Brewpubs, Taprooms and Bars I

After several years worth of breweries popping up in the Treasure Valley lately, it has nearly gotten to a saturation point, for me at least. To be clear, I don’t mean there are too many options, rather there are now enough good beer spots that it is actually becoming a bit of work (good work, if you can get it) to visit each of them on a regular basis. You just can’t expect anymore to stop by both of the local brewpubs after work on a Friday and then feel like you’ve checked up on what’s new this week and covered the bases, so to speak.

Now, with 20 or so breweries, several growler fill type places, a few bottle shops, and more than a few straight up bars that specialize in getting in quality craft beer, it has become a bit of a challenge to keep up with what each of them have recently brewed, or put on tap. Particularly for those of us that consider ourselves beer-nerds.

Working in town and living in west Boise presents me with a few options as to which “gauntlet” I want to run in the afternoon on the way home.

The Chinden/Garden City strip has a few spots, beginning with the recently opened Western Collective Beer on 33rd. Associated with Guns & Oil Brewing Co. (still not exactly sure how, even though they explained it to me at least once) these guys took over and severely remodeled the original Payette brewery/taproom, expanded it a bit and opened it up to a roomy laid back space. A dozen or so of their beers are on tap and though it is certainly not the cheapest pint in town, (some are $7), it’s a good spot and one of my regulars.

About a mile West on is Bella Brewing right on the north side of Chinden. This outfit changed hands again a few months ago and I must say I like the new direction they are taking so far. Tucked in between one of Boise’s fixture sandwich shops and a couple of wineries, its a small space, and a small brewing system. They have recently been offering a few more interesting and creative brews. Plus, free popcorn, so, there is that also. My sense is that there is a somewhat looser leash on whomever is making the beer there since this past winter, and lately I’ve been much more likely to visit than this time last year. If you stop by, aske then what in the world is a “moosechuck” .

Another couple of miles further, sort of at the West end of Garden City is HomeBrewStuff. A brewing supply retail shop that also has a dozen or so coolers of cans and bottles, focusing somewhat on local and regional offerings. They’ve also got 10 taps that someone has clearly put a bit of thought into. There is a small bar and rather Spartan seating area inside and they will set you up with a glass if you want to drink one of the cans or bottles that catch your eye.

Practically right next door, about 50′ further west is County Line Brewing. A small shop that has been slowly growing in the last 4 years or so and seems to have established a real “neighborhood pub” feel. I’ve always been impressed with what seemed like a conservative business model from the beginning.

A quarter mile west, is Powderhaus Brewing Company. An ambitious start up and an impressive building that has a great mountain ski lodge vibe. These guys started big with some large scale brewing equipment.

Next up, well pick a section of downtown and hit on the good craft-beer spots in that area.

Until then, Cheers

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