Idaho has a rich history of craft beer, with the earliest breweries dating back to the 1860s when they served small towns and mining camps. In the past few decades, the Treasure Valley has experienced a surge of local breweries, allowing craft beer to become an essential part of Idaho’s culture.
As one of the top three producers of barley and hops in the nation, Idaho is an ever-expanding hub for craft beer. While Boise may claim the lion’s share of craft breweries in Southwest Idaho, the Nampa-Caldwell area boasts two of the most popular breweries in the state as well as a number of pubs and restaurants where you can find local beers on tap.
Crescent Brewery has been called “the Cheers of Nampa” by customers, and you can walk in six days a week to a warm welcome and listen to regulars telling stories. Although the tasting room might be tricky to find, it’s worth the journey for the laid-back atmosphere and delicious craft beer. Using local ingredients, they brew their Tilted Kilt Pale Ale, Chocolate Porter, Amber Ale, Irish Red, Blond Bitch, Highland Hammer, and Skull Splitter IPA, among others.
Crescent Brewery hosts a variety of free events including comedy shows Tuesday night, Thursday night karaoke, live music on the weekends, and professional comedians every fourth Friday. Jerry and the rest of the staff will help find the right brew for you and set you up with a bowl of buttered popcorn.
Founded in 2009, this brewery was the first to operate in the city in nearly 60 years, taking its name and inspiration from the original Crescent Brewery which was created in 1906. Today, Crescent Brewery pays homage to that original operation by displaying historical photographs and memorabilia along the walls as well as keeping the spirit of craft beer alive in Nampa.
Another Nampa brewery that has locals excited is Mother Earth Brewing Company. While Mother Earth began in California, they’ve also found a home in Idaho, opening a production facility and tasting room in Nampa in 2016. The brewery is family friendly, with a jumbo set of Jenga-style blocks available to play with, creating fun for all ages. Dogs are always welcome, and there’s a black lab at the brewery who is considered to be a member of the staff. Year-round beers include their Cali Creamin’ Vanilla Cream Ale, Sin Tax Imperial Peanut Butter Stout, Honcho Hefeweizen, Born Blonde Ale, and BooKoo IPA brewed with Mosaic hops, in addition to a rotating list of seasonal beers.
Finding this brewery may also prove challenging as the tasting room is housed inside their production facility. Follow a back road until a fenced-in industial area is found. Don’t feel lost at the large parking lot, keep driving through the gated area, drive slightly to the right and keep an eye out for signs on the side of a large metal building leading to the brewery and tasting room. Although the outside may have an industrial feel, once inside, there is a spacious bar area, a set of long wooden benches, as well as ample seating around barrels that have been converted into tables.
2C Family Brewing Company is the newest brewery to open. Located in the 114-year-old Dewey-Scales building in downtown Nampa, 2C offers German lagers, Belgian ales, fruit sours, as well as whiskey and wine barrel-aged beers.
If there isn’t enough time to visit a brewery, don’t fret, as it’s impossible to avoid a bar, pub, or restaurant in the area that doesn’t keep local beers on tap from the Nampa area as well as Boise and beyond.