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A&E >  Food

2 live brews

Budge Brothers, Bi-Plane join the ranks of local beer makers

No one needs an excuse to kick back with a cold brew on a holiday weekend. But just in case, there are two new area breweries to check out.

Bi-Plane Brewing Co. in Post Falls and Budge Brothers Brewery in Spokane are sporting new Northwest- and English-style ales. Both recently opened tasting rooms to show off their wares.

Nadine and Doug Martindale are brewing and pouring three offerings at the Bi-Plane Brewing Co. tap house in Post Falls. The couple worked in telecommunications for 25 years before the faltering economy forced them to reconsider.

“We’re trying to make our own economy now,” says Doug Martindale, a self-taught brewmaster who is cranking out new batches of beer daily.

The Martindales started brewing at home in Athol, Idaho, about 11 years ago. They opened the tasting room about four weeks ago at the Highway 41 Plaza between Starbucks and Subway, 4082 E. Primrose Lane.

Nadine Martindale says brewing beer is something of a family tradition. Her grandmother grew her own hops and malted barley to brew beer at her place in Mead. The mother of 12 children and wife to a notorious brute, she had to learn how to do everything herself.

“Her escape was her own beer that she brewed,” Nadine says. “It wasn’t good, but she had the resources there and she was able to make her own.”

The couple have combined their brewing efforts with Doug’s childhood hobby of building radio-controlled planes and his fascination with World War I planes. They’re serving three beers right now, but plan more including a seasonal pumpkin ale and a Christmastime stout.

Hops and grains for the beer are primarily from the Northwest and Canada, with a few exceptions. The Martindales are bringing a special yeast and hops from England for the English style brown ale – called Bristol Bulldog Brown Ale – which is quickly becoming Bi-Plane’s signature beer.

The beer is named for the Bristol Bulldog plane, designed by a United Kingdom captain, which was built with light alloy covered in fabric. They describe the brown ale as “covered in the fabric of chocolate and victory malts” and fermented with London yeast.

The Curtiss Jenny Cream Ale is named for a training aircraft for the U.S. Army during World War I. It’s described as an “excellent training brew” for those who are new to handcrafted ales, with a flavor similar to mass-produced American lagers.

The BiPlane Pusher Pale Ale was the Martindales’ first ale, originally produced on their family farm.

Bi-Plane ales are $4 per pint. There’s a $3 weekly special, and a sampler paddle with four pours for $6.

There also are refillable to-go containers; you can fill 64-ounce growler jugs for $11 and Party Pigs for $42 (containers cost extra). Complimentary peanuts are offered.

Party Pigs are trademarked containers that hold 2.25 gallons of beer and keep it pressurized and carbonated so drinkers can enjoy draft-style beer at home.

Doug Martindale says they hope to grow a little, but would like to remain a microbrewery.

“We’re really trying to remain small and hands-on with our craft brews,” he says.

Bi-Plane Brewing Co. is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. It is closed for brewing on Wednesdays.

Reach the brewery at (208) 683-0369.

Budge Brothers opens

The Budge brothers, Brad and Bruce, were driving past Jim’s Home Brew when it hit them.

“We walked inside and said that we wanted to open a brewery,” Brad says.

His brother adds, “They said, ‘You can’t do that,’ but they steered us in the right direction.”

“Actually they were extremely helpful,” Brad says. “They gave us advice all along the way and helped us get good beer out of our batches.”

Bruce closes with, “I think they’ve heard a lot of people say they’re going to open a brewery. Not too many people actually go through with it.”

The brothers, now 25 and 22, respectively, started experimenting with home brewing four years ago just after Easter Sunday. And yes, that means Bruce was a tad underage when he first starting working with the beer.

The brothers don’t have formal training, but have been brewing 10-gallon sample brews ever since, tweaking their recipes and testing them on family and friends.

They’ve also received guidance from area brewers including Fred Colby at Sandpoint’s Laughing Dog Brewery, who let the brothers see a larger-scale operation in action. They considered formal training, but quickly calculated it would cost more than just opening their brewery.

The Budge brothers grew up on Spokane’s North Side and still live in their parents’ basement, but spend most of their time at the brewery and taproom these days.

“Most people don’t realize that we own it when we’re serving,” Bruce says.

They moved into the space at 2018 E. Riverside Ave., No. 1, near the Spokane International District on East Sprague Avenue, at the beginning of February, but didn’t get all of the permitting and licensing sorted out until early May.

They initially started brewing their bigger batches at Mountain Dome Winery, but quickly realized that they would need a facility that was closer to town and could handle a higher volume. The first few kegs they sold went quickly at local bars and restaurants, but they had to pull back to retool and find a new location.

The brewery is equipped to turn out a little better than 200 gallons of beer at a time. The brothers plan to stay small and hands-on, distributing kegs to area bars and serving directly to customers.

After the final filtering, the beer flows into two refurbished British holding tanks that they purchased from Buffalo Bill’s Brewery in Hayward, Calif., the second-oldest remaining brew pub in the United States, which opened in 1983.

“So we’ve got a nice piece of craft brewing history and they’re really nice stainless tanks … solid in design,” Brad says.

The Budge brothers’ four beers flow from taps set into what was their grandfather’s metal tackle box. The brothers also stashed lures in the reddish-orange painted box when they went fishing as kids.

The Spokamber 509 Amber Ale is the Budge Brothers Brewery’s most mainstream beer. Brad Budge describes it as light, sessionable and easy-drinking: “My grandparents really like that beer.”

There is an Orangutan Pale Ale with a nice color and a bit of a bite to it, the brothers say.

Brad’s favorite is the Hop Train IPA, which he says has a nice fruity, citrusy aroma. The beer has 8 percent alcohol by volume.

Bruce leans toward the Budge Brothers’ Extra Stout as his favorite.

Purchase beer at the taphouse. They offer a $1.50 sample pour, and pints are $2.50.

Growlers can be filled for $9 for the Hop Train and Extra Stout and $7 for the Spokamber and Orangutan Pale Ale. Party Pigs are $50 and $45 respectively for new pigs; refill the containers for $30 and $25.

Reach the brewery at (509) 426-3340. The taproom is open 2 to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday, and the brothers are planning to add Wednesday and Thursday

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