Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I Survived BEER WARS 2015

This will be brief.  I was going to  do a longer story with interviews, but as I began my journey  of drinking 30 four ounce pours, I lost my way. Check out the menu below.  That is an impressive list and the main reason that I lost my way.

I arrived early...about 3:00 and checked out the layout.  I talked to Whitney, the Beer Wars General, and she said they were almost ready to  go.   Then  I returned to to the 10 Barrel Brewery and Restaurant to eat my Fish and Chips and prepare to start tasting beer with a full stomach.  I was fortunate to have a Designated Driver, so it was "No Holds Barred" for trying all those IPA's.

Celeste Giordani is one of the volunteers that wore the Army Brown Shirts and the Camo Beer Wars Hats:

It  cost $5 for the taster glass (A nice collectible for your collection). Only $1 per chip that  got you a generous 4 ounce pour.  There were 5 booths pouring beer from 4 States...Idaho, Washington,  Oregon and Idaho. Idaho was divided into 2 categories....Boise and The Rest of Idaho.

Snake River Brewers were represented by Bob, Mike, Derek, Joe and Chris!  They were doing their best to empty those Kegs.  Steven Koonce was there doing his part too. Plus too many familiar faces to mention.  Great turn out by Boise's Craft Beer Drinkers!

Stacy from Beer Buddies was represented:

The Entrance:

The Oregon Booth:

Okay, the  funnest part was trying  to identify the Breweries and the States.  Consensus among friends was that Beer # 1 was Grapefruit Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point, So we identified the California Booth.  The next beer we agreed on was Double Dagger IPA from Sockeye and Outlaw from Payette, we had the Boise Booth identified.  I was pretty sure that #9 was Alpha Dog IPA from Laughing Dog.  So that was "The  Rest of Idaho"!  So we had three of the five I.D.'d, only two to go.  We really had a hard time with beers #25 to #30, we figured they had to be from Washington which meant the last group had to be from  Oregon. And #14 was Pallet Jack IPA from Barley Browns.  It was just so  familiar, I was sure that I had  drank it before.  So we pretty much had it figured out by 7:00 PM when they announced the beer identities.  California Won, but  with Firestone Walker Double Jack and the Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin, how could they lose.

Blind Tastings are challenging and fun.  I had a lot of fun tasting with my buddy Mike,  We shared our Chips so we only drank two ounces per beer.  It was a good strategy, because 120  ounces of IPA's  ranging in ABV from 7% to 10% would have hurt me.  There were a lot of Imperial and Double IPA's in the group.

The Protesters Across the Street (Beer is Evil):

And The Crowd:

The Band got going about 8:00 and so did we.....Great Time...highly recommend this event for all you that missed it.  Hope they  do it again in 2016.


And the winners were:

1st - California

2nd - Oregon

3rd - Rest of Idaho

4th - Washington

5th - Boise

And they were All winners in my book.

***Some of the photos provided by Stan Brewster****

Friday, September 18, 2015


So, what are you doing Saturday, Septembeer 26th??

I am amazed at the Choice of Events that we, as Craft Beer Fans, have this weekend in Boise and the surrounding area.  Many of these events are easy walking (crawling) distance of one another.  I would never imagine this happening in Boise 5 years ago.

I used to make any annual trip to Bend Oregon, to try new beer and add badges to my Untappd Account.  I have not been to Bend the last 2 years.  Don't need to go to Bend with all the great local beer offerings in Boise and the state of Idaho.  Just one more reason that I am proud to be an Idahoan.

Click on the "Event" to see the details of each event.

Downtown Boise Events by Start Time

1  - ALEFORT @ Boise Farmers Market 3:00 - 8:00   Event
       Fresh-hopped creations and unique tastings by:
       Tasting cups are $3, Tokens are $2.50 for 7 oz pour

2 - Old Boise  Octoberfest 2015  3:00 - 10:00  Event  
     This event will be held in Old Boise at 6th & main.  $15 cover charge.  They will have authentic          German beer, food, and Music.

3 - Beer Wars IPA Festival sponsored by 10-Barrel 4:00 - 10:00    Event
      This event is for IPA lovers Only.  It will be at the 10 Barrel Brewery and feature 30 IPA's from   Idaho, Oregon and Washington Breweries.  $5.00 for the Taster Cup and $1.00 per token good for     a 4 ounce taste.

4 - Taco Beer Taco Fest @ Woodland Empire Craft 4:00 - 11:00  Event

      This Free event located at the Woodland Empire Craft Ale Brewery will feature specialty tacos            paired with specialty beer and there will be live music starting at 7:00

Events in other parts of Boise:

5 - Octoberfest @ Edge Brewing  11:00 - 11:00 Event
  •      BRATS- We will have a German menu all day long
  •      BEER-We will be serving our delicious Oktoberfest
  •      BBQ- We will have an outdoor brats BBQ in the Parking lot
  •       MUSIC- Emily Tipton 5-7pm

6 - 4th Annual B'Arc and Brew Festival @  Harrison Hollow Brewing 12:00 - 8:00 Event
      Dogs, bring your people and join us for some delicious craft beer, great live music, and good times! There will be a costume contest and dog parade at 1:45pm. It's going to be a doggone good time! Don't miss it!!

Events in other parts of the Valley:

7 - Blues at The Flats 2:00 - 8:00  Event
     Doors at 2:00. Music starts at 2:30.
      Tickets $8 in advance or $10 at the door. 

8 - Snake River Brewstock in Ontario, Oregon  2:00 - 9:00  Event
      Brewfest featuring 60 different beers. $25.00 Cover Charge.



Attending Breweries:
·         10 Barrel Boise
·         Boise Brewing
·         Edge Brewing
·         Sockeye
·         Payette
·         Woodland Empire
·         Ballast Point
·         Firestone Walker
·         Green Flash
·         Pizza Port
·         Stone Brewing
·         21st Amendment
·         10 Barrel PDX
·         Barley Brown’s
·         Boneyard
·         Breakside
·         Deschutes
·         pFriem
Rest of Idaho
·         Broken Horn
·         Laughing Dog
·         Grand Teton
·         Salmon River
·         Sawtooth
·         Slate Creek
·         Backwoods Brewing
·         Elysian
·         Everybody’s Brewing
·         Georgetown
·         Naked City
·         Silver City

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


Why would you, a home brewer, want to grow your own hops?

1 -  You control the freshness of your own homegrown hops.
       I usually harvest around 100 ounces of hops every year,  I am still using hops from the 2014 season, but I            never use hops more than 2 years old.  All of my hops are stored in vacuum packed freezer bags          in my freezer.

2 -  Pride,  you have the satisfaction of knowing you have grown your own hops.
      When sharing my home brew beer, I never fail to mention that the beer is brewed with my own           home grown hops. 

3 -  If you want to make organic homebrew, you can be 100% sure that your hops ARE organic.
      You never know the history of those store  bought hops.  What is their definition of organic?  It            may different from your definition of organic. 

4 -  You can make fresh hop ales in August and September every year.
      This is one of my favorite reasons for growing my own hops.  Every year, I make a fresh hop ale.       The last two years, I made Fresh Hops IPA's, this year, I made a Fresh Hop Pale Ale.

5 -  You can decrease the cost of brewing your own beer.
       Raising Hops takes a lot of labor, but if you use a lot of hops in your beer (IPA's) you can save            money by raising your own hops.

6 -  Less impact from Hop shortages.
      With the increased demand created by the fast growing craft beer breweries for certain hops,                some hops become very hard to find.  Check out The Hops Shortage of 2008.

I started growing my own hops in 2002 when my wife bought me two rhizomes.  One was a Tettnanger, the other was a Fuggles.   I only raised those 2 hops for about 4 years. Then over time, I increased the number of hops to 12 varieties and 25 hop plants.  Now that was over kill.

I now raise 8 varieties and 16 hop plants which yield about 300+ ounces of hops per year.  But I harvest only about 1/3 of those hops.  I raise the hops I need to make the kind of beer I like to drink. I use a lot of Cascade and Centennial hops which are easy to harvest, because they have many large cones that grow in large clumps. Picture of my Chinook Hops below.

I will not go into how to grow your own hops here,  you can get information from:
Growing Your Own Hops from More Beer

And to find other home brewers in the Boise area that grow their own hops, check out:
Idaho Hop Growers on Facebook

P.S.  I have non-brewer friends that raise ornamental hops for shade.  We use Sunbeam Hops on our back deck for shade.  And they really are beautiful. See photo below:

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Edge Expands Distribution