Tuesday, July 28, 2015

New study shows beer generates more than good times and hangovers, like jobs and taxes

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2015 at 1:09 PM


We're currently working on our upcoming Beer Issue — hitting the streets August 20 — so the Inlander staff has beer on the brain a bit more than usual. Walk past some of our cubicles, and you might recognize the signs of a thirsty writer or editor

After a little bit of reporting, it turns out beer is not only a delicious treat, it's a pretty significant part of the economy. Sounds like a great reason to raise a toast — cheers!

The folks at something called the Beer Institute and the National Beer Wholesalers Association today released a new study called "Beer Serves America: A Study of the U.S. Beer Industry's Economic Contribution," and in the report (put together by John Dunham and Associates), they break down things like how beer contributes to jobs and taxes both nationally and in each of the states. You can read the report if you want to get into the minutiae, but we thought there were a few noteworthy stats Inlander readers might be interested in: 
  • Overall, the beer industry generates about $252.6 billion in economic activity, which equates to about 1.5 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product. 
  • Based on data from 2014, beer is responsible for the existence of about 1.75 million jobs, ranging from the people working at the breweries themselves to all the suppliers affiliated with the industry — bottle and can manufacturers, cardboard companies, marketing enterprises and the like. 
  • The total number of breweries has grown by 2,290 in the past two years, most of them microbreweries and brewpubs. Residents of the Inland Northwest can certainly attest to that trend as our ale trail is growing like crazy. 
  • Nearly $50 billion in taxes is generated by the production of beer and other malt beverages (those hard lemonades, etc.), and those taxes make up about 40 percent of the price we pay for a beer. 
  • In Washington state, the beer industry generates nearly $3 billion in economic activity, and roughly 38 percent of the retail price of beers goes toward federal and state taxes.
  • In Idaho, the beer biz generates about $460 million in economic activity, and roughly 37 percent of the price of each beer goes toward taxes. 
You can check out the data of any state you like with this handy website. And watch for that Beer Issue coming August 20.
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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

VIDEO: Battle of the Cheap Eats Inlander food experts

Posted By on Wed, Jul 15, 2015 at 4:05 PM

One sunny afternoon, two interns went to three Spokane eateries in search of items to stump the best Inlander foodies. They brought back three deliciously cheap meals to the second floor of the Inlander building in Kendall Yards, and challenged Mike Bookey and Laura Regester's knowledge of this local fare.

They sat them down in a meeting room, blindfolded them, and pressed record. Who will be the best at determining the restaurant of origin and price of these foods? Will they miss their mouths when they eat? Is that chicken or beef? Watch and find out, and check out links to all the Cheap Eats 2015 stories below: 


New and Cheap, a roundup of great, new cheap grub options in Spokane. 
Rolling Goodies, a look at the latest food truck sweet deals
Burger Brawl, in which Inlander staffers eat every burger from Zip's at once. Every. Burger. 
Just Desserts helps you find sweet treats on the cheap. 
The Nicest Price is free, and here's where you can find free food. 
Hot and Cold, where to find great deli deals. 
Keeping It Classic. Or Not, a showdown between old-school favorites and cheap rising stars on the scene. 
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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Underground 15 closes its doors

Posted By on Wed, Jul 8, 2015 at 4:10 PM


The downtown bar at the corner of First and Howard is up for sale once more. With barely a year under its belt, Underground 15 bar and music venue has closed, letting patrons know with a sign on its front door (the business's Facebook page is also shut down).

“We're in the process of trying to sell it,” said co-owner and local musician Zach Wirchak in an email. “I like to call it ‘partners disagreement.’ It was best just to try and sell so we can all go our own ways. Frustrating for me, but such is life!”

A little bit out of the way from the downtown nightlife hotspots on Sprague and also North Division and East Main, Underground 15 still managed to draw people for various DJ and trivia nights. The space often hosted local bands that other music venues weren’t featuring. In a town of seemingly rotating music venues, this is yet another loss. 

The location was once home to the local favorite the Blue Spark, which closed in 2013 after 14 years in business. With the next door Ridpath Hotel's opening approaching, the business location may soon be a hot commodity. 
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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Chairs Public House closes its doors

Posted By on Thu, Jun 11, 2015 at 3:36 PM

Chairs Public House - SARAH WURTZ
  • Sarah Wurtz
  • Chairs Public House

After only a year and a half of business, Chairs Public House permanently closed its doors on the evening of June 9.

The shop, originally known as Chairs Coffee and located on east Indiana Ave., moved to north Hamilton Street by Gonzaga in November of 2013. After its move and makeover, the cafe added a full menu of appetizers and entrees as well as a bar, and changed its name to Chairs Public House.

The move to the Hamilton location seemed to cause a lot of trouble for the business. According to Chairs’ website, the shop closed due to various business issues, as well as the roughness of the restaurant industry.

Chairs sat directly across from a Starbucks, as well as Jack and Dan’s Bar and Grill. With a big corporate coffee shop on one side, and a Gonzaga staple on the other, the competition for customers was tough. Chairs had a strong focus on Gonzaga students to be its customers, but with more than five coffee shops on campus, as well as a Starbucks and several new restaurants entering the new student center, most students are opting to buy coffee and food on their meal plans rather than at local shops.

On its Facebook page, Chairs' management put out a plea for other bars and coffee shops to hire its bartenders, baristas, cooks, or managers. 
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Friday, June 5, 2015

Not too late to get your National Donut Day on

Posted By on Fri, Jun 5, 2015 at 12:28 PM


Feel free to indulge in the sweet taste of a doughnut today — after all, it is National Doughnut Day and that alone should dispel any guilt you feel about eating the sugary treat.

It may seem like every few weeks or so there is a day promoting some type of food like National Pie Day or National Cookie Day, however, National Doughnut Day is more legitimate than most. 

According to, National Doughnut Day originated in 1938 when women volunteering for the Salvation Army delivered World War I soldiers doughnuts in order to boost morale. National Doughnut Day became a way to raise funds and awareness of the Salvation Army. also says the Red Cross women picked up the doughnut tradition during World War II. The women, referred to as dough girls or dough lassies, became favorites of soldiers overseas.

Basically, an excuse you can use to grab a doughnut today could be that you’re supporting a long-standing American tradition of supporting our troops.

Luckily, there are many spots in Spokane to pick up that maple bar or jelly-filled delight.

You’ll have to hurry. Many doughnut shops, like Donut Parade, aren’t open all day. Donut Parade closed at 1 pm, and Mike’s Old Fashioned Donuts in the Valley closed at noon. And even though Mike’s Old Fashioned Donuts didn't give away free donuts, Mike Britton says they were very busy.

“We’re totally wiped out,” Britton said in the midst of the morning mayhem. “We can’t make them fast enough to sell them!” Britton said the rush began at 6 am, and said this is one of the busiest National Doughnut Days he’s ever had.

Casual Friday Doughnuts on Division is another location to buy the sweet treat, and thankfully, they’re open until 6 pm. 

For even more shops check out this Inlander article that mentions some great doughnut shops around town, and even breaks them down for you by type of doughnut. 
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Thursday, June 4, 2015

All-Star game meets all-star beer: Check out the label of a new No-Li brew coming soon

Posted By on Thu, Jun 4, 2015 at 3:08 PM

Some would say the world is made up of two kinds of people: Those who love baseball, and those who are wrong. Even those who profess to hate America's game can probably get behind the idea of spending a summer night sipping some tasty local brew in a beautiful park — even one with some aspiring professionals playing a game on it. 

This summer — Aug. 4, to be exact — the Spokane Indians' Avista Stadium is hosting the first-ever showdown of all-star players from the team's Northwest League and the neighboring Pioneer League. To mark the occasion, No-Li Brewhouse and the team are partnering up on a limited release beer called All-Star Game Golden Ale. 

Here's a look at the label: 
Pretty sweet, right? You have some Spokane landmarks on there, as well as the twin pine trees that great visitors to Avista Stadium. Very nice. 

The beer will start popping up on local store shelves after June 16, just as the fan voting for the All-Star Classic gets underway, and there are directions on each bottle explaining how to cast your vote for your favorite Indians player. Hell, even if you have a favorite Tri-City Dust Devil or Eugene Emerald, you can vote for them, too. You can also get details on the all-star voting right here. Of course, we won't know who's on the roster of the Indians squad until we're much closer to the team's June 18 opening night, but we know you like to plan ahead. And drink beer. 

No-Li's sales and marketing manager, Callet Ioane, said in a press release that "Spokane Indians baseball is an organization with a rich history, deeply rooted in our city. With so much of who we are at No-Li coming from our love of Spokane and the sense of pride we feel for being a part of this community, a partnership with the ballclub made perfect sense."

Baseball. Beer. Together. TOTALLY makes perfect sense to me. 
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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Celebrate National Burger Day with the Better Burger Project

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2015 at 4:31 PM

Don't act like you didn't know it was National Burger Day. You've had this seemingly inconsequential Thursday circled on your calendar for months, just waiting for an excuse to place as much beef, cheese, bacon and God-knows-what-else as physics will allow between a couple buns and then wait on the couch for June to arrive.

Seriously, though, it's National Burger Day. This is a thing, and it's likely that someone on Facebook already pointed this out to you with a picture of some artery-cementing monstrosity like this. Don't get me wrong, I like burgers. Shit, I can't promise I won't eat one before I finish typing this sentence. But that said, a couple local restaurants are doing something pretty cool to help us rethink the burger.

The James Beard Foundation’s Better Burger Project is a campaign to promote a healthier and more environmentally sustainable burger by combining meat with mushrooms.

Sante unveiled its entry earlier this week. It’s a combination of 70 percent Wagyu beef from Thompson River Ranch and 30 percent crimini, Portobello and oyster mushrooms. It’s served on a ciabatta bun from Sante’s sister restaurant, Common Crumb, and accompanied with house-cured bacon, butter lettuce, grilled onions, morel mushrooms and more.

Manito Tap House, the South Hill gastropub already well known for its environmentally conscious efforts, also has a Better Burger Project offering. Manito is offering the Buffalo & Change, a creation by chef Molly Patrick that features ground buffalo mixed with king trumpet mushrooms and served with rhubarb ham and toasted almond butter on a toasted brioche bun. It’s available for $15 and can be served gluten-free on request.

“A blended burger also brings more sustainable, plant-based items to menus allowing Americans to enjoy the taste and flavor of the burgers they love, knowing it’s a healthier and more sustainable preparation,” reads a press release from the James Beard Foundation.

You can vote for your favorite Better Burger by uploading a photo of your preferred burger to Instagram and tagging it with the hashtag #betterburgerproject as well as the restaurant’s handle.

The burgers are on the menu at both restaurants through July 31.
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Friday, May 15, 2015

Orlison Brewing Co. to open downtown Spokane taproom

Posted By on Fri, May 15, 2015 at 12:42 PM


Orlison Brewing Co. has made serious strides in the two years since they rebranded from Golden Hills Brewing. They've put their canned lagers in just about every grocery store in the Inland Northwest and made significant inroads in other Northwest markets, growing steadily along the way out of their Airway Heights warehouse location.

But now, Orlison is making another step forward in opening their own taproom in downtown Spokane. Previously, you could taste or buy a keg from the Airway Heights spot, but it was far from the beaten path and also a busy production facility. In the coming months, though, you can settle in at Orlison's taproom, which is set to take over the space at 1017 W. First Avenue (between Madison and Monroe streets) previously occupied by Luxe Coffee House, according to Orlison's Operations and Logistics Manager Kristen Silver.

Longtime Spokanites will know this spot as the Oddfellow's Building which also features a sizable ballroom. Orlison is working on having some access to that space, too, Silver says.

You can expect to find 16 beers on tap at the new space, including guest taps and experimental Orlison brews that you won't find elsewhere. The tap room will also sell cans and do growler fills. All brewing operations will continue out of the Airway Heights spot, Silver says, where you can still buy kegs.
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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Powdered alcohol probably not coming to a store near you any time soon

Posted By on Thu, Apr 23, 2015 at 3:55 PM

Ever wished you could carry powdered alcohol in your purse for impromptu shindigs? Just think of the possibilities. The product— Palcohol— exists, on the planet now and in stores some places this summer. But it probably won’t exist in stores in Washington. Ever.

Earlier in the current legislative session, the Senate had gotten the ball rolling with an effort to regulate the powder in ways similar to liquid alcohol. The House of Representatives did them one better on April 13, voting 91-6 to ban powdered alcohol for everyone but researchers.

Rep. Jeff Holy from Cheney worried that people would sneak Palcohol into places where alcohol has no place, like church, maybe, or the library. Schools. Anywhere, really. It would just be too tempting. Alcohol needs to be kept big and bulky and in need of a vessel to be safe in Washington. Senate Bill 5292 got kicked back to the Senate for approval on the changes.

Mark Phillips created Palcohol because he loves to hike and drink and he wanted to combine those hobbies without limiting his outings to hikes that could be completed comfortably while carrying beer and wine and whatever else he wanted to drink that day. He started trying to find powdered alcohol and it didn’t exist. He was, like, "Huh? How can this not even exist?"

From there things snowballed. He found scientists around the globe. They appreciated his vision and worked together to create Palcohol. Triumphant, he returned to the United States to share the good news: Portable alcohol for hiking and climbing and cycling. Plus, there are apparently science and military applications. Palcohol, yay!

Then Phillips' bubble burst a bit when several states started railing against his product. Alaska, Delaware, Louisiana, South Carolina and Vermont have already banned the stuff, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. But, more importantly for people in Spokane, what’s Idaho thinking?

Director of the Idaho Lottery & Idaho State Liquor Division Jeff Anderson says that though their state hasn’t outlawed powdered alcohol, he doesn’t envision it will ever be sold there.

“In the beverage alcohol business there is labeling on packaging that informs consumers about alcohol content, whether it be a 3.2 beer, a 13.5 wine or a 40 proof spirit,” says Anderson. “With powdered alcohol, consumers mix it and people could mix it improperly and end up with a beverage that is 170 proof instead of 80 proof.”

The Idaho State Liquor Division has the authority to regulate Palcohol and Anderson intends to use that power to keep the product out of the state.

“I presume if that were challenged the Idaho Legislature would step in and do the same thing they’ve done in Washington,” says Anderson.
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Liberty Ciderworks nabs top award at world's largest cider competition

Posted By on Thu, Apr 23, 2015 at 3:07 PM


The cider revolution has hit the Inland Northwest in full force, and Spokane's Liberty Ciderworks is undoubtedly leading the charge.

Nearly a full year after the two-man cidery opened its downtown tasting room, owners Rick Hastings and Austin Dickey have taken home their biggest accolade to date: Best in Class honors for Liberty's Stonewall cider at the 10th annual Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition (GLINTCAP). Held earlier this month, April 10-12, the international competition received 480 entries of cider and perry (pear cider) from around the world. Liberty's Stonewall, aged in the whiskey barrels of another Northwest booze purveyor, Dry Fly Distilling, was one of just three ciders to earn the Best in Class distinction at the event, as well as a gold medal in a category with nearly 200 other entries.

"We were floored when we saw the results for Stonewall," says Hastings, Liberty's head cidermaker. "We've had great feedback from customers and our peers, but this is about as big an honor as anyone gets in the cider business. It's a big-league win for us."

This isn't Liberty's first time at GLINTCAP, as the cidery has taken home multiple awards in recent years for several of its other cider varieties. In 2013, the New World cider took home a silver medal. Last year, its English Style cider nabbed a gold medal while the limited-release Jonathan single-varietal (SV) and New World both took home bronze awards.

Aside from Stonewall's big win this year, four other varieties of Liberty's cider won silver medals: the Kingston Black SV, Macintosh SV, the dry-hopped Turncoat and the port-style Manchurian Crabapple cider.  

It's also worth mentioning here that Inlander readers already know Liberty's ciders are tops, voting the cider maker as producing the best local cider in the region for this year's Best Of readers poll. 

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