Backyard Brewers: How homebrew propels Idaho craft beer

Backyard Brewers: How homebrew propels Idaho craft beer »Play Video
BOISE, Idaho - Idaho isn't on the map when it comes to craft beer, literally. Only a question mark holds down the gem state in this map of "good beer." Idaho homebrewers are working to change that.

According to the American Craft Beer Association, over 200 million barrels of beer were produced in the United States in 2010. Craft beer production was slightly under 10 million barrels for the same year, but craft beer sales in the U.S. are around 13 percent - a sliver of the overall market.

As of July, 2011, there are 21 professional brewing operations in the state of Idaho; five are in the treasure valley. The brewers at all of them started making beer in their kitchens and backyards as homebrewers.

"Kind of like people who like cooking, there's a lot of creativity," says David Gans, president of the Snake River Brewers homebrew club. "For me there's a lot of science, I have a science background and I can put that science and creativity into one thing."

Chris Hillman, a homebrewer and recent finalist in a national homebrew contest called "Ironbrewer," echoed the cooking analogy.

"I've put coco nips, coffee, I've done corriander and different orange peels. Probably the weirdest thing was the coffee," Hillman said about what's made it into his beer intentionally.

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