Sandpoint has a colossal amount of educated craft beer drinkers, and what better way to expand on their knowledge than to have extraordinary breweries in the area to learn from. One, in particular, Laughing Dog Brewing, has proven their abilities to create beers that are both tasteful to their customers and also obtain the “wow” factor to win national awards.
This year, Laughing Dog took their talents once again to the North American Brewers Association International Beer Awards competition in Idaho Falls, the second largest in the nation. Although taking four beers to the competition in different categories, the new and innovative English Pale Ale was the one that gained the most traction at the event.
Judging of the beers submitted to the competition fall within four different categories: appearance, aroma, flavor and carbonation levels. “Just because a beer tastes good doesn’t mean it falls into stylistic categories,” as Evan Addario, brewer extraordinaire said, “so we needed to create something that would be appealing to judges and, of course, our customers at home.”
The English Pale Ale was the product of the minds of Laughing Dog, which offers each taste-tester a light, spring-seasonal taste that is lower in alcohol and easy to drink as the spring turns to the summer months. As Laughing Dog Brewing describes, “Our English Pale Ale is brewed with the most classic English malts and hops.” This creates a “biscuity malt character balanced with a faint orange fruitiness and a spicy/earthy hop character.”
Well, the 2019 judges at the NABA competition found Laughing Dog’s English Pale Ale to meet the requirements of both the competition and appealing to their taste buds as Laughing Dog brought home the Silver Medal in Strong Bitter ESB (extra special) category. Michelle Sivertson, vice president of operations, exclaimed, “It’s a huge accomplishment to any brewer to get any award at this event, let alone a Silver, and especially because every person judging the beer is credentialed and it is all done blindly.”
The brewers at Laughing Dog have been said to be extremely innovative and always looking for something new while also being stylistically correct. As Addario said, they are “true to school.” But that true-to-school innovation has led them to great success and will continue as the brewers’ passions and dedication continue to stem new ideas. “Seeing people enjoy our beer and our brewery is one of the greatest things about what we do,” Addario said.
An honor, for sure, to Laughing Dog to win a Silver Medal this year. Last year they won a Gold Medal for their Pecan Porter. Medaling is in Laughing Dog’s history, and Sivertson owes it to the innovative brewers they have on their crew—and also the Sandpoint community. Sivertson is very thankful for the Sandpoint community and also the comradery that all the other breweries in the area have with each other. “I very much appreciate the comradery we share with others in the community. We are all here to support each other, not directly compete all the time.” As a team, they all have brought the brewing community of Sandpoint together.
Laughing Dog is not only involved in the design and creation of delicious beers for our community to enjoy. The brewery also dives into giving back to the people of Sandpoint, particularly driven by animals and children. For nine years, they have been heavily involved in the Panhandle Animal Shelter and have supported the Yappy Hour while regularly contributing to the betterment of PAS. They are present with K9 Companions and Ponderay Days. They help with the nutrition food drives at Kootenai Elementary and partake in KXLY’s Coats 4 Kids coat drive. In the past they have been a big aspect of the K-9 Keg Pulls in the winter months. Sivertson says that she is truly honored to be a part of a community like Sandpoint. “I am thankful that our staff is invested as well.”
Laughing Dog Brewing is passionate about what they are doing, what they have brought to the community and what they will continue to give back to its community members.
“Every day we come to the brewery, it’s a recipe for a good day. Beer is fun!” Sivertson said. “We are challenged and inspired with new ideas, but as long as we continue to do the right things, for our brewery and community, it’s a good day.”