A year ago I was in Boise and stopped at Payette Brewery’s tap room. The spot was simple, located in an industrial part of town. A typical brewery with a small taproom attached. Nothing overly special, just a room with bar seating, some tables and or course taps. A window peaked into the brewery and the only food available was from food trucks.
Fast forward one year and the only thing that remains is the food trucks. Payette has outdone themselves with their new location near the Boise River Greenbelt. Long gone is the industrial neighborhood. Now they are surrounded by trees and a large outdoor space perfect for yard games or for your pup to romp around with their other pup friends. Because yes, they are a pet-friendly brewery.
I spent most of my time in the brewery’s taproom, sitting at the wooden bar that paired up with the brushed metal and heavier than they look, bar stools. On the night of my visit, Payette was hosting the Aura Sour Beer Experience. Although I toyed with the idea of partaking in the Aura tasting, a collection of sour beers with food pairings, I decided to select my own tastings. By not participating in the Aura tasting it prevented me from taking a peek into the brewery from the mezzanine. The tasting was taking place in that part of the brewery and only Aura guests were allowed in that area for the night. But there was no time to whine over that as there was beer to be had. I was already making plans to come back to take a brewery tour the next time I was in Boise anyway.
I started out with a tasting flight of 4, beginning with the Comet IPA. The Comet IPA has a 5.5% Alcohol By Volume (ABV) and a 60 International Bittering Unit (IBU). This beer is flavorful and frustrating at the same time. I really enjoyed the grapefruit notes along with other citrus goodness, but what I find frustrating is that this is a limited batch beer. It was interesting to find out that the old brewery, where I had visited last year, is still being used for these limited batch series.
Limited batch series are also called experimental beers. The brewer creates the beer and then lets the people decide on these small batches. If the beer is well liked by the patrons, then the beer becomes a “real beer”. If it isn’t well liked, well you get the point. Being that this was one of my favorite beers of the night I am left with wishing upon a star like Geppetto and hoping this beer becomes a real beer one day.
My next beer was the Recoil IPA. The Recoil was once an experimental beer and made it’s way up the ranks to become a main beer. This beer has a 6.5% ABV and an 80 IBU. The citra hop makes an appearance, giving this beer a heavy lemon nose that I did not enjoy. Meh, you can’t win them all!
8 Second Rye’d was my next beer and my tasting notes stated “is there such a thing as perfect? This is it.” The 8 Second is an imperial IPA with a 8% ABV and an 80 IBU. Lots of flavors in this beer, such as passion fruit and mango but also a nice punch of rye. Citra hops make a bold statement in this beer and give you some fruity flavors that are pleasing and leave you wanting more.
Up next was the belle of the ball, the Aura Plum, and was one of the featured beers at the tasting that night. Aura Plum poured out a pretty pinkish orange color but did not let her prettiness go to her head. A mild tartness paired up with some fruity notes of plum and stone fruit. The Aura Plum has a 3.7% ABV and a 9 IBU.
After completing my first round of tastings I decided to fuel up with some food from the food truck, Urban Smoke. I knew the truck was legit when I saw that they used a Traeger smoker, and ordered the brisket sandwich. The food arrived quickly and I returned to my spot at the bar. The beertenders pipped in on my food selection, with one of them saying that Urban Smoke was their favorite food truck in Boise. Their second favorite was B-Town, which I had enjoyed last year while at Boise Brewing. Although I do not have a ton of experience with food trucks in Boise, I will say that of the two I have tried, both were exceptional.
I decided to grab another round of tasters, explaining to the beertender that I was a bit of a beer tramp. I often wonder what a beertender thinks of a perpetual beer taster, like myself, is doing. Is the tramp just not skilled in what they like? Perhaps the tramp is trying to pass themselves off as beer connoisseur? Or like the tramp that I am, are they a beer collector? Or maybe they put no thought into it. They are still selling beer after all.
Euroise Pilsner was up first from my second round of tasters. This beer has a 4.9% ABV and a 25 IBU and for anyone who knows me, knows this is not my typical style of beer. And while it may not be a typical Brittany beer, I rather enjoyed the spiciness of the beer and felt this beer would be a great all day drinker down by the lake. A decent “gateway” beer as well. Gateways are the ones you tell your macro beer drinking friends to give a try and hope you can convince them to stop their macro brew ways.
The Inspectah Czech was another non-typical beer for me, but this one also won me over. Another spicy floral beer thanks to the Saaz hop. With a 4.7% ABV and a 37 IBU, this is another good candidate to drink down by the lake all day as well as help your macro brew friends towards the light of greatness.
Up next was the Blood Orange Rustler IPA. It is a twist on the traditional Rustler IPA, a beer I love dearly. Adding in the blood orange could have ruined a good thing, but it did just the opposite. The blood orange gives this already citrusy and spicy beer another layer of juicy orange flavors. I really liked the bite this beer had and found myself toting home a 12 case of this beer for later consumption. The Blood Orange Rustler IPA has a 6.2% ABV and a 65 IBU.
The Pistolero is probably one of Payette’s more well-known beers. It’s a porter with a 6% ABV and a 13 IBU. Porters are hit and miss for me, mostly because of the coffee factor. And this beer delivers on its coffee promises along with a smokey smoothness. Although I can appreciate this beer, it is not one that I will enjoy again. Mostly because of the coffee flavor. I know, I’m weird and I don’t care for coffee. However I have always been under the impression that my dislike for coffee really boils down to the fact that coffee is an expensive habit, and I only have enough money for one habit, and that habit is beer.
A few other beers that I have had from Payette Brewing that are also worth some honorable mentions:
The Rodeo Rye has a 4% ABV and a 35 IBU. This may seem like a low ABVs and IBUs for me but it’s the rye that I love. This is a spring seasonal beer using the Citra hop. It gives you fun fruity notes while picking up the spiciness of the rye, leaving you with a well-paired beer.
The Mutton Buster has a 5.5% ABV and a 25 IBU making up this brown ale. I am typically not a fan of brown ales, as I often find them flat tasting, but this one is a great one. Magnum and Mt Hood hops along with roasted and chocolate malts make this beer a flavorful punch of brown goodness.
The Rustler IPA has a 6.2% ABV with a 65 IBU is a go to staple for me, and often found in my fridge at home. The mixture of Centennial, Chinook and Columbus hops make up this citrusy and spicy beer. You can enjoy this classic style, or like I was yip-yapping above, give the blood orange a try too. You won’t be unhappy with either decision.
The Ah Ha! Eureka Wet Hop IPA is a 5.5% ABV and no listed IBU. A quick lesson on wet hops (also known as fresh hops) they are hops that have been freshly picked off the vine. Generally, they should be used within 24 hours after being picked. The Ah Ha! has a refreshing flavor of piney notes.
And there we have it, a wrap up on a ton of beers from one of Idaho’s biggest breweries. The new tap room is located at 733 South Pioneer Street in Boise and open 7 days a week.