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.
Social media was abuzz yesterday with the hashtag #ABRoadEatsSpokane as chef and Food Network personality Alton Brown made his way around Spokane, sampling local offerings from coffee to waffles and banh mi sandwiches.
Brown tweeted, Facebook-ed and Instagram-ed his Spokane eating experiences, stopping at Coeur Coffeehouse, The Scoop, Indaba Coffee and Stella's Cafe before heading to the INB Performing Arts Center for his Alton Brown Live! show that evening.
Indaba manager Evan Lovell wasn't working yesterday morning, but his coworkers tell him Brown ordered a traditional flat white around 10 am.
"He was glad it was a real flat white," Lovell says, adding that some coffee connoisseurs — Brown posts online often about his love of coffee — disagree on the true characteristics of the drink, made from espresso and steamed milk.
After his coffee stop, Brown headed up to The Scoop on the South Hill for breakfast. Scoop owner Jennifer Davis — a huge fan of Brown's work — was doubtful he'd make it to her ice creamery and cafe, but says she planned to be there all day just in case.
"I was just like, you know, this is kind of the place [he'd like]; we have different food, we're off the beaten path and so he could probably check us out."
Shortly after learning of Brown's stop at Indaba, Davis says a woman stopped in to ask if they served breakfast, to which Davis replied that the Scoop is locally known for its liege waffles. She adds, "then I looked out the window and there he was!"
Lucky for Brown and his crew of two, Davis says foot traffic at the cafe was unusually slow that morning, and as such they were able to enjoy the Scoop's bacon nut, breakfast and minimalist waffles in relative peace.
"He took a super awesome Instagram picture and was able to take pictures of everything for Facebook and was asking about the neighborhood," Davis says.
Later that day, Brown showed off two mouthwatering sandwiches from Stella's Cafe — a classic banh mi and roast beef with provolone, kale and hot peppers.
At some point earlier, Brown also hit up Coeur Coffee just north of the Monroe Street Bridge for an Americano.
To end the day's eating, Brown ordered a long list of items from the Wandering Table in Kendall Yards, and had the food delivered because after his show ended around 9 pm, the restaurant was getting ready to close. Sous Chef Kyle Bowlby says a courier picked up an order of the restaurant's roasted brussels sprouts, crispy cauliflower, spaghetti stuffed meatballs, gnocchi gratin, bacon-wrapped bacon sliders, roast chicken wings, umami burgers and pepper spiced chips.
Since Bowlby had to work the evening shift and thus missed Brown's show, he asked if the celebrity chef would sign an epicurean cutting board and spoon, which the courier delivered back to the restaurant.
The above product is really a great thing to be used as if I had…
I agree that these discussions should have been held at the BEGINNING of the legal…
What kind of fantasy world is Andy Billig living in? He calls it a "manufactured"…
Did Ozzie state how many law enforcement officers in the area have been attacked by…