Beer is fairly low-tech. For thousands of years, industrious imbibers have crafted the beverage with little more than grains, water and yeast. But now, Boise HotSpot has upped the technology on pint pouring. Located on the second floor of Boise TechMall—a hodge-podge of tech-related retail and office spaces located near Overland and Cloverdale Roads—the HotSpot features Idaho’s only automated beer wall.
Those familiar with BodoVino will understand the basics: You load a card with cash, swipe it and receive a predetermined amount of booze. But instead of selecting a one-ounce, three-ounce or five-ounce pour, the HotSpot allows you to dispense your own beer and you’re charged for however much or little you splash into your glass.
“There’s a lot that goes into it,” said Sean Andreas, relations manager at Boise TechMall. “There’s a computer that runs every two taps. … In the back end, there’s an electromagnet and a flow-meter. So when you scan the card it activates the electromagnet, which then allows beer to flow, which activates the flow-meter. That relays back to the computer, which then relays back to our point of sale to say how much you poured and deducts it from your card.”
Though it sounds complicated, this technology essentially allows you to be the beertender. Just select a pint or tulip glass, refrigerated or room temperature, then choose from among 16 tap handles that feature an array of local and regional craft brews. On a recent trip, that list included everything from Boise Brewing’s Broad Street Blonde to Stone Brewing’s Enjoy By … IPA to Bourbon Barrel Aged Arrogant Bastard Ale.
“We do six barrel kegs, so we’re constantly changing them,” said Andreas. “We try to keep it fresh all the time.”
Boise HotSpot hosts regular tap takeovers and trivia nights. There’s also an adjacent café, serving snacks like spicy chicken wings and smoked pork-topped Cuban nachos.
Second floor of Boise TechMall
1550 S. Cloverdale Rd., Suite 210, Boise