Salmon River flowing through the forest
Salmon River The Salmon River flowing Central Idaho © Robert Sheley

Stories in Idaho

OktoberForest in Idaho

If you like beer, you should love forests.

Beer is 95% water. And, 40% of the world’s usable water comes from forests.

So, it’s simple: if you love beer, you have to love forests!

That's why The Nature Conservancy is celebrating fall with OktoberForest, a collaboration with brewers across the country to raise awareness about the important role that forests play in our water supply.

Around the state, we are:

  • Restoring and protecting our forests in North Idaho, not only for clean water, but for the animals who depend on them as migratory corridors.
  • Offering technical and financial assistance to private landowners to help them reduce fuels on their property, to improve forest conditions and the safety of communities living near wildfire in the Island Park Area.
  • Working with the Treasure Valley Canopy Network to study and showcase the importance of trees in an urban setting.
Healthy Forests = Clean Water = Great Beer From the tree canopy all the way down to root systems, forests play a critical role in cleaning, storing and protecting our water—beer's main ingredient.

Check out how participating brewers here in Idaho are inspired by nature and the connections between healthy forests, clean water and good beer:

Mad Swede Brewing Company

We love spending time in forests. They are places of great natural beauty that renew the soul. We are fortunate having so much National Forest land in Idaho. Over 38% of our state is National Forest. Our forests offer a variety of fun recreational opportunities—hiking, mountain biking, skiing, fishing, star gazing. Many of Mad Swede’s founders’ sweetest memories are of llama packing with their children in Idaho’s forests. Forests are an integral part of the Idaho lifestyle. It is all of our responsibility to protect the forests.

Forests are also important to Mad Swede for the role they play in insuring a clean, reliable source of water. Beer is 90-95% water! Not only is water a main ingredient of beer, it is essential for growing the barley and hops that go into our beer. Most of the grain and hops in our beer are grown right here in Idaho.

Much of our water supply is dependent on the winter snow pack. The trees shade the snow, slowing the melt and keeping the rivers flowing through the dry summer months, providing water to irrigate crops. The water filters through the forest floor and into our streams, rivers and aquifers. Tree roots hold the soil in place, preventing erosion from filling our rivers with mud.  Without forests, there would be no beer!

Payette Brewing Company

Payette Brewing owner, Mike Francis, is a Boise native. He grew up skiing, hiking, kayaking and camping in Idaho, so he knew it was exactly where he wanted to start the brewery. We chose the name Payette because it fits the way we live and work. Francois Payette was a French Canadian trapper whose name and memory is enshrined among numerous Idaho landmarks. The name has since become synonymous with an adventurous spirit that pervades Idaho's year-round outdoor lifestyle.

Healthy forests mean so much to us at Payette Brewing. Not only do we appreciate nature's beauty and everything it offers for our lifestyles, it also comes down to our product. If our beautiful state doesn't have healthy forests, animals are in danger as well as our water supply. No water means no beer. Water is an incredibly important resource in the brewing process.

Water is a key factor in beer. If we don't have quality water, we don't have quality beer. We are careful in making sure the water we use is clean and can produce a consistent product. The quality of water is just as important as our grain and hops. Not only that, water is needed throughout the entire process and is an essential ingredient in beer.


Sawtooth Brewery

Sawtooth Brewery is in a unique and amazing place for making beer.  Our hops come from three hours to the southwest, our grain come for three hours to the southeast, and our water flows at most 40 miles before hitting our kettles unfiltered.  It travels those miles through wild and scenic lands without major industry, agriculture, or population centers and a community that is centered around a healthy environment. Without clean forests, we don't have clean water.  And without great water, we can't have great beer.  Not only are the forests and water vital to our community, but also to our beer!