Today marks the day that Barbarian Brewing expanded in to downtown Boise proper. Having been in Garden City for the last nearly two years and establishing a tight knit fan base, it was apparently evident that they needed to spread out a bit and make their offerings a bit more accessible to their downtown/north end base.
A recent Idaho Statesman article quoted co-owner and brewer James Long as describing this addition is not so much an expansion (in production) as it is simply a way for more Boise folks to have access to the same great beers that they have been making since their beginning in late 2015.
The doors officially opened at 3:00 PM today August 18th and while there wasn’t exactly a line waiting outside the door, by 3:20 the place was full. The couple hours I spent trying several of their offerings, (particularly the few that were saved for this event), the place only got fuller. Clearly this was an event that was due for Boise.
Settling within just a few blocks from such craft beer tap choice locations as 10 Barrel and the Taphouse as well as PreFunk and Woodland Empire only a block or two away, Barbarian has given a shot in the arm to an already vibrant and active craft beer epicenter that exploded several years ago.
The Barbarian folks had most of the same brews on tap that they recently were pouring at the original Garden City location, but also had several others that they had apparently been hording for the opening of this new location. The Watermelon Sour was particularly good, a departure from the all-too-common and what I expected to be an ultra light melon infused wheat ale, but was instead a malty rich amber concoction with full melon rind flavors and a big smooth tartness. Don’t expect kool-aid or jolly rancher sugary red melon on these things. The Bluetooth was also a good barrel aged blend with a little of the blueberry coming though.
Barbarian has sort of been a little funky hole-in-the-wall place that carved out a niche for itself in the Boise beer scene as a company that was not afraid to make off-beat, sour, creative, barrel aged beers, and this expansion/event has shown that Boise is ready for more of what they have to offer. You can’t swing a dead cat around here without hitting someplace that makes a Pale Ale or an East Coast IPA, or a Brown, but if you are interested in “embracing the funk” and “getting you’re Brett on” by trying a Mint Lime Gose or a Belgian Dubbel with peaches or a Rhubarb Strawberry Sour Quad…you’re going to have to drive down to Garden City…or no…wait, just right down on Main st. next to the cigar shop to get your freak on.
Just glad to see a niche artisan brewer do its thing…and do it well.