Boise breweries and beer bars are enjoying various events during American Craft Beer Week (May 16-22), but nothing has been quite like the three-week happyfest at Payette Brewing Co., 733 S. Pioneer St.
Ever since Payette “softly” opened its new $4.5 million brewery and tap room April 29, it’s been inundated by excited Boise beer drinkers — including for a fifth-year anniversary party May 13.
“It’s so much fun,” says founder Mike Francis, who opened Payette’s original site in Garden City in 2011.
“It’s been crazy,” adds Payette’s graphic designer, Paige Coyle.
The party hasn’t exactly been nonstop, however. By law, Payette has been forced to close every few days, because it’s still operating using temporary event permits.
With a little luck, Payette will have its final licensing by the end of the month, which is about the same time brewers should be ready to fire up the first batch of beer. With the long-term potential to pump out as much as 100,000 barrels of beer annually, this gleaming new production facility puts an exclamation point on Payette as Idaho’s largest brewery.
Coinciding with the fifth anniversary, Payette announced its “P8yette Eight Pack” — eight cans of Payette Pale Ale for the price of a sixer (around $9, usually). You’ll see the eight pack on grocery- and convenience-store shelves through summer at least. The eight pack could be around longer and highlight additional beers if the campaign is successful.
“Two beers on us,” Francis explains. “If nothing else, it’s a fun way to give our customers a little something. And if it works great, maybe we’ll keep it around. If it doesn’t, maybe it’ll go away.”
Payette also recently added distribution in Montana and Wyoming — its sixth and seventh states.
But for Treasure Valley beer drinkers, the focus is all about right here in Boise. So if you haven’t checked out the new 32,000-square-foot Payette Brewing yet, there’s no better time than this weekend. Curtis / Sutton and the Scavengers will perform from 5 to 8 p.m. May 21, which also happens to be when four food trucks will park outside the brewery for a Boise Bike Week Finale Party.
This week’s live music at Payette kicks off a full-on summer music series. Final logistics are still being worked out, but the bands are slated to perform from 7 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
“We have a big list of things we want to do,” Francis says. “First is getting fully open. Then we can start worrying about the other fun stuff. We have some cool ideas.”
Craft Beer Week trivia
One of the more intriguing local highlights of American Craft Beer Week is a “What is Beer? Hands-on Beerfest & Team Trivia Tournament” at 6 p.m. May 19 at the Discovery Center of Idaho, 131 W. Myrtle St.
Teams of four will compete in a trivia tourney while enjoying beers curated by Bittercreek Alehouse and exploring the center. It’s $12 advance, $15 at the door, with a $25 team registration fee. You must register prior to the event.
10 Barrel summer beers arrive
Bend, Ore.-based 10 Barrel Brewing Co. — which also has a Downtown Boise brewpub — is unveiling new packaged options.
I haven’t tasted the new summer seasonal Piña, so we’ll have to take 10 Barrel’s word that it “is definitely not for hopheads — it is a true summer taste with passion fruit and pineapple.” It’s 4.7 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) and is available in 12-ounce bottled six-packs and 22-ounce bottles.
Many beer drinkers will be familiar with Cucumber Crush, a refreshing beer that won awards at the Great American Beer Festival in 2014 and 2015. It’s 5.0 percent ABV and now comes in 12-ounce six-pack of cans year-round. A good transition beer for newcomers to sours, Cucumber Crush actually is just part of an entire Crush series. Later this summer, 10 Barrel plans to release Crush flavors including raspberry and strawberry.
Can a 10 Barrel Starburst beer be far behind?
Grand Teton’s Gose is here
Another fine summer option: Gose from always-solid Grand Teton Brewing Co. in Victor.
The second release in Grand Teton’s 2016 Cellar Reserve series, Gose is 6.5 percent ABV and sold in 750-milliliter bottles. If you haven’t had a gose before, it’s a beer style that brings a bit of salt and tart to the equation. Grand Teton’s version is made to be enjoyed immediately (it’s excellent with fish) — or cellared. It’s bottle-conditioned.
Crowlers hit Growler Guys
The Growler Guys, 2020 E. Overland Road in Meridian, celebrated their first anniversary earlier this month.
They also recently expanded their options to include crowlers, aka 32-ounce aluminum cans that are filled and sealed to order. Those are priced at half the cost of a 64-ounce growler fill, plus $1.
One of the things I appreciate about The Growler Guys is that their large taplist is updated live online, so you can tell exactly what they have and how much it costs before you set foot in the place. The pricing also is extremely competitive.
Next up on the events list: Deschutes Brewery will be in the house from 5 to 8 p.m. May 26.