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Bear Island Brewing Hosts Grand Opening of Old Fire Station 6 Taproom

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Since Beth Bechtel and her husband Steve started Bear Island Brewing in 2014, they've run the business out of their two-car garage. Now, a year after beginning renovations, they're finally ready to open their first taproom in what used to be Fire Station 6 on Fairview Avenue in Boise.

"It took a little longer than we wanted, but we wanted it to be the right place, not just a place," said Beth, "It couldn't be more perfect. ... The conversion of an old fire station to anything is a process, but in our case we really wanted to bring honor to this building and we've definitely preserved the history and have some neat little nuances that remind you that it's a fire station."

Fire Station 6, circa 1964. - COURTESY BEAR ISLAND BREWING
  • Courtesy Bear Island Brewing
  • Fire Station 6, circa 1964.
The brewery's red roll-up garage doors are one of those touches. When Bear Island moved in, the original doors that used to open for fire engines when the station was active had been bricked over, but the Bechtels quickly replaced them. Now, Bear Island's brewing tanks and other equipment will be showcased to street traffic through the windows. While the Bechtels are still moving their equipment into the space, the taproom will be ready to go for a grand opening celebration on Saturday, Nov. 24, from 3-10 p.m.—a date that, fittingly enough, is also the brewery's four-year anniversary, and Small Business Saturday.

The grand opening festivities will include free commemorative pint glasses for the first 200 guests, bites from B-Town Bistro and Foxy Franks, giveaways from local merchants (including one from Craftsman Unlimited Haircuts, which will offer the winner a chance to pick a funky cut for co-owner Steve's beard) and limited releases of two beers: the annual favorite Lady M, an imperial lavender chocolate stout brewed with local ingredients from Red Chair Lavender and Box Chocolates, and 99 Bears on the Wall, an oak-aged ale made with rosemary and Idaho potatoes in collaboration with Oregon's Old 99 Brewing Co. For those worried about finding parking for the 21-and-over event, Bear Island has even organized a shuttle service through Boise Party Bus that will run from 4-8 p.m., picking up guests from 1491 N. Eldorado Street nearby.

Going forward, the taproom will boast 11 Bear Island beers, as well as a rotating selection of local wines and ciders (currently from Potter Wines and Meriwether Cider, respectively). There will also be a few packaged options and BuckSnort Root Beer. Last but certainly not least, Beth noted that as a special perk to her fellow veterans, both they and first responders will always get happy hour pricing and discounts at Bear Island.