Jason Rex and Keith Carpenter have a different kind of bromance. Rex, owner of Scratch Bistro, wasn't using the extra space inside the building of his Coeur d'Alene restaurant. His brother-in-law was looking to develop a growler-filling business. Carpenter has the construction skills to build the walk-in cooler and bar, and Rex likes to maximize his kitchen capacity.
Not only has he developed other businesses — ice cream, pizza — in the small space now occupied by the Filling Station, he also provides a custom Scratch menu of small plates to another neighbor, Studio 107.
So over a few beers, says Carpenter, they made it official.
"He thought it was a great idea to add craft beer to his bistro menu and have a small taphouse in the back," says Carpenter, who favors limited release barrels.
With 22 taps at any given time, Carpenter rotates through numerous local — Wallace Brewing, North Idaho Cider, Downdraft, No-Li, River City — and regional beers, including Payette, 10 Barrel and Firestone Walker.
Tap prices range from $4 to $6, while growlers are $10 to $24. Of course they sell empty growlers and swag featuring their logos: a manly man with a beard full of hops or a busty blonde hoisting an overflowing growler of green beer (they're clearly having fun with this new venture).
Hungry customers can also order from the full Scratch menu or a recently added custom menu that features plenty of heat and sweet to go with the chewy beers Carpenter favors. Try chicken wings in spicy Gorgonzola, BBQ or Asian-style ($9), bacon-wrapped figs ($9 or a third-pound sirloin burger ($12). Lighter fare includes coconut prawns ($8), a tender salmon BLT ($14) and fish tacos ($12). A happy hour menu from 2 to 5:30 pm knocks a couple of bucks off; Facebook allows the Filling Station to post impromptu beer and food specials. ♦
Filling Station • 501 Sherman Ave., Coeur d'Alene • Open Sun-Thu, 2-8 pm; Fri-Sat, noon-10 pm • thefillingstationon5th.com • 208-660-2371