There is so much happening craft beer-wise in the Treasure Valley these days that it's almost hard to keep up.
Every week, news breaks. By now, local beer nuts have no doubt treated themselves to six packs that Sockeye and Payette brewing companies have released into area stores over the last several weeks.
Joining them on store shelves soon will be libations from Crooked Fence Brewing, which has a mobile canning line at their Garden City Brewery to put the Three Picket Porter and Rusty Nail Pale Ale in cans.
That's pretty big news for a beer-loving city that is finally getting multiple options for homegrown suds in cans, but it's a footnote for Crooked Fence.
They are working on a bigger project - opening a new and unique brewpub less than a mile down the road from their current location at 5242 Chinden Blvd. in Garden City.
The hope is to have the Crooked Fence Barrelhouse serving food and beers at 5181 Glenwood St. by June.
The Barrelhouse is going where a Chinese buffet place used to be, in the strip mall to the north of the Revolution Concert House and Event Center.
The inside of the building is stripped out, a lease is signed, and construction is set to begin this month to turn the 7,300-square-foot room into a rustic retreat, complete with recovered wood from fallen barns and wagon wheels - a rural Idaho vibe that goes pretty well with the Crooked Fence aesthetic.
It will also have a lot of barrels - whiskey barrels, wine barrels, oak barrels - that will be full of beer. Hence the name Barrelhouse.
Crooked Fence is putting a six-barrel brewing system in the new pub, where it will make exclusive beers that will then be moved into and aged in the barrels. You will also still be able to drink regular Crooked Fence brews - like Three Picket Porter, Rusty Nail Pale Ale and Derby Oatmeal IPA - at the Barrelhouse. They will just drive the kegs over from the Chinden brewery. The brewpub should accommodate about 150 people, which is a pretty big room.
They are already aging some beers at the Chinden location, so they will be ready to roll when the Barrelhouse opens.
"We wanted to do something a little different, which is why we are going with the barrels," Crooked Fence co-owner Andy Leathers said. "There isn't anything else really like it (in Northwest Boise/Garden City) in the area.
"We think Glenwood is going to be a great location, with the concert house, racetrack, (Boise Hawks) baseball stadium and all the other stuff going on out there."
Leathers and his partners are still figuring out a menu, but expect kind of standard pub fare, with an emphasis on Idaho ingredients - lots of beer-battered items, sausages, cheese plates, maybe some flatbreads.
This is a big deal for Crooked Fence, which just recently celebrated its first birthday.
Crooked Fence was a good example of the new Boise brewery paradigm initiated by Payette Brewing Co. in 2011 - which is just worry about the beer, put in a tasting room, and leave the grub to the ever-expanding fleet of local food trucks. Crooked Fence was very successful in that model. The Chinden location has a nice tap room, a relaxed vibe, and has become a destination place for many loyal imbibers.
Leathers admitted that expanding into the pub part of the brewpub business is a risk, but he and his partners feel the time - and location - is right.
For instance, Leathers says, a Crooked Fence Barrelhouse likely wouldn't be a good fit for Downtown Boise right now. But Glenwood feels good.
"We were able to get a lease that works for us, and we feel pretty good about where we are at," he said. "We are all thinking about responsible growth."
I think it will succeed. The Crooked Fence folks have a cool idea, good beers, and will be a destination place for Northwest Boise (an underserved area of town), as long as the food delivers. A startup brewery would have a much harder time doing the same thing.
There might be a time when Boise reaches the saturation point for breweries. I don't suspect we are there yet, but it might not be that far away, either. That is a column for another day.
Patrick Orr: 377-6219, Twitter: @IDS_Beer