Brewers, farmers and maltsters from around the Pacific Northwest head to YaYa Brewing Company for Grainmaker Beer and Grain Festival

click to enlarge Brewers, farmers and maltsters from around the Pacific Northwest head to YaYa Brewing Company for Grainmaker Beer and Grain Festival
Courtesy photo
This glass (filled with fresh beer) could be yours at Grainmaker on Friday.

When you break it down, the beer-making process is pretty straightforward. It takes four simple ingredients: water, hops, yeast and, at the base of it all, grain.

The last of which is the source of inspiration for Friday's Grainmaker Beer and Grain Festival — a collaborative effort between YaYa Brewing Company, LINC Malt, and Cold Stream Malt and Grain.

It's a small fest with a fresh idea. LINC Malt's Brian Estes wanted to gather several outstanding breweries from the region (and one from NorCal), bring them to the Palouse farms where LINC's barley is grown, and put together a brewfest highlighting both the breweries and the farms.

"The thing that sets our region apart, and what makes it interesting to brewers, is that the greater Palouse is one of the world's greatest grain-growing regions," Estes says. "But for the average Pacific Northwest beer drinker, there aren't a lot of pathways back to the farms where that world-class grain is being grown."

Estes needed a location to pour the beer, so it only made sense that he asked YaYa — one interstate exit away from the LINC Malthouse in Spokane Valley — to host the event.

"We have a really good partnership with LINC. So it was kind of a no-brainer. I mean, we're basically neighbors out in the Valley," YaYa co-owner Jason Gass says. "We're honored to be alongside all of these farmers, to be able to use their locally grown products."

Along with YaYa, Grainmaker will feature Seattle's Holy Mountain Brewing, Ravenna Brewing Company and Fair Isle Brewing; Yakima Valley's Varietal Beer Co. and Bale Breaker Brewing Company; and Moonraker Brewing from Auburn, Calif. All seven use LINC Malt on a regular basis to make their beer, connecting them to the Spokane area and the surrounding Palouse farms.

A $50 ticket (available here) is required to taste the beers from the visiting breweries. Along with seven 8-ounce pours, festival goers get Grainmaker-branded glassware and an opportunity to talk with brewery representatives and farmers. The YaYa taproom will be closed to the public, but tickets are expected to still be available the day of the event. Big Daddy's Bánh Mì's food truck will also be on site serving their excellent Vietnamese grub.

The seven beers produced for Grainmaker (see the full list below) range from pale ales and IPAs to a Lithuanian farmhouse and a mixed-culture saison — every one of them using specialty grain from LINC Malt's partner farms. That's where Cold Stream Malt and Grain comes in.

The cooperative between Clearwater Farms in Nez Perce, Idaho, and Horlacher Farms in Latah, Washington, produced the barley used in each event beer. The owners from both farms will also be at YaYa on Friday, and LINC will have a grain sensory table set up where attendees can taste the malted barley in its solid form.

"You get to meet the chef, basically, behind the base ingredient in your beer," Gass says.

"We're fortunate to give people the opportunity to interact with that entire supply chain," Estes adds. ♦

Grainmaker Beer and Grain Festival • Fri, Aug. 12 from 4-9 pm • $50 • YaYa Brewing Company • 11712 E. Montgomery Dr., Spokane Valley •


Harlen Saison
Brewed with a simple but powerful grain bill of Genie Pils and Sonora White Wheat from our friends LINC Malt and hopped with Saaz, Harlen is light and lean but with a silky mouthfeel thanks to the wheat. We lagered the beer in the foeder with our mixed culture for over a month before packaging.

Garden of Light Lithuanian Farmhouse
Garden of Light was brewed with Genie Pilsner malt and a generous portion of Oat Malt from our friends at LINC. It was hopped in the kettle with Willamette hops and then dry hopped with Talus Cryo and Citra, we fermented this beer with a farmhouse yeast originating from Lithuania.

Know Farms, Know Beer
Unabashedly tropical in nature, featuring highlights of passionfruit, lychee, strawberry-guava and subtle coconut. Some citrus blossom, meyer lemon and lime zest sweeps in on the finish. Medium-bodied with low bitterness.

Double Nickel Pale Ale
Brewed with LINC's locally-grown and malted Genie and Lyon Pale base malts from the Palouse, this hoppy pale ale features Citra, Mosaic, HBC 630, and Sabro hops for notes of lemon, blueberry, pine resin, coconut and pie crust.

Twilight on Venus
A medium-bodied hazy strong pale with notes as bright as Venus in the morning sky of bright lime, lemon, and hints of fresh cut grass. Hops include Cascade, Amarillo, Comet and Experimental Trial 301 fresh frozen cryo hops.

Way Back Home #6
A mash of LINC Genie Pale, Baronesse Dark Munich, and specialty grain LINC Purple Egyptian, this American pale ale is focused on the backbone of every beer: the malt. Hopped with Cascade and Simcoe for notes of pine, cedar, and slight citrus.

The Grain Train
A New England IPA brewed with LINC Genie Pale, LINC Elwha River Spelt, and LINC chit malt. Hopped with Citra, Mosaic, and a batch of Simcoe hand-picked exclusively by the Moonraker team from Tributary Hop Farm in the Yakima Valley.

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About The Author

Derek Harrison

Derek Harrison is the Inlander creative director and Drink Local editor. He has received national recognition for his editorial layout. A graduate from Washington State University, he joined the Inlander in 2016 with a background in editorial design and photojournalism.