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What's Brewing in the Treasure Valley?

How Boise has become a hot destination for craft beer drinkers throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Article by Rob Lanterman

Photography by Provided

Originally published in Boise Lifestyle

If you’ve spent much time in downtown Boise over the last decade, you’ll know that The Treasure Valley has a taste for craft breweries. There is a growing list of excellent, locally-made drinks that vary in taste, hops, ABV, and more. That said, Boise is becoming another craft brew hub of the Pacific Northwest, essential to visit for beer fanatics.
    This propensity for homegrown alcoholic beverages may seem sudden if you’ve grown up in the Valley, but this trend has been percolating over the last ten years and only predicts more growth for the industry. “Payette was a game changer,” recounts Edge Brewing’s head brewer Bryan Garcia-Brown. Of course, he's speaking of Payette Brewing, another local beer giant known for drinks like the North Folk Lager and its 12-gauge Imperial Stouts. But Edge itself has a wide variety of Treasure Valley favorites, including a selection of hazy and cold IPAs and other hop-heavy options. Edge is going on nine years, though Garcia-Brown has spent twelve years in the Treasure Valley. He notes a tremendous amount of inspired growth in that time. “In 2010, Sockeye [opened]. Payette and Crooked Fence opened in 2011. Highland’s Hollow’s been here for a bit. Now you’ve got some of the new smaller guys that are really innovating,” he says, equally inspired and impressed. “You see the fun stuff coming out of Barbarian and Bear Island, in addition to multiple [Great American Beer Festival - GABF] gold medal winners.” 
    And he’s not wrong - Idaho beers have won national awards and made such good headlines that brewers have created a network of support. April was deemed Idaho Craft Beer Month, and there’s even an entire subreddit dedicated to Boise beer. Beyond that, the Treasure Valley has Idaho Brewer’s United, or the IBU for short, which is a non-profit dedicated to aligning and supporting breweries around the state. Take one look at their website, and you’re bound to find a new brewery within quick traveling distance, whether you’re hanging out in Boise or visiting family elsewhere in places like Ketchum or Lewiston. The IBU is also responsible for the Idaho Brewer’s Trail Map, which you’ll see hanging on the wall at Edge and other local breweries. It is for reasons like this that more beer fanatics around the country are becoming interested in what the Treasure Valley is drinking. 
    Edge itself, not too far from popular airport hotels, sees a regular cast of newcomers. “We get a lot of flight attendants and pilots,” notes Garcia-Brown. But in addition to the casual drinker, locals get a chance to taste all sorts of new brews at local events. Treefort’s Alefort is just one cultural hub that brings places like Woodland Empire, the community-funded Boise Brewing, Mad Swede, and others together, though many breweries have their own unique ways of giving back. “We have a Heiffevesen for Humanity - we donate $0.50 to a dollar a pint to Habitat for Humanity. We [also have] a cider that raises money for the Wildlife Firefighter Foundation,” says Garcia-Brown. Additionally, local giants like Payette have similarly charitable programs, such as Payette Forward and Kegs 4 Kause.
    Apart from all of the local breweries popping up, home brewers also have a chance of being noticed at places like Homebrew Heaven on Vista Ave. This sense of community is seen among the breweries themselves, who don’t seem to be letting competition tear them apart. Garcia-Brown himself mentions several beers from the local community that he’s excited about, before mentioning what Edge itself brings to the table and what the local demand is like. “It’s the Northwest, so IPA is king,” he notes. But each Boise brewery has its own special something to set it apart from the rest. Some of the most popular local beers to try are Mad Swede’s Brown Porter, Boise Brewing’s Black Cliff Stout (a GABF gold-medal winner), and Woodland Empire’s fruity Peach Party. The opportunities are nearly endless.
    So if you’re looking for a new beer to try, take heart in knowing how many options you have. The Treasure Valley is continually expanding the ground floor for local craft brews, and it’s a great time of innovation in the market. Thankfully, this doesn’t seem to be slowing down soon. To find a locally made beer or the best brewery near you, visit, or consult the

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