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On Tap: New brewery, Inland Ale Works, opening in Cheney

Cheney went 105 years between its previous two breweries, but the wait for the next one will be considerably shorter.

When New Boundary Brewing opened in May 2015, it was Cheney’s first since the city voted to go dry back in 1910, forcing the closure of Bavaria Brewery. While New Boundary called it quits at the end of 2017, now another newcomer is moving into the building at 505 First St.

Inland Ale Works hopes to open in September. Owner/brewer Nick Johnson, an amateur beer historian, said the name is a nod to Inland Brewing and Malting, which operated in Spokane in the early 1900s.

Johnson – whose homebrewing history goes back 30 years – lives in the Suncrest area north of Spokane County and never made it to New Boundary but found the affordable space while searching for a brewery location over the past year.

He plans to start out making five-barrel (155-gallon) batches of familiar styles, “more of what’s commercially viable as opposed to getting too crazy.” Those will include re-creations of the ale and lager recipes from Spokane’s former Golden Age Breweries (1934-48) based on the brewmaster’s records.

Items from Johnson’s collection of brewery memorabilia will be on display, and a small kitchen will serve snacks.

Brewery watch

Among the other brewery projects in progress:

TT’s Old Iron expects to open by the end of the month in its new Spokane Valley location at 4110 S. Bowdish Road. It has been sharing space in the downtown brewery incubator at the Steel Barrel, where chef Chad White has his Zona Blanca ceviche bar. White will provide barbecue at the new TT’s.

Bardic Brewing, which has been operating as a home-based cidery, last week brewed its first three beers: an ESB, Irish red and Scotch ale. Look for those soon at the new bottle and growler fill nights on Thursdays from 4-6:30 p.m. (14719 E. 15th Ave., Spokane Valley). A Valley taproom also is in the works as soon as this summer.

Home-based Bent Tree in Athol (30923 N. Quail Run Court) launches June 21 and will be open most Fridays from 4-7 p.m.

Bottle Bay, a home-based distribution brewery so far, is moving to brewery/taproom space at 503½ E. 30th Ave. (across Grand Boulevard from Manito Tap House).

Other breweries planning to open this summer include Ya Ya (11712 E. Montgomery Drive, Spokane Valley), Snow Eater (2325 N. McKenzie Lane, Liberty Lake), For the Love of God (2617 W. Northwest Blvd.) and the “Twin Peaks”-themed Black Lodge in Coeur d’Alene (from the owners of recently closed Downdraft, 206 N. Third Ave.), along with the Hidden Mother’s new brewery and taproom (1311 N. Washington St.)

Later this year, look for Brick West on the west end of downtown Spokane (1312 W. First Ave.), Lumberbeard on the eastern edge (25 E. Third Ave.) and Trail’s End in Coeur d’Alene (location to be announced).

By the numbers

When it comes to size, the local brewery scene is like a big fish, a medium pond and plenty of minnows.

No-Li produced 14,200 barrels of beer last year, making it Washington’s eighth-largest brewery just ahead of Seattle’s Pike, according to recently released Liquor and Cannabis Board figures.

That was almost 10 times the volume of Spokane County runner-up Iron Goat, at 1,600 barrels. Next in line were River City (1,140), Waddell’s (660), Big Barn (610), Twelve String (590) and Perry Street (550).

And 14 of the county’s 31 breweries that operated last year made less than 100 barrels.

Honor roll

No-Li last month brought home its 30th medal in international competition, a bronze for Wrecking Ball imperial stout at the Australian International Beer Awards.

In North Idaho, silver medals went to Wallace Brewing for its Wallace Strong ale and Laughing Dog for its spring small-batch English Pale Ale in last month’s North American Brewers Association awards at the Mountain Brewers Beer Fest in Idaho Falls.

And this year’s Washington Beer Awards will be handed out Saturday at the Washington Brewers Festival in Redmond. Look for the winners at wabeerawards.com.

Freshly tapped

Recent releases at area breweries include:

A big, dry Joosey Brut IPA (10.5% alcohol by volume) and Tangerine Brut Sour (7) at Perry Street.

Bellwether’s Finglas Oak Sour (6.3).

The small-batch Whole Lotta Rosie amber (6.5) at Post Falls.

English Setter’s Rollover pale (6.4).

A single-malt Klages pale (5.5), made with that locally grown barley, at the Grain Shed.

Trickster’s single-malt, single-hop Mosaic imperial IPA (8).

Whistle Punk’s hazy Loral IPA (7) and lighter Oat Lager (4.8).

A Northern Cross spring lager (5.2) by Selkirk Abbey.

Keep an eye out for the hoppy Northwest IPA collaboration brewed Saturday by new business partners Selkirk Abbey and the Hidden Mother, along with Grand Teton and Bale Breaker.

River City has released its first canned beer – Riverkeeper IPA in 12-ounce six-packs – while Iron Goat rolled out 16-ounce four-packs of its latest Pushing Up Hazys IPA from its new canning line, with more to come.

Last call

The first On Tap ran in The Spokesman-Review in January 1994, telling readers about a fledgling new brewery in Airway Heights called Northern Lights. Since then, that’s morphed into No-Li, and the local craft beer scene has exploded.

It’s been a great adventure taking you on that journey, but today marks my final column. It’s time for new energy to continue the ride (look for continuing craft beer coverage in these pages). Thanks for reading, and remember: Drink well, drink responsibly and drink local.

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