“When studying and learning how to brew beer, it was natural for me to learn the history of brewing,” says brewmaster Thomas Croskrey. “I just really enjoy history, especially that of the Celts and Vikings. I gravitated to Old World Celtic and Viking styles, practices and ingredients in particular. I’d love to help make these styles more familiar again.”

Bellwether is a Middle English word for the ram that wears a bell around its neck to help a shepherd lead the flock. In modern times, it has come to mean something along the lines of “leader” or “trendsetter.” Without a doubt, Bellwether Brewing is both.

For starters, Bellwether is instrumental in revitalizing Spokane’s north Monroe Street. Even though it’s located on a major arterial, it still feels like a neighborhood brewery, and parking is always free. Secondly, Bellwether likes to push the flavor index with deliciously smooth beers. Whereas some craft beer trends include high alcohol content, or extra sweetness, Bellwether innovates with old, even forgotten, styles of ales.

Without a doubt, Bellwether also features plenty of great ales, stouts and blondes. Co-owners Dave Musser and Thomas Croskrey are always testing old methods with modern ingredients to produce uncommonly good beers. Croskrey continues, “The primary historical beers I concentrate on are braggots, heather ales and gruit ales. I dabble in others like graf, but it’s not a major focus.”

All of Bellwether’s creative beers also feature creative names. The Fibber McGee is a delightful IPA. The Second Breakfast is a Hefeweizen that comes straight from the Shire. The Albion is a true Old World beer brewed with heather rather than hops, and it’s arguably the most unique beer in town. Located on 2019 North Monroe, the Bellwether taproom is open from 3-9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Don’t overlook its Tenderfoot Ginger Ale, and the brewers encourage customers to ask about brewing a personal beer. //