BOISE -- Brewers Josh King and Lance Chavez load 6-packs of Dagger Falls IPA into a waiting pallet. Beer froths into a line of deep red aluminum cans. Machinery hums in the background.
This is Sockeye Brewing's second day of canning. It's also a historic day for Idaho brewers. That's because no Idaho brewery has operated a beer cannery for over 50 years.
"This is the first true canning operation in Idaho since like 1956," King said. "So, for us to be doing it in this day and age, and have it accepted the way it is accepted now, is tremendous to us."
King expects to ship his cans of Dagger Falls to specialty and local grocery stores throughout the Treasure Valley.
However, that won't happen until the company's distribution model is fully formed. Until then, Sockeye cans will be available for sale at the company's brew pub on Ustick and Cole. The price will start around $7.50.
Established in 1996, Sockeye Brewing is arguably Boise's best known brew pub. For those who don't know -- the beer is named after the majestic Sockeye Salmon -- which it thankfully tastes nothing like.
Brewer Lance Chavez oversees the canning process.
Quite the opposite: Sockeye currently offers eight varieties of deliciously unique beer, including Purple Haze Espresso Stout.
The brewery also plans to offer 16 oz. cans of specialty winter ale in November.
Yet, while Sockeye now boasts the state's first modern beer cannery, the Boise brewery isn't the first to sell Idaho craft beer in a can. That distinction belongs to Payette Brewing in nearby Garden City.
PAYETTE BREWING COMPANY
Founded by head brewer Mike Francis, Payette Brewing is Idaho's first modern craft brewery to offer widespread distribution in southern Idaho. They also offer cans.
That means you can buy a tasty 12 oz. can of Outlaw IPA in places like Boise, Twin Falls, Ketchum, and McCall.
Payette Brewing opened its doors only 18 months ago on West 33rd Street in Garden City. In that short amount of time, Francis and co. have offered 19 specialty varieties of brew for sale to the public.
Payette Brewing's Shelia Francis manages the company's tasting room in Garden City.
Those varieties include: Payette Pale Ale, Outlaw IPA, Leaning Barn Summer Ale, Imperial IPA aged in wine barrels, and imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels, among others.
All have been available in the brewery's on-site tasting room. You can also purchase several varieties of Payette's signature brew in many grocery stores and specialty beer markets. And yep, they're for sale in 6-packs of cans.
That's because Francis welcomed the brewery's first shipment of 18,000 cans of 'Mutton Buster Brown' ale earlier this summer. The cans were processed on-site by a mobile beer cannery based in Oregon.
Payette plans to install a permanent cannery within the next year. They also plan to debut more beers throughout the season.
CROOKED FENCE BREWING
The Treasure Valley's newest craft brewery is also the only brewery to primarily offer its product for sale in a bottle (other companies offer limited releases).
Crooked Fence Brewing has also famously offered insulated 40 oz. growlers, among other unique ways to drink and transport beer.
Brewers Kris Price and Adam Dahl, along with cohorts Kelly Knopp and Andy Leathers, set up shop in Garden City last February.
The Crooked Fence brewery and tasting room is located just down the block from Payette Brewing at 5242 Chinden Blvd. Here, the crew is hard at working brewing five varieties of beer, while bottling more than 200 cases per month.
Unique offerings include Hole Wheat American Hefeweizen, 3 Picket Porter, and Derby Oatmeal IPA.
You heard right -- Oatmeal IPA, not stout -- a hearty India pale ale to say the least.
Currently, you can buy Crooked Fence bottles at local grocery and specialty stores, including the Boise Coop, Brewforia, and Bier Thirty.
Adam Dahl and Kris Price
Interestingly, the company just launched a 64 oz. "Palla Growler" which they lovingly call 'The Genie Bottle'. You can let the Crooked Fence genie out of the bottle for $40. Refills are $10.
CLOUD 9 BREWERY
If you were lucky enough to get the memo, you got to quaff a tasty Cloud 9 Hopspodge Pale Ale at Bown Crossing two weeks ago.
That's when craft brewers Jake and Maggie Lake held a Kickstarter tasting event at Boise's Bier Thirty. The party brought dozens of curious beer nerds and nerdettes out on the town.
The Oct. 9 event was also designed to raise money to pay for Boise's newest, future brew pub.
The Lake's say they're now planning to open Cloud 9 brewpub and restaurant in the heart of downtown Boise within the next year (although the exact location is a carefully kept secret).
According to Jake Lake, the Kickstarter event secured the final funds the couple needed. "It means that we can proceed with the lease negotiations," Lake said, adding "within the next year, I really do feel we have an 80 to 90 percent chance of opening."
Jake and Maggie Lake
The Lakes say they plan to offer 6 "staple" beers, including a Northwestern red, honey basil, a barley wine, salted caramel ale, and other varieties
Yet, while Cloud 9 is technically the Treasure Valley's newest would-be brew-pub, don't expect this beer on grocery store shelves. Lake says for now, Cloud 9 plans to focus on beer and food in its future location in downtown Boise.
So with all the new developments in Treasure Valley brewing scene, some might ask: Why now? and, why Idaho?
Jake Lake offers an answer.
"It's one of the biggest cultural revolutions," Lake said. "It's a way to come together and enjoy another craft. People are bonding over craft beer."