Garden City’s brew scene keeps on growing and growing. Now it seems that Chinden Boulevard almost has as many breweries as it does auto body shops, car lots and convenience stores.
OK, that might be kind of a stretch, but several new breweries have opened (or are opening soon) this year along the bustling industrial boulevard.
Barbarian Brewing (www.barbarianbrewing.com) opened Oct. 3 just a beer cap flick away from Crooked Fence Brewing’s taproom off Glenwood Street.
Owners James Long and BreAnne Hovley have been busy retooling the small warehouse space into a comfortable spot where people can hang out and quaff pints.
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“We turned the former front office area into a cool and cozy taproom,” Hovley says.
Corrugated metal panels were added to the walls, set off by plenty of wood trim, giving the diminutive space an industrial-meets-rustic feel. A large photo of the Sawtooths dominates one wall. The wood tables and bar top were made by local artists.
Barbarian, as the name suggests, prefers to do things the primitive way when it comes to making beer. Wood barrel-aged beers are all the rage in the world of brewing right now, and this new microbrewery favors the deep flavors that wood barrels impart.
But aging beer in wood barrels obviously takes time, and Barbarian won’t be releasing those brews for a few months. No worries, though. The brewery offers plenty of non-aged brews (made by James Long) to get things going.
“We are starting right out of the gate with six beers,” Hovley says.
Barbarian’s opening lineup includes Little Wolf IPA, The Commoner (a California common, aka steam-style brew), Saison, Dark Saison (fermented in Merlot barrels), Big Bad Wolf (imperial IPA fermented in Chardonnay barrels) and PostFunk, a dry-hopped sour beer.
When the time comes, the brewery will offer its more mature, barrel-aged brews in 750-milliliter (24 ounce) bottles.
Barbarian Brewing’s taproom, at 5270 W. Chinden Blvd., is open 4 to 9 p.m. Thursday-Friday; noon to 9 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Powderhaus to focus on mountain-inspired brews
It’s hard not to miss Powderhaus Brewing Company’s beautiful new building at 9719 W. Chinden Blvd. near the corner of Maple Grove Road.
The handsome 8,000-square-foot building — with its big grain silo out front — really stands out along this quiet stretch of Chinden Boulevard.
The brewery and stylish taproom opened the first week of November.
Owners Mark and Lisa Schmidt made their son Tyler’s dreams come true when they decided to invest in a brewery. Tyler Schmidt and Tyson Cardon, both beer geeks and avid skiers, run the day-to-day operations at the brewery, which draws inspiration from the mountains that surround us.
Tyler Evans, a former brewer at Edge Brewing, was hired as the head brewer at Powderhaus.
Expect to see four flagship brews, including First Turns IPA, Hinterlander Robust Porter, Dead Fall Ale and Prusik Pilsner, and various seasonal beers that will make appearances throughout the year.
County Line Brewing makes a splash
County Line Brewing (www.countylinebrewing.com) debuted earlier this year in the former Kilted Dragon Brewing spot, at 9115 W. Chinden Blvd, just down the way from Powderhaus Brewing.
Owners Zack and Laura Kiehl have transformed the small taproom into an attractive space for people looking to unwind on weekends with a few pints of handcrafted brews.
Flagship beers include Shade Tree IPA, Blushing Bride White IPA, Barnwood Brown Ale and Porch Swing Porter. Also expect to find seasonal brews such as RIP Russian Imperial Stout.
County Line Brewing is open 4 to 10 p.m. Friday; noon to 10 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Boise breweries garner medals at prestigious beer festival
Two Boise breweries garnered medals for their stouts at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver on Sept. 24-26.
Boise Brewing (www.boisebrewing.com), a community-funded microbrewery in Boise’s Central Addition district, brought home a silver medal for its Black Cliffs American Stout — made by head brewer Lance Chavez.
10 Barrel Brewing Co. (www.10barrel.com) secured a bronze medal for the second year in a row for its Power to the People (P2P), an American-style stout made by Boise head brewer Shawn Kelso.
It’s also worth noting that Barley Brown’s (www.barleybrownsbeer.com) in Baker City, Ore., scored a gold medal for its Ratchet Strap IPA.
Boise Brew Bus takes care of the driving
Interested in taking a tour of Boise’s breweries without having to drive all over the place?
Well then, let Boise Brew Bus take care of the driving. This newish service shuttles folks around to the various breweries in a bright-green short bus.
The tours ($45 per person) include a free beer flight at one of the breweries, brief brewery tours and, most importantly, safe passage to and from the breweries.
Expect to stop by Haff Brewing, Crooked Fence Brewing, Edge Brewing and County Line Brewing, to name a few.
Boise Brew Bus tours depart from the Same Day Electric parking lot at 4299 W. Chinden Blvd. in Garden City.
To see the tour schedule and make reservations, visit www.boisebrewbus.com.
James Patrick Kelly, restaurant critic at the Idaho Statesman, is the author of the travel guidebooks “Moon Idaho” and “Spotlight Boise.” He also teaches journalism at Boise State University.