The Beaver Log

Episode 3: Beer Fest
I had no idea what to expect walking into Boise beer fest seeing as I’d never attended before. For anyone who knows me it probably sounds ludicrous that I’ve never been to the beer fest before. It was hot as hell, but my spirits were lifted upon knowledge that there was no entry fee. You simply handed over your I.D. and you got your wristband. If you wanted a cup to drink though that would be $25, like some kind of frat party from hell. While relegated to a 3 square foot hunk of shade with some of Boise’s finest bartenders, we began to discuss the obvious faults in this system from a business outlook (i.e. 20,000 people enter, only 5000 buy a cup). We were also lamenting the fact that Payette Brewing Co., the freshest and most impressive new face on the Boise brew scene, was put in a pop up tent at the butthole of the tap line. Fueled by heat and hangover, uncanny levels of cynicism were soon being cultivated between my cohort and me. With a superb white reggae band as our soundtrack we began to prey on the abundance of shitty tattoos on display. There were BSU bro’s with Sublime lyrics, hippie kids with mushrooms, and hipsters who had put tired, ironic clichés on their parents credits cards so they could be put on their skin forever. About midway into what had become an IPA tasting for me, my eyes became lubricated enough to take in all that was around me. Along with bro’s, hippie’s, and hipster’s there were middle age, foothill dwelling yuppies with subtle greek letters inked on their heels, old beer bellied men with their finest “Who Farted” t-shirts on, metal heads refusing to ever wear sleeves, and what must have been about 90% of Boise’s LGBT population (who by the way actually had the best ink by far). It started to dawn on me that this diverse population isn’t often all seen happily congregating together. It was as if something had broken down the walls of Mac and Charlies, Bittercreek, Neurolux, Red Room, and the Balcony and brought all their denizens to one place. One thing in common brought Boise’s finest out of the woodwork. One thing allowed us all to realize we have the same blood…alcohol level. And as swayed in this giant outdoor bar, I began to feel happy. Happy for Boise’s diversity, happy for it’s humanity, and most of all happy for one thing that can bring it all together…beer.  

Episode 2 You Gotta Be Manly to Live in Stanley
By Mark Beaver

Barreling up highway 55 at two in the morning, I found myself wondering about my fellow, wee hour highway travelers. Where are they going? Why did they decide to leave so late? What are they listening to? I’m listening to Fat Music for Fat People, the first compilation in a long line of samplers from Fat Wreckchords. It makes me reminiscent of the time in fifth grade, and the peculiar look on Martin’s dads face when returning to the car from the grocery store, he found his eleven year old son and his friend gently nodding their heads to a blaring “Kill All the White Man” by NOfX. I somehow doubt my fellow traveler in the early 90’s Ford F150 with the “Canadian Wolves: Smoke a Pack a Day” sticker is listening to “Kill All the White Man” as well. Or maybe he loves irony, I don’t know. Nevertheless, I remain curious to as where he is coming from. I’m coming from Stanley, where I am an Interpretive Naturalist (I don’t know what that means either, don’t worry about it). I’m traveling so late because I had a late night program to deliver…to two people. Most of the time though, I can be found roaming the beaches with a suitcase full of skulls and pelts. If I didn’t have a uniform you wouldn’t let your children come near me. Sometimes I feel I should drape a coyote pelt about my head and shoulders and juggle skulls like some nightmarish, post-apocalyptic sideshow. I think kids would retain the take home message better that way. So why am I performing a long, deer ridden exodus out of Stanley at such an ungodly hour? Well, quite honestly it’s been a little difficult for a fellow like myself to make friends here. Basically, everyone here is a trustafarian, river rat or a total badass, mountain man. I don’t know where I fall along this spectrum. I don’t care. On one of my first nights here, in an attempt to meet some kindred spirits, I went down to one of the fine local drinking establishments. I asked the rather surly looking gentleman, my soul bar top companion, his name and what he does here in Stanley. His answer was my exact question volleyed back my direction, only it sounded a lot more assholey coming from him for some reason. Maybe his beard filters words out to sound more assholey. Anyway, after the initial confusion of social misfitism wore off, I answered him politely, like a person living in a society would. He replied simply, “Well…you gotta be manly to live in Stanley.” I must admit…it was fucking badass. Still, I would have laughed if I didn’t think that might prompt him to slam my head down through my pint glass into the bar top, which I would obviously have to thank him for out of natural respect. It’s times like this I pine for the warm summer nights in Boise. After work I could ride my bike down to Bittercreek, drink “Bulldog’s” until face grows numb, then stumble home in the heat of the day radiated back into the night, with the familiarly sweet scent of budding, deciduous trees as my companion. But I’m not in Boise I’m in Stanley. So if you need me I’ll be sitting outside of my trailer, drinking Olympia, being manly.
Episode 1 By Mark Beaver
I woke up early the morning of Saturday May 28th. Actually was woken up early, 7
a.m. to be somewhat more precise. The caller I.D. told me that Brian was calling me
at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning. Brian must be drunk I thought to myself. I answered
the phone and Brian proceeded in leaving a voice mail in my ear. Brian was drunk.
Brian went on to explain that the reason behind the early morning celebration was
in honor of David and his recent release from the Ada County jail, in which they had
been placed the previous evening for “partying to hard”. Over the squawk of David’s
unabashedly confident, curbside swan dance, Brian invited me over to plunge
myself into new depths of depression and self-loathing with he and David. Though
the initial intrigue of blowing off Ranch Fest and slamming pounders of Key ice on a
sidewalk at 7 in the morning was compelling, I opted for the former.

After getting lost, for about 40 minutes somewhere in the immense Camas Prairie,
I found myself driving once again along the same 15-mile stretch of highway 20. I
found myself once again passing the same police car, which seemed to be patrolling
the same stretch of highway as myself. I wondered if he recognized me. I also
wondered what he had for breakfast. After pulling over and realizing I had been
misreading my own handwritten directions, I reeled on through the vast, surreal
landscape toward Tumbleweed, Idaho and the bounties of Ranch Fest.

The initial disappointment at the lack of Ranch, dressing, hit me like a punch in
the gut. My mind caught a fleeting glimpse of the pure joy I could be experiencing
passed out under someone’s backyard grill in Boise. I needed a beer. Luckily Ranch
Fest did have a shitload of that; that and good music, good food, and superlatively
good people.

As cold winds whipped down from the Sawtooth’s across the valley, musicians and
fans alike drank warming libations from local breweries while huddled around
drumfires and in the barn/venue. From the barn wailed the endless, dulcet tones
of many of the City of Trees finest artists as well as many others from around the
west. Sounds ranged from the reverb drenched, experimental rock of Atomic Mama,
the lonesome, honky tonk of Neo Tundra Cowboy, the speakeasy, stomp of Hillfolk
Noir, to the infectious, post-punk, pop that is Finn Riggins. Throw in a dash of the
sonic electronic-party of Owlright and one can see just how diverse and talented
the underrated music community of Boise actually is. Of course if you made it late
enough into the night to experience Owlright you were most likely numb to the cold
and talking, loudly, to your eight new best friends about the state of the arts or land
conservation or the other eight people you know in common.

As I meandered through a field back to my tent slurping on one last slice of pie from
the food table, which was awesome, I had a smile on my face. What better way to
kick off the summer than with a small, fine gathering of like-minded rakes mingling,
pontificating, and getting sloppy drunk in the most "Idaho" of settings. Maybe next
year Brian and David can start slamming Key ice pounders at 7 in the morning on a
ranch in central Idaho instead.