Words & Deeds

New sour beer festival in Boise sounds pretty sweet

Aura: Guava & Hibiscus Sour Ale is the first bottled release in Payette’s new Aura Sour Series.
Aura: Guava & Hibiscus Sour Ale is the first bottled release in Payette’s new Aura Sour Series. Payette Brewing Co.

If you’re a sour head, you won’t want to miss the inaugural Aura: Sour Beer Experience on Saturday, April 29, at Payette Brewing Co.

With unlimited samples of more than 20 sour beers, interesting food and teaching moments from experts, it promises to be a unique new beer encounter for Boise.

Located at 733 S. Pioneer St., Payette is no stranger to beer fests. Its annual Black Friday celebration of stouts and porters draws up to 2,000 drinkers each year.

The Aura: Sour Beer Experience will be set up differently. Rather than using a drink-token system, it will be ticketed and purposely small.

Only 200 tickets will be sold. “It makes it a little more special,” explains Paige Coyle, Payette’s marketing director.

The event will be from 4 to 8 p.m. inside the brewhouse. You’ll enter on the east side of the brewery near the silos outside. Inside, music and lip-smacking sours will tempt the senses.

The $60 price includes four hours of small-batch sour beer samples, food to pair, seminars, a commemorative glass and a 22-ounce bottle of Aura: Guava & Hibiscus Sour Ale. This festival marks the release of Aura: Guava & Hibiscus, the first bottle in Payette’s new Aura Sour Series, which already has produced two draft-only sours — Aura: Elderberries & Black Courant and Aura: Plum. Other sour beers that will flow include out-of-state favorites such as Odell Brewing’s Friek, New Belgium’s Le Terroir, Goose Island’s Gillian and Uinta’s Croggy.

Chef Aaron Wermerskirchen from Juniper will prepare small bites to pair with the beers, and he’ll talk about the way the flavors relate. One example: Seared sea scallop with bacon marmalade and grapefruit zest, topped with an edible flower and paired with Grand Teton Brewing’s American Sour Ale. Or how about a pour of Duchesse de Bourgogne from Belgium’s Brouwerij Verhaeghe paired with a crustini with gorgonzola de leche, caramelized cipollini, onions, pickled brown beech mushrooms and arugula?

Coyle is hoping that beer drinkers walk away more informed about sours, whether it’s from hearing Payette’s quality control manager explain the science behind the brewing, or just by experiencing the diversity of beers on hand.

“I think a lot of people have in their minds sour beers being super tart,” Coyle says. “But a lot of the beers on the list aren’t super tart. Like the plum sour beer that we’ve made, for instance, is really a sessionable, really refreshing beer with just a light tartness. We’ll have the whole array of the kinds of sours there are.”

Online: payetteaura.splashthat.com.

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