If you’ve been to Quartzite Brewing Company, you’ve probably made an effort to try the different brews on tap and seen what the young Chewelah business has to offer. Along with their normal line – named after area mountain peaks – a new brew has made its way onto the menu behind the Douglas fir bar.
During the Cork and Keg spirits festival this year, Quartzite Brewing Company’s Patrick Sawyer and Jake Wilson talked with Northern Ales and Republic Brewing about what a blast it would be to make a product for the collaboration festival Spokane Craft Beer week.
While Republic Brewing had a busy stretch in their schedule, Quartzite and Northern Ales were able to join forces and put out a wheat beer called Citra Weizen.
“It was really fun collaborating with Steve and Andrea [Hendricks],” Sawyer said. “They are super easy to work with. We did most of the planning over e-mail and just started by talking about things we wanted to brew – a lot of ideas that neither of us had tried.”
They decided on using Hefeweizen yeast, hopped with citra hops – using flavors of pear, banana and melon.
“I wanted to do something that would push the style, so we went for a hoppy hefe,” Sawyer said. “I had a huge amount of extra citra hops for this year and Steve did all the ordering of the grain, and one of his employees who is a self-proclaimed “yeast nerd” decided on a great strand that would add some flavor.”
Citra Weizen was brewed up at Northern Ales since they could produce larger batches. When they unveiled it at the Spokane Craft Brew Week, they were one of 14 collaborations from 30 different breweries in all. Many people lined up for seconds, Sawyer said, and the beer was a hit by patrons and other brewers at the event.
In all, 186 gallons were made and split between the two breweries. That went down fast and Quartzite is almost out of their one-time beer. While it will soon be out, Sawyer said he’s mulling it over with Steve about making it a recurring brew.
“We really aren’t sure yet,” Sawyer said. “We do know that we will be working together again. We are hoping to wrap in the other tri-county brewers and come up with a collaboration thing all together.”
Sawyer added it was a lot of fun to do the collaboration with Northern Ales since Steve has been brewing for a long time and was able to share his knowledge.
“It helped us make some slight changes in how we brew, and I think moving forward we’ll see a lot of reward out of that experience,” he said.
Quartzite has also expanded their hours since opening. The Brewery is now open on Thursdays from 3-8 p.m., on Friday from 3 to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 2 to 9 p.m. They’re also open for special events, which can be set up by calling 509-936-3686.
By Brandon Hansen/The Independent Staff