Star Route

Walter Johnson, assistant brewer at the new Star Route Brewery in Historic Downtown Pocatello, measures hops for a raspberry hefeweizen beer on Tuesday afternoon, in preparation for a grand opening on Thursday. Owner Chris White watches from the background.

POCATELLO — Chris White vows he’ll offer a beer for every taste and a wide variety of craft recipes that required some out-of-the-box thinking to concoct when he celebrates the grand opening of his Star Route Brewery on Thursday.

The opening of the city’s fourth microbrewery, located at 218 N. Main St. in Historic Downtown Pocatello, has been a long time in coming due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

White bought the building about a year ago and anticipated opening in March. But amid the pandemic it’s taken several months longer than anticipated to schedule contractors to complete the necessary renovations. For the grand opening celebration, starting at 3 p.m., White will launch with eight of his own craft beers.

Among them, White, 49, will unveil unique home-brewed flavors such as a Texas pecan coffee amber, a margarita seltzer, a black IPA, a pink raspberry hefeweizen and a stout on a nitrogen tap. He’ll also have 10 guest taps at the ready.

“I wanted to try to open up with something that was a little different than the other guys in town,” White said.

He’ll be open seven days per week from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. He’s built a small kitchen and may add a bar-food menu later next year.

White is pleased by the evolution of the social scene in Pocatello’s down town area and has had a friendly camaraderie with the other local breweries, including Off the Rails, which opened on Main Street early this year.

“I’m hoping that Old Town continues to evolve and make Main Street and Old Town a fun place to come hang out in,” White said.

White was raised in Texas and Louisiana and moved to Pocatello about 15 years ago so his wife could take a job as an engineer at the local ON Semiconductor plant. White also worked on and off for ON Semiconductor throughout the past 11 years.

For a period of time, White accepted a job in Colorado while his wife continued working in Pocatello. About seven years ago, while he was in Colorado, he took up craft brewing as a hobby.

“I was giving away as much beer as I was making,” White said. “I was meeting other (home) brewers who were talking about starting breweries. I started looking into it myself.”

Upon returning to Pocatello in 2018, he and his family decided to take the chance and began their search for a building. It took about a year for White to find the right location.

When he opens, he’ll have about five employees, as well as Johnson and a manager, Chris Borg. He’s chosen to name his Star Route Brewery after his childhood street address in Louisiana.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he’ll be allowed only half his usual occupancy, or about 50 patrons, inside at any given time. His bar staff will be required to wear masks.

“We’re going to be following all of the COVID precautions,” White said.