Fall is a special time for beer. German styles flow during Oktoberfest. Idaho brewers dabble with freshly plucked hops from nearby fields. And relaxing temperatures make for outstanding outdoor sipping.
Do not miss these Boise beer festivals during September and October.
Payette Brewing Oktoberfest: Sept. 15
For the third year, Boise’s top taproom will throw an eight-hour Oktoberfest shindig in its backyard. Payette’s party is dog-, kid- and Bronco-friendly. (The Boise State-Oklahoma State football game will be shown inside the taproom and in the production facility.) Buy a one-liter, Payette-branded stein for $15 (includes first drink token; $7 each additional) and start tossing back beers in the outdoor beer garden: Payette’s Oktoberfest Marzen Lager, Noble dry-hopped Oktoberfest, heather- and chamomile-infused Oktoberfest or North Fork and Ruby Red grapefruit radler. Dress like a German, because there will be lots of authentic food (sausages, soft pretzels, Bavarian almonds, more), plus music from the Boise Polka Project. Want games? Or contests with prizes? There are tons. Highlights include stein hoisting competitions at 3, 4, 5 and 6 p.m. (cases of free beer are on the line!), the announcement of Mr. and Mrs. Oktoberfest at 7 p.m. (more prizes), and Hammerschlagen parking lot battles at 4 and 6 p.m. (What is Hammerschlagen? It involves hammers. And nails. And, yep, cases of free beer for winners!) Not into German brewskies? Regular Payette beers will be sold at normal prices in the taproom. 2 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, Payette Brewing Co., 733 S. Pioneer St. Online: payettebrewing.com/oktoberfest.
B’Arc & Brew: Sept. 22
Each year, this dog-focused brew festival takes over the parking lot and patio at Highlands Hollow, Boise’s oldest microbrewery. It’s bigger than ever in 2018. Sixteen breweries — primarily local with a couple of regionals — will pour beers while canines run wild! (Actually, please keep yours leashed at all times, OK?) Along with wagging tails, you’ll find dog-related vendors and a silent auction. There’s also a Mutt Strut pooch parade and costume contest at 3 p.m. Live music will fill the air from Cunningham and Moss (noon), Rob Harms and Friends (1 p.m.), The Grape & The Grain (2 p.m.), Knew Normal (3 p.m.), Deviant Kin (4 p.m.), Bread & Circus (5 p.m.), Deborah Michels Gang (6 p.m.), and Like a Rocket (7 p.m.). Food will be sold by Highlands Hollow. Noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, Highlands Hollow Brewhouse, 2455 Harrison Hollow Boulevard, Boise. $20 gets you a tasting mug and eight drink tickets for 6-ounce pours. Proceeds go to the The Arc. Free to enter, all ages. Online: highlandshollow.com.
Old Boise Oktoberfest: Sept. 22
Bust out the lederhosen. This street party at Sixth and Main is an annual tradition. Paid admission gets you a 16-ounce commemorative Oktoberfest mug and one free bier. (Purchase tickets online to get a hat and a commemorative hat pin, too, while supplies last. Additional beers at the festival are $6.) Beers include Spaten, Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest, Warsteiner Oktoberfest, Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest, Sam Adams Oktoberfest, Payette Oktoberfest and more. Two food booths will sell grub such as Schweinebraten-roasted pork on a bun, potato salad, pretzels, hot dogs and brats. German Oktoberfest band Wolfie and the Bavarians will perform twice — from 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. and from 4:15 to 5:15 p.m. — and cover band Pilot Error will rock the block from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. There’s a kids zone from 2-5 p.m., then the grown-up games start. At 5:30 p.m., begin testing your skills at the brat toss, men’s and women’s stein hoisting events, cornhole, a mug relay and more. You can win gift cards from Downtown businesses, and an authentic Oktoberfest Munich 2018 mug will be awarded to one men’s winner and one women’s winner of the stein hoisting. 2-10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, Old Boise, Sixth Street between Idaho and Grove streets. Limited tickets starting at $15 at beerfests.com, or pay $20 at the event. Free for nondrinkers.
Powderhaus Brewing Oktoberhaus: Sept. 29
Hey, Garden City needs to celebrate Oktoberfest, too. Powderhaus’ second annual bash is kid- and pet-friendly. Fill that one-liter glass with Oktoberhaus Marzen Lager or Prusik Pils ($12 includes glass and first beer) at the party tent outside, or grab one of Powderhaus’ regular beers at the bar inside. (All beer tokens are $6). They’ll have sizzling brats for sale. And you’ll hear live music from Bob Krasnik (4 p.m.) and the Boise Polka Project (6 p.m.). Wear German attire, because they’re offering prizes for best-dressed. Noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, Powderhaus Brewing Co., 9719 W. Chinden Blvd., Garden City. Free. Online: Facebook.com/powderhausbrewing.
Scallywag! festival: Sept. 30
Slow down on that beer, punk fan. You’ll want to keep your head clear enough to enjoy the music. It’s a pay-one-price, sample-everything-in-sight opportunity at the band-focused Scallywag! festival — at least for the first few hours. Powered by established punk and ska acts Bad Religion, Pennywise, Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake, The Interrupters and Mad Caddies, the raucous party will offer unlimited tastings of more than 100 kinds of craft beer outdoors at The Grove Plaza and inside CenturyLink Arena — until 4 p.m. After that, you’ll have to buy additional full-size beers. During the day, a DJ from 100.3 FM The X will crank tunes outdoors, where local taco vendors will sell spicy Mexican sustenance. Or roll into CenturyLink Arena, where the bands will crank starting at 1:45 p.m. Noon to 10 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30, Downtown Boise. $49.50 (limited availability) and $59.50. Online: scallywagfest.com.
Prost! Oktoberfest Street Party: Oct. 5 and 6
For the fourth year, Downtown Boise German hangout Prost! will throw a two-day Oktoberfest Street Party. They’ll close off 8th Street for a block-long outdoor beer garden. It’s free to enter and all-ages. You’ll find biers from German breweries such as Hofbräu, Ayinger, Warsteiner and Paulaner. You can dance to traditional music from the Boise Edelweiss Band from 4:30 to 8:30 both days. Chef Graham Chaney from Stammtisch tavern in Portland will offer bratwurst, currywurst and giant pretzels in the evenings. You must buy the food and drink. You also can purchase specialty glassware used in the pub. 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5, and 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, Prost!, 274 N. 8th St., Boise. Free, all ages. Online: Facebook.com/prostboise.
Hoptober Freshtival: Oct. 6
If you find the smell of fresh hops intoxicating, Hoptober Freshtival is staggering. Focusing on fresh hop beers, more than 30 local and regional breweries will pour at this major block party outside Boise Brewing. What are fresh-hop beers? They’re made using green hops harvested hours before they hit the brew kettle. It’s a once-a-year, harvest-timed fall treat. Not a hop head? No prob. There will be lots of other seasonal beers available, too, plus cider and kombucha. (And food. And fun.) Casual drinkers, take note: Hoptober Freshtival’s pricing has been changed this year. Entry is free. Tasting cups hold 4 ounces. Noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, Boise Brewing, 521 Broad St., Boise. $3 tasting ticket, $3 tasting mug. Mug included with purchase of five tickets or more. 21 and older only. Online: HoptoberFreshtival.com.