit hops, and a Warp 7 IPA (6.4, 60), the latest in that series, featuring Summit, Chinook, Ekuanot, Amarillo and a complex hop oil blend.
English Setter is serving a sweet Irish-style red ale dubbed Red Dog Redemption (7.8, 16).
Save the date
Coeur d’Alene’s Filling Station on 5th has a tasting of five barrel-aged Grand Teton sours today from 5 to 8 p.m.
Orlison will donate $1 from every pint sold Monday from 5 to 8 p.m. to Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Inland Northwest.
The Inland Northwest chapter of Beer Choir meets Monday at 6:30 at Black Label.
Clover hosts an Iron Goat beer dinner March 27 (pricing and other details to be announced).
For a full rundown of local beer events and news see www.spokane7.com/blog/ontap.
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