Words & Deeds

Two Idaho beers make Draft magazine’s ‘Top 50 IPAs in America’

Idaho’s beer scene has grown exponentially in recent years, and our breweries are gaining recognition outside the state.

The Gem State’s latest pour of street cred? Two Idaho beers made Draft magazine’s new “50 Best IPAs in America.”

Following the lead of Paste magazine, which conducts exhaustive, highly informative blind tastings on a regular basis, Draft sampled a whopping 386 IPAs from across the nation. Think about what that much IPA would do to your palate! No sweat. All of the judges were superhuman tasters — either Certified Cicerones or Beer Judge Certification Program vets.

Mother Earth Brew Co.’s BooKoo IPA finished at No. 18. And Grand Teton Brewing Co.’s Teton Range IPA came in at No. 45.

As Idaho beer drinkers know, both are outstanding.

Mother Earth, which has breweries in Vista, Calif., and Nampa, Idaho, eventually plans to move the business here. Sooner rather than later, Mother Earth could be Idaho’s largest brewery.

Whatever the case, you can pick up sixers of Idaho-brewed BooKoo pretty much everywhere.

The Draft crew was impressed. “It’s no surprise that BooKoo made it this high in the rankings,” Draft wrote. “It’s earned an impressive 97-point score from our judges in the past. Everything that wowed us then is still present now: Mosaic and Simcoe hops deliver a pleasant, interlocked blend of chopped garlic, apricot and lime juice. Clementine and dried mango strips emerge midpalate; mild malts and low bitterness lead things to a soft, easy finish. Super-clean and crystal-clear, this is a beer that’s beautiful inside and out.”

Teton Range IPA is brand spanking new for Grand Teton, a veteran brewery in Victor. This IPA just came out in April. When it comes to IPAs, it’s always better fresh, right?

“Grand Teton’s beers have always been solid during our blind tastings — good, not great,” Draft wrote, “but this IPA seems to indicate a new direction for the brewery. The nose is like a basket of fruits and flowers, with lavender and lilac swaying above lemon zest, tangerine, papaya and a hint of Pixy Stix. Sips are more malt-focused, as biscuits and slightly toasty bread crust match the woody hop character that contributes sawdust and a twist of black peppercorns at the swallow. While the bitterness is on the low, low end of what’s acceptable for IPA — this could almost pass for a pale ale — it’s also very clean and enables those complex malts to shine through. Another reason to like it: A majority of the barley and hops used were grown in the brewery’s home state of Idaho.”

The folks at Mother Earth and Grand Teton should be proud of their finishes in this blind tasting. Some major breweries and beers did not make the list, (including 10 Barrel Brewing Co., which has a pub and brewery in Boise).

It’s also worth noting that western Wyoming-based Melvin Brewing — increasingly a favorite among Boise beer geeks — finished at No. 9 for its Melvin IPA. Very, very nice.

The weekend is almost here. Time to go buy a couple of six packs of Idaho IPA, eh?

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