In 2014, the number of breweries in Idaho—on the rise since the repeal of prohibition—finally hit 34, breaking the previous state record of 33 concurrently-open breweries set in 1888. Woodland Empire Ale Craft led the way into new territory as number 34, and its opening coincided with a craft beer revolution that soon set other locals scrambling to whip up their own brews.
The Boise brew scene is constantly evolving, and in the last year the City of Trees has seen a dramatic rise in not only breweries (there are 59 now) but also beer festivals, beer varieties and ways to buy. Since the last Best of Boise issue hit downtown boxes, seven more breweries have opened across the state—including Mother Earth Brew Co. in Nampa, and Mad Swede Brewing, White Dog Brewing and Clairvoyant Brewing in Boise—and 13 more are slated to be serving up suds by 2020. Plus, existing breweries are expanding, most recently Garden City-based Barbarian Brewing, which opened a downtown taproom on Main Street in August.
The 2016 Oktoberfest mania aside, this summer has already seen a rash of beer festivals and events, from Punk in Drublic at the Idaho Center Amphitheater, which combined punk and ska bands with more than 100 craft beer options, to the Highlands Hollow B'Arc and Brew, where dogs were invited to bring their humans for diverse drafts, a canine costume contest, pet vendors booths, live music and a more. The Merry Hopsters Bus Tour even trucked beer lovers out to Parma for a day of dallying in hop fields, proving that Boiseans are constantly uncovering new ways to drink. If the craft beer bubble is about to burst (as rumor-mongers have been whispering for years), Boise can at least rest easy knowing 2017 has been a noteworthy exercise in enjoying it while it lasts.