It’s no secret that craft beer is exploding in the U.S, and it’s AMAZING! Living in Spokane, WA I have been gifted with the ability to experience first-hand many local craft breweries. With a whopping 31 total craft breweries, the Eastern Washington city also offers the Spokane Ale Trail, featuring 28 stops in the Spokane area. In honor of American Craft Beer week I decided it was only fitting to detail my experiences at some of the many amazing breweries Spokane has to offer.
Founded in 1993 as Northern Lights Brewery in Airway Heights, WA, they moved to Spokane in 2002 and changed their name officially to No-Li Brewhouse. Easily the most significant and iconic brewery in Spokane, No-Li Brewhouse offers the best location and premium atmosphere for enjoying any one of their amazing draught options. Featuring a newly built “Bier Hall”, a main brewhouse room with a lodge-esque style atmosphere, and a half covered beer garden patio featuring riverfront relaxation and enjoyment.
I’ve always loved everything No-Li brewhouse has to offer, from the overall environment, the quality of beers, and especially the premium riverfront views. No-Li is the perfect place to enjoy a beer in the PNW, their renowned ‘No-Li Born & Raised’ is a signature and everything you would expect from your preferred casual easy to drink IPA. If you’re a fan of the darker ale’s like myself the ‘Wrecking Ball Stout’ or ‘Porch Glow Amber’ are amazing choices as well.
No-Li is a Spokane community staple as they feature, host, and advertise with many other local and statewide business throughout the Inland Northwest and state of Washington. Partnering with the local Spokane Indians, an MLB minor league affiliate, for the Redband Rally Event, and even participating in the Bier Fests at Schweitzer Mountain in Sandpoint, Idaho, it’s no debate that No-Li is one of the premiere breweries Spokane (and the Inland Northwest) has to offer!
Brick West Brewing Co.
Opening January 3rd 2020, right at the kickoff of the Covid-19 Pandemic, Brick West has amazingly turned the former ‘Watts Automotive’ building into Spokane’s best upcoming breweries. With an amazing open location in downtown Spokane Brick West offers the best environment for family gatherings, sports watching, and CRAFT BEER DRINKING, with over 15 different beers offered on tap Brick West has one of the widest range of selections to choose from.
Brick West has easily become one of my favorite breweries here in Spokane, there are just so many options to choose from, they were the first place I ever tried a Doppelbock (a dark German-Style lager) and I was instantly sold. Since then, I’ve enjoyed numerous of their amazing craft brews both on tap and canned at the local stores. The Westbound Train is probably the best Juicy IPA I’ve ever had, for people that don’t normally go for the IPA’s this beer offers a sweet and soothing citrus taste that gently pulls you into the normally bitter aftertaste you’d dislike from typical IPA’s; however if you are a connoisseur of the IPA than you will enjoy this sweet, refreshing and satisfying beer all the same, a perfect summertime Ale.
Brick West Continues to crank out amazing beers year-round, and often, I was in just last week to try their Ales for A.L.S a beer brewed from a particular selection of Hops selected by the American A.L.S foundation for breweries to brew. This meeting happens every year in Yakima, WA and breweries get the chance to select the hops for their desired ale. Brick West chose to brew a New England Hazy Ale with the Hops they chose and I must say it was one of my favorite’s they’ve brewed. Not the typical Hazy I was expecting, it came off as more an IPA, I enjoyed it’s smooth hoppy consistency and felt it to be a christening like of my transition to the enjoyment of IPAs overall.
Bottle Bay Brewing Co.
Bottle Bay Brewing Co. is probably my favorite craft breweries in Spokane. Located just off Grand Blvd. on Spokane’s South Hill it’s ease of access has definitely helped me formulate a bias. However, the overall atmosphere, generosity, and quality of beer has made this particular brewery a must-need local frequent. I’ve gotten to see this brewery go from it’s opening days to where it is now and it’s only gotten better. Never abandoning their ‘Campground Family’ welcome, Bottle Bay offers a select but perfectly balanced offering of brew.
It’s a hard toss-up for me on where my favorite draught lies, their Stout is probably my favorite though. However, recently I got to try the West Coast Day Drinker and the Scotch Ale and both offered totally different yet completely amazing flavor offerings. The West Coast was described to me by the bartender as a ‘Light’ or ‘Easy’ IPA and he didn’t miss. A ‘Session IPA’ it offered a smooth and bold hoppy profile associated with your traditional IPA but, it also withheld the (what I seem to deem) the signature ‘bitter bite’ of an IPA, thusly making it an easier drinking beer for people that ‘like the flavor but not the pucker’ of a typical IPA. The Scotch Ale however offers a different profile, a darker ale showcasing the looks of an amber Bottle Bay’s Scotch Ale offers a casket blend that normally would have me thinking +10% ABV but it’s only 7.1%. The Scotch Ale truly procures a beer that is both easy to drink and not too daunting to consume, while still retaining the smoky and incessant aroma of a renowned Scotch.
Marco Plastino started brewing under the Bottle Bay name in 2016 and had great success with distributing his brews that he opened Bottle Bay Brewing Co. on the South Hill in 2019. Surviving through the COVID-19 pandemic Bottle Bay has the distinction of being the only brewery currently running on the South Hill. Each time I’ve gone into this particular brewery I’ve never felt more welcome. Having great conversations with the master brewer Marco himself and their Graphic Designer Marcus, as well as numerous different patrons. Bottle Bay has such a nostalgic and relaxing vibe to it that they have become one of the best regular stops in my brewery outings.