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Warm Feeling 

The PowderKeg festival teaches us that "winter beer" often means "big"

click to enlarge PowderKeg features 50 regional beers and ciders this year. - JEFF FERGUSON
  • Jeff Ferguson
  • PowderKeg features 50 regional beers and ciders this year.

As one of the state's more notable winter beer festivals, the Inlander's PowderKeg (part of our Winter Party event) gathers a collection of brews from around the region and beyond. The beer list this year shows us that the industry isn't married to the sugary, dark brews that once defined the classification; perhaps it's the big punch a winter beer can deliver that unites these creations. Here are a few that stood out on that front.

High Camp Winter Warmer, Bale Breaker Brewing Company: Bale Breaker, the pride of Yakima hop country, knows how to make a big beer, and they've done that with this 7.3 percent ABV that delivers chocolate and spices on the front end, with three different hop varietals to balance out the sweetness. Bale Breaker is also bringing another big guy in the form of a 9 percent hop bomb called Bottom Cutter, which will have your cheeks rosy after a couple of sips.

Midnight Marmot Imperial Stout, River City Brewing: Here's another big brew, which has been lauded by local beer fans the past couple of years. It weighs in at more than 8 percent and has a lot of coffee and chocolate notes, but has a punch on the back end, where your typical stout might be pretty easy drinking.

Big Jilm Imperial Porter, Post Falls Brewing: This new Idaho brewery isn't messing around with this brew, named after a song by the band Ween, in case you were wondering. Porters are a natural fit with the rich foods found around the holidays, and this one has some weight to it.

Dark Persuasion, Icicle Brewing Company: Here's one that won't knock you over with alcohol content (6.5 percent), but still has a lot going on. This Leavenworth brewery's Dark Persuasion is brewed to taste like German chocolate cake. It even has notes of coconut to go along with it.

Tipsy Elf, One Tree Hard Cider: The PowderKeg also features five cideries, and One Tree, located in Spokane, takes the unofficial "best name" award for this seasonal cider. This cider will get you in a cheery mode with a flavor aimed at emulating the taste of a cranberry cobbler. ♦

PowderKeg: Inlander Brew Festival • Fri, Nov. 11, 4 to 9 pm; Sat, Nov. 12, 11 am to 7 pm • Entry to the Winter Party is $8; tasting packages available for the festival • Spokane Convention Center • 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. •

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