Bear Island Brewing Idaho Potato Ale 

Taste the Gem State in every sip

click to enlarge KELSEY HAWES
  • Kelsey Hawes
Beth Bechtel, co-owner of Bear Island Brewing, came up with the idea for the brewery's best-selling IPA while serving overseas.

"When I was in the service I was on deployment in the Middle East, and I ran out of barley—I was brewing out of my room. So I needed a starch solution to make alcohol, and I was working on my IPA recipe...I went into a Middle Eastern market, and the first thing I saw was russet potatoes, and [the] IPA in my brain immediately became Idaho Potato Ale."

According to Bechtel, the idea is more than just a gimmick: The potatoes actually improve the beer.

"It's still a beer, so it still has barley and all those things too, but the addition of potatoes actually enhanced the body and the head retention of the beer. They have a little more protein, and that's what protein does for beer," she said.

The IPA has a delicate boozy aroma, and each sip teases the palate with floral notes and a quick punch of hops that vanishes on the finish.

Idaho Potato Ale is available for purchase at roughly 80 locations across the Treasure Valley, including WinCo, where it costs $5.56 for a 22-oz. bottle.

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