Okay, so I decided to call this “24 Hours in Boise” because it sounded nice, in reality we I only spent about 5 hours going to breweries and left first thing the next morning. Naturally that limited my capacity to go to every brewery I had planned on, namely Barbarian… I guess I have a decent excuse to go back now! I will say that I was very happy with the brief experience in Boise and definitely plan to make it back and spend significantly more time touring around and meeting more great people.
The first stop on the tour was Boise Brewing. They were established in 2014 and operate out of a very sleek and modern space brimming with bright colors, great beer, and wonderful people. We spent a little time chatting with one of the bartenders and she was very excited to hear that we were there to simply tour the beer scene and confirmed that my list was a good one.
While the space and location originally struck me as fairly touristy, that notion was quickly dispelled when I saw the giant walls full of mug club members. It seemed like the kind of place I would be happy to walk into on any given night, grab my cup off the wall and chat with whoever else was hanging that day. The industrial feel of the building was great, but it was made even better by the warmth from the colors and even more so by the friendly faces!
I drank: Welcome to Idaho Pilsner (appropriately named for your first beer in Idaho), sweet but not over the top and very smooth/crushable.
She drank: Sun Cruiser Session IPA, great up front hop aroma that fades to a light and gentle finish.
The second stop on our journey found us at White Dog Brewing Company, originally founded in Bozeman, Montana but currently headquartered in Boise. White Dog went in kind of the opposite direction from Boise Brewing in their space, while it was still very comfortable, it had a higher end feel to it. Also, it was the largest space of the day with plenty of space to spread out and bring a large group.
One of the first things I noticed when scoping things out was the little Bend connection hiding in the corner, a good stack of Drinktanks growlers! It was a quiet afternoon at White Dog (and really everywhere we went…) so we were able to float around and check out the brewing system which is visible through windows in the tap room and get down on some classic arcade games. One of the key features that always grabs attention is the ice bar, always a welcome feature when it’s hot outside.
I drank: Peach Sour, a very easy drinking kettle sour that tips toward the classic Peachy-O flavor.
She drank: Blackberry Sour, a very juicy, crushable, and fruit forward sour that was great for a hot day.
Next up is Lost Grove Brewing; I must admit I was a bit weary of this one as we made the short walk… Going through a random industrial area and apartment complexes had me expecting something a little less than appealing. But damn, I could not have been more wrong! The second I stepped into Lost Grove I was smitten. Everything in the place was like they copied exactly what I would create when designing a cozy neighborhood brewery.
This space really brings out the adventurer in everyone while still being a comfortable and appealing place to hang out. I could see coming home from a long hike or ride and this being my first stop. There were a handful of awesome pinball machines and separate room for darts, you know, just to be safe… On top of all the beautiful wood work, the single bartender that was there was an absolute pleasure to chat with and had everything good to say about the company as a whole. And then there were the dogs…
It seemed like every other person that came in had a dog with them and it was just the best! There aren’t many things better than enjoying a delicious beer and hanging out with a good squad of pooches. All the people that the dogs brought were a pleasure as well, really helping to encourage a sense of community and fun (which is what beer should be all about). Once you’re done petting all the dogs, you’ll want to spend some time staring into the brewery and checking out the details of all the beautiful wood work.
I drank: First Sight IPA, great hop profile that was dry but still very refreshing.
She drank: The Ziggler IPA, very light and sessionable with just the right amount of grapefruit.
We might have stayed for a few others too… Definitely give the golden ale a try.
Payette Brewing was the first Boise brewery I had ever heard of and the only one I can remember ever drinking before this trip. Needless to say, I was very excited to finally check it out and I was absolutely not disappointed! Walking up to Payette was a different experience from the others, it was very obviously a well established brewery with a big and beautiful space. And there are some very goos reasons for that.
The first thing I noticed when we walked in was the BIG brewery in the back; the the unabashed dork that I am, I took off in that direction and was ecstatic when I found stairs to an elevated viewing deck of the entire brewery. Needless to say, I could spend a good chunk of time drinking and watching brewers at work, enjoying all the sounds and smells along the way. Fortunately we weren’t there during brewing hours or I probably wouldn’t have made it out!
We drank: The Light Flight, full of crisp and drinkable lagers and pales. My favorite of the batch was the Rodeo Citra Pale, which was nice and hoppy but still very light and enjoyable.
The final stop on this brief tour was Woodland Empire Ale Craft. I’ve been following this brewing on social media for some time because of their awesome artwork and great representation of brewing culture, but I was absolutely blown away once we got there! I was told that the husband and wife team that owns it do everything, she is the brew master and he handles the design. Well, they both kill it.
The space itself was beautifully eclectic and bright, making everything just a little more fun. From the old couches to the pinball machines to the bar made out of doors, everything just worked. It was a very casual but fun and friendly spot that is open to anyone and accepting of all, it was just comfortable and kind.
This was a great spot to sit around with friends and casually play games or strike up some conversation with some of the great people that frequent the space. Just be careful if you challenge your partner to a game of skeeball, there are no winners in skeeball… Since this was the last stop we were able to make, we grabbed a nice little selection of beers to bring home (they have all been delicious). The variety 12 pack was a great option, but don’t limit yourself!
I drank: Free At Last “Really Good” IPA, think of an IPA and then think really good, then you have this beer. Very appropriate name.
She drank: Key Lime Pie Lager, starts out like a lager then you get that lime and it finishes off with some creamy pie deliciousness. I don’t usually care for stuff like this, but wow… I brought some home.
Big shout out to Boise for being such a great spot to spend a quick day drinking delicious beer! And an even bigger thank you to all of the bar staffs at each brewery for being so wonderful and willing share their joy.
(Also thanks to the front desk guy at our hotel for letting me come back and grab all the beer I almost forgot…)
See you next time Boise!