Beer Notes

‘Tap the Knit’ is latest local brew festival

mdeeds@idahostatesman.comOctober 25, 2013 

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You know you want it: The commemorative tumbler that will be sold at Tap the Knit.

With help from local guild Idaho Brewers United, a dozen Gem State breweries have been lined up to pour 36 beers at Tap the Knit on Saturday, Oct. 26, at Boise’s Knitting Factory Concert House.

Participating breweries include Kilted Dragon, Crooked Fence, Highland Hollow, Slanted Rock, The Ram, TableRock, 10 Barrel, Payette, Sawtooth, Sockeye, Grand Teton and McCall Brewing Company.

The cost is $12, which includes five tasting tokens, or $20 for five tokens and a commemorative 19-ounce stainless-steel double-wall tumbler. Additional tokens will cost $2 at the festival.

Pours will be served in generous 7-ounce cups, says Knitting Factory General Manager Gary Pike.

“I don’t want people to come in here and think, ‘Oh, great, I barely got a taste out of them,’ ” Pike says.

Adding to the atmosphere of what the Knit is calling “Idaho’s Original Kegger,” college football will be shown on TVs. The event is being co-presented by 96.9 The Eagle (and marketed by Cumulus radio stations), so classic-rock music will play in the background, and on-air personalities Scott Souhrada and Scott Cruize will be on hand.

Pike is hoping for a thirsty, enthusiastic crowd.

“There’s a pretty good little buzz about it,” he says, adding: “The one nice thing is we’re not going up against a BSU game.”

True. Let’s just hope that the beers aren’t sorrow drowners after the BYU game the night before ...

• 1 to 10 p.m. Oct. 26, Knitting Factory, 416 S. 9th St., Boise, $12 or $20, TicketWeb.

BEER FEST OVERLOAD?

The Knit is the latest venue to tap into Boise’s craft beer market for a tasting party — but definitely not the last.

The Pray For Snow Winter Ale Fest, presented by Tom Grainey’s, plans to offer beer from more than 25 breweries on Sunday, Nov. 17, in the parking lot at 6th and Grove streets. It costs, according to the event’s Facebook page, “ONLY $20 in advance for UNLIMITED TASTINGS (and we all know what that means).”

(Um, a brutal Monday?)

Tap the Knit sounds fun. So does Pray for Snow. But as craft-beer celebrations keep popping up — whether it’s the third annual Idaho Brewers Festival at Nampa’s Lakeview Park in August or the weakly attended Brew-Festivus at Boise’s PowerHouse Event Center in June — it’s inevitable that attracting drinkers will become a stiffer challenge.

Crooked Fence marketing director Kelly Knopp thinks a saturation point has arrived.

“It’s like having Christmas every month,” Knopp says. “I think everyone has good intentions of growing the scene ... but I think people are not as eager to go to (beer festivals) because they know there’s going to be one every month. I can see the crowd starting to thin out. You’re starting to see the same people at every fest.”

Payette Brewing founder Mike Francis agrees. He’s even made a point to slow down the number of internal Payette promotions such as pint nights and tastings at area bars and restaurants.

“It’s a tough balance,” Francis says.

The king of area brew-tasting festivals is the annual Barley Bros. Traveling Beer Show, which was held at Julius M. Kleiner Memorial Park in Meridian this summer. Attendance was down significantly from its heyday in Boise’s Ann Morrison Park, but the brewfest still lured about 2,500 paying customers over two days.

Look, we all can agree to raise a toast to any local beer festival. But should event organizers ponder the possibility of overkill in the not-so-distant future? It's just something to chew on — besides those stale pretzels somebody slid down the bar.

CASES OF PORTER CANS

When Boise-based Sockeye Brewing began selling 24-can cases of its Dagger Falls IPA at Idaho Costcos this summer, craft-beer fans yanked out their wallets.

It’s time to reach into that back pocket again.

Sockeye’s Power House Porter also is being sold in 24-can “suitcases.”

Costco in Nampa has them for $24.99. Power House suitcases will arrive at Boise’s Costco, as well as the other three Idaho Costcos, in coming weeks.

Looking for a super-DUPER bargain? Be patient. Dagger Falls sometimes goes on sale as cheaply as $22.99. The Power House is sure to follow suit ... (case).

SEASONAL CREEP

Fall is in the air, but many Treasure Valley beer drinkers already are hungering for winter seasonals.

“We’re fighting a losing battle against seasonal creep,” Payette Brewing’s Francis says with a laugh. “We try not to release our seasonals until the actual season starts. It’s really actually hard to do, as weird as it sounds.”

Here’s what some breweries are starting to cook up:

• Payette’s 12 Gauge Imperial Stout will hit taps early next month. A version aged in bourbon barrels for one year will be sold in 22-ounce bottles beginning Black Friday.

But Payette is holding off its true winter seasonal until, you know, winter: Sawed Off Stout won’t arrive until Dec. 21, Francis says.

• Winterfest is being poured at Sockeye’s restaurant in Boise, and four-packs of 16-ounce cans are replacing Socktoberfest on local store shelves.

• Crooked Fence’s Grim Reaper Imperial Black IPA will be on tap in 10 days or so.

The brewery’s flagship winter beer, the chocolately Augustus, should hit taps in early to mid-November.

PAYETTE PRESENTATION

Francis will give a talk at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6, at the Library! at Collister, 4724 W. State St. He’ll share his story about being an industrial engineer turned brewery founder. At 8 p.m., the show will cruise next door to Salt: A Modern Public House for a beer tasting and Q&A.

Michael Deeds: 377-6407, Twitter: @IDS_Deeds

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