The winter Lester Cup competition is in full swing, featuring five big bone-warming beers from Spokane breweries:
Bellwether’s Remembrance Russian imperial stout (10.5 percent ABV), cellared several months in kegs for extra smoothness. Bellwether is at 2019 N. Monroe St.
Black Label’s Four Horsemen barleywine (12.3), aged with plums in a Barili wine barrel. Black Label is at 19 W. Main Ave.
The Grain Shed’s English-style Baronesse strong ale (9.2), made with the namesake barley variety and Fuggles hops. The Grain Shed is at 1026 E. Newark Ave.
Mountain Lakes’ Double Back doppelbock (9.2), hopped with floral German Hallertauer Hersbrucker and aged for four months. Mountain Lakes is at 201 W. Riverside Ave.
Whistle Punk’s lightly sweet S’mores milk stout (8.1), brewed with the traditional graham cracker, marshmallow and cocoa. Whistle Punk is at 122 S. Monroe St.
The contest runs through March 15. Pick up a ballot at your first stop, get it stamped when you drink each beer and vote for your favorite when you’re finished.
The winner takes custody of the coveted estate-sale trophy, which went to event founder Mountain Lakes in the first round last summer.
Starting to roar
February came in like a Lyon for local malt.
The most high-profile beer brewed so far with Lyon barley – a new variety developed by Washington State University with craft brewers in mind, grown on the Palouse and malted by Spokane’s LINC Malt – arrived here last week from Seattle’s Fremont Brewing.
Grains of Cascadia (5 percent alcohol by volume) is a golden pale ale with a fresh, bready aroma and biscuity, honey-tinged flavor, accented by herbal Golding hops.
Limited supplies were delivered to local bottle shops and bars including Bottles, Community Pint, Flying Goat, Happy Trails to Brews, JB’s, Main Market, Nectar (Kendall Yards), Pints, Republic Pi and Rocket Market.
Several local breweries have worked with Lyon malt including Moscow’s Hunga Dunga, which uses it regularly in an oatmeal pale ale.
“It’s exciting for us to help lead the charge getting it introduced to brewers,” said Brian Estes of LINC Malt, which malts a variety of locally grown grains.
Sales of No-Li’s special Fight Fire pale ale last month raised $10,000 for charity, twice as much as originally expected. Of that, $2,500 each went to the Washington State Fire Fighters’ Association and Northern California’s Camp Fire Relief Fund, and the remaining $5,000 to an Airway Heights family who lost their home in a post-Christmas fire.
Post Falls Brewing is the latest local brewery to offer its beers to go in hand-filled, 32-ounce crowler cans. Pick one up at 112 N. Spokane St.
Craft beer fans have a new destination in northwest Spokane. Happy Trails to Brews, which opened last month in the Sundance Plaza at 9025 N. Indian Trail Road, has 16 well-selected beers and ciders on tap plus crowlers to go and regular bottles and cans to drink in or take out.
The latest releases from local breweries include:
Twelve String’s B-Side Brutish IPA (6.5 percent ABV), in the crisp, dry brut IPA style but with more body and mouthfeel.
Rye You So Hazy? double dry-hopped New England-style IPA from Humble Abode (6.5), brewed with flaked rye and Amarillo, Comet and Loral hops.
Quiet Rye-ot pale (5.3) from Iron Goat.
Mountain Lakes’ Grain Mountain (9.2) collaboration with the Grain Shed, brewed with leftover loaves from the latter’s in-house Culture Breads bakery.
Whistle Punk’s Sabro IPA (6.6), with a pineapple-coconut character from its namesake hop.
A session IPA (5) from Mad Bomber, hopped with Chinook and Challenger.
A “mystery ale” from Hopped Up; the person who comes closest to guessing the style, grain, hops, ABV and IBU (International Bitterness Units) will win a Pit Boss Tailgater grill.
Save the date
English Setter releases a Puppy Love strawberry/basil/lemon/honey blonde Thursday as part of its weeklong fifth anniversary celebration, along with a dinner package special for two to four people. Also look for a kettle sour Wednesday, a Double Dog Dare IPA on Friday and a Beagle Juice citrus IPA on Saturday. English Setter is at 15310 E. Marietta Ave., Suite 4, in Spokane Valley.
Bellwether is offering a Valentine’s Day flight of five beers and five miniature desserts (from Made With Love Bakery and Sweet Annie’s Artisan Creamery) for $20, while supplies last.
Get pizza and dessert for two for $20 at Iron Goat, 1302 W. Second Ave., on Thursday.
Community Pint, 120 E. Sprague Ave., is pouring sours by Almanac, Breakside, Firestone Walker, Grand Teton and pFriem for My Sour Valentine from Thursday through Sunday, with flight specials.
A B-Bomb Bash at Happy Trails to Brews from Friday through Sunday features $20 flights of five takes on the barrel-aged Fremont winter ale: the regular versions from 2016 through 2018, plus this year’s coffee cinnamon and coconut varietals. The tap house is at 9025 N. Indian Trail Road.
Lost Boys Garage, 6325 N. Wall St., hosts a Badass Backyard tap takeover Friday from 5 to 8 p.m.
The next Brewery Battle at the downtown Steady Flow Growler House, 111 S. Cedar St., on Feb. 23 starting at 5 p.m. pits Post Falls Brewing against Humble Abode; each will offer two beers for blind tasting, with the winner in customer voting announced at 7.
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