Friday, January 24, 2014

Wallace Brewing: a brewing gem in the Gem State

    Wallace, Idaho: what a legendary spot.  The last traffic light on I-90 for years, bordellos run quite openly through the 1970s, silver mines slowly playing out...and now tourism for the 900 plus people still living there. Some of whom work at, and most of whom, I dare say, drink at Wallace Brewing, or have since it opened in 2009.  The brewery sits right on the main drag.
   The bar inside was a friendly spot; a couple other guys at the bar were also getting their Inland Ale Trail passports stamped (this Spokane-based promotion includes five breweries in the Idaho panhandle along with eleven Washington operations).  The beers coming out of the eight working taps all had names celebrating some aspect of Wallace history, the mining, the working choice was a 1910 Black Lager that recalled the year of the huge forest fire.  Timothy Egan's fine book about this fire, The Big Burn, starts and ends in Wallace.  The black lager was a smooth malty concoction.  A tasting note related that the malt was steeped in cold water for 24 hours prior to going into the 15-bbl brew kettle.
    An unusual feature at Wallace was posting technical notes on the recipes for some of the beers on the glass window looking into the brewing works.
    Some of these notes even include the style guides published by the Brewers Association, setting out the parameters of a classic ale or lager type.
    The decor is all history-themed.  A mannequin of a working girl sits atop the back wall, more or less over the entry to the mens room.  In in all, a most enjoyable stop;
(Visited 01/17/14)

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