Best Of

Best of 2017 | DRINK LOCAL

Best of 2017 | DRINK LOCAL
Jacob Greif

Best New Brewery (Opened in 2015-17)


Located along the North Monroe business corridor, Bellwether Brewing is a small brewery that aims to bring a Northwest twist to ancient beer styles. From gruits to braggots, Bellwether uses unique ingredients and techniques to bring Old World ales to their cozy, modern taproom. And with recent endeavors like the Purple Egyptian Barley Project, the future of Bellwether's ancient brews is looking bright. (ADAM BOYD)

2nd PLACE: Badass Backyard Brewing; 3rd PLACE: Young Buck Brewing; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Post Falls Brewing

Best Beer Event/Festival


One of several regional beer festivals the Washington Beer Commission hosts each year, the Inland NW Craft Beer Festival has the unique distinction of being held in Spokane's Avista Stadium. And while the field is typically home to the Spokane Indians baseball team, for two days in September it houses 40-plus Washington craft breweries, more than 150 different beers, food trucks, and live music. With record attendance in 2016, the Inland NW Craft Beer Festival proved that "If you pour it, they will come." (AB)

2nd PLACE: Oktoberfest at Spokane Convention Center; 3rd PLACE: Elkfest; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Fall Fest, Schweitzer

Best Pub


Recently named Washington's Best Beer Bar in an online poll by the Brewers Association, the South Hill's Manito Tap House sports 50 tap handles, certified cicerones (trained beer experts) on staff, and a vast beer cellar loaded with vintage and one-of-a-kind beers in kegs and bottles. A Four-Star Certified Green Restaurant as well, Manito's kitchen delivers scratch-made food and rotating seasonal menus. Which is fortunate, because poring over their extensive beer menu can work up an appetite. (AB)

2nd PLACE: O'Doherty's Irish Grille; 3rd PLACE: Poole's Public House; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Taphouse Unchained, CdA

Best Local Distillery


When it comes to recognition and awards, Dry Fly Distilling is no stranger; their vodka, gin and whiskeys have won dozens of awards from around the world, including a "1st Place — Best of the NW" Sip Award for their Port Finish Wheat Whiskey last year. While Dry Fly's spirits continue to gain international attention, the distillery maintains its local roots, sourcing its ingredients from local farms in Eastern Washington. Just this year, Dry Fly has expanded their facility with a brand-new tasting room that will also serve as a venue for whiskey classes, food pairings and private events. (AB)

2nd PLACE: Tinbender Craft Distillery; 3rd PLACE: 21 Window Distillery; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Bardenay, CdA

Best Craft Cocktails


Durkin's Liquor Bar happens to sit in a downtown Spokane building that once housed a bar owned by James "Jimmie" Durkin, a historic Spokane liquor tycoon for which the current establishment is named. Launched by the same restaurateurs responsible for Madeleine's and Casper Fry, Durkin's offers a food menu of sophisticated small and traditional plates. But if you come for the food, stay for the cocktails, which are not only uniquely handcrafted with top-notch spirits, but are also served with a slice of Spokane's pre-Prohibition history. (AB)

2nd PLACE: Volstead Act; 3rd PLACE: Twigs; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Whispers Lounge, CdA

Best Local Cidery


One Tree's approach to hard cider aims to shake up the rigid ways of cider puritans. For One Tree, cider serves as a blank canvas for innovation and exploration of flavor, and it shows in their offerings, found throughout the area in both bottles and cans. From Peach Tea to Cranberry to Pumpkin to their wildly popular Lemon Basil, One Tree continues to redefine how the Inland Northwest thinks of hard cider. (AB)

2nd PLACE: Liberty Ciderworks; 3rd PLACE: Twilight Cider Works; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Summit Cider, CdA

Best Whiskey Selection


While you definitely can order a drink with, say, gin or vodka at Hogwash Whiskey Den, you really shouldn't. As its name implies, the whiskey-focused bar — located in the cozy, den-like basement of the Washington Cracker Co. Building — highlights its namesake on a cocktail menu showcasing a mix of beloved classics alongside creations exclusively developed by its team of well-known local bartenders. For the truest of whiskey aficionados, Hogwash's locker program allows you to store your own high-end bottles on site. (CHEY SCOTT)

2nd PLACE: Durkin's Liquor Bar; 3rd PLACE: Casper Fry

Best Local Brewery


No-Li has been such a consistent success in recent years, it would be easy for local craft beer lovers to opt for newer breweries popping up in the area. Sure, we all love the Born & Raised IPA, the Big Juicy IPA, the Poser Pale Ale, but we're always looking for the next great beer to tell our friends about. No-Li knows this, which is why they've stuck to their Spokane roots and keep experimenting with new brews, like the Beethoven Golden Ale brewed specially for a Spokane Symphony event last month. (WILSON CRISCIONE)

2nd PLACE: Iron Goat Brewing; 3rd PLACE: Perry Street Brewing; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Mad Bomber Brewing, Hayden, and Slate Creek Brewing, CdA (tie)

Best Local Winery


Part of what makes Barrister Winery great is directly tied to one of Spokane's quirks: The railroad that runs directly through the city. Barrister uses that to its advantage. Every time the train goes by overhead, the wine barrels in Barrister's basement gently vibrate. "By the time we release a cabernet sauvignon, it's gently vibrated 25,000 times," says Greg Lipsker, who started Barrister in 2001 with fellow attorney Michael White. This process helps settle solids in the wine, and contributes to the softness that you taste in every bottle. (WC)

2nd PLACE: Arbor Crest Wine Cellars; 3rd PLACE: Coeur d'Alene Cellars

Best Drive-Through Espresso


In the Inland Northwest, it can seem like there's a coffee stand on every corner. But none stand out quite like Dutch Bros., with its bright blue roof and rich, sweet drinks. There's a reason people keep coming back to Dutch Bros., and it's not just because of a caffeine addiction. The friendly staff is the perfect complement to the savory drinks, and a main reason why the company has dominated the drive-through espresso scene. (WC)

2nd PLACE: Wake Up Call; 3rd PLACE: Jacob's Java

Best Coffee Roaster


Thomas Hammer is the coffee that's always there for Spokane when times are tough. You're at the hospital? Thomas Hammer is there. You're an Eastern Washington University student studying for finals? Thomas Hammer is there. You're an Inlander writer on deadline? Thomas Hammer is in the kitchen. It's become the consistent go-to coffee for the Inland Northwest, and for good reason. It's bolder than other coffees, and that's exactly why the flavor never gets old. (WC)

2nd PLACE: Roast House Coffee; 3rd PLACE: DOMA

Best Single-Location Coffee Shop


Atticus has become a Spokane staple that locals love to show off. It's both a favorite of Spokane locals, and also the place those locals recommend to visitors. Walk in, and visitors can find some of the best Spokane souvenirs to bring back with them, but the gifts are cool enough that locals like them too. Go to the back, and there's enough room for you to work or hang out as you enjoy fresh coffee and good food. (WC)

2nd PLACE: The Shop; 3rd PLACE: Rockwood Bakery; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Calypsos Coffee & Creamery, CdA

Best Happy Hour


There are many happy hours in this town, but Inlander readers collectively maintain the happiest hour of them all is at Zola. First, it's luxurious in quantity, stretching from 4 pm all the way until 7 pm. Second, it's generous in pricing, with craft beers only $3 and house wines and well cocktails only $4. And finally, it's delicious in taste, with delectable jalapeño poppers, bbq pork sliders, and ribs on the appetizer menu. (DANIEL WALTERS)

2nd PLACE: The Safari Room; 3rd PLACE: Twigs; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Seasons of Coeur d'Alene

Crave! Northwest @ CenterPlace Regional Event Center

Fri., July 12, 6-9 p.m. and Sat., July 13, 6-9 & 9-11 p.m.
  • or