After my harrowing brush with a rattlesnake, I needed a beer, stat. Idaho has many breweries to sample in Boise, so I wanted to try out a few while in town. This is a more condensed version of my typical beer posts as my visits were all condensed. 

The taplist at Cloud 9.

So back to post-hike needing a beer. Well first, I needed to wait for the duststorm to cease. Sadly I did not see any quarter-sized hail but it did end up knocking out the wifi in my hotel. Luckily I was prepared in advance with a list of breweries to visit. First up was Cloud 9, a nanobrewery and restaurant. Sadly, by 7pm on a Sunday night most of their food options were out, which is unfortunate, as I could have done serious damage to the steak dinner special. It looks like they are expanding the seating area and kitchen this summer, so hopefully that means more food options all day.

I went with fish & chips and a beer. Many of their beers looked good, so I went with a seasonal Maibock and a style you don’t see too often in Seattle, a Scottish-style Heather ale. Both were tasty but I preferred the Heather. I also loved their glasswear, but as I am banned from purchasing more I had to control myself. Wish they made coasters with their logo!


In summary (to the best of my knowledge)…

  • Full kitchen: Yes
  • All-ages: No
  • Dog friendly: Not indoors, maybe on the patio?
  • Merch: Yes (glassware and apparel)
  • Coasters: No
  • Live music: No
  • Outdoor seating: Uncovered patio but with a heater.


My next brewery was 10 Barrel. Now visiting 10 Barrel might be controversial, especially as I am someone who uses the #CraftNotCrap hashtag. I am always saddened when a delicious craft brewery gets bought out by ‘the big boys.’ I am not going to pretend AB InBev is perfect, because they’re not. However, I cannot imagine what it would be like to get an offer of that magnitude, and to me, the quality of beer from places like Elysian and 10 Barrel has not changed as a result of different ownership, so I have made the choice to continue drinking their beer–but also supporting the truly independents breweries as well.

A sampler at 10 Barrel.

In addition to the stellar downtown location, 10 Barrel did not disappoint when it came to selection (well, a fresh on-tap Cucumber sour would have been nice). I was about to order a sampler until I saw the size–wow! Ten tasters, perfect for sharing, except I was there solo and did not want to get hammered. I went with Mr. Duck, a dry-hopped saison, and a Boise Pale Ale (when in Rome). Both were delicious, as was my steak and quinoa salad. Being bigger also meant a wider selection of merch (an “Out of Office” print beach towel!) and coasters I regrettably forgot to snag.

In summary (to the best of my knowledge)…

  • Full kitchen: Yes
  • All-ages: To the left of the restaurant
  • Dog friendly: No
  • Merch: Yes
  • Coasters: Yes
  • Live music: No
  • Outdoor seating: Patio

Next up was Payette Brewing. I admit, I felt out of place when I first walked in–I got a very strong ‘country’ vibe and everyone either looked like a college student or over forty, so dressed in business casual clothes and sitting alone, I was mildly self-conscious. However, the sun in the massive beer garden and super-friendly bartenders quickly erased any doubts in my mind. I’d say of all of the breweries I went to in Boise, Payette was the most fun. It didn’t hurt that proceeds that night in particular were going towards a foundation for trails!

My sampler at Payette.

Their samplers are a far more manageable four beers, and you get to pick them yourself. My favorites were the Sophie’s Choice Irish red and the Tropical IPA. They have a combination tv tap list and chalkboard, so make sure you check *both* before ordering. If you get hungry, they often have food trucks there, but I’d keep an eye on their Facebook page to be certain if you are hungry.

In summary (to the best of my knowledge)…

  • Full kitchen: No
  • All-ages: Yes
  • Dog friendly: Yes (they even provide poop bags for the beer garden!)
  • Merch: Yes (apparel and accessories mostly)
  • Coasters: No
  • Live music: Yes
  • Outdoor seating: Large beer garden
What is a Crenshaw melon? I don’t know. Delicious in an IPA though!

My final Boise beer stop was Woodland Empire, which was highly recommended to me. Again, primo downtown location, even though both my rideshare drivers going there and back managed to get lost.  Woodland Empire had a far smaller taplist than the other breweries I went to, but still the option for samlers of multiple sizes (in a muffin tin, to boot!). I loved the cross-stitched “Wash Your Hands” signs in the bathroom, but the star of the whole brewery was the Crenshaw melon IPA.  Woodland Empire was not as friendly of a place to hit solo to chat with bartenders about beer especially when compared to Payette, but if you’re there with others it wouldn’t be an issue. They did have a small outdoor seating area and they are right next to a place for food (including delicious Idaho potato french fries, well-seasoned), but you cannot bring your beer into the food place, so go between rounds or have a friend hold your table down.

In summary (to the best of my knowledge)…

  • Full kitchen: No (but food next door will be delivered to your table)
  • All-ages: No
  • Dog friendly: Possibly in outdoor seating?
  • Merch: Small selection of apparel
  • Coasters: No
  • Live music: No
  • Outdoor seating: Small patio on pavement

I had a humid but hop-filled, exciting time in Boise. I’d come back for some of these beers anytime!

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