A Tale of Two Taprooms: Over the years, Chinden Boulevard has transformed into a bit of a hip strip, not the least due to a swath of breweries and wineries that line the road. Founded in 2015, Barbarian Brewing was one of the first to start this transformation. The reception by locals was so great that it opened up a downtown taproom two years later. The brewery still operates on a small five-barrel system, so you have to visit a taproom to experiment. And experiment you will—with two-dozen taps plus bottle selections, you’ll never be bored drinking here.
Pucker Up and Wait: Stare at the chalk menu board behind the bar, and you’ll notice that many, if not most, of the brews listed have initials or stars next to their names, indicating either a barrel-aged, a sour, or a barrel-aged sour beer—Barbarian’s specialty. Head Brewer James Long loves this niche, and the challenge of blending the right flavors together and hoping that they work, even if that means waiting a few years. Sours are one of the hippest trends in the beer world, and Barbarian brews both kettle- and barrel-aged sours, which involves the addition of special yeast and bacteria to the fermentation process.
What should you drink? Always start with a flight, otherwise you’ll just miss out. Be sure a sour or two makes the list—a barrel-aged red sour with blueberries, dubbed Bluetooth, was just released last week. Then add something for the sweet tooth, like the Maple Bar Stout or the current ice cream ale (this season it’s s’mores). Then for a real treat, the Pop Rocks Gose will give your ears a treat as well as your taste buds.
Thor’s Day: New beer is released every Thursday, so make sure to visit often.
Where to Find It: Barbarian has taprooms in Garden City at 5270 W. Chinden Blvd., and Boise at 1022 W. Main St.