Autumn is around the corner, which means beer festivals are falling out of the sky like leaves. These Oktoberfest celebrations, fresh-hop fests and other local gatherings will be as cool as the evening air.
Payette Brewing Oktoberfest: Sept. 16
Boise Mayor Dave Bieter will tap the first keg at this Oktoberfest. (Wearing lederhosen, right?) Long tables and German-themed decor will add cultural atmosphere to this indoor/outdoor bash at Payette’s new tap room and beer garden. Payette Oktoberfest Marzen Lager and German Hefeweizen will be served in 1-liter Payette-branded steins, which you buy for $10 (includes your first drink token). Lots of other Payette options will be available, too (but not for stein pours). Urban Smoke will sell brats and sauerkraut, and Acme Bakeshop will offer pretzels. A seven-piece brass polka band will crank tunes. 5 to 10 p.m. Sept. 16, Payette Brewing Co., 733 S. Pioneer St. Extra beer tokens are $5. All ages and dogs welcome. Online: Facebook.
Old Boise Oktoberfest: Sept. 17
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Dance in the streets! You’ll find 32 tables and 350 chairs set out while people eat, drink and play games in the heart of Downtown. Admission gets you a commemorative Oktoberfest mug and one free bier. (Plus a hat pin, in advance, while they last). Admission is free for non-drinkers, and families are welcome, but be aware: It can get crowded. Beers will include Spaten, Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest, Paulaner, Warsteiner, Payette Oktoberfest, Sockeye Oktoberfest, Widmer Oktoberfest, Kellerweiss Hefeweizen and Sam Adams Oktoberfest. Bang on the Wall Burgers will offer choices including Schweinebraten-roasted pork on a bun, and Jammi’s Dawgs will sell German and Polish sausages and more. The Boise Edelweiss Band will perform from 3 to 4:45 p.m. Local cover band Pilot Error will rock from 7:45 to 10 p.m. Games start at 5 p.m. with the Brat Toss, Men’s and Women’s Stein Hoisting events, corn hole and a mug relay. You can win gift cards from Downtown businesses, and an authentic Oktoberfest Munich 2016 mug will be awarded to one men’s winner and one women’s winner of the Stein Hoisting. 3 to 10 p.m. Sept. 17, Old Boise, 6th Street between Idaho and Grove streets. Limited presale tickets for $19.01 at oldboise.com, $20 at the event. Photo below: Amy Russell
Rock’N Brews & BBQ Festival: Sept. 17
This inaugural festival will take place at the Ford Idaho Center Amphitheater. The $30 admission covers the beer tasting, which runs from noon to 4 p.m. Food is sold separately. Expect to find 10 local breweries including Slanted Rock Brewing, Powderhaus Brewing, Woodland Empire Alecraft, 10 Barrel Brewing, Bear Island Brewing and Nampa’s Crescent Brewery. The barbecue competition, sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, will feature 25 teams from around the region competing in four categories: ribs (St. Louis-style and baby back), chicken (breast, legs and thighs), pulled pork and brisket. The barbecue teams include Big Daddy’s Barbecue (Hoss Griggs), Twisted Blue Smoke (Ryan Patterson), Owyhee BBQ (David Harrington), Patio Daddio BBQ (John Dawson) and Crooked Pigs BBQ (Mike Hanson), to name a few. Competitors will sell samples of their barbecue, and additional vendors will be on hand to feed the masses. Live music will be provided throughout the day by Red Light Challenge and classic rockers The 504 Plan. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 17, Ford Idaho Center Amphitheater, 16200 Idaho Center Blvd., Nampa. Online: rocknbrewsandbbq.com.
Edge Brewing Oktoberfest: Sept. 17
Local brewery and restaurant Edge unveiled a German food menu earlier this week, which it’s serving through Sept. 17. That’s the day the Oktoberfest shindig happens. The brewery’s Obligator Doppelbock and Marzen will be on tap, and a live seven-piece polka band will play from 2 to 4 p.m. Registration starts at noon for a 2 p.m. corn hole tournament. Prizes include Edge gear, cases of beer and beer for a year. (Yes, the winner will be able to go in and get a free pint every day for a year.) Noon to 10 p.m. Sept. 17, Edge Brewing Co., 525 N. Steelhead Way, Boise. Online: Facebook.
Idasoul Launch Party/Gelande Quaffing with Payette Brewing: Sept. 17
Idasoul — “a local nonprofit helping out other nonprofits” — will make its debut with a gelande quaffing tournament at PreFunk Beer Bar. Teams of four ($45 includes beer for playing and an Idasoul mug) will battle in a tournament from 2 to 5 p.m. What is gelande quaffing? Um, only the most criminally underrated non-Olympic sport ever. Ski bums love this competition, which involves one person sliding a beer across a bar top, then another catching it off the other end (with trick moves, preferably) and slamming it as quickly as possible. Live music afterward: Dedicated Servers (6 p.m.) and Jac Sound (7:30 p.m.). 2 p.m. Sept. 17, PreFunk Beer Bar,1100 W. Front St., Boise. Online: Facebook.com/PreFunkBeerBar. 21 and older only.
B’Arc & Brew: Sept. 24
Branding itself as “Southwest Idaho’s largest dog-friendly brew festival,” B’Arc & Brew returns to Boise’s oldest microbrewery for a patio and parking lot of pooches and beers. Enjoy live music, food, games, a silent auction and a canine costume contest. Dog parades start at 1:45 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. Live music includes The Oliphants (1 p.m.), Critter Soup (2 p.m.), Deviant Kin (4 p.m.), Steep Creek (4 p.m.), Andrew Sheppard Band (5 p.m.) and Like a Rocket (6 p.m.) Breweries will include locals Payette, Boise, County Line, Slanted Rock and Meriwether Cider, plus out-of-staters Ninkasi and Lagunitas. This is a benefit for The Arc of Idaho and other nonprofits. Noon to 7 p.m. Sept. 24, Highlands Hollow Brewhouse, 2455 Harrison Hollow Blvd. The $15 admission gets you a tasting mug and eight drink tickets. Online: highlandshollow.com. 21 and older only.
Funky Fresh: A Fresh Hop Festival: Sept. 30
Made using green hops harvested hours before they hit the brew kettle, fresh-hopped beers offer a special fall treat. PreFunk Beer Bar will celebrate this short, special time of year with a fresh-hop festival featuring as dozen or so Pacific Northwest fresh-hop beers. Brewery list: Melvin, Rogue, Payette, Sockeye, Barbarian, Double Mountain, 10 Barrel (Boise), Odell, Sierra Nevada, Crux, Breakside, Barley Brown’s and Fort George. “We’re doing nice 8-ounce pours,” adds PreFunk co-owner Jordan Flynn, “so you can enjoy ... and not be waiting in line all the time trying to get a beer.” Food truck B-Town Bistro will be on site, and live music will be provided by First Chair (7 p.m.), Jac Sound (8 p.m.) and Edmond Dantes (9 p.m.). Complete the fresh-hop passport, and you can enter to win two five-day Treefort Music Fest passes. 6 p.m. Sept. 30, PreFunk Beer Bar, 1100 W. Front St., Boise. Tasting glass and three drink tokens for $10, or separately tasting glass for $5, token $3. Online: Facebook.com/PreFunkBeerBar. 21 and older only.
Hoptober Freshtival: Oct. 1
This is the don’t-miss fall brewfest. Now in its third year, Idaho’s largest fresh-hop festival will feature 33 breweries with 66 different beers (including wine and cider). An outdoor party, it happens in front of Boise Brewing and will stretch onto 6th Street. Seasonal brews are the focus, but games and food trucks provide distraction from the fresh-hop worship. Mad Swede Brewing will participate, giving drinkers their first chance to try this new Boise brewery before it holds its grand opening next month. It’s also worth noting that Hoptober Freshtival will be an official shuttle stop for the Boise State-Utah State football game. “People will be able to catch a ride from the fest to the game every 15 minutes for two hours before the game starts,” Boise Brewing Marketing Director Hannah Barnett says. “It’s also Parent & Family Weekend at Boise State, so we hope to get a bunch of parents and students out to celebrate before the big game. A beer fest sounds a lot better than drinking Coors Light out of a red Solo cup right?” Noon to 8 p.m. Oct. 1, Boise Brewing, 521 W. Broad St., Boise. $25 at the gate buys a commemorative sample cup and 10 drink tickets. Additional tickets will be available for purchase. Online: HoptoberFreshtival.com. 21 and older only.
Boise Bacon & Beer Benefit: Oct. 8
Bacon and beer? That works. Proceeds from this first-time event at Sockeye Brewing on Fairview Avenue will benefit Meals on Wheels and Community Outreach Behavioral Services. Purchase a ticket and you’ll receive a commemorative beer glass, 20 drink tokens and 20 food tokens. Expect to find craft beers from more than 10 local and regional breweries, including Payette Brewing, Edge Brewing, Boise Brewing, Cloud 9 Brewing, Deschutes Brewery and of course, Sockeye. More than 15 food vendors will be on hand putting out their best bacon-centric bites. The list includes Bacon, Big Daddy’s Barbecue, Grant’s Neighborhood Grill, The Lift, Zee’s Rooftop Café and Kanak Attack, to drop a few names. 1 to 5 p.m. Oct. 8, Sockeye Brewing, 12542 Fairview Ave., $25 advance sockeyebrew.com, $30 at the door. 21 and older only.
Barbarian Brewing One-Year Anniversary Party: Oct. 15
Garden City’s Barbarian Brewing recently expanded its tap list to 15 beers. The brewery will celebrate its one-year anniversary with a party. On tap is a special bottle release of FunkShine, the brewery’s anniversary golden ale that’s been barrel-aged for a year in white wine barrels “with Sauvignon Blanc juice and brettanomyces and dry hopped with Citra and Mosaic hops.” Additional details are forthcoming. Grub will be sold by mobile food purveyors Wetos Locos and Mister BBQ. 3 to 10 p.m. Oct. 15, Barbarian Brewing, 5270 W. Chinden Blvd., Garden City. Online: Facebook.com/barbarianbrewing.
Freelancer James Patrick Kelly contributed to this article.