Friday, September 28, 2012

Steam Plant Grill & Spokane festival

   New brewery stop last weekend: the Steam Plant Grill in downtown Spokane.  You can't miss it before sundown as the twin smokestacks tower over the neighborhood.  The stacks sent coal smoke out towards Idaho for seventy-some years as steam from the plant heated all the downtown buildings throughout the winter.  Closed in the mid-80s, renovated as a restaurant, brewery with pub, meeting space area on the lower levels.  I add it to the most memorable building adaptations that honor the former use while making good ales.  Others on that list: the firehouse in Tacoma (Engine House 9), the post office in Pullman (Paradise Creek), and the electrical substation in Puyallup (Powerhouse).
    Here, a huge boiler dominates the center of the building from the second floor up to the fourth or fifth.
Dials and gauges have been left on the walls and iron catwalks and stairs connect the levels.  A lot of the brewing had been done in Coeur d'Alene, but that site is not operating at this time, so all the house ales on the Steam Plant menu have been brewed here.
I had a glass of their fine Highland Scottish Ale with a nicely seasoned Kurabota pork chop.  D.B. had a small glass of wine with a hot seafood salad.  We were well beered up from the Spokane Octoberfest a few blocks away, in Riverfront Park.
     The festival, held under state Beer Commission sponsorship, was a great time.  A fair number of the nanobrewers, folks we might never see over on the wet side, attended: Twelve String Brewing and Iron Goat from Spokane, Golden Hills Brewing from Airway Heights, Riverport from Clarkston, the aforementioned Paradise Creek from Pullman.  Northern Lights, as it was known last May when I stopped there, is now No-Li Brewing.  Another name change forced by threats of trademark litigation.  One of the No-Li guys told me they had been doing business as Northern Lights some time before the east coast plaintiff did, but the latter was willing to spend more money on lawyers, money the Spokane guys would rather put in malt and hops.  So it goes.
    A big tent covered a good local band cranking out danceable tunes and long tables where the beer fans could sit a bit and talk the brews.  We met some folks who had bicycled nine miles along the river to get here; they had hopes of a motorized ride back.

Visted 9/21/12)

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