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It's Hoppin'! 

Accolades abound, baseball gets its own beer and more brewery expansion news

click to enlarge Orlison's new 22-ounce Toasted Dragon.
  • Orlison's new 22-ounce Toasted Dragon.

I really hope you didn't wait until June 21 and the official start of summer to begin your summer beer-drinking regimen. But even if you made that ill-advised decision, there are a couple of months to play catch-up, so let's bring you up to speed on the very busy Inland Northwest craft beer industry.

• At Orlison Brewing Co., the crew best known for its can-only approach turned some heads in the beer game last week when they unveiled their new Toasted Dragon, which is delivered in a 22-ounce bottle — as in a glass bottle. The glass isn't the only thing unique about the brew. Check out its profile: "Thai basil, lime, ginger, and Szechuan pepper combined with Amarillo hops.

That's hardly the only news at Orlison. Last month, the brewery announced that it is in the process of opening a taproom in downtown Spokane, in the former Luxe Coffee House space at 1017 W. First Ave. Production and keg sales will continue out of its Airway Heights facility, says Operations & Logistics Manager Kristen Silver.

• Also set to make the move downtown is Iron Goat Brewing Co., which recently acquired a former auto shop at 1302 W. Second Ave. The makers of the beloved Head Butt IPA will eventually move all operations to this location and close their east Spokane spot. Co-owner and brewer Greg Brandt says they hope to be up and running by late September or early October.

• A load of awards were bestowed upon the region's breweries this month. At the North American Beer Awards, Laughing Dog Brewing won a silver medal in the always competitive English Style Pale Ale category for its Penny's Pale Ale. At the same festival, MickDuff's Brewing Company took the bronze for its Irish Redhead in the Irish-Style Red Ale category and a silver for the Mashing Pumpkins ale in the Pumpkin Beers category. Selkirk Abbey won a bronze in the Belgian-Style Pale Ale division with its Deacon, while Trickster's Brewing snagged a bronze for its Bear Trap Brown in the Brown Ale category.

At the Washington Beer Awards, Twelve String Brewing Co. won a gold for its Valley Red. No-Li Brewhouse also snagged a gold for its Spin Cycle Red, while River City Brewing won a silver for its Congratulator Doppelbock.

• Also at No-Li this week, the brewery announced that it was releasing the official beer of the Northwest League vs. Pioneer League All-Star game to be held at Spokane's Avista Stadium on Aug. 4. I stopped by their pub and sipped this golden ale last week, and found it to be a consummate summer beer, with a light, simple nose and enough hoppy aromatics to remind you that this isn't a macro. Look for it now in bottles throughout the region. ♦

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