The continued emergence of local craft beer continues with two new breweries officially opening their doors last month.
Owners Luke and Emily Black of Athol’s Lone Mountain Farms (25415 N. Ramsey Road) worked long and hard getting the necessary permits and licenses to open one of the region’s first on-farm brewing operations, but their patience paid off as the new taproom opened for business in early October.
Using a single-barrel system, Lone Mountain is able to produce a variety of small-batch beers, including interesting releases like kale pale ale and an autumn squash ale. The plan also is to start releasing estate beers made entirely out of ingredients grown on the farm itself. To learn more about the brewery, visit its website at lonemountainfarms.com/brewery.
Although the Spokane Arena-adjacent taproom is new, the Hidden Mother Brewery (1303 N. Washington St.) has been a well-respected name in the local brewing scene since its inception in early 2018. Owner and brewer Mike deTar has been brewing and distributing locally from his original system located on family-owned property in Liberty Lake.
His brews, which are all organically produced, took home gold and silver medals in the experimental beers category of the 2018 Washington Beer Awards. The new taproom features a wide variety of Hidden Mother’s own beers, and, thanks to a partnership with Post Falls’ Selkirk Abbey, also includes brews from Selkirk and its subsidiary brand, Northern Cross.
More details can be found at thehiddenmotherbrewery.com.
English Setter Brewing’s new name
Spokane Valley’s English Setter Brewing is in its final stages of rebranding to become Natural 20 Brewing.
“After two years of ownership and getting our feet underneath us, we have decided to take the brewery in our own direction. (We) will focus on all-natural ingredients for our beer lineup and food menu,” owners Reece and Jackie Carlson said in a Facebook post.
As Natural 20, the Carlson’s plan to keep several of the most popular existing English Setter beers, some with new names, and begin introducing their own new recipes developed during their years of home brewing.
As you might imagine with a name like Natural 20, which is a reference to the best possible roll of a 20-sided dice used primarily in Dungeons & Dragons, the taproom at 15310 E. Marietta Ave. in Spokane Valley will have an emphasis on tabletop and board games.
The brewery is open for business while the taproom gets a facelift, and a grand opening celebration under the new branding is planned for Nov. 23.
Ale Trail app is upgraded
The Inland Northwest Craft Brewers Association, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting local craft beer, has recently released a newly updated app that will help track brewery-hopping adventures throughout the region. The app provides a map of INWCBA-affiliated breweries, as well as other local points of interest and allows users to check in to earn points for each visit.
These points can be redeemed for goods and services at each location, according to a news release. To download the app, go to the Apple App Store or Android Market and search for “InlandNW Ale Trail.”
Great American Beer Festival
The Great American Beer Festival was the first weekend of October in Denver. It is the largest beer festival in the country with more than 2,200 breweries pouring 4,000 beers to the 60,000-plus attendees over three days.
In addition to the party, it also is one of the most prestigious brewing competitions in the country. Thousands of beers are submitted for expert judgment, and medals are awarded in 107 beer-style categories. Although no local breweries brought home awards, Washington and Idaho were well-represented.
Washington breweries won 14 medals, including golds for American-Style Pale Ale (Johnny Utah by Seattle’s Georgetown Brewing), Export Stout (Correspondent from Wander Brewing in Bellingham) and Belgian-Style Fruit Beer (Foxy Lady by Bremerton’s Silver City Brewing.) Silver City Brewing also won recognition as midsize brewery of the year.
Idaho captured four awards, including three golds for American-Style Brown Ale (Naked Sunbather from Mad Swede Brewing in Boise), American-Style Stout (Black Cliffs, Boise Brewing, Boise) and Smoke Beer (Red-Fish Rauchbock, Sockeye Brewing, Boise.)
For a full list of this and past year’s winners, visit the GABF website at greatamericanbeerfestival.com.
Beers for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and while wine might be the first thing that comes to mind for beverage pairings, beer is a great and versatile option for the feast. Here is a brief rundown of potential options for each stage of the day.
Afternoon appetizers: The key here is to find something with a relatively low-alcohol content that won’t be very filling. After all, you want to make it to dinner. As I mentioned in my last column, many Oktoberfest beers fit this bill, but if you’re looking for something a bit less malty, a nice pilsner or cream ale might just the ticket.
Dinner: There are a couple of ways you can go here. A Belgian-style dubbel is a strong, fairly sweet, medium-bodied beer with notes of spice and fruit, which can pair well with the richer flavors of turkey, stuffing and gravy, but also complement tart flavors like cranberry sauce.
Another great option is a saison, which is generally lower in alcohol and lighter-bodied but has some of the same fruity-spicy characteristics that meld well with Thanksgiving staples.
Dessert: It might seem counterintuitive, but sweet desserts don’t tend to pair well with sweet beers. Look for flavors that complement rather than stack. Imperial and barrel-aged stouts, especially when brewed with coffee or dark chocolate, provide sweetness at the beginning but enough roasted bitterness to balance out a sugary dessert.
Be wary, however, because many of these beers can get pretty high in alcohol content. A slightly lighter option with similar characteristics would be a coffee porter. With pairing, it’s all about what tastes best to you. Bring options, and you might discover great new combos.
For events this week, check out my What’s Hoppin’ This Week event calendar at my blog 509beerblog.com. Reach out with any tips, news or feedback via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter @509beerblog.