Rick Bonino has written about beer for The Spokesman-Review since 1994. After 34 years as a full-time writer and editor, during which he spent far too much time worrying about things other than beer, he took an early retirement in December 2011 to set his priorities straight. In addition to this blog, his print On Tap column runs the second and fourth Fridays of each month in the newspaper’s 7 section.
Bombastic Brewing is fully prepared to live up to its name, and then some.
The brewery-in-progress at the Panhandle Area Business Council incubator by the Hayden airport (across from North Idaho Cider) has a unique business model.
Bigger-batch flagship beers will be produced under contract by other regional brewers. An in-house pilot brewery will turn out a series of small-batch specialty offerings, often barrel-aged with adjunct ingredients and flavorings.
“We’re looking to do some things this area has never seen, some really, really big beers,” says Phil Hottenstein, a partner in the project.
“People ask, what kind of beer are you going to make? I say, good beer. It might not be for everybody, but it’s going to be the best. “
Hottenstein, 35, a railroad conductor, grew up in Illinois and moved here five years ago. He got into craft beer in his 20s, learning about styles across the country and trading rare beers with other enthusiasts.
“It started out as a hobby and grew into an obsession,” he says. “It’s been a lifelong dream to open a brewery.”
While the idea for Bombastic has been bouncing around for a couple of years (the original name was Pretentious, but a California winery had trademarked that), financing just came together in the last few months, Hottenstein says. State and federal licensing is underway.
Plans are in place for the contract beers, he says, though he won’t divulge who else is involved. Those will include the likes of Just a Minute, a dry-hopped pale; For Fox Sake, an English-style brown; and Murder, a big Russian imperial stout. Some of the latter will be saved for barrel-aging in-house.
House-brewed small-batch beers likely will be released in limited runs of 100 to 200 wax-topped 750-milliliter bottles. Brewer Matthew Skillicorn has been busy experimenting with recipes, Hottenstein says.
The other partner in the business is Russell Mann, who recently sold the Enoteca wine and beer shop in Post Falls.
Bombastic hopes to open this winter. In the meantime, you can sign up for e-mail updates through its website.