A total of 22 regional and local craft breweries and cideries come together for the second annual PowderKeg Brew Fest this weekend, Nov. 7-8, a sampling event catering to the various tastes of Inland Northwesterners. Attendees can choose from one of three tasting packages ($15-$25), take a spin at the prize wheel and try out some seasonal beverages in celebration of the coming winter.
After we've set our boots by the fireplace, shed our frost-covered scarves and put our feet up after a good day on the slopes, it just feels right to indulge in a seasonal ale that can only be appreciated during this time of the year. Local Hopped Up Brewing Company features Destroy my Sweater at PowderKeg, an earthy beer brewed with caramel and mulch malts. Some other seasonal drinks include the Jubelale and Chasin' Freshies from Deschutes Brewery, Sleigh'r from Ninkasi Brewing, No Li's Winter Warmer, the Winterfest Seasonal Ale from Sockeye Brewing and Trickster's Brewing Co.'s Winter Ale. Mmmm. Get cozy.
For fruit lovers, One Tree Hard Cider pours their Ginger Lemon Cider to wake you up and a Caramel Cinnamon Cider to bring you back to Grandma's apple pie. Finnriver Farm & Cidery goes tart and purple with their Black Currant Cider, made with organic and heirloom apples.
You're into the hops? Try Alaskan Brewing Co.'s classic Freeride APA, MickDuff's Noho, or Bale Breaker's Topcutter IPA with hops from the nearby Yakima Valley. More of a porter person? Give a taste to the bronze medal winner from the 2011 North American Beer Awards, MickDuff's Knot Tree Porter.
Here's a comprehensive peek at all the beer and cider on tap at this year's PowderKeg:
If it turns out your friends don't want to be your designated driver. Don't worry — we're partnering with Lyft. Only one ticket purchase is necessary for access both days to these two festive events: PowderKeg and Snowlander Expo. Get yours at the Snowlander Expo site, at the door or through Tickets West.
PowderKeg Inlander Brew Festival • Fri, Nov. 7 from 4 pm-9 pm and Sat, Nov. 8 from 12 pm-8 pm • $15-$25 • Spokane Convention Center • 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. • snowlanderexpo.com/powderkeg
While it's technically spring down here in the valleys, it's still very much winter up on Schweitzer Mountain. They've received about nine inches of snow in the last two days and it's supposed to snow more today and tonight.
To celebrate "winter," Schweitzer is throwing a Winter Fest, replete with all sorts of bells and whistles up on the mountain, including live music from The Rub, a '90s dance party and, perhaps most intriguing, a mini beer festival. There will be 12 different beers on tap from breweries like Iron Horse, Ninkasi, Goose Island (it's in Chicago), Elysian, Widmer, Firestone Walker and, if you'd rather go European, they've got Stella.
$10 gets you a sampling package with a glass and four samples. Additional samples are $2 and full pints are $5. The beer tent opens at 11 am.
Yeah, sunshine might be nice, but fresh snow and cold beer isn't too bad.
On Friday evening, people were lining up at the doors of the Spokane Convention Center for the first day of the Snowlander Expo and PowderKeg Brew Festival. Once the doors opened at 4 pm, there were people everywhere retrieving their season passes, claiming their free lift tickets, and checking out the gear that all of the vendors had set up. There was no dull moment due to the prizes, lager and festivities happening all around. About 3,000 people attended on Friday and Saturday.
Now in it's 38th year, the SANPOINT WINTER CARNIVAL is back with its 10 days of frosty fun from Feb. 17-26. There's the Shop and Dine Around Sandpoint events, the Bio-Luminesce Fire Dancers, the rail jam competition, a performance by X Factor finalist LeRoy Bell and a K9 keg pull. You know, the usual.
Up the hill at Schweitzer, they're getting into the act, too, with special lodging deals and a full slate of events throughout the village and resort, culminating with the Outrageous Air Show (Feb. 24-25) and Torchlight Parade (Feb. 25). But all through the Carnival's run are events like guided snowshoe hikes, scavenger hunts, live music, campfires, night skiing and stuff for the little ones, too.
This carnival is not without its quirks. Ever heard of skijoring? The Scandinavian sport, making its second appearance at the carnival, combines skiing and horseback riding, with horses and their riders pulling skiers around a course of jumps and gates. Participants will compete on Saturday, Feb. 18, and Sunday, Feb. 19, combining their two-day times for a shot at the prize money. Also on Sunday is the skijoring style competition, in which skiers and snowboarders try to land tricks and jumps while, yes, being pulled by a horse. This year, there are also skijoring divisions for juniors and women. Both days of competition are from noon to 4 pm at the Bonner County Fairgrounds.
The Sandpoint Winter Carnival will be held from Feb. 17-26. For more information, visit sandpoint.org/wintercarnival or call (208) 255-1876. For information on Schweitzer activities, go to Schweitzer.com or call (208) 255-3081.
For two days last week I was in a skier's dream. A brand new, freshly tuned and waxed set of skis every run I took (except for that one pair which reminded me that I wasn't dreaming. If you were with me, you will know exactly which ones I am talking about). I have had dreams that are similar in content although usually involve a foot of fresh snow. The first day brought us brilliant sun and fast moving groomers. The second day brought a fresh blanket of snow and less than ideal visibility but a good day to switch out the Red Sol-X lens for my favorite Smith lens, the Red Sensor Mirror.
This is the third consecutive year that I have attended the WWSRA Ski & Snowboard demos at Mission Ridge just outside of Wenatchee, Washington. The conditions are typically not ideal for testing out the big boards, which seems to be all the rage with rocker, camber and sidecut flowing smoothly from all of the ski reps mouths. Attendees range from shop employees, owners and representatives from area ski resorts. Exhibitors are from all over showing off next years alpine and tele skis, snowboards, ski poles, boots, helmets, goggles, GoPro's, foot beds and even some clothing lines.
For two days you are ripping down the mountain at mach speeds, laughing, talking shop, and being stoked about next season's gear (even though we are still enjoying the current one). There are shot-skis filled with whiskey, brats cooking on BBQ's, kegs of IPA and what seems like an endless supply of canned beer. Goggle tanned faces, smiles and friends surround the Salomon fire pit which makes returning to the hotel after the first day nearly impossible. The party does finally dissipate and makes it way to downtown for more of the same.
The morning comes too early after dinner, hot tubs and more apres-ski activities. The morning brings more skiing, more socializing and then reality sets in. It's time to go home and return to my skis. Fortunately, I love my skis but in previous years after returning from the two-day demo party, I have had a hard time motivating myself back on my skis as they just didn't have the same response or the same feel as the new ones I had just been spending the last two days ripping around on. This is when the real hangover kicks in.
There are great things on tap for the 2012-2012 line-up. I am already looking forward to skiing the 2013-14 lineup and, more importantly, attending the demos next February.
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