As the greater Boise area continues to develop as a source for local craft beer, we’re seeing our beer festival’s grow and mature. Case in point, if you didn’t make it down at some point to Alefort, part of the Treefort Music Festival, you definitely missed out and your tastebuds may never forgive you.
All of the local players that you would expect to find (Meriwether, Cloud9, Sockeye, Slanted Rock, The Ram, Payette, Woodland Empire, EDGE, Bear Island, Crooked Fence, Powderhaus, Barbarian, Longdrop, Highlands Hollow, County Line and Boise Brewing) were on hand along with regional, representation from New Belgium and some outside sources (national and international) courtesy of Bittercreek, Bier:Thirty, The Front Door, and Prost. To say that this was an expanded event over #Alefort2015 is an understatement and then some. The brewery tent was easily 3 or 4 times larger than the year before and included secondary tent for some beer panels and belly dancing. I was more focused on drinking the beer personally, but when I stuck my head in the second tent there was a belly dancer on stage doing her thing. Bottom line, there was thankfully a lot more space to hang out, drink beer, and meet up with fellow beer lovers.
Another new addition to the beer tent were food vendors. There was certainly no shortage of dining options throughout Treefort, but the stations serving food within the beer tent brilliantly built their pricing around the beer token system. As I witnessed first hand, people focused on drinking beer with a pocket full of tokens they already purchased seem very happy to put down a few tokens in exchange for some street tacos, pasta or a wrap. No more fishing for cash or having to plop down your credit card. All in all, this improvement to the beer tent seemed to be incredibly well through out in all regards and while I was only there for a few hours on Saturday, it seemed to be well trafficked by those in attendance.
While I feel like a bit of a broken record on this point, I have to say that one of my favorite things about the craft beer scene in a town like Boise is that I always run into the same people at events like this. Not to say that I don’t try to meet new people as well, because honestly craft beer lovers kick ass in general, but after attending a few events you start to see a bunch of the same faces over and over again. If I had to lodge a complaint about Alefort this year it would be that my plan to arrive on Saturday to ensure a complete sampling experience was foiled by the horders that had gotten there previously and killed off some of the “special release” beers that were put on tap prior to the weekend. Case in point, the Mango Dagger IPA and Barrel Aged Apple Jack Amber from Sockeye both long gone when I got there just after noon on Saturday. Based on the staggered release of certain beers being tapped at a certain times Friday, Saturday or Sunday means that unless you spent the better part of three days in the beer tent, you weren’t going to have a shot at everything on the tap list. Such is life I suppose.
The best part of Alefort, aside from the great collection of beer, is that while it’s contained within the confines of the Treefort music festival, no ticket is required for admission. Sure you had to spend a couple bucks on a sampler glass and buy your tokens, but you didn’t need to pony up for a ticket to the festival which were crazy expensive if the only reason you were there was to drink beer and hang out. Hopefully we can continue to support these existing events and even add a few more throughout the year to further establish the Treasure Valley as a destination in the North West craft beer scene.