Words & Deeds

Thrillist picks Idaho’s best brewery, and it is — wait, don’t spit up your beer

With so many Idaho breweries, how could Thrillist narrow down the best? By tossing out any brewery in the capital city, obviously, based on the fact only Garden City and Post Falls got mentioned. (Kidding! Have a beer!)
With so many Idaho breweries, how could Thrillist narrow down the best? By tossing out any brewery in the capital city, obviously, based on the fact only Garden City and Post Falls got mentioned. (Kidding! Have a beer!) Statesman file photo

When it comes to craft beer, one man’s nectar of the gods is another woman’s drain swill.

So when New York City-based website Thrillist decided to name “The Best Craft Brewery in Every State,” well — horrible idea. Doomed from the first pour.

Yet totally fun.

If there’s one thing beer geeks enjoy almost as much as drinking beer, it’s stroking their beards and arguing about beer.

So without further ado, the best brewery in Idaho, according to Thrillist, is Crooked Fence Brewing Co.

Cheers! Maybe you’re nodding in agreement. Or maybe you’re choking on your beer. Anticipating overturned bar tables in Idaho, Thrillist also offered a word or two of praise to Selkirk Abbey Brewing Co. in Post Falls. (Selkirk Abbey was the choice by Thrillist a few years ago in an earlier version of the article. Before that, Thrillist gave the nod to Grand Teton Brewing Co. in Victor.)

But Crooked Fence is Thrillist’s pick in the most recent list, which was updated this week and given prominent position on the website’s home page. It’s a nice pat on the back for Crooked Fence. Especially when you consider that in the past year, the brewery changed ownership and moved to 5220 N. Sawyer Ave. in Garden City from its previous acreage in Eagle.

Thrillist basically drove off a cliff by claiming to name “The Best Brewery in Every State.” Still, the process is a lot of fun.

“Best brewery” is a subjective choice. Naturally, hop fanatics at Beer Advocate’s online forum are dissecting and debating Thrillist’s choices. Nearly half of Thrillist’s short Idaho write-up is devoted to Crooked Fence’s wicked-cool artwork, created by former marketing director/co-owner Kelly Knopp. (He no longer works with the brewery, which was founded in 2012.) Here’s the paragraph from Thrillist:

“They say that a large portion of beer sales are based on how cool the labels are. If that’s the case, Idaho’s Crooked Fence should be the top-selling brewery, with labels resembling the kind of slick, twisted cartoon artwork you’d expect to see on old Liquid Television reruns or during an Adult Swim fever dream. But it’s what’s inside that really counts, and beneath those frame-worthy etchings is a standout roster of beers ranging from the classic IPA Hop Notion to Aviator raspberry blonde to a monstrous imperial stout aptly named “Sins of Our Fathers.” CF ran neck-in-neck with the excellent, Belgian-heavy Selkirk Abbey for Idaho’s honor, but the strength of its product inside and out tipped the scales.”

Cool labels or not, Crooked Fence is not Idaho’s top-selling brewery. That honor goes to Boise’s Sockeye Brewing, which produced the most beer in Idaho in 2017, according to the Brewers Association. Crooked Fence was sixth.

Help Crooked Fence move up the production ladder by raising a toast from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday during its 2019 Mug Club Membership Launch event. From a press release: “Members enjoy 20-ounce beer pours of our regular octane beers (less than 7 percent ABV) for the 16-ounce price, an exclusive mug club T-shirt, a 20-ounce mug you can personalize, two free pours upon sign-up, one free pour on your birthday, and access to mug-club-only events throughout 2019. All for $45! Limited to 80 members. Plus beer releases: Good Monkey Belgian Tripel “Banana Beer” and Downtown Coffee Brown infused with a dark roast coffee from Caffeina Roasting Company. Chili and Cornbread available for purchase from 5 to 8 p.m., while supplies last.”

So what do you think? Did Thrillist nail it? Is Crooked Fence your choice for Idaho’s best? And what do you think about Epic Brewing winning Utah? Or pFriem Family Brewers conquering Oregon?

Want more Idaho entertainment news? Follow Michael Deeds on Facebook and Twitter.