Beer: One Boise area brewery sold; another starts bottling

Boise Brewing is now selling its core beers in 22-ounce bottles, also known as “bombers.”
Boise Brewing is now selling its core beers in 22-ounce bottles, also known as “bombers.” Boise Brewing

The Boise beer scene is about to get a new brewery — at least in name.

Haff Brewing, nestled behind Cobby’s sandwich shop at 4340 W. Chinden Blvd. in Garden City, will rebrand itself as Bella Brewing in mid-February.

Remember back in November, when I wrote about an unnamed brewery for sale in the Treasure Valley that was “managed and owned by a husband and wife team”?

It was Haff. The brewery was purchased Dec. 14, 2015 — just more than a year after it opened.

Bella Brewing owner Tom Dey plans to keep the beer lineup, so tasty, popular Haff recipes such as Watermelon Wheat will continue to be brewed. Plans are for the staff to be retained, too.

“I really think the beer is good,” Dey said. “My plan is just to kind of keep it going the way it’s going right now and make some small improvements and see where we are financially. Down the road, I want to start canning and bottling and start selling it that way, too.”

Dey moved from Colorado to Boise in 2014 with his wife, Patricia. A pilot for 42 years, he’s essentially given up flying helicopters to run a brewery.

The Deys also enjoy wine. They are developing a vineyard about 4 miles west of Ontario, Ore. They own 20 acres; five are planted with grapevines, Tom Dey said.

The Deys plan to hold an official grand opening at Bella Brewing next month.

Boise Brewing offers bottles

With so many craft beer choices, convenience is more important than ever.

Boise Brewing, which opened in 2014 at 521 W. Broad St., has made an important marketing move by launching 22-ounce bottles of five beers. It’s not always enough for a brewery to offer pints or growler fills anymore. Consumers want cans and bottles, too. (I’m a proponent of 12-ounce containers, but 22-ounce bottles are a relatively low-cost way for a brewery to get its packaging feet wet.)

Starting at a bottle-release party at 5 p.m. Jan. 22, bombers of Broad Street Blonde Ale, Down Down Extra Pale Ale, Hip Check IPA and Snowboarder Porter will be available in the tasting room for $5. Black Cliffs American Stout also will be available there for $10. (That beer won silver at the Great American Beer Festival last year.)

Bottles of Hip Check IPA and Snowboarder Porter should be priced around $5 at Albertsons grocery stores, too, when they materialize there as soon as next week.


Firkin festival

Does beer taste superior out of a firkin?

Better firkin believe it. In all seriousness, you have to love the marketing spiel from the Rotary Club of Boise, which will present its first Firkin Frolic beer festival from 4:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, at the Basque Center, 601 W. Grove St.

A firkin is a 10.8-gallon vessel used to cask-condition ale. A mallet is used to drive in the spout while the firkin rests on its side — sometimes resulting in a gloriously volcanic eruption of beer.

The Firkin Frolic’s event flier notes that a firkin’s contents have “not been cold-filtered, pasteurized, carbonated or screwed up by any other source.”

“You will be drinking a free-range, cage-free beer,” it declares, “just like those back in the first days of beer drinking. So a firkin is a time machine to take you back to a time when men were men, the West was wild, beards were not manicured and beer was actually beer.”

Participating breweries include Boise Brewing, Barbarian, Bear Island, Powderhaus and Sawtooth, along with Bier:Thirty Bottle & Bistro. Tickets are $11.54 including ticketing fees right now, but they start going up in price Jan. 29 and will be $20 at the door. You get a custom Firkin Frolic tasting glass as part of the deal.


Fremont in Boise

Beer from one of Seattle’s premier craft breweries soon will appear in the Treasure Valley.

Fremont Brewing beers are coming to Southern Idaho. “Draft is basically happening pretty much as we speak,” said Sara Nelson, Fremont’s co-founder/co-owner. “We’re going to be doing packaged very soon thereafter.”

Fremont plans to hold launch events on Monday, Feb. 15, in Boise, Sun Valley and Pocatello.

Michael Deeds: 208-377-6407, @michaeldeeds