I tried to make the most out of my recent visit to Spokane. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it to all the different poutine/weird fry places in town. Fortunately, the local root beer scene was a bit easier to wrap up. So far as I could tell there was one brewery in town making their own root beer so I made sure to stop by.
River City Brewing is a big deal in Spokane. Before that, it was a big deal in Coeur d’Alene. I found out that the owners of River City Brewing previously had the brewery in Coeur d’Alene Idaho but lost their lease after 20 something years and rebranded in Spokane. This isn’t a restaurant, so if you’re looking for food you should change your plans. If you’re looking for beer, or in my case root beer, then you’re in luck.
Truth be told, finding a brewery that makes a root beer without having a restaurant is a bit like finding brass knuckles in the IT guy’s desk. Also, you should stay out of the IT guy’s desk. It’s not wrong, just unusual. I appreciate having this kind of an option because it makes it easier for me to join people for a social event. That’s a win.
The root beer, while not life-changing, was really good. It’s more sweet than dry, has a high level of carbonation, and tastes strong but balanced. I’m guessing here and could be totally wrong, but I think that they use a high quality extract to create their base flavor and then add their own sugar and enhancing ingredients. If I were to pick a dominant flavor, I’d say wintergreen, but it flowed well with a strong sarsaparilla body. There’s probably vanilla in there, but it wasn’t prominent. Extract or not, the root beer is well prepared and satisfying. For me, that’s an 8 out of 10.
If you do need food and still want to try the River City Brewing root beer, I’d recommend stopping by The Onion. Their bar (Area 51 Taphouse) served me a beautiful frosted glass of the root beer. I’d even say that it was a better pour than at the brewery. Root beer in a frosted glass is a beautiful thing. I don’t remember what I paid at either location, but it was probably about $5 for a 16 ounce glass.
One more thing, there are other “River City” breweries out there. I know of one in Sacramento that also produces a root beer (they also bottle it), and another out of Jacksonville. Don’t be confused. There are many rivers and many cities and many cities with rivers in these beautiful United States.
Sampled on 11/1/2016 and 11/2/2016