Black Label Brewing Co.

 

Hold your hats, tighten your suspenders, wax your mustaches, and prepare your taste buds because Black Label Brewing Company, located in the Saranac Commons in delightful downtown Spokane, might just be a hipster paradise. I don’t mean this in a derogatory manner, the style is just very refined and definitely fits within this category. Upon walking into the Saranac Commons and making your way to the back where you find Black Label you pass by a deli, local craft artist store, and an artisan bakery all while surrounded by exposed wood beams, a recycled glass bottle chandelier art piece, and unique lighting all of which come together to fit with the hipster motif. 

Sitting at the bar looking back at the rest of the commons.

Now let’s talk beer, BLB has quite the selection of brews for you to choose from with some regulars that you can almost guarantee will be on tap – Like their Indaba Espresso Stout. But no matter if you’re getting one of their Stouts, Extra Special Bitters, Bocks, or Reds, you’ll find yourself enjoying it. BLB also provides wine if you’re just there with a group and beer isn’t your thing, but I’ll be honest I can’t attest to the quality of the wine because I’m just not a wine person, I have heard good things about it though.

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Going along with the hipster theme around their tap listings!

 

The folks at BLB definitely work hard to create an atmosphere that makes you want to continue joining them. Their staff is extremely nice, professional, and very knowledgeable about all the different brews. My last favorite thing about Black Label is their mug club. Possibly one of the most unique mug clubs offered in the area, using real wood steins that the team at BLB put together and lacquer themselves. One year will run you $100 but with exclusive access to mug club events, an item of apparel (this varies year by year) and after commitment to the mug club for multiple years you get to keep your mug and customize it!

The most unique mug club in Spokane.

To conclude, BLB is one of my top 3 favorite breweries in Spokane, Washington and is definitely a must-see place if you happen to be passing through or visiting. Check them out on Facebook and Instagram to see when events happen, such as Foosball  and corn hole tournaments

MxPx Secret Weapon – Silver City Brewery

Brewer’s notes:

Celebrating 25 years of Bremerton-brewed punk rawk, Secret Weapon commemorates the anniversary milestone of renowned punk band MXPX. A “left-coast common” beer that incorporates a lager yeast with seven different malts and a clean hop kick, Secret Weapon is a refreshing blast of flavor that will keep you rocking all night… at the show.

“You are your own secret weapon, It’s all up to you to come out swingin’. It’s all up to you”. Some, if familiar to the punk rock music scene, may know these lyrics from legendary ‘Left Coast Punk’ band MxPx. No stranger to innovation as the band had broken through several barriers and stereotypes by bringing their ever evolving music to as many people possible over the last 25 years have teamed up with their hometown’s Silver City Brewery in Bremerton, Washington to celebrate with a custom beer inspired by the band.

Now I must admit, at first I really just wanted to try the beer because MxPx was such a huge part of my life as an adolescent so when I heard they had created a beer for their 25th anniversary, I knew I needed to try it.

The “Secret Weapon Beer” is a California Common, or in this case ‘Left Coast Common’, is a smooth 5.7% ABV beer that is sure to keep you wanting more. To be completely honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what a California Common was so with a little help from my Google search bar I’ve come with this brief description from BeerAdvocate.

“The California Common is a unique 100% American style lager. It’s usually brewed with a special strain of lager yeast that works better at warmer temperatures. This method dates back to the late 1800’s in California when refrigeration was a great luxury. The brewers back then had to improvise to cool the beer down, so shallow fermenters were used. So in a way, the lager yeast was trained to ferment quicker at warmer temperatures. Today’s examples are light amber to tawny in color, medium bodied with a malty character. Mildly fruity with an assertive hop bitterness.”

While even though I was only trying the beer because of the nostalgia factor linking myself to the band, I was pleasantly surprised to find the beer itself was really quite tasty. This is the first beer I’ve tried from Silver City Brewery but it definitely will not be the last. So get online and find your nearest retailer or hit up your favorite bar and ask them to get it on tap, because this is the perfect beer for summer. Punk rock music blasting and a Secret Weapon Beer in hand.


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[Guest Writer] Zack Jeffrey

Zack, avid beer lover, and talented musician plays bass in multiple bands Ghost Heart and The Hallows. Zack will be a guest writer off and on with Hop Central helping grow our ever expanding portfolio of beer reviews and offering his unique insight to each article. Make sure to check out Zack with his bands and follow them everywhere they may be on social media.

 


 

Whistle Punk Brewing Co.

Let’s start all the way at the beginning of how I first found out about Whistle Punk Brewing Co. It all started at the 2016 Inland Northwest Brewers Festival held at Avista Stadium in Spokane, Washington. While making my way through the crowd, from booth to booth and beer after beer, I managed on to Whistle Punk’s booth. I enjoy making small talk and hearing about a beer’s profile before drinking it so we talked for a few minutes while I enjoyed a taster of their Espresso Milk Stout. During our conversation, he mentioned that he was one of the main brewers and that they were in the process of opening up their first tap room in Spokane. I got excited, the more local tap rooms means a more diverse beer scene, so with that information, I made sure to follow them on Instagram to ensure I would know when they opened.



Fast forward a few months later, their official Instagram had announced a location but no opening date quite yet. Curious, one day while on my way to Iron Goat Brewing, I decided I’d poke my head in at the Whistle Punk location that was announced and just look in the window to see what it looked like. Low and behold there were people sitting in there drinking so I decided to walk in and see what’s going on. Upon walking in I was greeted and shocked my initial response was, “I thought you guys weren’t open yet.” as I stood there trying to hold back my excitement. Come to find out that I had caught them on day 3 of their soft opening and they had not officially announced anything yet but were planning on making it official soon. I spent the next few hours talking up a storm with everyone there, and practically drinking everything they had on tap!

Okay, We’re on the same page now let’s discuss the tap room as a whole! Located at 122 SOUTH MONROE STREET Whistle Punk’s tap room sits right near the center of downtown Spokane! It’s easily accessible and within walking distance to multiple other breweries and bars. The tap room isn’t large by any means, you’re not going to bring your entire family here on a busy day and expect a seat, but the size lends itself to a feeling of comfort and closeness. Everyone that works at Whistle Punk will also make you feel like part of the family, they’re always friendly, upbeat, and overall wonderful people. If you prefer to keep busy while you drink or end up coming with a group of people Whistle Punk also has a stack of board games including Jenga and Shut the Box that you can play during your visit. The final thing I want to mention about the tap room is, while Whistle Punk doesn’t offer food besides pretzels, True Texas Barbeque is in the same building so if you work up an appetite be sure to pick yourself up some ribs or a pulled pork sandwich to hold you over while you drink!

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Whistle Punk Brewing Co. is a wonderful new addition to the brewery scene in downtown Spokane. This family-run business that’s been brewing since 2015 has set up shop and is not a place you want to skip over when visiting.