Video: At Alefort, Boise brewers AND retailers showcase their personalities

A pony keg goes fast one 4-ounce pour at a time.

Just ask Chris Oates, owner of Bier:Thirty Bottle & Bistro. In 2013, Oates brought a quarter barrel of Odell Brewing Co.’s Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout to Alefort, the annual brewer’s festival at Treefort Music Fest. The catch: He’d run it through a randall — a flavor-infusing filter — packed with dried tart cherries and coffee beans. This makes the beer, well …

“It’s awesome,” Oates says.

It also was history in two hours.

“This year we’re going to do a half barrel of it,” Oates says. Alefort kicks off Friday on 13th Street outside the Main Stage.

The randalled Lugene will flow at noon sharp Saturday. I’m putting the official over/under at 2 1/2 hours before that keg is gone-zo. Not only is Alefort bigger in 2014 — capacity has been doubled — but the word is out. The beer at this fest is good. Oates’ randall process involves stopping at Flying M to pick up fresh java just hours before Bier:Thirty starts pouring.

Making a point to feature not just brewers, but retailers such as Bier:Thirty — which also has a passion for firkins — makes Alefort somewhat unusual in the world of brew festivals.

“It’s definitely unique,” Oates says. “To put it short, it just sort of highlights the culture of the individual retailer.”

Meeting local brewers is always enlightening at a beer festival. But local retailers also are part of the Treasure Valley’s beer equation, so it makes sense to include them.

“For me, Alefort is supposed to be about Boise’s beer scene, Boise’s beer culture,” explains Bittercreek Alehouse “beer guy” David Roberts, who curated the event.

Alefort, which runs through Sunday, will feature somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 breweries. Several locals such as Payette Brewing Co. and Sockeye Brewing Co. will be on hand with representatives (see full schedule below). The rest will be local retailers, such as the Boise Co-op, Bittercreek Alehouse, Whole Foods and Bar Gernika. Which is cool.

Bittercreek Alehouse can show off its cellaring program. Whole Foods can bust out some dessert accompaniment.

The festival will charge $2 for tokens, which are good for a pour of about 4 ounces — with a few exceptions. For example, the Boise Co-op will pour a 2012 Double DBA from Firestone Walker out of the bottle. It’s 12 percent alcohol by volume (ABV). They’ll make it clear when you hand over a token that the pour will be more like 2 1/2 ounces.

The event starts at 4 p.m. Friday, but the 5 p.m. “Simultaneous Tapping of 10 Firkins” seems like the moment the cannons officially fire off. After that, use the schedule below to pick your beer passion. (Being a chilehead, I’m intrigued by Edge Brewing Co.‘s Habanero Cream Ale.)

Alefort is free for adults 21 and older. You don’t need a Treefort pass to participate.

Hours: 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday.

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Michael Deeds is the Idaho Statesman’s entertainment columnist and Scene magazine editor. His column runs Fridays and Sundays. He appears on the 6 p.m. broadcast of "Today's 6 News" on Thursdays and hosts a music show, "The Other Studio," from 9-10 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River.

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