Well, the weekend is over, the bands have packed up and gone on their way home or off to other venues. But the biggest letdown of the entire weekend, for me at least, is the tear down of the tent that was Alefort. The most compelling part of the mini-beer festival within the larger Treefort Music Fest, in my opinion at least, was having such a diverse group of breweries (mostly local) that were all within a few feet of each other! …
The Bottle Grenade 2.0 is a fantastic piece of equipment that fits easily in your pocket or clips on to your belt loop, if you’re so inclined. It can also be fitted with a neodymium magnet during manufacturing so you can attach it to your metallic beer storage device of choice. With a bottle grenade in hand you should be able to tackle any beverage that comes your way, screw top or pry off. Even cans won’t stand in your way if you don’t have any finger nails to pry up the topper. The head can accommodate 19, 21, and 27 tooth caps for twist, the pry head not only makes short work of getting you into a bottle… but it does so without mangling the bottle cap. This little miracle really doesn’t leave a mark on the cap at all. Not sure if people still collect beer caps to track their beer history, but if you do this will be a life saver. If you don’t… maybe you’ll start now that they look less like a mangled piece of metal and more like a keepsake.
Before I leave you, I would like to share that I’m no shill for this and I won’t see a penny if all of you go buy every Bottle Grenade 2.0 that Brad can ship out. I have been fortunate enough to back a few of his Kickstarter projects and I must say that he puts a lot of care into the quality of his products. The photos attached are of my Titanium, Anodized Bottle Grenade 2.0 with magnet. Typically it lives on my fridge in the kitchen to facilitate easy opening for those after work adult beverages. The pry top also makes short work of cans if you, a loved one, or even kids have problems getting those pesky cans open.
I’m curious as I start to plan adventures around the North West to explore all of the beers that we have access to, are there any Pub Clubs or Beer Drinking memberships that you belong to that you think are worth sharing? Here in Boise, I recently discovered Boise Beer Buddies and so far I’ve been pleased. If you are a regular consumer of craft beer in Boise, it’s definitely going to pay for itself and then some in no time.
For $20/year you get a membership card that entitles you to various perks at local bars & breweries in the greater Boise area. Typically this is either a 10% discount on food/drink or $1 off pints, but if you go out just a few times a month and get 2 or 3 pints it adds up quickly. In fact, take a quick peek at their most current “Buddy Hubs” now! They also have a newsletter (email) which helps keep you in the loop regarding specials, events, and new breweries opening in the area. My hope of course is that they continue to expand their reach as some bars/breweries are not participating yet. Overall though, this concept is spot on, the only thing that might make it better would be to convert it to a digital format instead of the membership card.
What else is out there in Oregon/Washington? Do you have anything similar to Boise Beer Buddies? Please feel free to share in the comments with links so that we can all get on board!
Who would have thought that a beer lover should scour the local library website for classes concerning beer? Even better than classes, how about free beer tastings?? Certainly not this beer guy. Nevertheless there it was plain as day, a 2 hour beer presentation at the library with Josh King, the head brewer from neighboring Sockeye. Last week, the evening kicked off at the Cole library location with a light, conversational, basics of beer overview where we were able to put hands on the raw ingredients that go into natures best beverage and ask questions about styles, brewing, the micro-brew industry… really questions ran the gambit and it was incredibly insightful.
For example, as a huge Lager fan myself, I was always curious about why it’s almost impossible to find a local lager. The answer surprised me, but now that I know is perfectly obvious. It all comes down to timing and turn-around. A lager is going to have to sit for an additional week (or two) over a typical ale. When micro-breweries are trying to produce in volume to maximize their production and profit… having equipment tied up for an extra week or more poses a real problem when you have a very finite amount of space.
After our initial introduction to Sockeye things really kicked into high gear. A quick walk across the parking lot brought our merry band to the brewery and a private room with an array of tables, pitchers, and empty pint glasses. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to ascertain that the evening was about to get magical. Josh, and the helpful Sockeye staff proceeded to introduce us to their six primary beers; Galena Gold (smooth, crisp, easy drinking), Whoolybugger Wheat (heffe style), Angels Perch Amber (malty ale with hints of nut & chocolate), Powerhouse Porter (dark but not too rich, hints of coffee and chocolate), Hell Diver Pale Ale (I’d classify this as an IPA personally, very hoppy), & the Dagger Falls IPA.
Once we were all settled, Josh offered a brief introduction to each which was followed by the presentation of the pitchers. The idea being that we would each pour approximately 4oz samples into the waiting pint glass. An impressive amount of restraint was shown and everyone was more than covered on the initial pour… my issue however arises in sending a perfectly good partial pitcher back to be discarded. I simply can’t allow that to happen, and neither could a few others. The result of course was that 4oz pours quickly doubled or tripled as pitches needed to be put down before the next beer came out.
I’ve of course been to Sockeye on a number of occasion and have always enjoyed having a few beers there. They are well established and do what they do well. But prior to that evening I didn’t really know much about Sockeye.
As a general rule, Sockeye beers run on the hoppy side, beer lovers who haven’t yet acquired a fierce love of hops will do great up to the Hell Diver I’d say. Bottom line, if you are a lover of beer, always keep your feelers open for great brew related events in Boise, even at the Boise Public Library!
The Botanical Harvest festival, which I don’t believe is a new event, did feature 7 local breweriess this year which all contributed a special small batch brew featuring an ingredient provided by the botanical garden. This was a very family friendly event, which as a father of 2 I very much appreciate. It’s hard to be a beer lover with kids sometimes when most events cater only to the over 21 crowd. While some events may allow entry to kids, they don’t really cater or foster a “family friendly” atmosphere. At least not an environment I would want my kids at. This event was the exact opposite in that it was 100% family and child friendly, they just happened to have a small beer garden with great small batch beer brewed by 7 different breweries (Sockeye, EDGE, Cloud9, Sawtooth, Payette, Woodland Empire & Crooked Fence).
Aside from the beers, which were fantastic, there were lots of free activities to wander between like hay rides, cornhusk people craft (ok they kinda look like corn husk voodoo dolls…), face painting, trebuche pumpkin launching (courtesy of the Discovery Center of Idaho), food trucks (Calle 75 Tacos, Willowcreek Grill, & Riceworks, live music, an artisan market, and of course pumpkin patch/pumpkin painting and tons of photo opportunities.
I am hopeful that they addition of the local breweries and their inclusion of ingredients from the gardens will continue to be a key component of future fall festivals. If you find yourself in Boise during the Idaho Botanical Garden Fall Festival, definitely check it out and don’t hesitate to bring the entire family!
The Discovery Center of Idaho is a hands on science museum located in Boise, Idaho and tonight they had an “Adult Night” focusing on the science of brewing. What better way to learn about beer and brewing than with 4 local breweries serving a few of their popular bews, a few food trucks to keep everyone fed, and brewmasters with exhibits and small batch examples of some of the crazy things you can do with beer. I can safely say that I never imagined that I would have a peanut butter and jelly porter, but I did, and it was a remarkable experience. Not that I would set out to buy a peanut butter and jelly stout mind you, but that one could capture a peanut butter and jelly sandwich flavor in a beer was impressive.
Joining the regular exhibits, and the currently on display Leonardo DiVinci models were brewing exhibits from the public library which featured an impressive selection of beer/brewing books focusing on the North West (which were available for check out which I thought was even more impressive… I walked out with 2). There was also a hops tea station where not only could you gather to learn about how different kinds of hops can influence beer making, but you were able to sample a hops tea (think boiling water poured over ground up hops and steeped like a green tea). While meandering from one presentation to another you couldn’t help but strike up conversations with other beer lovers about everything from beer culture, brewing, and the wonderful growth that we’ve been seeing in the Micro Brewing scene here in the Treasure Valley with beer lovers and those doing the brewing themselves. The crowd was friendly and engaged, which always makes for a pleasant evening with strangers bound by common interests.
Aside from great beer (Boise Brewing, Payette Brewing, EDGE Brewing, & Woodland Empire) and a variety of amazing food (Riceworks, Archies Place, B Town Bistro) (if you happen to be in Boise you should hunt town Archie’s Place food truck and get your grub on) there were also presentations facilitated by local brewers about the Microbiology of Brewing, Science & Aging of Beer, and Mash. Honestly, what could be better than an evening in a hands on science museum where you can play with everything while eating good food, drinking great beer, and learning some fascinating info about the creation of the magical life sustaining elixir common people refer to as “beer”.