ID. Beer Historian has been studying Idaho’s brewing history for decades

ID. Beer Historian has been studying Idaho’s brewing history for decades »Play Video
Herman Ronnenberg gives history lesson of Idaho’s brewing history.
MOSCOW, ID - Learning about history and drinking beer.... The two activities generally aren't associated with one another, unless you want a lesson on the history of brewing beer in Idaho.

Herman Ronnenberg has been studying Idaho's brewing history for decades.

"Lot of economic issues, agricultural issues," aid Ronnenberg.

He started as a University of Idaho student doing a dissertation on the history of breweries in Moscow.

"Beer is really hard to transport in the old days," said Ronnenberg. "Pasteurization hasn't been invented, the bottle cap hasn't been invented. Basically, your beer goes outside very long it spoils. And so every little town has it's own brewery."

Ronnenberg said every brewery has a unique story.

"Cattle stampedes that went through the brewery instead of the street, gunfights over who owned what," said Ronnenberg.

Including Moscow's original brewery.

"1908 a lunatic burned it down," said Ronnenberg. "Could have burned the whole town down if the wind would have changed."

Ronnenberg said Idaho's brewing culture eventually died off.

"When I came up here in '78, there were zero breweries in the state," said Ronnenberg. "It was all in the past."

But... the brewing business picked up again in the mid 1980's.

"And now, I think we're up over 30," said Ronnenberg.

These days, local breweries are becoming more and more popular across the state. In fact, there's even one right here in Moscow.

"This is the Moscow Brewing Company," said Owner Lucas Rake. "There's micro-breweries, there's nano-breweries, and this is actually a pic-brewery, which is smaller than a nano-brewery. I basically brew a keg at a time."

Rake saw a need for a local brewery in his community.

"I just wanted to feature our assets here," said Rake. "We're able to use some barely that's actually grown here on the Palouse."

Rake has been in business for just over a year…

"It's sort of a one-man band right now," said Rake.

But he said business is booming, and he already has plans to expand and spread the word about Moscow's brewery history.

"I wanted to sort of tip my hat to that legacy of brewing here in Moscow," said Rake.