The front page of the Idaho Statesman asked a legitimate question two days ago: Can the Treasure Valley support more breweries?
If your answer is a resounding yes, then drink up — because Idaho’s largest brewery opens Friday, April 29.
Boise beer enthusiasts finally will be able to check out Payette Brewing Co.’s new $4.5 million headquarters when it holds a soft opening at 733 S. Pioneer St. from 5 to 10 p.m.
Expect a jubilant, eager crowd to fill the 200-seat taproom. Payette beers, including its flagship Rustler IPA, will flow from 20 taps. Coolers will chill six- and 12-packs to-go.
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The brewery is encouraging patrons to ride bicycles because of construction on nearby River Street. Payette’s new digs are a stone’s throw from the Boise Greenbelt.
Payette’s soft-opening weekend will continue from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, April 30. You must be 21 or older to attend either day.
The taproom will close after that, then reopen seven days a week starting Monday, May 9. There’s a chance Payette will have another soft-opening weekend May 6 and 7, but permits have not been approved yet. Incidentally, the brewery’s original location, at 111 W. 33rd St. in Garden City, will remain open.
Launched six years ago, Payette now cranks out more beer than any other brewery in Idaho. The new Boise facility — in the former 32,000-square-foot home of Bronco Elite Athletics — will ramp up Payette’s distribution in nearby states.
Separation is widening between Boise’s top two beer producers, Payette and Sockeye Brewing, and the rest of the local brewery crowd. Payette has the capacity to crank out 40,000 barrels annually with equipment on hand, plus room to grow. It will be interesting to see how that shakes out in production. Sockeye says it could flirt with brewing 20,000 barrels annually by the end of 2017.
A sizable out-of-towner looms ready to join the Idaho big-boy club, too. Mother Earth Brew Co. of suds-soaked San Diego County will open a significant brewery in Nampa this year.
Wiener dog race canceled to avoid felony
Wow Country 104.3 got dogged last week — by Idaho law.
KBOI Channel 2 reported that the radio station abruptly nixed an “Arena Wiena Dog Race.” More than 30 dachshund-style pooches were slated to scamper April 21 during a family-friendly event at All Paws Stay-N-Play, 454 N. Phillippi St. in Boise.
One problem: Idaho statute — always good for head-scratching language — bans “live dog races.” Not just betting on them. Dog races, period. This apparently includes stubby-legged, tail-wagging, competitive wiener-dog frolics.
Wow 104.3 posted a statement on its website: “If we move forward ... there will be public arrests made.”
The law, according to Wow 104.3, “was originally put into place to protect greyhounds who were being abused and used for gambling purposes.”
Rather than abandoning the wiener-dog gathering, contestants raced remote-control vehicles that carried hot dogs instead. (Ah, those wacky DJs and their side-splitting antics.)
The question remains: Would anyone really have been arrested if they’d raced wiener dogs? Wow 104.3 was not contacted by Idaho State Police. The station found out about the law from KBOI.
Either way, is it time to revisit the statute? State lawmakers proved recently that it is possible to allow common sense to prevail. They revised Idaho’s ban on alcohol at movies that include nudity and sex. (Incidentally, dependably prudish Utah is now embroiled in a similar legal tangle after three undercover officers attended superhero movie “Deadpool” in Salt Lake City.)
Some Idahoans think our poodle-inclusive dog-racing statute is fine as it is. After posting the story online, I even heard a couple of barks in my email.
“As one of the people who worked hard to get that law passed, I find it distressing when it becomes a joke,” one emailer wrote. “... Get over it!”
Consider me muzzled.
Concerts in Sun Valley, Treasure Valley
▪ Is Boise’s summer concert schedule not quite turning your crank?
Check out Sun Valley Resort, which announced its outdoor season this week.
Highlights at the Sun Valley Pavilion include Collin Raye (June 28), and Vince Gill and Amy Grant (Aug. 30). River Run Lodge will feature Mavis Staples and The James Hunter Six (July 29), Emmylou Harris (Aug. 8), and Lake Street Dive and Gregory Alan Isakov (Aug. 17).
▪ If you do want to stick around home, there’s always Cyndi Lauper. The pop singer, known for ’80s hits such as “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” will headline Sept. 21 at the Idaho Botanical Garden’s Outlaw Field.
▪ Country music and mud rasslin’ will rule the Canyon County Fair.
The entertainment, which is free with fair admission, includes Hogs-N-Mud (July 28), Tracy Lawrence (July 29), Joe Nichols (July 30) and the Brigade FMX Freestyle Motocross Show (July 31).
▪ Prefer your concerts indoors? Blink-182 is headed to Taco Bell Arena on Sept. 15.