A Craft Beer guide to the 15 Can’t Miss Boise Breweries in Idaho
While most people aren’t visiting Idaho for its craft beer scene, the Boise Breweries have put this city and state on the map as a great beer destination in the United States.
Boise, Idaho has some delicious creations that rival nearby cities like Salt Lake City and Las Vegas. And as one of the fastest growing cities in the country, more and more people are looking for/demanding great and local craft beer.
Short on time? Our top 3 favorites are Barbarian, Mad Swede and White Dog!
Psst: We have a couple of boozy guides for the Boise area. See the other post below:
This post was originally published in January 2021, and was updated in November 2022.
Table of Contents
Breweries in Boise
1. Barbarian Brewing
2. White Dog Brewing Co.
3. Mad Swede Brewing
4. Boise Brewing Co.
5. Payette Brewing Co.
6. Clairvoyant Brewing Co
7. Cloud 9 Brewery
8. Lost Grove Brewing
9. Edge Brewing Co.
10. Woodland Empire Ale Craft
11. 10 Barrel Brewing Co
12. Meriwether Cider Co.
In nearby Garden City
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Barbarian Brewing is serving up a little bit of everything, including IPAs, porters, stouts, wheat beers, dessert beers, barrel-aged beers, lagers, pilsners.
The motto around here? “Why the f**k not?”
Totally agree! They say that if the ancient barbarians didn’t have to bother with those pesky things like rules and limits, why should they.
The hipster-yet-mainstream-vibe to the downtown tasting room is a little mysterious with the dimly lit seating area but it pairs perfectly with the boundary-defying beers that honor the tradition of the Valhalla-loving barbarians/brewers who loved funky and sour beers while the rest of the world sipped on wine.
Handcrafted, small-batch beers is the norm here with few flagship, but always delicious, beers.
After trying most of the Boise breweries, we took home a decent haul of to-go beer from here and will be enjoying the creations long after we leave Idaho!
Visit either their original location in Garden City or their downtown Boise taproom.
This is hands-down one of our favorite breweries, not just in Boise, but on the western half of the United States. Every time we visit this incredible city, it’s not a lie that this the first stop.
Coming in at number three on our Boise Breweries guide, White Dog’s tasting room is big and airy with plenty of room for all of your friends.
And if your friends are good at cornhole, put together a team for their cornhole league and come Fetch the Good Life.
Owners and brothers Joe & Troy Moore began brewing beer in their garage and became fascinated by craft beer.
Bow, from home-brew to store-front, White Dog Brewing Company is brewing up a little bit of everything.
The draft list includes a coffee vanilla cream ale, a blood orange Hefeweizen, and several IPAs and pale ales, including a 0-IBU hazy pale ale which benefits the Ales for A.L.S. organization and finding a cure for A.L.S.
Since then, he has continued to experiment with next recipes and methods like a mad scientist! The husband-and-wife owners are Boiseans who are dedicated to sharing their delicious craft with the community.
They like to say that they are comprised of “adventurous drinkers, brewers, dreamers, and thinkers who, like the Vikings themselves, dare to venture toward new and exciting territory.”
Their Naked Sunbather brown ale won gold at the 2019 Great American Beer Festival, and many of their IPA offerings are hoppy and wonderfully juicy.
But that was only the beginning of the community-focused concept. With a modest minimum investment, Boise Brewing invited the average craft beer drinker to invest in and own a part of the brewery right alongside the typical investment bankers.
It remains one of the only breweries in the country to offer an ownership program of this kind.
Over 280 individual owners and businesses helped raise enough money to open the doors in June of 2014.
One of Boise’s popular downtown hang-out spots, Boise Brewing is offering up a wide variety of beers like the Mr. Freshy’s fresh hop pale ale, Dark Daisy chocolate milk stout, and the Witch’s Tit winter ale.
Fast forward to today and we are drinking Payette beer again, but this time at their downtown Boise tasting room and as Samantha is about to start her brand new job. What a difference two months makes!
Proof that if you put your mind to it and stay motivated (and drink some beer along the way), you can always turn a difficult situation into an opportunity.
On the northwestern side of Boise, Clairvoyant Brewing is led by two young Idaho-native brewers who have almost 25 years of experience in the brewing industry and are making some of the best beer in the Treasure Valley.
No fancy or funny beer names here. What you read on the draft board is what you get: some solid craft beer.
We had a Belgian Wit and an English pale ale which were both incredibly on point in terms of style and were flavorful and delicious.
Their tasting room butts up against the brewery operations…you can literally touch the tanks from your seat (though we’re sure the brewers would prefer you didn’t). Rotating food trucks are almost always out front to feed your appetite.
Cloud 9 Brewery is the only certified organic brewery in the state of Idaho and they also produced Idaho’s first gluten-free beer, their Against the Grain pale ale. If you are looking for some glutten free beer options, they paved the way for the other Boise breweries.
They are a true nano-brewery, brewing on a 4-barrel system which nets only 8 kegs per batch. There are 6 staple taps and 6 rotating taps, which due to the size of the brewing operations, change regularly and as soon as one beer kicks.
A full food menu complements their tap list that features the gluten-free pale ale, the Notorious RBG IPA, a honey basil ale, and a German festbier, among many others.
They take great pride in producing beer using environmentally-sustainable and socially-responsible methods.
At Lost Grove, they think the concept of a lost grove, whether it be a wooded forest or an endless beach, is more than just a destination, it’s a feeling and a mindset.
Get lost, live in the moment, be present, and enjoy the here and now.
Huge garage-style doors let you sip on your brews while watching the world go by, or head towards the back of the tasting room for a glimpse at the brewing operations.
Edge Brewing was actually featured on the TV show Man v. Food for one of its delicious burgers.
But that’s not why we were here.
There are some really good craft beers, in addition to the craft pub grub and lively atmosphere.
Beers like their Hipsters Dufus (Pilsen sour with peach and lemon), the Pugzilla (old-fashioned West Coast IPA), and the Watchtower Chili Cocoa Stout were all great beers on their rotating tap list.
This is another Boise brewery that has a downtown taproom and a second non-Boise location. Come for the food and beer and stay for the good company.
But they pride themselves on being “real good” and staying true to flavors and local Idaho farmers whenever possible.
Delicious, weird, and local as they put it.
In addition to their rotating lineup of in-house craft beer, like their City of Trees IPA, which is actually clear and not hazy, or the Peach Party sour, you can also find many other cans and bottles in their makeshift bottle shop (to-go only on these though).
But the beer has become so popular that there are 6 brewpubs in 4 states plus the original brewery in Bend.
The head brewer in Boise is very well-known in the beer industry and to say he is award-winning would be an understatement.
He has won over 60 medals and has his hand in many of the 10 Barrel beers you love. With access to great local ingredients (Idaho is now the second-leading producer of hops in the US behind Washington), it’s no wonder these beers are fresh and delicious.
The Boise brewpub is in the middle of all the action, just a block away from the popular Freak Alley/8th Street corridor.
A full food menu complements their full beer menu, which consists of the ever-popular Apocalypse IPA, Profuse Juice hazy IPA, and the light and refreshing Pub Beer lager.
They even have a new line of sours under their Crush series, like the Guava or the Cucumber.
They say cider is the missing link between wine and beer.
In a city filled with urban wineries and craft breweries, Meriwether Cider Co., is bridging that gap with fizzy and refreshing ciders that are easy enough for a day in the outdoors, but sophisticated enough for that upscale dinner party.
We’ll admit, we are not usually cider fans because we don’t really have a sweet tooth when it comes to alcohol.
But as Meriwether says, their cider “isn’t sweet enough to give you flashbacks from freshmen year of college, but just sweet enough to transport you to hot summer days or to champagne powder on your favorite slope.”
Don’t think you’ll like cider?
If you like beer, try their hopped cider.
It’s made with the same hops you have in your hoppiest beers and this cider has won many awards including Best in Show in the Hopped category at GLINTCAP (which is apparently the largest cider competition in the world!).
And their ginger offerings are sure to cure any ailment you might have, or the Pineapple Habanero will warm your insides.
Long story short, they have ciders all across the spectrum and a little bit of something for everyone. Because of this, we wanted to make sure they made the Boise breweries guide!
Our flight consisted of the First Turns IPA, a blueberry blonde ale (reminded Samantha of her favorite beer from Shipyard in Portland, Maine), the Hot Haus jalapeño ale, a solid Gose, and the Girl Stout (Thin Mint stout).
Some really solid beer here!
We enjoyed our time here so much that we made it back for their epic Oktoberfest celebration later in the week for more beer and some delicious German food.
“Do you want some popcorn with your beer?” The only appropriate answer to this question is “Uh, duh!”
That’s what we were asked at County Line Brewing and the salty and buttery snack was perfect for our flight of beer including the Barnwood brown ale, the Shade Tree IPA, Rabbit’s Foot Irish red ale, a huckleberry sour, and the Cerveza Limon.
As you might expect, County Line Brewing is located, wait for it, on the county line just outside of Boise in Garden City.
Come grab some popcorn and kick back with some solid craft beer.
Bear Island Brewing Co. is located in an old firehouse on the northside of Boise.
As former Navy EOD officers, the owners have some subtle and some obvious nods to the first responders and military personnel that are part of their past and present.
The name Bear Island actually comes from an old family story/inside joke.
Being surrounded by wilderness, the children asked their parents about the possibility of running into a bear.
The parents has some fun with it and told their children that when the reservoir froze over in the winter, all of the bears went out to the island in the middle to hibernate.
And when they woke up in the spring, the lake thawed out and they were stuck out there! So, naturally, there is no need to be afraid of the bears because they are all on “Bear Island”.
A tap list featuring at least 12 of their beers, plus some local cider and wine, includes the BearFaced honey-nut brown ale, the xBearimental hazy IPA, and a fresh hop rye IPA with smoked hops which has just the right amount of smoky flavor which is a perfect beer as we head into cooler weather.
To add to your experience, all of the employees at Bear Island are educated in beer by the Siebel Institute, so you can definitely geek out talking about craft beer.
Overall Boise Breweries
For a city that isn’t yet known for its beer scene on the national level, the Boise breweries sure are cranking out some high-quality craft brews.
They are trying, with pretty good success, to put the Boise breweries scene on the craft beer map.
From small mom-and-pop nanobreweries to larger microbreweries with multiple locations, Boise has it all!
But where do we personally recommend? Hampton Inn & Suites Boise Downtown is where my parents stayed when they came to visit. We walked everywhere from here and it’s close to a couple breweries too!
Don’t forget to pick up an Boise guidebook for your other adventures.
For more info on Idaho and nearby spots, click on the picture below:
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We are Samantha & Chris and we are Boozing Abroad (literally). Together, we've traveled to over 40 states and 20 countries drinking local beers, wines and spirits along the way.
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Samantha and Chris fell in love with traveling together back in 2015. They met, married, and lived together in Richmond, VA for 7 years before becoming full-time travelers in 2020.
Along the way, they’ve traveled to over 40 U.S. states and 20 countries while drinking local beers, wines, and spirits during their journeys.
Join them as they share travel resources, stories, and guides based on their personal experiences drinking locally when traveling globally.