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Brewforia at Bown Pairs Apps With Taps

Brews before chews


Brewforia isn't kidding around. One flank of the Bown Crossing cafe and market is occupied by snaking shelves, displaying hundreds of beers from floor to ceiling like an alcoholic parody of an academic library. One half expects to see a bespectacled tavern keeper climbing a stepladder to reach a rare porter.

Despite there being so many varieties of beer, the space is miraculously uncluttered, with polished concrete floors and wooden tables bathed in natural light from the large front windows. It's exactly the sort of place where one can truly unwind with a beer sans flashing neon.

Co-owner Chris Oates said a beer only stays on tap for a few days until the keg runs dry and is swapped out for something else. Oates also said that Brewforia's second location is working to implement a rotating cast of food specials.

"It's fun for us as beer-lovers to have different beers on tap," he said. "It's the same thing with food. We're here all the time, and we like to try different things."

Unfortunately, when BW visited, none of those new things were vegetarian, as my dining companion quickly noticed. The clerk suggested the Old World sandwich ($6.99), with granny smith apples, balsamic caramelized onions, arugula and bleu cheese, hold the ham.

Carnivores, on the other hand, do well at Brewforia. I selected the pulled pork sandwich, The Charleston ($6.99), along with a watermelon ale. The pork was a high-quality cut and had none of the soggy or stringy texture the dish is notorious for. Instead, it had a firm, yet tender consistency and was marinated in a tangy Carolina mustard. Though the coleslaw was unremarkable, it was a dry mix that did little to degrade the structural integrity of the soft sourdough hoagie roll.

Between the bright flavors and the firmness, it was easily the best pulled pork this reviewer has had in Boise. Oates, however, is quick to mention that although his chef graduated magna cum laude from the Le Cordon Bleu program in Portland, Ore., the menu is beer-not food-based.

"It's definitely good food, but it's secondary," he said. "We're a beer store first and a restaurant second."

But if pulled pork like that is what comes from prioritizing beer over food in menu selection, then let's hope more local restaurants follow suit.

Now, if Brewforia can just find a beer that goes well with some vegetarian grub.