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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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On Tap: Whistle Punk taking over former deli spot downtown

Spokane’s downtown brewery district is getting another addition for the new year.

Whistle Punk, which has been distributing its beer while searching for a taproom location, has signed a lease for the former Brooklyn Deli space at 122 S. Monroe St. It hopes to open in mid-March.

Food will be available next door from the new Texas True BBQ, which plans an opening this month.

“It’s right in the brewery district,” said co-owner/brewer Matt Hanson. “We’re really excited.”

There already are four other brewery taprooms in the four blocks between Monroe and Cedar Street to the west, along First and Second avenues: Iron Goat, River City, Orlison and the Steel Barrel (Little Spokane and Young Buck). The Steam Plant is a block to the east, and Black Label is on the other end of town off Main and Division.

Whistle Punk’s plans call for 14 taps, with two regulars – a flagship IPA and a coffee stout – plus a dozen rotators. Cask beers also will be tapped on a weekly basis.

“We want to give people something new every time they come in,” Hanson said.

The home-based brewery in Newman Lake will likely be upgraded to a seven-barrel brewhouse with 15-barrel fermenters, he said. The current three-barrel system will remain in operation for small-batch specialties.

Whistle Punk has been distributing beer to select accounts around the area over the past year, slowly building name recognition. It participated in September’s Inland Northwest Craft Beer Festival, finishing 14th in sales there out of 41 breweries.

While some limited distribution will continue, the focus will be on the taproom once it opens, Hanson said.

“You lose so much quality control when other people are serving your beer,” he said. “It will be nice to be able to focus on quality.”

In the meantime, several Whistle Punk beers are regularly available at Brewz on Barker in the Spokane Valley.

Just east of downtown, the former Jones Radiator craft beer bar at 120 E. Sprague Ave. is being reborn as the Community Pint taphouse and bottle shop. Local homebrewer TJ Wallin and his wife, Sarah, bought the building and plan to open this summer following renovations.

Lantern shade of winter

The Lantern Tap House’s fourth annual Winter Beer Fest continues with offerings from Oregon breweries today and Washington brewers Saturday.

Today’s lineup from 4 to 10 p.m. in the outdoor tent includes Beer Valley Ginger Snapper Stout, Crux Tough Love bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout, Deschutes Jubelale, Double Mountain Fa La La La La, Ecliptic Filament IPA, Fort George Magnanimous IPA (brewed with fir tips), HUB Abominable, Laurelwood 2014 bourbon barrel-aged St. Wenceslaus doppelbock, Pelican Bad Santa black IPA and pFriem Winter Ale.

On Saturday from 2 to 10 p.m. it’s Bale Breaker High Camp, Black Raven Festivus, Fremont 2015 bourbon barrel-aged Kentucky Dark Star imperial stout, Georgetown Tombourbon imperial brown, Iron Goat Cherry Chocolate Stout, Paradise Creek Peppermint Porter, River City’s 2015 Midnight Marmot imperial stout conditioned on Irish whiskey-soaked oak chips, Schooner Exact Mountain Boomer, Twelve String’s Twelve Strings of Winter and Waddell’s Lost Woods.

Vote for your favorite each night. There’s also live music inside at 9:30 p.m. by GrooveAcre on Friday and the Marshall McLean Band on Saturday.

Admission is $15, which includes a commemorative tasting glass and five drink tokens; get a 4-ounce pour for two tokens, 10 ounces for four, a full pint for five (extra tokens $1 each).

Freshly tapped

Twelve String is pouring a pair of new IPAs: the latest Crescendo Series experimental (6.5 percent alcohol by volume, 78 International Bitterness Units) with pineapple, citrus and pine notes from Denali hops, and the seasonal High Note black IPA (7.5, 82).

Iron Goat has brought back the bright Mosaic IPA (5.2, 72) first introduced last summer, along with its Gruff Goats Tripel (10.5, 25) and Cherry Chocolate Stout (7.8, 25).

The fruity, lightly tart Wild Strawberry Sour (4.4, 5) has returned at the Steam Plant.

Bellwether and Black Label both are pouring collaborations with local homebrew contest winners: a Dirtier Chai Stout (6.2, 18) and Mayan Warrior chocolate/chipotle porter (6.2, 25) at Bellwether, and a Coffee Amber Stout (5.2, 40) at Black Label.

Downdraft’s unfiltered Northwest Pale Ale (5.5, 40) is medium-bodied and moderately hopped.

Slate Creek is serving a fruity, malt-forward 7 Weight Rye IPA (7.5, 75).

Save the date

Deschutes is the guest for the 38th beer dinner at Hills’ Restaurant and Lounge on Sunday at 6 p.m. Pacific Wonderland will be paired with crab cakes, the 2015 and 2016 vintages of Abyss imperial stout with prime rib and the Belgian-style, wine barrel-aged Pinot Suave with chocolate/pineapple cake and huckleberry ice cream. Cost is $49 (includes tax and tip); call (509) 747-3946. Reservations close Friday.

Daft Badger celebrates its second anniversary Jan. 21 with a special double IPA, live music and discounts on bottled beer and merchandise.

Michigan’s Founders Brewing launches local distribution with tasting events at Pints Alehouse on Jan. 24, the Flying Goat on Jan. 25 and The Lantern Tap House on Jan. 26.

River City will be featured in a Mystery Beer Dinner on Jan. 26 at The Blackbird; unannounced beers will be paired with a five-course menu, their identities revealed and discussed once you’ve finished each dish. Cost is $55, including tax and tip; call (509) 392-4000.

Both Black Label and River City celebrate birthdays Jan. 28. The Monstrosity imperial IPA returns for Black Label’s second anniversary, while River City finishes its fourth year with a new Baltic porter plus live music and a barbecue truck.

Send beer news, comments and questions to senior correspondent Rick Bonino at

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