Beer festivals! These two magic words can make a beer lovers knees quiver. Sadly, in Boise, we’ve been without a honest to goodness beer festival for the past few years as costs, permitting and other issues with the city brought about their untimely demise. Last year, I was fortunate enough to attend (and volunteer) at the inaugural Boise Brewing Hoptober Freshtival (read about it here). The initial event in 2014 brought out mostly local brewers to a central location (5th & Broad St) in front of the Boise Brewing brewery. Beer lovers heard the call and purchased their $25 tickets and received a taster mug (roughly 5oz) and were treated to unlimited tasters until the beer was gone or until 8pm.
This year, the Hoptober Freshtival was bigger and better in all the ways that count. Instead of 13 breweries we had 25+ for a total of more than 50 tap handles to choose from. All the local players were on hand and some regional breweries made the trip up as well, including Fort George, Deschutes, & Mazama Brewing. Sadly, we did loose the “all you can drink” component due to permitting changes with the city, but that may have been for the best. Who wouldn’t get into trouble at an All You Can Drink craft beer event? The new system offered attendees their taster mug and 20 tickets which, if fully redeemed, would equate to 80+ oz of beer. Still, a pretty damn good deal for a $25 ticket ($30 at the door). Once again, Broad Street between 4th & 5th was blocked off in front of Boise Brewing. At noon, with people lined up along the fence, the gates opened and people started filing inside….