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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Three-dog day

Rick Bonino

In dog years, English Setter Brewing now is old enough to legally drink.

The Spokane Valley brewpub celebrates its third anniversary Saturday starting at 11:30 a.m. with beer and food specials, merchandise giveaways and live country-style music by Jesse Quandt at 6:30.

“There’s a little bit of everything,” owner/brewer Jeff Bendio says. “It’s just going to be an all-day party.”

Look for a sneak preview of Bendio’s latest creation, Rescue Pup Porter, brewed with orange, hazelnut and chocolate.  That’s a littermate to his popular Puppy For Christmas orange/chocolate porter, which is on its last legs for this season.

There also will be a fresh batch of Break Off the Line, a vanilla-bourbon stout that Bendio recently revamped for a bigger middle with some raisin/fig sweetness.

“Everybody was panicky, you can’t change the recipe,” he says. “Then the new batch came out and they said, don’t ever change this.”

Bendio may even pull out his Randall for a flavor-infused version of the sessionable Busted ESB (4.3 percent alcohol by volume).

He’s planning a tangerine-finished Busted for a spring seasonal – which he expects may not be that far off, despite what the groundhog says. “The trees outside the brewery are completely budded,” he says. “I think they know something I don’t.”

Bendio has added a few new beers to the regular rotation over the past year, including a Cascadian dark ale dubbed Black Labs Matter and the Who’s a Good Boy amber, which alternates with the bigger, drier Chukar Nose.

He likes rotating different takes on similar styles, and a modest three-barrel brewing system, which turns out six kegs at a time, gives him the flexibility to keep things moving.

“Nothing is on for very long before the next beer comes up,” Bendio says. “People want different styles of beer coming in. They don’t have to be radically different every time but they want some different flavors rolling through.”

So far, it seems to be working. Business was up 20 percent last year, he says, on top of a 30 percent increase in year two. Bendio recently installed a third infrared convection oven to keep up with food demand, and wired for a fourth when needed.

“It’s just going great guns,” he says. “A lot of people are starting to discover us and saying, that’s a great place to have a beer.”

If growth continues, Bendio talks of buying land for a new brewery in the Valley to replace the current location, a former Caruso’s sandwich shop near the Spokane Business and Industrial Park.

However, he adds, “We’re not in any rush to do that. We’re going to let the patronage make that decision for us.” 

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