Beer notes: Gear up for Saturday’s Hoptober Freshtival in Downtown Boise

The annual Hoptober Freshtival, billed as Idaho’s largest fresh hop beer festival, features, of course, fresh-hop beers. This year’s event is on Oct. 1, near Boise Brewing at 6th and Broad streets in Downtown Boise.
The annual Hoptober Freshtival, billed as Idaho’s largest fresh hop beer festival, features, of course, fresh-hop beers. This year’s event is on Oct. 1, near Boise Brewing at 6th and Broad streets in Downtown Boise. Special to the Idaho Statesman

Fans of hoppy beers should definitely head to Boise’s Central Addition district on Saturday, Oct. 1. The third annual Hoptober Freshtival is slated to take place from noon to 8 p.m.

The event ($25 at the door) will be held outside under a big top at the corner of 6th and Broad streets next to Boise Brewing, which is putting on the sudsy shindig.

Made using green hops harvested hours before they hit the brew kettle, fresh-hopped beers offer a special fall treat. You can mingle with area hop farmers and try beers from 30 or so local and regional microbreweries, which will be pouring 60 different handcrafted brews that pay homage to the Northwest’s hop farming industry. Besides brews from Boise Brewing, expect to find hop-forward beers from Barbarian Brewing, Sockeye Brewing, Woodland Empire Alecraft, Sawtooth Brewery, Salmon River Brewery, Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery and more.

In terms of food, you’ll find five food trucks dishing out beer-friendly grub. The lineup includes Boise Fry Co., B-Town Bistro, Archie’s Place, Genki Takoyaki and Wetos Locos Tacos. Students from Life’s Kitchen will also be on hand serving various snacks.


Boise Bacon & Beer Benefit

Sockeye Brewing is hosting its inaugural Boise Bacon & Beer Benefit on Saturday, Oct. 8, at its West Boise location, 12542 W. Fairview Ave., from 1 to 5 p.m.

The event, which benefits Meals on Wheels and Community Outreach Behavioral Services, will be held outside at the brewery and will feature more than 10 local breweries and nearly 20 food vendors.

Here’s how it works: Purchase a ticket ($25 online at or $30 at the door), and you’ll receive a commemorative beer glass, 20 food tokens and 20 drink tokens.

Participating breweries include Edge Brewing, Boise Brewing, Cloud 9 Brewing, Payette Brewing, Highlands Hollow Brewhouse, Sockeye Brewing and Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery and Hop Valley Brewing, to name a few. Meriwether Cider Co. will pour handcrafted hard ciders. Some of Boise’s best restaurants and caterers will be putting out food that pairs well with the craft brews. There will be bacon-focused bites from Zee’s Rooftop Café, Grant’s Neighborhood Grill, Bacon, Bardenay, Big Daddy’s Barbecue, Kanak Attack, The Lift and more.

You must be at least 21 to attend the event.

Opening this month

▪ Mad Swede Brewing Co., 2772 S. Cole Road in Boise, will host a grand opening party starting at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15. (The brewery will open at 2 p.m.). The new brewery has a 1,000-square-foot tasting room.

▪ Mother Earth Brew Co., 1428 Madison Ave. in Nampa, plans to debut its tasting room at noon Saturday, Oct. 8. Vista, Calif.-based Mother Earth constructed this major brewery after announcing its Idaho expansion in 2015.

36th Street Bistro beer dinner

36th Street Bistro, at 3823 Garden Center Way in Boise, is teaming up with Payette Brewing for a craft beer dinner on Oct. 5 from 5 to 9 p.m.

Chef Joe Leseberg’s three-course, fall-inspired dinner ($35 per person) will be paired with three of Payette Brewing’s seasonal beers (to be announced later).

The first course is a roasted candy cane beet salad with organic mixed greens, ruby red grapefruit and tangy sake vinaigrette.

The second course comes with a choice of either smoked Arctic char (served with roasted butternut squash-maple glaze, purple pesto, barley risotto and mustard greens) or a chili-spiced, roasted game hen with oyster-mushroom ragout, quinoa and a spiced serrano pepper-porter reduction.

Last but not least, the final course will come in the form of a pumpkin-spiced latte cake with root beer-molasses syrup and mascarpone sorbet.

For reservations, call 433-5108.


Road trip brewery: Snow Eagle Brewing

Next time you’re going through Idaho Falls, make sure to stop at Snow Eagle Brewing and Grill (

The brewpub (455 River Parkway), situated across the Snake River from downtown Idaho Falls, shares a space with its sister establishment, Wasabi Sushi Bar, which means you can get a fanciful fusion roll with a pint of handcrafted brew.

Brewmaster Ty Blacker puts out several notable flagship and seasonal beers, including Beaver Dick Brown Pelt Ale, Snow Eagle IPA, Honey Rye Wheat, Dark Horse Milk Stout (brewed with chocolate and roasted malts) and a super-malty Strong Scotch Ale.

Besides sushi rolls, nigiri and sashimi, diners will find a large menu of upscale pub food. Appetizers include beer-battered mushrooms, nachos and Cajun-style ahi tuna. Also expect to find fish and chips, Baja-style fish tacos, pizza, pasta dishes, bratwurst and other beer-friendly sandwiches. Try a Snow Eagle Burger, made on a crusty bun with a half-pound Kobe beef patty, caramelized onion, bacon, cheddar-jack cheese and avocado.

Snow Eagle Brewing and Grill is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

James Patrick Kelly, the Idaho Statesman’s restaurant critic, is the author of the travel guidebook “Moon Idaho.” The latest edition hit the shelves earlier this year. Kelly also teaches journalism at Boise State University.