Straight from the source in Idaho Falls:
Idaho Falls attracts many tourists visiting nearby Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, but has become an increasingly popular destination all on its own; particularly for beer and vodka lovers! Both of which get their start from some of Idaho’s most notable crops and water sources.
Beyond the potato, Idaho is also the largest producer of barley in the US and the second largest in the production of hops. Idaho is also home to the largest portion of the Snake River, which is what helps these crops get their great start.
With the headwaters right inside Yellowstone, and then flowing through Idaho Falls, it’s no surprise that craft and corporate breweries, as well as vodka distilleries find it attractive. (Anhueser-Busch even has a plant in Idaho Falls, and much of the malt barley is harvested right from the 200 acres surrounding the facility.)
One local craft brewer, Snow Eagle Brewery, not only has several award-winning brews, like the Cream Ale, but also boasts the best views of the Snake River and the falls. With only eight beers on tap at a time, and sold almost exclusively in house, this operation still cranks out an impressive 700 barrels of beer a year, as well as providing a fairly large brewpub menu of eats.
For those who prefer more options, then look no further than the largest one-day beer fest in the Northwest; The Mountain Brewers and North American Beer Awards. Showcasing over 100 breweries and 300 different kinds of beers, this festival has become the “not to miss” event of the summer in Idaho Falls. It also helps kick off the, governor proclaimed, official beer week in Idaho. What’s best is that all of the profits from the festival go to local charities.
If you’re looking for something a little harder than beer, you won’t be disappointed by the region’s vodka selection either. Known for its sweeter and smoother taste, potato vodka is also gluten free and full of, you guessed it, potatoes. In fact, it takes on average 9-10 lbs of spuds to produce just one 750 mil bottle of vodka.
Just outside of Idaho Falls, in a little town called Rigby, the state’s first legal distillery was created, but oddly, not for vodka. Initially, it was an industrial plant that intended to create fuel out of the potato, but quickly learned that it was not so efficient. So the plant was sold to its current owners, Distilled Resources Inc., who believed potatoes were better used for vodka.
This distillery claims to be the longest running producers of vodka, and while you won’t find their name on the bottles they produce, you may recognize some of the brands they produce, like Idaho’s top selling vodka, 44 North.
44˚ North Vodka is distilled from the famous Burbank and Russet potatoes; using a five-column still and Rocky Mountain spring water. The vodka is then blended with those coveted waters of the Snake River Aquifer. For an extra special farm to table experience, try 44’s Huckleberry Vodka (which also uses locally sourced huckleberries) and combine it with fresh lemonade!