Words & Deeds

3 beer festivals on the same flippin’ day? Why, Boise, WHYYY? (Oops, one just canceled)

‘Give it one more sip’: Savoring sour beer with Barbarian Brewing of Boise

Barbarian Brewing head brewer James Long pulls a nail, takes a sip and explains his passion for aged, sour beer.
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Barbarian Brewing head brewer James Long pulls a nail, takes a sip and explains his passion for aged, sour beer.

When it rains, it pours — beer.

After a long, cold spring with few exceptional brew bashes — Alefort being the major exception — three beer festivals with local ties were set to overlap on Saturday, April 27: Beer+Friends Fest, the Hyde Park Beer and Wine Expo, and the Aura: Sour Beer Experience.

Why would organizers do this? Well, it happens to be the final weekend of Idaho Craft Beer Month. If you remember, a similar beer-fest collision happened last year on the final weekend of April.

Boise beer geeks survived back then. We’ll survive now. The good news? You can’t go wrong at any of these events. (OK, wait — don’t go to Aura. More on that in a sec.) Plus, they appeal to different audiences.

UPDATE: This article has been edited to reflect that Aura: Sour Beer Experience was canceled earlier today.

Beer+Friends Fest

Make it a mini-adventure. Grab a free shuttle bus ride to the Beer+Friends Fest, which runs from noon to 6 p.m. at Mother Earth Brew Co., 1428 Madison Ave., in Nampa. More than 20 Idaho breweries — plus cider makers and food trucks — will gather for an event that benefits the state’s brewers guild, Idaho Brewers United. This organization promotes and educates Idaho’s craft brewers.

Tickets are $25 at tickets.beerfests.com/event/beer-friends-fest (includes cup and 14 tasting tokens, good for 4-ounce pours), or $30 at the door (includes cup and 10 tasting tokens). Additional tokens are $2. The shuttle bus takes off from the Riverside Hotel in Garden City and runs hourly from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The last bus will leave Mother Earth at 6:30 p.m.

Hyde Park Beer and Wine Expo

The Hyde Park Beer and Wine Spring Expo is back for another round. It takes over the parking lot behind Parilla Grill and 13th Street Pub & Grill from 2 to 8 p.m. in Boise’s North End. Fifteen bucks gets you through the gate with four tasting tokens in hand. (You can buy additional tokens.)

Some of the participants include Ste. Chapelle Winery, Split Rail Winery, Payette Brewing Co., Sockeye Brewing, Proletariat Wine Company, Sawtooth Winery, Lost Grove Brewing and Mother Earth Brewing Company. Taste something you like? Breweries and wineries will take orders for packaged product at prices lower than you’d find normally.

Aura: Sour Beer Experience

If you’re a fan of tart beers, the annual Aura: Sour Beer Experience has been an annual must-do at Payette Brewing Co., 733 S. Pioneer St., in Boise. The four-hour gathering includes more than 20 sours (including rarities) from notable breweries, plus small-bite food pairings from Juniper. It also has an educational component. Aura runs from 4 to 8 p.m. Price: $60, which includes your glass, at payettebrewing.com.

Update: Payette just nixed Aura four days before it was slated to happen. The brewery’s explanation on Facebook: “Due to unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances, we need to cancel this Saturday’s event, Aura: Sour Beer Experience. In the last couple of days, there were too many hiccups that have caused the main pieces of this event to not fully come together and we are incredibly bummed to cancel. We hope you understand it was a hard decision, but it is only because we want to make sure our events uphold the fun and beautiful experience we work so hard to do at the brewery. Save the date for Aura: Sour Beer Experience to be held in April 2020!”

Michael Deeds is an entertainment reporter and opinion columnist at the Idaho Statesman. Since starting at the Statesman as a news intern in 1991, he has been a sportswriter and features/entertainment editor. Deeds also has freelanced for The Washington Post, Relix, Country Weekly, Velo News, Beer Advocate and more.