It began with Northern Lights Brewery in 1993, and over the years Spokane’s craft microbreweries have rallied to turn Spokane into a compelling city for quality craft beer. Spokane can now boast more than 20 local breweries and has become a destination for people seeking out Spokane Style beers. Spokane celebrates this beer boom every year with their Craft Beer Week in May, bringing together locals and visitors alike, with the goal of sharing the latest and greatest happenings on the Spokane beer scene. It’s a great time to discover what Spokane has to offer, so keep reading to learn more about four Spokane microbreweries you won’t want to miss.
The Spokane microbrewery that started it all, No-Li Brewhouse opened its doors in 1993 under the name of Northern Lights. It’s one of the best-known breweries in town and has gained regional and national recognition in recent years. They took the largest brewery of the year award at the Washington State Beer awards in 2016, and a gold medal in the 2012 Great American Beer Festival. They’ve also created and defined an official ‘Spokane Style’ beer, which must be brewed in Spokane, by Spokane residents featuring local ingredients.
No-Li Brewhouse is in the River Walk near Gonzaga University and they boast two tasting rooms plus a patio with river front seating. Their beers run the gamut of styles, from their citrusy Pale Ales to their heavy hitting bourbon aged Stout, No-Li brews beers that suit a wide range of preferences. A fan favorite seems to be their ‘Wrecking Ball’ Imperial Stout, it’s brewed with 5 types of malt and balanced out with 2 types of hops. The result is a complex stout with strong notes of chocolate, brown sugar and coffee, yet its well balanced by the addition of the hops. For an IPA fan, their ‘Born & Raised’ IPA features WA state hops with heaps of citrus and pine, hints of mint and some well-rounded fruitiness. It’s a complex offering and one of their most popular beers.
One fantastic aspect of No-Li is how much they support the community, and the community has responded in kind. They have raised money for charities like SpokAnimal, Spokane has Heart and they spearheaded a fundraiser to support wildfire relief. In 2018 they created their own Fight Fire Pale Ale in order to raise funds for local wildfire relief, as well as for the Camp Fire victims in California.
1003 E Trent Ave #170, Spokane, WA 99202
The cafe has patio seating in the back, so I’d suggest taking your drink out in the summer months and enjoying some of that rare, blue Spokane sky.
Iron Goat Brewing Co.
Iron Goat Brewing Company was founded in 2011 and has carved out a solid reputation for producing quality brews. Their brewing facility lies just west of downtown Spokane in a historical building that was formerly a school for mechanics. Their tasting room is spacious and has a modern, industrial look that is very welcoming. From the tasting room you can view parts of the larger brewing facility and get an idea of where that beautiful brew is being created.
The staff are friendly and knowledgeable, and the range of beers available include Imperial IPAs, Blondes, Stouts, Scottish Ales, Red Ales and more.
Their ‘Head Butt’ IPA is one of their most popular beers, it’s strong notes being citrus, spice, fruit and has a hoppy finish. On the other hand, their ‘Goatmeal Stout’ has rich espresso and chocolate notes, and at 5.6% ABV it’s quite a smooth brew. Another beer worth mentioning is their ‘Trashy Blonde’, a shining example of a citrusy, light summer beer with minimal bitterness, some honey and a hint of hops.
Iron Goat also offers some very tasty food options like their Pork Bahn Mi Pizza or their spicy Cubano sandwich. It’s a wonderful place to hole up, try an array of quality beers and chow down on some delicious eats.
Iron Goat Brewing Co.
1302 W 2nd Ave Spokane, WA 99201
Perry Street Brewing
The South Perry District is a hip and laid-back neighborhood that is well worth a stop. At the heart of the district is Perry Street Brewing, nestled in a modern facility with a tasting room and an outdoor patio. Huge windows give this space plenty of light and make it a cheerful place to kick back and watch the world go by. PSB offers a range of craft brews that include Ambers, Porters, IPAs, Imperials Stouts, Sours and more.
Of interest is their ‘Gettin’ It Cryo’ IPA that is brewed with Cryo Hops. This unique method of processing hops essentially eliminates the typical bitterness traditionally associated with hops. What you’re left with are grassy, floral and citrus notes. The result is a well-balanced, smooth IPA that is flavorful and lacks bitterness. Other interesting brews include their ‘Doma Chronic Porter’, which is infused with coffee from local coffee champs Doma Coffee Roasting, and their kick you in the teeth ‘Buffalo Trace’ Barrel Aged Imperial Stout. Word to the wise, the BT Imperial Stout is 12% ABV so take your time with it and savor the strong bourbon and malty characteristics.
Perry Street Brewing also offers some top-notch grub like their Grilled Cheese with cheese curds & bacon bits, so it’s a great place to relax and graze while trying out a wide range of top-notch microbrew.
Perry Street Brewing
1025 S Perry St #2 Spokane, WA 99202
Mountain Lakes Brewing
Mountain Lakes Brewery and Tasting Room is a newcomer to the Spokane beer scene, they opened their doors in April of 2018. But make no mistake, the owners have been long time beer connoisseurs and have been working together to create special home brews for years. After getting more requests for their beer than their garage set up could handle, they decided to open their doors in the heart of downtown Spokane.
When you walk into Mountain Lakes Brewery, you get the sense that you’re walking into a long time Spokane institution. The reside in a historical building that has beautiful wooden carvings and the brewery’s mountain lake theme compliments the historical design.
The tasting flights are presented on an oar blade, the door handles are oars themselves and a canoe hangs from the ceiling. They brew in small batches, which means they are constantly offering something special and new. They offer a range of Ambers, Pale Ales, Porters and Browns and have tasty finger food options like tater tots and hot dogs for pairings.
They have collaborated with local coffee roasters Spaceman Coffee Company to offer up ‘Irish Spaceman’ Coffee Stout. At 7.3% ABV it’s surprisingly smooth, chocolaty, rich and creamy. A wonderful winter stout to kick back with and watch the snow fall on downtown Spokane.
Their ‘Double Back’ Dopplebock is their entry to the Lester Cup Strong Ale Competition 2019 and packs a whopping 9.8% ABV into a mere 20 IBU. How this is accomplished is likely witchcraft but what that translates into is a strong ale that is smooth, malty, sweet and dangerously easy drinking.
Mountain Lakes Brewery is well worth checking out while you’re in downtown Spokane, a lot of their beers are smooth & refreshing but still retain complexity and make for a great afternoon of tastings.
Mountain Lakes Brewing
201 W Riverside Ave Spokane, WA 99201
I hope that you’ve enjoyed getting to know a handful of our booming craft breweries in the Lilac City. There are currently over local breweries, which means that there are many solid breweries worth checking out in addition to this list. I highly encourage you to look into all that Spokane has to offer. For a special experience, consider booking a tour with Spokane Brewery Tour. Not only will you get to discover great beers and breweries, but the tour includes meetings with the brewers themselves. Also, be sure to save the date of May 18th 2019 to attend the Spokane Brewers Festival at the Spokane Arena, where brewers come from all over the Inland Northwest to offer tastings and strengthen craft beer awareness. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door and include seven four ounce tastings plus a souvenir glass, and additional tastings are $2 each.
Looking for more things to do in Spokane? Check out our article on the top 10 Coffee Shops in Spokane.