For the past two or three years, Marcus Bezuhly and his wife, Sherry, watched patrons at their Homebrewstuff shop in Garden City open breweries: Payette, Crooked Fence, Slanted Rock, the soon-to-debut Bogus and Cloud 9.
"They're all customers of mine," Marcus Bezuhly says. "To see them opening breweries, I was like, 'I need to get off my butt and do this!' "
One transformed office building and $1.6 million later, Boise has its newest brewpub. Bezuhly and his wife opened Edge Brewing Co. and restaurant Wednesday at 525 N. Steelhead Way, near Maple Grove and Emerald streets. It's the second newcomer to materialize in the past month - Woodland Empire Ale Craft opened at 11th and Front streets in January - continuing a mini-rampage of new breweries.
"I feel like we don't have to be first," Bezuhly says. "We just have to brew the best beer we can. I think that's the important thing. We're all about the variety and quality of beer."
Bezuhly, a home brewer for 16 years, says he hates the term "flagship beer."
"One of the things I've always loved about home brewing is just always being able to make something different," he says.
Edge will focus on variety. The brewery debuted with half a dozen beers on tap (featuring light-hearted names such as Obligatory IPA and Badunkamonk Belgian Golden Strong); that number will rise to eight or nine by the weekend. Head brewer Kerry Caldwell, formerly of Tablerock Brewpub, will experiment regularly at the 15-barrel brew house. There's also a 20-gallon pilot system that Edge's 22 investors - many of whom home brew - use to craft small batches.
"I would say that we should be able to keep 15 or 20 beers on tap most of the time," Bezuhly says.
Chefs Ryan Collings and Tony Knipe run the kitchen at the 89-seat restaurant, which will focus on "gastro- pub" fare, Bezuhly says. And of course: "We use a lot of beer in the cooking."
Edge doesn't plan to offer its beer in cans immediately, but will before summer. Until then, the goal is to have fun being creative.
"Barrel aging is going to be a pretty big part of our program, too," Bezuhly says. "We really wanted to come in town and do stuff that not a lot of people were doing. I think that that's one way for us to show what we can do and really just bring more to the beer community in Boise. There's no reason that Boise shouldn't be known for beer in the same way that Bend or Portland is."
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m Sunday. Online: Edgebrew.com.
NEW IPA, CANS AT CROOKED FENCE
Crooked Fence Brewing is in the process of semi-retiring one of its flagship beers, Devil's Pick IPA, and replacing it with Hop Notion IPA.
If you've tasted both, you probably will agree: It's a good move.
"We wanted to put an IPA out there that was a little more sessionable," explains Kelly Knopp, the brewery's marketing director and co-owner.
Devil's Pick is 7 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), and 80 on the International Bitterness Units scale (IBU). Hop Notion is 6.0 ABV, 65 IBU. Devil's Pick will continue to be brewed, but not regularly.
By mid-March, Hop Notion IPA also will be distributed in cans, as will Aviator Aviator Raspberry Blonde.
Along with Rusty Nail Pale Ale and 3 Picket Porter - already sold in cans - that will make four varieties available in cans year-round.