Get ready, Downtown Boise: 10 Barrel Brewing Co. is finally open

mdeeds@idahostatesman.comApril 21, 2013 

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Moscow native Josh Ritter will perform at River Run in Sun Valley on Aug. 14 before making a stop in Boise at the Egyptian Theatre the next evening.

Kevin Settles isn't losing sleep over the fact that 10 Barrel Brewing Co. is opening this week at 9th and Bannock streets in Boise.

But the owner of Bardenay Restaurant and Distillery expects the new brewpub to sting his successful Downtown eatery - at least initially.

"10 Barrel's going to take a bite out of everybody's business," Settles says. "Their craft beer is extremely popular, they make good beers, and it's been in the works so long that I think there's a lot of curiosity."

After surviving a barrage of red tape from the state of Idaho, the Bend, Ore.-based brewery finally was able to serve eager Boiseans this weekend in a test run.

10 Barrel opens to the public at 11 a.m. Monday, April 22. Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays, 11 a.m. to midnight Fridays-Saturdays.

The brewpub's most direct competition is nearby Bittercreek Alehouse, 246 N. 8th St. Although Bittercreek is not a brewery, it has dozens of taps and a well-deserved reputation for above-average food.

It's also temporarily closed - for a nicely timed upgrade and publicity jolt.

Boiseans expecting 10 Barrel to be a variation on Bittercreek are in for a surprise. Rather than feeling like a restaurant with a brewery inside, 10 Barrel was designed more like a brewery that happens to contain tables and chairs, says business partner Garrett Wales.

"When you walk in here, you feel like you're in a brewery," he says.

"It's all about the beer. And food is a very, very close second. That's the experience we really want people to have."

10 Barrel wants to keep 15 to 20 taps running, Wales says - all pouring its own beers. Once warmer weather arrives, 10 Barrel will flip into outdoor mode. The brewpub has a garage door that opens into the building. A patio outside will offer its own bar with seating.

"That's my favorite seat in the house," Wales says.

For veterans like Bittercreek and Bardenay - which opened in 1996 and 1999 - surviving newcomers is part of the business model. These days, competition for the finite Downtown customer base isn't just limited to other bars and restaurants, either.

"What people don't realize," Settles says, "is that Whole Foods had an impact on the restaurant business in town. They have 200 seats in that place where you can sit and have a meal. You can get a draft beer. You can get wine by the glass. It is a restaurant couched in a store."

Still, Settles doesn't sound particularly concerned about the future prospects of Bardenay, which also has locations in Eagle and Coeur d'Alene.

Sure, everybody is going to check out 10 Barrel.

"What makes it or breaks it is whether they go, take a look and say, 'Oh, that was fun,' and then come back to you," Settles says.

"It's one of the questions I ask my managers all the time: 'When the next place opens up, what are they going to do that we don't do that will stop people from coming back once they've tried it?' "

CONCERT UPDATES

- Singer-songwriter Josh Ritter is returning to the Egyptian Theatre on Aug. 15. Ticket details haven't been released, but I expect to have an update on my blog and Twitter in the next 24 to 48 hours.

- Tickets are on sale for Steely Dan (Aug. 11, Idaho Botanical Garden's Outlaw Field), Ted Nugent (July 11, Knitting Factory), The Dirty Heads (July 15, Knit) and Slightly Stoopid/Atmosphere (July 25, Idaho Center Amphitheater).

TONIGHT IN 'THE OTHER STUDIO'

Walking Boise rock encyclopedia J. Todd Dunnigan will stop in to tell stories about the history of our music scene. We'll play tunes from the Mystics, H Hour, Treepeople and more.

"The Other Studio" airs at 9 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River.

IN SCENE APRIL 26

- "Beauty and the Beast" visits the Morrison Center.

- Scene's food reviewer gets his hands messy at Bodacious Pig Barbecue in Eagle.

- Mark Wahlberg's "Pain & Gain" arrives in movie theaters.

Michael Deeds' column runs Fridays in Scene and Sundays in Life. Email: mdeeds@idahostatesman.com. Twitter: @IDS_Deeds

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