Idaho Mountain Express Valley Man

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Welcome to the pages of Valley Man, the Idaho Mountain Express’ annual pre-Father’s Day tribute to the men of the Wood River Valley. This year, we asked men to tell us what they like to eat, what they like to drive and what they like to do in their spare time (make beer). Enjoy this snapshot of the guys who help make the valley thrive, and don’t forget to honor the dad in your household on Sunday.



Why valley guys love cars so much

By Jon Mentzer—Express Staff Writer


Mechanic Phil Huff polishes up a 1939 Ford in his garage in Hailey. Huff said he has owned the car for 52 years, since he bought it with money he earned mowing lawns. He specializes in restoring cars from the 1920s and ’30s. Photo by Roland Lane

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ometimes there are no words to describe how a guy feels, but rather a sound. It can come in the form of a grunt, a yell, a laugh or in some cases, the sound of an engine. The roar of a car engine is like a man’s call to nature. Whether you’re a grease monkey, a car aficionado or just a regular guy with a regular old truck, there’s something that we all have in common: When we hear an engine, we take notice and for a moment our minds take us to the road. It satisfies the primal urge to roam free and the beast within is eased. Having a cool car is like pumping our chests out. Egos get stroked with every pumping piston and it feels good. “I look at it like art. Art that you can smell and feel and hear. It makes you feel good to drive it,” said Dave Stone, owner of Sun Valley Auto Club. “I think it has something to do with power and sex appeal. It appeals to the stereotypical man. You think of the growl of the American muscle cars and the beautiful lines of the Italian super cars.” Stone and the Sun Valley Auto Club have seen their fair share of beautiful cars as the club puts on the annual Sun Valley Road Rally every year. Even though newer cars like the Audi R8 have come into the Auto Club, Stone said he’s still amazed by some of the vintage cars. “Some cars that blow me away are some of the old muscle cars that come back to life,” he said. “Some old Corvettes and some old Porsches are what get me going. Some cars that weren’t special in their day are now special. An old pickup truck is a hot car to have right now. To me, it’s the visual images.” If we are what we drive, then the vintage, well-polished cars are the ladies men. These cars are clean-cut, smooth, comfortable, fast and catch females’ attention. We as men have been influenced since we were young. We watched red Ferraris capture our imaginations in Magnum P.I. and Miami Vice. We watched Bo Duke and Luke Duke run from the police in their General Lee 1969 Dodge Charger in the Dukes of Hazard. And who could forget Daisy Duke? She played an immense role in our love for cars. A car fuels us like how our testosterone drives us: It just feels good to be loud, fast and sometimes mean. And if there’s a parallel to cars and testosterone, then one big reason why we love cars so much is because women notice them. One connection that this valley has to cars is that Hollywood’s greatest actor/stuntman roamed these parts. None other than Steve McQueen’s legacy has drawn the awe of many guys who love cars, and when you sandwich the fascination with cars and McQueen’s coolness, many guys in the valley picture themselves driving a forest green 1968 Ford Mustang GT like the one McQueen drove in “Bullit.” And even though McQueen mainly drove an old pickup around town, he’s synonymous with fast cars. It’s the personal history that we have with cars that gets us guys going, too. It’s the time in the garage when the wife can’t tell you what to do and your boss can’t yell at you. You can sit there and listen to music and drink beer while making your car look and sound good. It’s the ultimate hobby. It’s like building a fort when you were a kid. You built one up just to tear it down so you can build another one. New cars don’t have the soul of an old car. Old cars have a feel and when you can put together your own car or engine, confidence bleeds through your senses. The old cars have history that comes along with the territory. “There’s so much history in cars,” said Mike Walton, a State Farm Insurance agent in Ketchum. “When you look at older cars and when they were made and how they were made, it tells a lot about the state of the country at that time. What types of custom modules were getting done? See I LOVE MY CAR page S2








Men of the valley turn hops into gold By Katherine Wutz—For the Express Photos by Roland Lane





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omebrewing is a hybrid between old-fashioned sorcery and chemistry of the mad-scientist sort. Mysterious liquids boil for hours in giant kettles, then are cooled, decanted and left to ferment in enormous glass bottles. The origins of the process can be traced to colonial Virginia in 1587, when Europeans used corn from what would become the United States to make the first American beer. Relatives of Declaration of Independence author Thomas Jefferson were reportedly accomplished brewers. However, beer-making at home was outlawed with the coming of Prohibition in 1919, and home-brewing of beer with an alcohol content higher than 0.5 percent remained illegal until 1978. Dennis Botkin Today, the American Homebrewers Association estimates there are a million people performing alcoholic alchemy in kitchens, garages and basements across the each brew its unique flavor. Debree often experiments nation, many assisted by the venerable association, which with Belgian yeasts, as well as the hops he grows in his was founded just weeks after President Jimmy Carter own garden, including one he calls a “mosaic” variety. signed the law that again legalized the hobby. This type of hops has notes of pine and some bitterness, But how does one get inducted into the brotherhood of but also hints of stone fruits such as cherries. homebrewers? It’s as easy as buying a kit, says local brew“Depending on the variety of hops you’re using, your er Mark Debree. He has been brewing out of his Cold beer might be spicy, it might be fruity, it might be piney, it Springs home since the mid-1990s. might be citrusy,” Debree said. “My wife bought me a brewing kit at Costco,” he said. Though Prohibition is long gone, those brewing beer at “Maybe she regrets it now.” home still need to comply with legal restrictions. AccordDebree’s yen for brewing rose from a growing appre- ing to federal law, homebrewers must be over 18 years of ciation of craft beer—beer made age and can only produce beer for with traditional methods by small, personal and family use—selling is independent breweries. He soon forbidden. Brewers are also limited T S REALLY discovered that brewing at home 100 gallons per calendar year if NOT VERY EXPENSIVE to allowed him to enjoy high-quality there is only one adult living in the TO BREW YOUR beer on the cheap. home, and 200 gallons per calen“You can make better beer at dar year if there are two or more BEER OWN home cheaper than you can buy it adults. Beer brewed at home is also T S MAYBE TO in the store,” he said. “It’s really regulated by Idaho code, which not very expensive to brew your states: “[A]ny person shall have the CENTS A BOTTLE own beer. It’s maybe 30 to 40 cents privilege of manufacturing wine or Mark Debree a bottle.” brewing beer from native grown Dennis Botkin, a carpenter with products for the personal use of Sawtooth Construction, was also himself, family and guests.” Sgt. prompted to start homebrewing through his love of beer Nathan Hansen from Idaho Alcoholic Beverage Control but distaste for the price of microbrews. said that while the code says homebrewers can only use “I just think it’s great to make my own beer at home,” “native” or state-grown products for brewing, cases are he said. “It’s almost always good, and it’s less expensive considered on an individual basis and federal law has than buying some of the microbrews out there—and it’s priority. the same quality.” Aside from some thorny legal issues, beginning homeMost kits, such as those offered by Minnesota-based brewing can be as easy as picking up a kit and leafing supply company Northern Brewer, come with everything through a book such as “The Complete Joy of Homeneeded to boil up a batch of ultra-microbrew: a ferment- brewing” by homebrew guru Charlie Papazian. Botkin ing bucket, a bottling bucket, spigots, tubing, bottle and Debree also recommend browsing the hundreds brushes and caps, along with malt extract syrup, yeast of homebrewing websites and exploring the numerous and primer. homebrew stores in Boise. For extract brewing—the simplest of all brewing— Sometimes, they both agreed, the best resources can malt extract is added to water, which may have had other be other homebrewers or microbreweries themselves. specialty grains steeped in it or hops added. The mixture “It’s always nice to try other different styles and difis boiled, then cooled before yeast is added and the fer- ferent people’s interpretation of an IPA [India Pale Ale] mentation process begins. or any other kind of beer,” Botkin said. “If there’s someWhile they started with extract brewing, Botkin and thing you really like, they can give you an idea of what it Debree have graduated to all-grain brewing. The process was brewed with.” of cracking specialty malt barley that has been roasted, then mashing it before letting it steep in water, gives the homebrewer more control over the final taste of the beer. “You’re basically creating your own equivalent of mixing the malt syrup with the water,” Debree said. The next step is to add hops—Debree grows the requisite flower in his backyard, but hops can be purchased— then the liquid is boiled and fermented before it’s bottled or put in a keg. Botkin’s brew day takes an average of six hours. From there, it’s two to four weeks before the beer has fermented enough to bottle and keg. If homebrewers choose to bottle like Debree does, they’re looking at another two weeks before the beer is carbonated enough to be enjoyed; if, like Botkin, they choose to keg, the beer is drinkable after the fermentation stage, thanks to the keg’s forced carbonation. The type of hops used, along with the type of malt Mark Debree barley and yeast strain that the brewer chooses, gives

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AY I love my car D ’SHOPER 360 10th Street R EIR S INN What kind of paint and what kind of finishes were on the PO Box 1779 H cars? It tells a lot about our country.” Ketchum, Idaho 83340 T EPA L W We live in a magnificent valley full of mountains, hills, A R DA F rivers and the desert. It’s hard to imagine driving anyR YCA ME thing other than a car that can take you anywhere. P PEST LD “I don’t see how anyone could survive in this valley A without a truck or an all-wheel car,” Walton said. “The H B GO 208-726-8259 208-726-0995 fax




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most common car is probably the Subaru Outback because of the all-wheel drive and the good gas mileage.” Walton also added that his favorite car is a black 1969 Pontiac Firebird with red interior. “It’s just flawless,” he said. This valley has a wide variety of cars that we guys all love and need. There are the Italian sports cars, the American muscle cars, the Chevy trucks, the bigger Dodge trucks, the little 4x4 pickup trucks, the Subaru hatchbacks and of course, the Jeep Wagoneers.






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Man chow and how to bait one with it By Brennan Rego—Express Staff Writer


ood River Valley men approach their eats adventurously, consume them copiously and convert the fuel within into all sorts of smooth operations, shenanigans and sometimes mustaches. The Sun Valley area’s stallions love it when valley women cook for them and they tend to be totally unopposed to returning the favor, though likely with a muscled twist on the flavor, more protein and a ton more carbs. Is food a way to a valley man’s heart? Absolutely, but it’s not the only one. For most of them, though, a tasty feeding likely does provide the most direct access. “I like to say I’m not afraid to eat flesh,” said Adam Bohrer, a seasonal free man. “Also, the valley man supports local farmers.” Bohrer, a longtime Blaine County resident, said the typical valley man prefers meats, perhaps steering toward wild game, and also vegetables. “A true valley man gets out there and gets his own meat, and forages,” he said. “He utilizes the land and also knows how to grow food from a garden. Basically, he takes advantage of the fact that we live in an amazing place where food actually does grow. That’s not just the valley man, that’s Idaho.” Bohrer said that if you boiled man food down to bare essentials, it would be beer and meat. “Because it’s going to taste good and it makes you feel good after,” he said. Bohrer also said that if a woman were to cook him a meal, he’d want salmon with mango chutney and a salad on the side. “That’s the best meal a woman ever cooked for me,” he said. “It was amazing. Sharing a meal with someone is probably one of the most sacred things one can do. It’s sharing in life’s sustenance.” Scott Mason, Ketchum Grill owner and chef, said that the typical valley man’s palate is quite adventurous. “They desire to try new things,” he said. “They like to cook as much as they like to eat. Many love that barbecue, kind of the traditional man’s cooking instrument.” Mason said men in the area tend to like “a fairly good portion” of steak or game. “Men like protein, darn it!” he said. Mason said that if a woman were to cook him a meal, he’d love something hearty such as sausages and sauerkraut. “If I go out, I’ll often get fish,” he said. “That’s not too manly, but it’s one of my favorite things. Also, really good oysters on the half-shell would be a thing I really like that’s kind of manly food.” Tom McLean, a firefighter and paramedic captain with the Ketchum Fire Department, said he doesn’t have a very interesting diet. He eats oatmeal for breakfast, soup and a piece of fruit for lunch and, for dinner, a fresh omelet from his own chickens. “The quintessential Wood River Valley man food is an energy bar,” he said. McLean said that he’d like a woman to cook “something she’s excited about” for him. When it’s his turn to handle the heat, he makes veggie curry, but says his chef work is “middle ground” at best. “I don’t think food is the way to a man’s heart,” he

Tom McLean by Willy Cook

said. “What is the way? Being agreeable.” But Pete Prekeges, owner of Grumpy’s in Ketchum, said food is absolutely the way to a man’s heart. “Because there’s no better cure than a little fuel,” he said. “Fuel cures all—headaches, crankiness.” Men want not to be told what to eat, according to Prekeges. “As long as we’re not being told what to eat, we’ll eat anything,” he said. Prekeges said he’d want “something exotic” if a woman were to fix him a bite because he can cook the nonexotic. He also said the defining valley man food is a Grumpy’s half-pounder or fowl burger, “but I’m biased.” Carl Rixon, a ski coach who’s proud to be a valley man, said man food in the area would “definitely” be deer and elk. “Self-caught of course. And Idaho potatoes, trout and morels,” he said. Rixon said he usually hunts one elk, one deer and about 50 ducks per year. He said the “abundance” of game and forageable food is the valley’s local novelty. He also said men should be on the “see” food diet. “He sees food and he eats it,” he said. If a woman were to cook Rixon a meal, he said he’d like something hearty and healthy. “That’s a good combo,” he said. Andrew Sarda, sous-chef at Boca in Ketchum, said braised short ribs or lamb burgers are what he’d prefer if a woman offered to whip him up a meal. “That’s in no way a coincidence with what my girlfriend’s made me,” he said. Sarda said the “true valley man” is particular about his food and likes to eat healthily, but occasionally just likes to enjoy a feast without regard to physical wellness. “I would say that the way to my heart, in terms of food, is something that’s coming from her heart, a meal that’s heartfelt and simple,” he said. “It’s got to mean something.” Ed Sinnott, co-founder of the Sun Valley Harvest Festival, said a typical valley man’s food changes through life’s stages. “It’s age driven,” he said. “The 20-year-old man food might be a beer pub, those kinds of places. Then it migrates as you get older. Maybe more home cooking when you start with your family. And family time. Then as we age even more, maybe more restaurants and food experiences all over the world.” Sinnott said that for him, food is “very seasonal.” In the fall and winter, he likes hearty stews, but in the summer he prefers barbecue. “My man food changes with the season,” he said. “I like it fresh. I like to know where I’m getting it from.” Sinnott said home cooking is wonderful, but also said he likes to experience the multitude of opportunities available from the valley’s professional chefs. Sinnott said it’s important to “know your man” if planning to cook for him, but also said he’d prefer a meal that’s new to him and has a deeper meaning to the cook. “I wouldn’t want someone to cook me something for me,” he said. “I’d rather experience their favorite food, a family recipe, something she likes.”

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