Small-town Brew: Craft Beer Makes a Strong Showing in Wallace, Idaho
By Ben Kilduff
In a town of only 960 people, you might be surprised to find good craft brew — much less two craft breweries. In Wallace, Idaho they do indeed have two breweries. The newest kid on the block is North Idaho Mountain Brew.
Nestled just off the historic downtown area, North Idaho Mountain Brew is at the entrance of the Wallace RV Park. Brewer and on-site park owner Mark Burmeister along with his partners Pamela Burmeister (his dedicated wife), Don Hofmann, Chris Conley and Pam Conley, gutted the old building that once housed apartments, turning the building into a great seven-barrel brewing facility and soon-to-be restaurant. They have only been open for a few weeks now and, at the time of the interview, had not received the large scale brewing equipment scheduled to be delivered by Memorial Day weekend.
Mark grew up in the Silver Valley, then went on to Alaska and was employed by Halliburton. Almost everyone he worked with homebrewed — a hobby Mark would also venture into. His hangout in Alaska, Moose’s Tooth, would be an inspiration for his own enterprise. After retiring in November, he set out to put this dream in motion in the place he grew up.
Right now Mark is brewing out of his garage in 10-gallon batches every other day, to support the four accounts he has that serve his draught beer: Red Light Garage, Day Rock, The Jameson, and Noah’s Canteen at Silver Mountain.
Mark’s first four solid offerings consist of a pale ale called Summit Gold, a Belgian-patterned pale ale called Loft Honey, an Irish red dubbed Sunset Red, and his flagship Mountain Amber. He also plans on adding a porter and an IPA into the mix very soon. Mark started with a red that was developed for Red Light Garage while he was still working in Alaska. He would brew when he was home and it would ferment when he was working up north. He did this cycle for about two years.
As a self-proclaimed hophead Mark understands the challenges in dealing with his local light lager drinking clientele. But with the area’s silver mines opening back up and being bookended by great ski hills and snowmobilers, there will be plenty of people who will venture toward the delights of craft beer. Plus, with tourism a primary component of the local economy, Mark said that visitors often have a taste for the area’s brews.
“It’s amazing how much people (visitors) want to drink the local beer,” he noted.
And he is happy to provide it.
“The most rewarding is when I hear people enjoying my beer and having this opportunity to brew beer,” Mark said. “I’m not vain about it — I just want people to enjoy beer.”
Pamela Burmeister, a big part of the collective effort who has been married to her husband Mark for 38 years said “We collaborated this effort together, spent months and now years, developing, tasting, marketing and now remodeling this historic building. I have not brewed a single batch, but my tastings include taking Mark back to the drawing board to improve his beer. We have traveled, talked and drank beer together for six years, gave up our ‘other life’, retired together. This journey we have been on has not been easy, without trial and tribulation and many, many sacrifices.”
Pamela adds, “We partnershiped up together in 2008 and moved forward, Mark brewing the beer, Don head of construction of the 100 year old building, which now houses City Limits Pub as well. I oversaw the interior design decisions. Chris and Pam Conley have been instrumental in decision making as much as possible while living in South Carolina.”
The group of partners, also own the entities of City Limits Pub.
For more information about North Idaho Mountain Brew and its adjacent RV Park, visit www.wallacervpark.com or call (208) 753-7121. The property is located at 108 Nine Mile Road, Wallace, ID 83873.
wish you could tell a little about the other of the two breweries, I am heading up there this summer and appreciate the info, thanks
@Yvette- The other one is Wallace Brewing. They were closed (for the day) when I was there. Also Odell Brewing out of Colorado just got some distribution in the area. Pick some of their offerings up at any Steins grocery.
I have tried both breweries. While it is commendable that Wallace has two breweries, I definitely found the one reviewed to be superior. Wallace Brewing occupies a nice space right in the middle of town, so it is worth a look, but perhaps not a drink. I’m still trying to figure out how to even cook with the bottled IPA I returned home with a couple of months ago.
Thank you Ben and Katherine for your wonderful review of North Idaho Mountain Brew…”brewing one great beer at a time”, along with our City Limits Pub…”where strangers meet and friends gather”. We so appreciated you enjoying our beers and sharing your ‘private collection’ with all of us! You are true Beer Snobs of the best quality: generous, kind and thoughtful, not to mention your endearing love of great brews! We were fortunate you found us, and us you! Cheers!
Nice article, Ben!
What are hours of operation at the brewery
Mon-Friday, thank you
@Sheri- At the time of the artical they were still trying to figure out what those times would be. Don’t hesitate to shoot them an email of give them a call. They will be able to give you better info than I. http://www.wallacervpark.com (208) 753-7121
Really Kate? That’s so surprising, you must not be a beer drinker.
Wallace Brewing’s beer is sold in many bars and restaurants throughout the state of Idaho, so quite a few people think it’s worth more than “a drink”. The Vindicator IPA and Jack Leg Stout make an excellent Half and Half. Love it!
Love the new space at the North Idaho Mountain Brew! And my hit of the night was the Dog Days Amber. A jug came home for hubby who is enjoying it as much as me. Can’t wait to go back!
Cathleen & Katie: I am sure that Katie is a beer drinker, but she probably enjoys craft beer that has stronger hops flavor (like myself). Just because a beer is sold in several places doesn’t mean that everyone likes it. Budweiser and others are sold everywhere and I happen to think they taste awful. Every person’s tastes are different and in this case I happen to agree with Katie. Both Wallace Brewing and North Idaho Mountain Brew have passable brews, but I am not a fan.
Cathleen is Chase Sanborns wife
Chase is the Brains behind the mess of under attenuated D-bombs that Wallace
Had a wonderful time in Wallace drinking the local beer. North Idaho Mountain Brewery is by far the superior beer in town. I enjoyed the bartenders and the accessibility to the Brewer! The Brewery has an absolutely wonderful atmosphere naturally as constructed by Don (I believe). HIGHLY recommend North Idaho Mountain Brewery in Wallace, Idaho!
visited yesterday 2/24/12. The beer was okay but the bar service was not okay. Wouldn’t go back because of that. Luckily we had a great meal and Wallace Brewery IPA at the Snake Pit on our way back to Spokane. That made it all better.
We have a number of great brewpubs in Spokane and none of them have been that bad.G ood Beer never mixes w/bad service.
A group of 10 of us visited there for our annual ATV trail riding weekend and tried the City Limits Pub for dinner. All of us ordered something different and EVERY meal was beyond delicious!!! The service was great, brews and mixed drinks outstanding. The place was packed with customers and everyone working there had a smile on their face and fun in their step. The entire dining experience was an A++++++++++++experience. Can’t wait to come back. Hats off to all of yo and your new presence in Wallace!!! Terry from Deer Park, WA
A group of 10 of us visited there for our annual ATV trail riding weekend and tried the City Limits Pub for dinner. All of us ordered something different and EVERY meal was beyond delicious!!! The service was great, brews and mixed drinks outstanding. The place was packed with customers and everyone working there had a smile on their face and fun in their step. The entire dining experience was an A++++++++++++experience. Can’t wait to come back. Hats off to all of you and your new presence in Wallace!!! Terry from Deer Park, WA
Very nice atmosphere.
I recommend Donny’s Place to everyone who is traveling East through
Keep up the good work and take a break once in a while and take a ski run for me at Lookout Pass.