Another fun benefit of this ongoing boom of small craft breweries popping up all over the country and particularly in the west, is that tap houses and beer-bars have more and more opportunity to focus on a particular brewer and have that brewers beers taking over all (or most) of their taps. A “Tap Takeover” so to speak gives breweries a chance to show off a bigger part of their line-up at one time at one place, run up their flag in a territory they are trying to break into or just simply “carpet bomb” an area and generally raise awareness of themselves. For us beer enthusiasts, tap take-overs at bars or restaurants are a good way, short of visiting the production facility and its tap room in person, to check out a wider selection of what a brewery has to offer, all in one fell swoop.
Sockeye, one of Boise’s oldest, and arguably most famous local brewery is celebrating its 20th anniversary this summer and as fate would have it, so is BitterCreek Ale House, the popular downtown bar. There was no way that this confluence would not go unleveraged upon, and so last week all 45 of BitterCreek’s taps were occupied by one beer or another from the Boise brewer. It is common for 8 or 10 or even a dozen taps at an establishment to be monopolized in this way for an event like this but Bittercreek has no less than 45 taps behind the bar so a complete full takeover was a tall order to fill. Sockeye managed it. In the words of Boise area BJCP and beer nerd Chris Hillman “…Will not miss this. Takes a badass brewery to do a proper tap takeover at Bittercreek.”
Granted, many of the beers offered here were ones that any local would be familiar with, but also many of them were either, new recipes, one time only creations, modifications of some of their regulars, special barrel aged versions or maybe just vintages from past years. We all know and love, Dagger Falls IPA, Angel’s Perch Amber, and Powerhouse Porter, but some you may not have ever heard of are such interesting offerings as Salted Caramel Gose, Soured Cream Ale with Rhubarb and of course a couple especially made for the occasion. Sockeye’s own 20th Anniversary Sour IPA as well as “Wheat Tarts”, the beer that they made to celebrate Bitter Creeks 20th anniversary a few months before.
Keep an eye out for the next “Tap Take-Over” in your area and take advantage of the opportunity to get to know a brewery top to bottom this way. Try several of their offerings with a sampler tray or a flight or two of whatever is taking over the taps there that day.