Tuesday, November 15, 2016


by Bob Hubler

October 2016 saw the Opening of the Mad Swede Brewery and The Tap Room Opening at the Mother Earth Brewery in Nampa as the number of breweries in the State of Idaho increased to 54! But they will be the last breweries to open in the Boise Valley in 2016.

I checked in at The Clairvoyant Brewing Company and The Lost Grove Brewing Company last week. Clairvoyant has made a lot of progress since my last visit  four months ago.  They have most of their brewing vessels and equipment installed.  They need to finish up the plumbing and wiring and remain 8 to 12 weeks away from their opening.  They are now planning an early Spring 2017 opening.  Lost Grove has not begun their construction yet so they will be not be opening for 6 to 8 months.  Maybe the Summer of 2017.

White Dog Brewing from Bozeman, Montana will open a second brewery in Boise this spring.  They will be located in the former Post Modern/Table Rock location.  They plan a brewery with a tap room, differing from the prior brewpubs that occupied that space.  They will feature a "frost rail" on their bar to keep the beer cold for slow beer drinkers.  Longdrop Cider Company also opened a new tap room in the same building.  They will occupy the short lived "Brewforia" location.

I also heard through the local craft brew grapevine that David Krick has delayed his plans for the WPA Brew Pub in Boise. But we do have another new brewery that will open in the Boise area in 2017.  Jeff Badigian and Marc Grubert  will open the Springs Creek Brewery Pub and Pizzeria in the Avimor Community in the Summer of 2017.


Mad Swede Brewing Company  became Idaho's 54th and Boise area's 20th brewery when they officially opened on October 15, 2016.  Mad Swede is owned and operated by Jerry and Susie Larson with Jerry brewing their beer.

Jerry Larson, Head Brewer at Mad Swede

I attended the grand opening at Mad Swede and got a brief tour of their facilities by Jerry.  After the tour, I got to taste the first six beers that they were pouring.  I have been to a lot of breweries over the last ten years and this was the first time that I really liked all six of their beers.  Here is a list of all of their beer.  If I had to pick a favorite, I would  pick their Longship IPA and their Varangian Nector Stout.

Mad Swede is located about a mile south of the Boise Costco providing a local brewery in a part Boise without other breweries.  I look forward to seeing Jerry and Susie have great success with their new brewery and I look forward to seeing their beer on tap at venues around the valley.

The Mad Swede Tap Room is open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 4:00 to 10:00, Fridays from 3:00 to 11:00, Saturday from 2:00 to 11:00 and Sundays from 2:00 to 8:00.


Mother Earth became Idaho's 53rd and the Boise area's 19 Brewery in August when they started brewing in north Nampa, but did not open their Taproom until October 8, 2016.  Their brewery and taproom may be a challenge to find the first time, but well worth it. Check out our Mother Earth Makes #53 story for a  map to the brewery.

We attended the Mother Earth's Tap Room grand opening on October 8th.  We tried many new beers and drank some of our favorites like Cali Creamin and Sin Tax Stout.  We also got to drink some of their excellent seasonal ale, the Four Seasons of Mother Earth Summer Belgian Golden Ale which is aged in red wine barrels.

They had a great crowd for their opening and gave brewery tours of what could become Idaho's largest brewery.  Mother Earth's Nampa Brewery is new, but Mother Earth is an established brewery that has a great lineup of beer.

The Mother Earth Tap Room is open Thursdays and Fridays from 3:00 to 7:00 and Saturdays from Noon to 7:00.

:ME Owner Daniel Love at Tap Room Opening
Nampa, Idaho now has two breweries,  Mother Earth and Crescent Brewing located downtown.

Check out the Updated List of Idaho Breweries Here.

Monday, September 19, 2016


By Bob Hubler

Payette Brewing Website
Payette Brewing Facebook

It was five years ago last May that Mike Francis invited the Snake River Brewers Homebrew Club to tour his new Payette Brewery in Garden City and taste his beer.  Mike had been attending the SRB meetings and kept giving us updates on his progress in building his own brewery over the previous 18 months. His flagship beer named Outlaw IPA, became my favorite IPA.

Since then, the Payette  Brewing Company has grown to being the number one brewing company in Idaho in annual sales.  The new brewery costing $4.5 million will enable Payette Brewing to maintain their growth and introduce their beer into new states.  You can already find their beer in Washington, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.

Payette Brewing Company recently opened their new 60 BBL Brewery on Pioneer Street in Boise, Idaho.  Awesome location just off the Boise Green Belt north of Ann Morrison Park. So five years after Snake River Brewer's Homebrew Club toured the original Payette Brewery in Garden City, they were invited back to tour the new Payette Brewery on September 8, 2016.

SRB Members and Guests Ready for the Tour
Steve Sutherland gave our group a detailed description of the Brewing Process
Our Tour Guide Steve
The Payette Brewery has a 60 BBL system with multiple fermenters ranging in size from 60 BBL to 240 BBL  The Canning Line is capable of 70 Cases per Hour.

Payette Brewing currently employs 34 people that run the brewery and tap room at their new location.  As the brewery expands, there could be 70 to 80 employees.  They are currently brewing only during the day. The brewery has a potential capacity to brew 100,000 BBL's per year with day and night shifts and additional fermenters.

The Grist headed to the Mash Tun via twin augers

The 60 BBS Brewing system with the Mash and Lauter Tuns in front.

Mash tun and Lauter tun on the left and the Brew Kettle and Whirlpool on the right
Two of the many Fermenters

Mash Tun on the left and Lauter Tun on the right
You can see the bottling line at the back of the brewery

Brewing System from the Ground Level

These two tanks are part the cleaning process.

P.S. The Original Garden City Brewery is still there brewing smaller batches and limited edition beer.

Back to the Main BoiseBeerCultureBlog Main Page

Monday, September 12, 2016


By Bob Hubler

My wife, Nelda and I spent September 10th and 11th in Sun Valley visiting some of their local breweries and Tap Houses.

Sun Valley is nestled in the Central Mountains of Idaho, just south of Galena Summit and is famous for the Sun Valley Ski Resort and Homes of Movie Stars.  But it also offers some very good fresh brewed craft beer from it's four local breweries.  Residents and visitors in Sun Valley have been drinking local craft beer since 1986.  I will preview all four (and, yes, there are four) breweries in Sun Valley.


Sun Valley Brewery Facebook

Sun Valley Brewery Website

The Sun Valley Brewery in Hailey, Idaho is the oldest brewery in the state of Idaho, celebrating 30 years of brewing great craft beer for the local residents of Sun Valley.  Gordon Gammell opened the brewery in 1986 and was the owner and head brewer until 2005,

Gordon Gammell was one of a very few Craft Brewers in Idaho in the early days of craft brewing. The earliest craft brewers in Idaho started in smaller towns like Victor, Caldwell,  Coeur d' Alene and Hailey.  These pioneer brewers brewed their beer without the supply of many different hops and malt and on equipment that was manufactured locally.  They learned the craft without mentors to guide their way.  As fans of craft beer, we owe these pioneers a lot as the craft beer industry would not exist without their hard work and dedication.

Here are a few quotes from Gordon Gammell in an local article by Travis Purser in 2001:

“I saw it happening,” says the middle-aged Gammel. He was working as an exploration geologist for a minerals company in Alaska. That market was failing, but beer was in. He found investors and went into brewing in Hailey. The group produced White Cloud Ale in 1986, then a German-style lager called Sawtooth Gold and Holiday Ale. “We sold beer from Alaska down to the border of Mexico” and as far east as Florida and Chicago.“What I didn’t realize was everybody would want to get into the business,” he says. His investors, too, wanted to go big and pushed for high-end marketing and for an initial public offering. Gammel helped squelch the idea. “You go corporate and you lose control,” the master brewer says.

You can tell by their sign that Sun Valley Brewing  has been around awhile

The  Sun Valley Brewery moved to it's current location in 1993 and became a brew pub serving food to it's hungry patrons. The Brewery is currently owned and operated by Sean Flynn and his wife, Cynthia, who continue the great tradition started by Gordon Gammell.

This is the flight of Sun Valley Brewery Samples
Sun Valley still brews their flagship beer White Cloud Amber Ale.  One of their newest offerings is Cranky Uber IPA and one of my favorites.  But my favorite overall was their Blood Orange IPA.  The citrus and pine flavors were well balanced with the malt flavor.

The brewing equipment, some of it dating back to 1986:

35 BBL Fermenters

The Brew Kettle and Mash Tun
The Grain Mill
Check out the Grain Silo behind the entrance


The Sawtooth Brewery Facebook Page

The Sawtooth Brewery Webpage

We visited the new Sawtooth Brew Pub Saturday afternoon.  

Paul Holle and Kevin Jones opened the  Sawtooth Brewery in Ketchum, Idaho in 2011. It was located in the Bellemont Motel Building and had a tap room to serve the locals.

In February 2016, they opened a Brew Pub just across the street from their original location and moved their production to Hailey, Idaho where they opened a 15 BBL brewery that will have a tap room to service the Hailey area.  They hired a brewer, Rob Curnutt  to help run their new, larger brewery which will be able to which will be able to brew 10,000 BBL's per year and feature a canning line for distribution outside of the Sun Valley area.

Rob Curnutt
Nelda and I met Robert  Curnutt at the Idaho Brewers United sponsored Grand Teton Brewery Tour and Dinner last June during the Mountain Brew fest week in Idaho Falls. .  He was very excited about helping start the new Sawtooth Production Brewery in Hailey.  He brings twelve years of brewing experience from the world famous Stone Brewing and the not so famous Belching Beaver  Brewery; both in San Diego, California. He is looking forward to a snowy winter in Sun Valley.

The Sawtooth Brew Pub Bar
Dave Custer is the manager of the Brew Pub in Ketchum.  The new Brew Pub has 21 taps featuring 12 of their own brews and nine guest taps.  Great atmosphere and accommodating bar tenders and wait staff.

Among the beer in our flight at the Brew Pub was Freewheeler Rye IPA, my favorite.   Nelda's favorite was the Last Chair Stout.  I also really liked their Idahome IPA. Very Citrus with a slight piney flavor.

P.S.  The Sawtooth Brew Pub is a Beer Buddies Hub.  We got a dollar off of our pints.



The Warfield Distillery and Brewery Facebook

The Warfield Distillery and Brewery Website

Visit our first Blog about The Warfield Distillery and Brewery to see a little history on this distillery/brewery.

We had dinner at The Warfield (you really need reservations here) Saturday night and the place was hopping.  We got to set at a table on the roof balcony.

Warfield Roof Restaurant

View looking North

The beer that we tried
First off, we ordered a flight of beer.

We tried their Toothy Grin ESB, Miner's Canary Stout, Lucky 7 IPA, Thorny Thistle Scottish Ale, Storehouse Saison, Still Thinking Blonde Ale, and Short Pants Hefewiezen.

Most of the beer fit the BJCP guidelines for their category. There were three exceptions.

Their Lucky 7 IPA was not an IPA, more of a Pale Ale.

Their Short Pants Hefewiezen was unusual as they used citrus hops to impart a strong citrus flavor commonly  found in IPA's

Something was wrong with their Miner's Canary Stout.  It was murky brown and did not taste like a stout.  We figured  it must  have been from the bottom of the keg with trub mixed in.  I would like to try it again sometime to see a better example of this beer..

The Menu at Warfield is not an average brew pub menu.  Executive Chef Sean Temple has put together a menu rivaling any other fine restaurant in Sun Valley.  The Menu

We ordered the Peaches off of the Salad Menu and  Cold Smoked Salmon, Charred Octopus off of the Shared Plates Menu.  In addition we had Baby Back Ribs and a Barbecued Peach Desert.  All the food was outstanding.  The Service was excellent and our server even set up a brewery tour for us. Honestly, I would like to start at the beginning of the menu and work my way through.

My Ribs

After we finished Dinner, we met Cory Duffy downstairs and he gave us a tour of their brewery.

Check this out:

The Warfield Still
Warfield is the only brewery in Idaho with a Still. This beautiful copper still is the  first thing you see when you enter their brew house.

The brewery is part of the distilling process.  The fermentation is finished in the brew system, the "wash"   or "wort" is pumped over to the still where the distillation takes place.

The 10 BBL Brew system at Warfield has unique Mash and Lauter Tuns which are encased with brick on the bottom third of the vessels to help maintain temperature.
The Brew System

Gin and Vodka

These are the current alcohol offerings of Warfield, not available at the Distillery.  We had to walk down a couple of blocks to the local liquor store.

What a Great Addition to downtown Ketchum.  Most of their beer is good, but their food is wonderful, so much better than the average brew pub.  Service is great, all the wait staff were really devoted to making our visit a memorable one.  The  Atmosphere is Awesome at Warfield.

If you visit Sun Valley, you have to have dinner here and remember to make a reservation.

P.S. This is also a Boise Beer Buddies Hub, so remember your Boise Beer Buddies Card when you visit.  $2.00 off pints and 10% of Merchandise.



River Bend Brewing is often overlooked as they are a small micro brewery located in Chris Harding's House.   But they have been part  of the Sun Valley Brewing Community for over 15 years.

Chris Harding has a 7 BBL brewery in two converted bedrooms in his house between Ketchum and Hailey.   Because his house is located on a bend in the Big Wood River, he named his micro brewery River Bend Brewing. Many River Bend Brews are available on tap at various watering holes in the Sun Valley area.  We drank the Round the Bend Ale at the Power House in Hailey.  It was very good. Harding also brews  a Big Wood Bitter and a Pica Porter.

We would also like to give a big Shout Out to the Power House in Hailey. Seventeen Taps with local beer and some other rare beers too.  The Menu had some great gluten free entrees which really pleases Nelda (she gets tired of salads).


Return  to Main Page

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


By Bob Hubler

Click on this weblink: The Story of the Beginning of Selkirk Abbey Brewing

          Facebook                             and                         Webpage

We were running late on our schedule of the Post Falls Breweries when we arrived at Selkirk Abbey Brewing, but we had a real hard time leaving once we arrived. And once we did leave, we left with a lot of beer to bring back home and a yearning to return.

Selkirk Abbey was the brainchild of Ron Wallace and Jeff Whitman.  They were fortunate to befriend Fred Colby, the founder of the Laughing Dog Brewery in Sandpoint, Idaho.  With Fred's help, including changing some antiquated Idaho laws, they made Selkirk Abbey Brewing Company a reality.  Details can be found in the article linked above.

Nelda in the front
The Logo

Dana Whitman, our Tour Guide

Dana Whitman, wife of Founder Jeff Whitman was kind enough to give us a tour of the brewery.  I was surprised to see the large space in the building behind their tap room.  Plenty of space for future growth.  The Brewery is a 15 bbl system with nine 15 bbl fermenters and two 15 bbl brite tanks.  Dana explained that their brewers take a little more time to brew to guarantee quality.  Therefore two 15 bbl brite tanks are adequate for their brewing process.

15 bbl brewing system

Look at all the beer fermenting
Empty Kegs and Bottles waiting to be filled

Much of the Selkirk Abbey Beer is Barrel Aged
Selkirk Abbey is different than most Northwest Breweries.  They specialize in Belgian Styles of Beer. They use special Belgian Strains of yeast that alter the flavor and aroma of the beer.

Selkirk Abbey Brewing has an amazing selection of great beer.   I liked every beer in our flight which is unusual for me.  And Nelda like every beer also which is really rare. That, plus the hospitality Dana showed us made this a place that definitely rates a return visit.

After the tour, we got to sample the beer and choose some of the bottles to take home along with a half growler of a beer that was not available in bottles. We were lucky enough to get to try several huckleberry brews on this trip and Selkirk's Huckleberry Chapel was one of our favorites. Nelda is a sucker for quadruples and was delighted to find a great one here.We took a half Growler of their Octavian Imperial Quadruple back home with us.  The Octavian was truly special and it did not last too long.

I really liked their Infidel IPA which did not have the strong citrus taste of most area IPA's. It had an piney earthy flavor that helped the hop/malt balance and for an Imperial IPA at 8% ABV, the high alcohol was not obvious.  Guilt, their Imperial Portor was another one of my favorites.  This 8% ABV  Porter is infused with Coffee, but the the coffee flavor is not overwhelming.

Many of the other brews we enjoyed are available at several  local bottle shops in the Treasure Valley.

Map shows how close this 8 breweries are to each other

Click on the map above to see the large version.  There are eight breweries within a 10 miles radius in the Coeur d' Alene/Post Falls area in north Idaho.  You really need two or three days to visit them all. Over the last 3 years, I have been to all of them except Down Draft, Slate Creek and Daft Badger. They are on our agenda for our next trip north.

Friday, August 26, 2016


By Bob Hubler

Facebook                                                                                      Website

We visited the New Post Falls Brewing Company during our trip to Northern Idaho.  In April of 2016 Post Falls Brewing Company became the 51st Brewery in the State of Idaho and the 3rd Brewery in the small town of Post Falls.  In 2011 Post Falls had one brewery, Bi-Plane Brewery, which operated from 2011 to 2014.  Selkirk Abbey opened in 2012 and Down Draft opened in 2014.

Dan Stokes & Alex Sylvain and are the Owner/Brewers of Post Fall's newest brewery which is just a block north of the Coeur d'lene River, about a mile south of Down Draft Brewing and five miles west of Selkirk Abbey Brewing. Dan and Alex met while they were students at Northern Arizona University. Their brewery was a long time in the planning stages and, now that they are both engineers full-time, they can run a brewery part-time.

Post Fall's Brewing has a 15 bbl brew kettle and four 30 bbl fermenters as you can see from the photo below.
The Brew System view from the bar

Bartender Mark did not want his picture taken......at least of his face, so we deleted several of those.  Mark had an impressive knowledge of craft beer in America and has visited hundreds of breweries from coast to coast.  Fun guy to talk to about the craft beer culture in Idaho.
Bartender Mark
The flight of beer, from left to right: Obligatory Amber Ale, Tots McOats Milk Stout, Drifter IPA, Stoney MacGuyver IPA and SSSSick and Rowdy IIPA.  Was not a bad beer in the bunch, but I was very fond of the SSSick and Rowdy IIPA.  Nelda liked the Milk Stout although she thought it was a little thin for a stout.
A Flight of beer for $10
Post Falls Brewing has an impressive list of their own beer.  Wish we had more time to try them all.
List of the current beer on tap
Josh, the brewer was very busy crushing the grain for their next beer.
Brewer  grinding grain

The Brewery #52 Story - Hunga Dunga

The Brewery # 53 Story - Mother Earth

Sad to report that Idaho has lost a brewery.  Leaky Faucet was a small production brewery in McCall, Idaho.  They distributed their beer locally in McCall and we found it the SushiBar in McCall.  August Wheeler had his small brewery in his garage.

Updated List of Idaho Breweries

Friday, August 19, 2016


by Bob Hubler

Mother Earth is in production and  will start canning their beer on Wednesday, August 24th.  Mother Earth becomes Idaho's 53rd Active Brewery (List of Idaho Breweries) and the 19th Brewery in Treasure Valley (BoiseBeerCulture.com).

Mother Earth  Webpage                            Mother Earth Nampa Facebook

Front Gate from the Street

Entrance to Mother Earth Brew Nampa

Chris Baker brewing a new batch
I got to tour the new Mother Earth Brew Co. Nampa facility on Thursday.  Head Brewer Chris Baker gave me a tour of their 40 BBL high tech automated brewing system.  They built the brew system using the latest technology which allows very quick turn around between batches.

Chris Baker comes to Nampa from Kansas via California.  He grew up in Kansas where he became a huge Jayhawk fan, the went to California where he graduated from Cal Poly SLO. Chris worked for Stone Brewing in San Diego before joining Mother Earth at their Vista Brewery.  Chris was a brewer at Mother Earth for three years before moving to Idaho.

Below are pictures of the Brew Kettle, Mash Tuns, Fermenters, Filters and Centrifuge.
The Line Up
Mash Tun
Dan Love gave me a tour of the rest of the facility, including the area that will be the Tap Room.  It will be a little adventurous to find the Entrance to the Tap Room, but there will be plenty of signs with arrows. Mother Earth plans to open the Tap Room by the end of September.
This will be the way to the Entrance of the Tap Room

The Brewery Building is huge with a lot of room for future growth. The picture below shows only half the space as a second adjoining building the same size connects on the south side of this one.

Empty Cans and Kegs waiting to be filled

This is the canning line - Wild Goose State of the Art High Speed Canning line capable of filling 40 cans per minute of delicious Mother Earth beer.

Canning Line

Mother Earth's Nampa brewery is located at the End of Madison Avenue (you may find it a little tricky to find).  Take Exit 36 (Franklin) then immediately turn right on 3rd Avenue North. Travel .5 miles, where you will turn right on 8th Street North.  This street curves slightly to the north and becomes Madison Avenue.  Travel about 1/3 of a mile and turn into the parking lot surrounded by a tall wire fence topped with razor wire.

There is currently very little signage, but they are not yet ready for guests.  Dan assures me that there will be big  signs when the Tap room opens.

Google Map with Directions
Link to Mother Earth Comes to Nampa story