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River City goes all out for Christmas in July

The nine-piece R&B ensemble Left Over Soul performs Saturday at River City Brewing. (COURTESY / Courtesy)
The nine-piece R&B ensemble Left Over Soul performs Saturday at River City Brewing. (COURTESY / Courtesy)

River City Brewing had itself such a merry little “Christmas in July” last summer that it’s going full Griswold this year.

Saturday’s second annual celebration, from 2 to 10 p.m., will spill out from the taproom into the brewing space and parking lot as well, with the additions of food trucks, live music and games.

“We had such a good time with it last year, we decided to go all out this year and make it bigger and better,” said Emily Schwartz, the downtown brewery’s marketing and sales director.

Like last time, the taproom at 121 S. Cedar St. will be decorated for December, and then some.

“I got full rein this year, and I’m a bit of a Christmas fanatic,” said Schwartz. “I’ve been borrowing stuff from all of my friends. We’ll have seven Christmas trees, inflatable yard ornaments, tons of lights and garlands, the whole nine yards.”

Servers will again be dressed in holiday costumes, with Christmas music on the sound system and classic movies on TV. Santa himself will be on hand for photos with customers from 2 to 4 p.m. (Actually, that’s one of Schwartz’s friends, but don’t tell the kids.)

Speaking of costumes, the winner of an ugly sweater contest at 4 will receive a Hydro Flask insulated stainless steel growler.

Live music kicks off at 5 in the brewery with the pop trio Friends of Mine, followed at 7:30 by the nine-piece R&B ensemble L.O.S. (Left Over Soul). The 3 Ninjas and Mac Daddy’s food trucks will be in the parking lot along with cornhole and ladder ball games.

And yes, there will be beer – including the last remaining keg of 2014 Deep Thaw winter warmer (which hasn’t been brewed since, and was tasting great at January’s anniversary party) and both the rich, original 2015 and drier 2016 renditions of the anniversary Congratulator Doppelbock.

Five variations on the winter seasonal Midnight Marmot imperial stout also are coming out of the cellar: last year’s regular and nitro versions, plus the final taproom releases of Marmot conditioned over French oak and raspberry, whiskey-soaked oak chips, and oak chips and cocoa beans (aka Oako-Coco, also on nitro).

Some of those specialties are in smaller sixth-barrel kegs, Schwartz said: “It’s definitely first come, first serve on those so be sure to get there early.”

On the more summery side, there will be two soured options – the Tart Saison collaboration with Perry Street Brewing and Gose-Away, a “recovery” beer brewed with energy drink-style electrolytes plus cranberry, acai and orange – along with the spring seasonal Clocktower Imperial IPA, summer seasonal Inconceivable Imperial Pilsner and a small-batch Munich Helles light lager.

“It will be hot, and we want people to be able to hang out all day,” Schwartz said of the lighter offerings.

You’ll buy beer tickets at the door for $3 each, with an 8-ounce pour for one ticket and a full pint for two. Since this is an all-ages event, it’s also worth mentioning that River City makes its own root beer.

And in the true Christmas spirit of giving, donations of nonperishable food will be collected for the Our Place Community Ministries food bank in the West Central neighborhood.

Brewery watch

Hunga Dunga Brewing opened Monday in Moscow, Idaho, with a limited beer and food menu; hours are daily from 4 p.m. to late.

Former Laughing Dog brewer David Kosiba is looking for a location in Sandpoint for his Utara Brewing, modeled after a traditional British ale and curry house. He hopes to open sometime this winter.

Laughing Dog has begun brewing in its larger new production facility north of Sandpoint, near the original brewery and pub.

Newport’s Top Frog opened a long-awaited taproom last weekend in conjunction with its third anniversary party; it’s open Saturdays from 4 to 8 p.m.

Home-based Badass Backyard Brewing has signed a lease for its upcoming taproom in the Argonne Mission Center in Spokane Valley, next to Chan’s Bistro.

Freshly tapped

The crisp summer seasonal Krushin’ the Kolsch (4.7 percent alcohol by volume, 16 International Bitterness Units) has returned at Waddell’s Brewpub, this time brewed with an authentic German yeast and hopped with Goldings.

Bellwether has brought back a revised version of its Barefoot ginger blonde (4.9, 18) and introduced an English-style Halfdan the Mild (3.5, 12) made with locally produced Palouse Pint malt.

Perry Street’s kettle-soured Tart Saison (6.5, 22) was brewed with raw local honey for a smoothing touch.

New Boundary’s Orange Creamsicle Blonde (6, 12) uses orange peel and zest plus milk sugar to mimic the classic frozen treat.

Mad Bomber’s Ipanema Black (5, 17), an ale version of Brazil’s Xingu black lager, is featured at Grille From Ipanema’s new Riverstone location in Coeur d’Alene.

A bright, fruity Mosaic IPA (5.2, 72) is the latest big-batch release from Iron Goat.

Save the date

The collaboration beers from New Belgium’s 25th-anniversary Fat Tire & Friends mix pack will be featured in a tasting today starting at 5 at Bottles on Argonne, with a newly opened patio and the Couple of Chefs food truck.

A sour festival today and Saturday at Pints Alehouse includes nine draft offerings plus special pricing on bottles.

Beers from Bellwether and Elysian will be featured in a five-course dinner July 30 at Prohibition Gastropub. Tickets are $65; call (509) 474-9040 by Tuesday.

A new adult beverage garden at Art on Green on Aug. 5-7 in Coeur d’Alene will serve beers from Mad Bomber and Slate Creek plus Summit Cider and local wines.

The fourth annual Ales for the Trail on Aug. 13 at Coeur d’Alene’s McEuen Park will include 25 breweries plus food trucks and live music. Tickets are $30, with proceeds supporting the North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation.

At press time, 23 breweries had been announced for the inaugural Spokane Brewers Festival, Aug. 12-13 in the Spokane Arena parking lot. Look for full details in the next On Tap on Aug. 12.

Send beer news, comments and questions to senior correspondent Rick Bonino at boninobeer@comcast.net.

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