I recently visited No-Li Brewhouse in Spokane and caught up with its owners, John and Cindy Bryant to get an update on what’s new at the brewery. My last visit was before the pandemic and a lot has changed since then. It’s kind of like a beer campus now, with four distinctly different spaces: a bier hall, a pub, a game room, and a beer garden.
First and foremost, the biggest change is the addition of the Bier Hall. It’s an all-new space immediately adjacent to the existing location on E. Trent Avenue near Gonzaga University. It was something of a slow-rolling opening, but the No-Li Bier Hall fully opened back in June, taking over the space that previously served as the home of Dry Fly Distilling. The facade of the building is still a work in progress but should be looking spiffy soon. When the project is totally completed, the Bier Hall will include a patio out front, with fire pits.
The inspiration for the No-Li Bier Hall is pretty obvious: the traditional beer halls of Germany, especially the kind you’ll find at Oktoberfest. It’s a bier hall and not a pub or restaurant, so step up to the bar to order your beer. Find a spot at one of the large, custom-made tables, and don’t be shy about making new friends. The food menu is pretty simple and offers a huge pretzel (Epic Pretzel) and a meat and cheese plate (No-Li Pub Plate). For the full menu, head to the pub next door.
Take a look around. There’s a lot to discover here, like the light fixtures overhead, which were custom designed and built in the shape of each of the states in the Northwest, as well as an indoor cornhole court. The enormous television was custom built for the location. “It was custom-made by a company in Mount Vernon,” explained John. “You can get one of those TVs or you can get a new car.” I’m not sure if he was joking.
It’s easy to imagine the No-Li Bier Hall getting pretty raucous when a Zags game is on the tube. That’s the kind of fun that the Bier Hall was designed to host. “One of our first events in here was an NBA Draft watch party,” said John. (Remember, No-Li Brewhouse is right next door to Gonzaga University.)
Every Wednesday night is No-Li Stein Night in the Bier Hall. Purchase a 1-liter stein for $10 and bring it with you on Wednesday to get a full liter of beer for just $12. (Doesn’t include beers greater than 7 percent ABV.) This fall, No-Li Brewhouse will host Oktoberfest events at the Bier Hall. They’ve got a lot of fun stuff planned for that one, so keep an eye on their social media channels to learn more as the season nears.
The other big change at No-Li Brewhouse involves the riverside beer garden. It’s still lovely and it’s still on the river, but a few things have changed.
From the main pub, pass through the game room and out onto the covered patio, then meander out and settle into one of the Adirondack chairs or challenge someone to a game of Jenga, beer pong, or cornhole. The covered portion of the patio was a necessity during COVID times but is now just a convenience, providing shade in the summer and shelter during the wetter and colder months.
This stretch of the Spokane River is dam-controlled, so it’s a popular place for all kinds of paddling. No-Li created a landing zone and welcomes folks to beach the boat at the beer garden and enjoy a refreshment.
Like so many other breweries, the pandemic presented challenges and hardships for No-Li Brewhouse. John and Cindy told me that instead of moping around and feeling sorry for themselves, the crew at No-Li focused on finding ways to improve things. The new Bier Hall and the revamped beer garden are products of that positive attitude.
“It’s been a long Covid and we are persevering in Covid 2,” said John Bryant. “It’s our collective endurance to see and project forward a few more years of the new norm. In the meantime, we embrace our No-Li people even more, brew, taste, and share our heartfelt creations with beer fans.”