Words & Deeds

Local brewery to open second taproom in Downtown Boise

The Barbarian crew, from left: co-owner/brewer James Long, co-owner/business manager BreAnne Hovley, cellarman Matt Long and bartender Brock Bridges.
The Barbarian crew, from left: co-owner/brewer James Long, co-owner/business manager BreAnne Hovley, cellarman Matt Long and bartender Brock Bridges. Barbarian Brewing

With a small ocean of oak-aged beer ready to be tapped, Barbarian Brewing doesn’t exactly find itself over a barrel.

But by late spring or early summer, the Garden City brewery definitely will have a better place to pour it.

Less than two years after launching a brewery at 5270 W. Chinden Blvd., Barbarian plans to open a second taproom at 1022 W. Main St. in Boise. That’s the former home of The Crux, an all-ages coffee house and beer bar that closed in 2015.

Founded by BreAnne Hovley and her husband, brewer James Long, Barbarian has built a loyal fan base by emphasizing barrel-aged and sour beers. The new taproom is a way to reach more eager customers.

“Our Chinden taproom does great,” Hovley says. “But we do know a lot of people — particularly North Enders, Downtown people, and anyone in East Boise — they don’t want to come this way. We hear that quite a bit.”

Because Barbarian specializes in beers that take months if not years to create, the brewery has reached a point where there’s a tidal wave of inventory to share.

“I think we have 85 oak barrels that are full at the moment,” Hovley says. “And then by next week, we’ll have 90-something. This spring alone, we have 10 barrel-aged beers that are going to be ready within the next two months.”

The Chinden location, which was expanded last spring, will remain open. But Barbarian will use its larger, higher-profile taproom Downtown to maximize its business model: Selling beer directly to customers rather than relying on the competitive wholesale market.

“We’d like to keep our boutique size,” she says, “so Downtown is a way for us to be able to move our beer without having to distribute like crazy.”

The Crux’s music stage has been removed, but Barbarian might host occasional live bands, Hovley says. Food will be available to drinkers whether it’s from a cart outside or through a partnership with a restaurant.

Barbarian’s Downtown taproom will be open six or seven days a week. The Chinden taproom will stay open with its regular hours: 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 3 to 9 p.m. Friday, noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

If two locations sounds ambitious for a new local brewery that debuted with a seating capacity of nine people, well — it kind of is.

“In April, we’ll be a year and a half old,” Hovley says incredulously.

Michael Deeds: 208-377-6407, @michaeldeeds

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