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A&E >  Beer/Drinks

On Tap: Find fresh brews at Craft Beer Festival

Inland Northwest Craft Beer Festival returns to Avista Stadium. (Courtesy of the Washington Beer Commission)
Inland Northwest Craft Beer Festival returns to Avista Stadium. (Courtesy of the Washington Beer Commission)

The Inland Northwest Craft Beer Festival returns to Avista Stadium on Sept. 21-22 with a familiar format and another slew of fresh faces.

Thirteen of the 40 breweries scheduled to pour are different from last year. Otherwise, it’s the same drill, said Eric Radovich, executive director of the sponsoring Washington Beer Commission: “More than 150 beers along the outfield wall, music at second base, food trucks. People are getting used to this being an end-of-summer tradition.

“Maybe we can even celebrate the Spokane Indians winning the Northwest League pennant,” added Radovich, who also serves as official scorer for the Seattle Mariners.

New to the lineup are Spokane’s Four-Eyed Guys, Genus Brewing, Millwood Brewing, Mountain Lakes and TT’s Old Iron, along with Seattle’s gluten-free Ghostfish, Laht Neppur (Waitsburg), Mack & Jack’s (Redmond), Republic (Republic), Riverport (Clarkston), Single Hill (Yakima), Sumerian (Woodinville) and Wenatchee Valley (Wenatchee).

Returning locals include Bellwether, Bennidito’s, Big Barn, Black Label, Hopped Up, Iron Goat, Little Spokane, No-Li, River City, Steam Plant, Twelve String, V Twin, Waddell’s and Young Buck.

They’ll be joined by fellow returnees 7 Seas (Tacoma), Boundary Bay (Bellingham), Dru Bru (Snoqualmie Pass), Fremont (Seattle), Georgetown (Seattle), Icicle (Leavenworth), Iron Horse (Ellensburg), Paradise Creek (Pullman), Pike (Seattle), Ten Pin (Moses Lake), Top Frog (Newport), Two Beers (Seattle) and White Bluffs (Richland).

The beer list features lots of fresh hop and Oktoberfest seasonals along with a few pumpkin beers, plus plenty of IPAs and sours. In addition to the usual stouts, barrel-aged brews include a gin citrus IPA, dark sour and Scotch ale from Iron Goat, Scottish ale and blackberry sour by Waddell’s, Twelve String’s tequila Mango Mambo and tart cherry porter, River City’s barleywine, Big Barn’s rye IPA, Bennidito’s imperial IPA, a Young Buck sour and Little Spokane strong ale

Also look for such specialties as a Rocky Road brown by Hopped Up fermented with chocolate and caramelized marshmallow, and a cereal-infused Count Chocula imperial stout from Genus (at the Nu Home Brew supply shop).

With the forecast calling for highs around 70 and mostly sunny skies, Radovich hopes to top last year’s record 3,500 full-price admissions in the festival’s fifth year at Avista and ninth overall.

For the third year, Friday admission is limited to 21 and older but Saturday is family-friendly (younger than 21 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian). A kids’ play area will feature bouncy houses and a slide.

There were around 50 youth admissions the first year, and that nearly tripled last time, Radovich said.

“That’s the next growth area,” he said. “We’re seeing what effect it has on attendance, the value it brings for parents with smaller kids.”

Pucker up

The Lantern Tap House’s fifth annual Sour Fest launches today an extended four-day run.

Four Cascade offerings are featured for today’s kickoff, with a half-dozen bottled sours pouring Thursday. As usual, action moves to the outdoor tent Friday and Saturday with 11 rotating taps from locals Iron Goat, No-Li, Paradise Creek and Waddell’s along with such favorites as Almanac, Crux, Deschutes, Double Mountain, Firestone, Grand Teton and New Belgium.

It all starts at 4 p.m. today through Friday and 2 on Saturday. Admission is $10 (good for all four days), which includes a souvenir glass and your first beer; taster options will be available along with full pours.

Brewery watch

TT’s Old Iron is graduating from the downtown incubator where it shares space with Little Spokane and Young Buck. It plans to open its own operation next spring in the Spokane Valley near Dishman-Mica and Bowdish.

Mountain Lakes’ Loral & Hearty session IPA won the inaugural Lester Cup, topping other single-malt, single-hop beers by Bellwether, Black Label, Whistle Punk and Young Buck in customer voting.

The Grain Shed has started selling beer to go in prepackaged 32-ounce cans, along with regular growler fills.

Freshly tapped

Look for malty Oktoberfest offerings at Mountain Lakes (5.3 percent alcohol by volume, 21 International Bitterness Units) and Millwood (5.3, 26).

Bennidito’s is serving a Simcoe Autumn IRA (India red ale, 7.2, 65).

Post Falls is pouring a hop-forward The Enabler West Coast IPA (6.3, 106).

No-Li’s Double Dip is a double dry-hopped version of its Born & Raised IPA (7, 85).

Hopped Up has a wet-hopped version of its Captain Chaos imperial IPA (11, 100).

Whistle Punk and River City kicked off fresh-hop season with a pleasantly pungent, oily Centennial collaboration. Look for a full rundown of local fresh hops in the next On Tap.

Save the date

Bring homegrown hops to Iron Goat on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the annual SpoHop picking party and community brew.

Post Falls Brewing’s Oktoberfest on Saturday starting at noon will include beer releases, live music and food trucks.

The Inland Northwest chapter of Beer Choir meets Monday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Black Label.

For more local craft beer event listings, see

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