In this monthly series, we check in with one of our adventurous locals to find out how they would spend a perfect 24 hours in Sun Valley.
Back-to-school vibes are in the air, and just last week, the peaks around Sun Valley had their first dusting of early snow. Fall comes a bit early here in the mountains, but you won’t find us complaining—it’s a magical season. With perfectly warm days and deliciously cool nights, fall is the perfect time to experience Sun Valley’s natural beauty and cultural events, including Wagon Days, the Gallery Walk, the Ernest Hemingway Seminar, the Baldy Hill Climb, and Oktoberfest.
To hear more about this year’s Oktoberfest, we reached out to Kevin Jones, co-founder and Business Director of Sawtooth Brewery. Sawtooth Brewery, which celebrates its tenth anniversary in November, began as a small taproom in a hotel in Ketchum. “We started the brewery when we were young and single,” says Kevin. “We had a vision of a place where people could drink local beer after a day of skiing or biking.”
Now, Kevin and his business partner, head brewer and CEO Paul Holle, have two restaurants, the Public House in Ketchum and the Tap Room in Hailey, and a production brewery where they brew and can over 3,000 barrels of craft beer each year. In addition to their lineup of local brews, Sawtooth Brewery also produces a line of non-alcoholic beers under the name Atmos Brewery Co. and hard seltzers under the name Creekside Hard Seltzer.
After a pared-down celebration in 2020, Sawtooth Brewery’s Oktoberfest will be back in force this year. The event takes place September 17-18 at Festival Meadows in Sun Valley. “Oktoberfest is the time to get your German on, Idaho-style,” shares Kevin. Oktoberfest includes a beer garden, live music, games, and the not-to-be-missed Beer Olympics, which invites teams of four to compete in cornhole, stein hoisting, volume chug, and flip cup. The Brewery’s Outpost food truck will be on-site with an Oktoberfest-themed menu.
“Any piece of Sawtooth Brewery glassware works as your ticket,” says Kevin. If you don’t have a Sawtooth stein in your cupboard yet, you can purchase one at the event.
With Oktoberfest just around the corner, we asked Kevin, how would you spend your perfect 24hrs in Sun Valley for September. Here’s what he said.
What would you do for breakfast?
How would you spend your morning?
September is a great month because everything slows down a bit, from business to tourism. It’s archery season for elk, so I’d probably spend my morning scouting or going on a hike with my border collie, Annie. Early mornings are a great time to be out there and just get the experience of looking for and tracking elk and deer.
What’s on the menu for lunch?
I usually eat at our Public House in Ketchum. Because I’m there a lot, I get the daily special, but if I wasn’t having that, I’d have a Baja Fish Taco or the Veggie Burger.
If I was north of town, I might stop and get lunch at Galena Lodge. I like their Ginger Sesame Bowl with kimchi.
How about your afternoon?
I’d spend it mountain biking. September is the beginning of the end of mountain biking season, so I make my way from north to south throughout the month. The North Valley Trails around Galena Lodge are usually the first to close because they are the first to get snow, so I’d ride the highest elevation trails while they were still open.
Besides Oktoberfest, do you have any other favorite events in September?
Rebecca’s Private Idaho, which I’ll be riding in this year. Sawtooth Brewery will also be at the wrap-up party at Festival Meadows.
Any happy hour for you?
I’m always looking for sour beers, and the Powerhouse reliably has them, so that’s where I’d go.
What are your plans for dinner?
I’d head to CK’s in Hailey and order their seasonal fish dish.
What would you do with the last of the evening light?
I live close to Draper Preserve, so I’d go for a walk with my family. The kids love looking at the frogs and birds in the Preserve and throwing rocks into the river.