When traveling to Boise, Idaho beer isn’t something that may come to mind right away. Admittedly when I first arrived in this up and coming city all I knew about the state of Idaho was the stereotypical potatoes and the blue turf field that has produced many NFL caliber talent. However, beer is something that the small city of Boise has quietly become more known for especially in recent years and if there is one brewery that has become a staple of what the City of Trees is about look no further than Payette Brewing co.
If you are looking for a rustic feeling style beer that encompasses a peaceful day on one of Idaho’s rivers, then Payette has been serving up the exact beer you’re looking for. Founded in 2011 by Mike Francis, Payette Brewing is known by many to be the sort of founding father of craft breweries and taprooms in the city. They were the first brewery in Idaho to make the switch from bottles to cans and open a taproom where you could find their beer rather than stumbling down to the local bar.
I recently sat down with Mike and their Marketing Director Paige Francis, to discuss their humbled beginnings and what helping the community means to them.
When Mike was living and working in the city of Seattle, he began his foray into the craft beer scene and realized that maybe this was something that he too could get into, and found a passion in. He relocated to the city of Chicago, IL where Mike achieved his degree in brewing. It was after this that he decided to bring his knowledge and passion to the place where he grew up, and to a place that plays a major part in brewing beer but, hadn’t seen a successful entry into the craft game.
Taking a risk he opened up Payette Brewing, named after the gorgeous Payette river, in Garden City, ID. He did not know what fully to expect when doing so because 2011 was just the very tip of the soon to come beer explosion we have now been blessed with nationwide. He had the idea due to his experience in Seattle and Chicago to open a taproom in the brewery as a place where guests could enjoy the delicious beer being brewed straight from the source.
Additionally, from there he also had the idea to make the switch from bottles to cans. His inspiration came from his time spent outdoors and floating down rivers, where having a bottle isn’t so eco friendly and for some reason Idaho doesn’t recycle glass. Cans provided a much easier way to enjoy a beer while fishing or enjoying that tube float on the Boise River, while also being recyclable and more environmentally friendly. Though very humble about kicking off a so-called revolution these two ideas spurred more breweries to do the same in the state and it has helped lead us to where we are now.
Switching to cans and opening a taproom wasn’t the only thing that Mike and Payette was doing right either. Mike had wanted to find a way to give back to the community that had shown so much support for what they were doing and came up with a perfect way to do this. Thus Kegs4aKaus was born. Non-Profit Organizations submit a request to Payette and every Monday 50% of all sales in the taproom go directly to the nonprofit that week. It’s an incredible way to give back to the community and help people who may be in need. The program has since grown to where they must limit their cause to 50 nonprofits a year. Everyone who works at the brewery makes the decision together, as to which nonprofits they will support.
Finding success in all these programs, Payette soon outgrew their small taproom and in 2016 upgraded to an old Athletic facility in the heart of downtown Boise where they currently reside. The brewery features a sixty-barrel brewing system, 240 barrel fermenters, brite tanks, and canning lines. They now package and distribute beer to the states of Washington and Colorado nonetheless.
You’ll be able to find a mouthwatering selection of beer on tap year round. Their North Fork Lager named after the North Fork of the Payette River, Fly Line, is a Vienna Styled Lager with a sweet and refreshing taste. Their Rustler is their traditional take on the India Pale Ale. A few other staples are, Recoil, another IPA, Mutton Buster a Brown Ale, Urban Surfer a citrus wheat, Sofa King Sunny ( my personal favorite) a Hazy Pale Ale, and a couple of sours. Aura featuring Guava and hibiscus, and Aura featuring Prickly Pear, and Yuzu, are a couple of sours definitely worth mentioning. They also feature a few rotating porters. Their s’mores porter perfectly compliments a nice campfire on a summer night.
All of these are enough reason that it’s no wonder why they were just named Best Brewery in Boise for the 8th straight year in a row! If you find yourself in Boise sometime, this brewery is an absolute must stop and see to enjoy a refreshing beer inside or outside in their outdoor setup and while you’re there make sure to grab some sweet brewery swag!