There’s a new gunslinger in town: Payette Brewing Company — Idaho’s biggest brewer, according to Bob Hubler of Boise Beer Culture — and its Western-themed ales and lagers will soon be on liquor store shelves all over Colorado.
The background: Owner Mike Francis opened Payette’s doors in 2010 in Garden City, a few miles northwest of Boise. Two years later, Payette started canning its beers. As business increased, so did the brewery. In June 2016, Payette moved to a larger facility in downtown Boise, a 60-barrel brewing system capable of a 100,000-barrel footprint; enough to start stocking its wares on Colorado shelves.
Now, the beer: Judging by the brewery’s Boise tap list, Payette’s specialty leans toward India pale ale (five offerings) with three lagers and a smattering of the usual suspects: porter, brown ale, Belgian quadrupel. From that baker’s dozen, four year-round offerings will make their way to the Centennial State: Aura (a sour ale), North Fork Lager, Recoil IPA and Rodeo Citra Pale Ale.
Of the four, Aura and Rodeo are the standouts. Aura, a sour ale made with guava and hibiscus, has an attractive pink hue, a tart nose and carbonation that practically pops as you pour it in the glass. That carbonation clears out the palate and brightens up your senses, making room for prickly fruit and tropical flavors. You could drink it with brunch, or you could drink it as brunch. And at 4 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), brunch might extend well into happy hour.
Rodeo, Payette’s single-hop pale ale, also weighs in at 4 percent ABV, a welcome relief in a world where ale ABVs consistently flirt with double digits. Sporting an orange-copper color with a slight haze, Rodeo has a bright citrus nose thanks to the Citra hop, and a touch of spice on the back end thanks to those rye malts. Even more impressive is how surprisingly creamy and full-bodied this session beer drinks. While most brewers look to New England for mouthfeel, Payette has its sights set on that island across the pond.
Recoil IPA is like Rodeo, only a little bit more rambunctious. The addition of Calypso, Eureka and Mosaic hops round out the flavor profile with solid citrus and resin. Bitterness balances out the beverage while sticky lacing follows you all the way down the glass.
The only disappointment in the bunch is the lager, North Fork. Stereotypical cereal grains in the mouth with a slight sweetness and dry finish, North Fork doesn’t leave much of a mark. Nowadays, lagers have undergone a renaissance with variations ranging from the sublimely subtle to the shockingly wild. North Fork hews closer to the easy-drinking light lagers Pops pounded while mowing the lawn. Might be a good idea to keep a couple around whenever dear old Dad drops by to help out around the house. But, Rodeo and Aura, save those for yourself.