by Andrew Crisp
When Brewforia hosted the Barley Bros. Traveling Beer Show on Sept. 1, the Meridian location drew a different crowd than the fest's previous iterations in downtown Boise. Families pushed strollers or cradled children, which seemed an odd choice for boozing revelry.
But Julius M. Kleiner Memorial Park was large enough for all of it. While music from the pint-sized musicians at Boise Rock School echoed out over the huge lawn, chugging generators accompanied a group of food trucks hugging a nearby pavilion packed with picnic tables.
Across the newly installed grass lawn, large white tents housed more than 250 beers from breweries like North Coast Brewing Co. in California and Grand Teton Brewing Company in Victor, Idaho.
Draped in necklaces bearing dozens of snack pretzels, attendees Bonnie Simonson, Rochelle Antonucci and Kimberlee Brannock said I was doing it wrong.
"They're to cleanse your pallet. We made them on the way over here," said Simonson.
"Haven't you done this before?" asked Antonucci.
She held out her necklace to let me take a bite of one of her pretzels. The trio said they had learned the pretzel necklace trick while visiting the Oregon Brewers Festival in Portland, Ore.
"This is a lot smaller than Portland's brewfest. But it's nice. The lines aren't too long; the beers are good. We like all the IPAs we've had today."
And there were a slew of them. Upstart Bogus Brewing Company appeared with an imperial IPA that wasn't heavy on the hops. Next to them, home brewers Asylum and Simian Brewing poured new concoctions in a hop vine-covered tent.
Fashion trends for men, on the other hand, included dedicated brewfest shirts with slogans like: "Excommunicated Mormon Drinking Team," "Where's the Beer?" and "Idaho: Not So Bad After A Couple Beers."