The Growler Guys are starting to make more noise around town.
The Bend, Oregon-based chain’s newest outlet opened last Friday at 1314 S. Grand Blvd., with 48 taps pouring an assortment of craft beers, ciders and root beer (with kombucha to come).
It’s the second Growler Guys in Spokane – joining the North Side location at 9329 N. Newport Highway, which opened this summer – and the third in Washington. Geoff Gruetzmacher, who owns the South Hill store, launched the state’s first franchise in his hometown of Richland in November 2013.
Gruetzmacher, a firefighter, grew up in Bend and caught the craft beer bug from Deschutes. During a return visit, he said, he swung by the original Growler Guys location at the Stop and Go Mini Mart.
“We thought, this is the coolest place ever,” Gruetzmacher said. “My wife, Lindsay, sent them an email, and it all snowballed from there.”
In Spokane, he said, “It’s really nice to be in the neighborhood. It’s a different vibe from Richland – that’s a newer city, and we’re on the main drag. Here, we’re embedded in the community, which is sweet.”
And Spokane provides a larger selection of local breweries to work with. The first few days featured a dozen offerings from Iron Goat, No-Li, Orlison, Ramblin’ Road, River City and Selkirk Abbey, along with a pair of ciders from One Tree.
There also were such specialties as Stone’s latest Enjoy By imperial IPA and Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA – both of which went fast – along with a deceptively light-colored imperial golden stout from Stone, dubbed Master of Disguise; Anderson Valley’s Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel Stout; and Midnight Sun’s dangerously drinkable Panty Peeler Tripel.
Along with Growler Guys glassware and apparel, merchandise includes Boneyard Beer Bars soaps, infused with various beers from that Bend brewery.
The store is open daily from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. (8 p.m. on Sundays). Most fill prices range from $10 to $14, more for specialties.
New to the Area
There’s another major development in the works for local craft beer lovers: the Area 51 Taphouse, expected to open toward the end of next week at The Onion Bar & Grill’s North Side location, 7522 N. Division St.
The titular 51 taps – the most locally, one more than Manito Tap House in Spokane and Crafted in Coeur d’Alene – will offer a variety of microbrews (and a few macros), along with ciders, wines and a special cask-conditioned bourbon concoction. Plans also call for 50 bottled beers, growler fills and beer dinners.
• No-Li this week introduced its latest year-round beer: Mosh Pit (7.5 percent alcohol by volume, 15 International Bitterness Units), a naturally tart fruit beer made with a blend of 80 percent cherry and 20 percent cranberry purees. It’s available in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles and on draft.
Also in the cherry vein, Van Lambert, a big, barrel-aged sour brewed with Green Bluff cherries, will see a special pre-release in 22-ounce bottles at No-Li on Dec. 20. The rest of that limited release will roll out in January.
But the brewery hasn’t forgotten about hops. Also on tap at the pub is Matthias (8.4, 100), a new imperial IPA dry-hopped with fruity El Dorado and Belma.
• The Lantern Tap House is pouring a Winter PDA (Perry District Ale, 7, 80) specially brewed by Alameda in Portland. It’s made with Stella hops, honoring 6-year-old Stella Druffel, the daughter of close friends of the Lantern owners, who was diagnosed with leukemia last summer; $1 from every pint sold will go to a fund for her care.
• Hopped Up has brought back its Orange Vanilla Porter (6, 34), previously a Valentine’s Day release, for the holidays. The lightly spiced beer is brewed with orange zest and cinnamon sticks.
• Also returning for the season is Selkirk Abbey’s Saint Thomas black saison (6.2, 25), with subtle notes of coffee and chocolate.
Save the date
• Big Barn Brewing’s holiday bash, Saturdayat 6 p.m. at Bodacious Berries, Fruits and Brews on Green Bluff, includes a potluck dinner, house beers and music by Big Red Barn.
• Trickster’s is introducing its Hipster Juice Vol. 3 pale ale (5.7, 45), aromatic but not overly bitter from Citra, Chinook and Zeus hops, in a release party today with pint and growler fill discounts.
• Beers from Twelve String also will be featured in a five-course dinner Wednesday at South Perry Pizza. Call (509) 290-6047 for information.
• Crafted Tap House will offer five-course beer pairing dinners the first and third Thursdays of each month, starting next week. The cost is $35; call (208) 292-4813.
• Downdraft Brewing will be featured in a brewery night Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. at Capone’s Pub & Grill in Post Falls, with raffle drawings for merchandise every 15 minutes.
No-Li took the People’s Choice award for a vanilla-and-chocolate-infused version of its Rise & Grind coffee/oatmeal/milk stout at all three sessions of last weekend’s Washington Winter Beer Fest in Seattle.
Orlison won third place at Saturday’s early session for 2 Finger Pour, inspired by the Old Fashioned cocktail, brewed with bitters and orange peel over whiskey barrel chips.
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