As the Inland Northwest's craft beer industry continues to boom, so does the sophistication of the region's beer drinkers. And that's why it's a promising sign to see a specialty, small-batch festival pop up in Spokane this weekend.
No-Li Brewhouse is hosting No Boundaries on the River, a celebration of its small-batch, barrel-aged and cask-conditioned beers. No-Li marketing manager Brittany Dern, one of the festival's organizers, says that while the brewery loves its popular beers, it also enjoys the chance to experiment, and share those experiments with its customers.
"Everybody loves their IPA, but almost every brewery has that. This is something that will pique your interest, even if you're not that familiar with these styles," says Dern.
The festival includes a dozen small-batch beers made for the festival, many of which haven't yet been tasted by the public. Several of the beers are aged for two or more months in whiskey barrels from Dry Fly Distillery.
"A lot of breweries will use big distillery companies to get their barrels, but we're proud to use these from a craft distiller," says Dern.
After sitting in the whiskey barrel, the beers take on the oaky whiskey flavors and vanilla notes from the wood. That's the sort of taste you'll find in the barrel-aged takes on No-Li's Jet Star Imperial IPA, Wrecking Ball Imperial Stout, Born & Raised IPA. There are also fully fresh creations like a double dry-hopped ale and a cacao breakfast stout. These brews will be served carbonated, which typically isn't the case for barrel-aged beers.
This sort of brewing often is a labor of love, considering the long wait involved and the fact that brewers can produce only relatively small batches at a time, something Dern says No-Li has been doing for a while, but never showcased to this sort of degree.♦
No Boundaries on the River • Sat, April 26, from noon to 4 pm • No-Li Brewhouse • 1003 E. Trent • Free entry, $15 tasting package • Advance tickets at eventbrite.com: search "no boundaries"