On Saturday, December 9, the concourse of the Spokane Arena turned into a winter extravaganza for the second annual FrostFest. As promised, there were roller girls, stilt walkers, ice carvings, captivating fire eating performances, live music and a good amount of craft beer on hand. FrostFest was as much of a winter carnival as it was a beer tasting.The atmosphere was lively and merry, many were dressed up in crazy winter costumes, and I was excited to be one of the 2,100 attendees of the sold out event.
The Lilac City Roller Girls performed stunts as a DJ spun records while guests sipped beer in Land of Haze, where you would find the recently sought after hoppy, juicy, unfiltered IPAs. After sampling a couple, I strolled down the concourse to the Woodlands where you could watch a lumber “jill”, Erin LaVoie, wielding her axe while you savored some barrel-aged beers like Brew-Dolph, an aged version of their popular Spin City Red, an English-style Extra Special Bitter or ESB.
My favorite area was the Yeti Cave, not because of the burley men flexing their muscles (although that was definitely a plus), but for the strong beers that were being poured. I enjoyed the Tritzville, a hefty ale clocking in at 12% ABV, made with the hybrid grain triticale from Ritzville’s MJW Grain. I also had to try the FrostFest barley wine, which spent three years in a Dry Fly wheat whiskey barrel, complementing the Yakima-grown hops. After tasting these strong beers, I needed something a little lighter, although that would mean leaving the music of Buffalo Jones, a local band that had many people getting their groove on. I made my way to Candy Cane Corner where I found Ginger Snap, a cinnamon and ginger spiced amber, and Choco-Candy Cane Rise & Grind, a peppermint version of their popular coffee stout. Along the concourse, stilt walkers from Vertical Elements passed by, high above the crowd, mesmerizing onlookers.
If, like me, you enjoyed some of the barrel-aged creations, you will be excited about No-Li’s barrel project at the brewhouse, located at 1003 E.Trent Ave. More than 75 barrels are being aged and you can always find two on tap at the pub. They take pride in working with local businesses and all but a few wine barrels come from neighboring Dry Fly distilling. Also, all ingredients are 100% sourced within 300 miles of Spokane so you can feel good about supporting this local PNW brewery.
Last year’s event was held on the patio at the brewhouse and sold out in just a few days. Mike Bookey, marketing manager for No-Li, knew they needed a venue that would be heated and could accommodate a larger crowd. While working with Matt Gibson, general manager of the
Spokane Arena, they determined the concourse would be perfect for this annual snow carnival. As an upgrade to your ticket, you had the option to stay for the Spokane Chiefs game following the fest for an additional ten bucks to extend the fun and perhaps sober up a bit if you sampled too many brews. All proceeds from the sold out FrostFest were donated to the Washington Fallen Heroes Project to maintain the Illuminating Courage sculpture outside the Spokane Arena. On Nov. 8, the brewery donated an additional $5,000 to keep the memorial alive. The money was raised by the “Hometown Heroes” project, a special beer to honor local service men and women. No-Li is known not only for their great craft beer, but for their passion for giving back to the community. They have paired with several local non-profits over the years, staying true to their “giving more than we take” philosophy.
Thanks, No- Li, for hosting such an incredible event and bringing the community together. Your “Spokane Style” truly shines through!