Post Summary: Discover why Payette Brewing is our favorite Boise Brewery and has earned the title of the best brewery in Boise for seven years straight.
Best Brewery in Boise
Boise, Idaho, is quickly becoming a standout city in the Pacific Northwest. Its high quality of life, pristine nature, and flourishing development make it a rising star amongst other neighboring PNW cities.
Do you know what else makes it awesome? The craft beer scene.
There are 17+ breweries in Boise, Idaho, and that’s not counting the neighboring cities of Garden City, Nampa, and Meridian. Idaho likes its beer. In fact, Idaho ranks 11th in the nation for the number of breweries per capita. Considering the entire state of Idaho has a population of 1.8 million people, that’s a lot of beer flowing through the Gem State.
With everyone moving to Boise, I think it’s only time till Idaho pushes higher up that list. Quote me!
For our most recent weekend in Boise, we knew we needed to add a Boise brewery tour to our itinerary. Top on our list was to visit one of the best Boise breweries, Payette Brewing Company.
Discover more about our day at this hip Boise brewery and why it’s a must-do when visiting Boise.
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BOISE BREWERY: IS PAYETTE WORTH A VISIT?
To get our day started, we hopped on our bikes and pedaled down to the Greenbelt to check out the Boise brewery that has earned the title of “the best brewery in Boise” for seven consecutive years by Boise Weekly.
I was already a big fan of the beer but hadn’t yet visited the Tap Room or done one of their popular brewery tours. For me, a brewery needs three things. Good beer, good digs, and good vibes. Does Payette Brewing deliver? Yes. Yes it does.
Let’s dive into all three of those.
PAYETTE BREWING: THE TAP ROOM
Payette got its start when Boise local, Mike Francis, opened up the brewery in Garden City in 2011, long before the area had a major revitalization and became the hipster neighborhood it is today.
Five years later, Payette made a big move to Downtown Boise where they upgraded to a 32,000-square-foot facility where all the beer-making magic happens from start to finish.
We loved going on the brewery tour and learning about how beer is made. It’s not that I thought the process was going to be “easy” but I didn’t expect it to be like some mad scientist lair with so many intricate steps to the process. You’ll get a kick out of watching the canning process and hearing the names they’ve given their machines. One’s called Johnny 5 and if you get the reference, you’ll quickly see why when you meet it.
The tour includes all kinds of fun info like the history of the building (it used to be an old gym) and an education into the different types of beer.
Also with the tour, you’ll get a pint of beer and you can keep the glass! I tried the Mexican Chocolate Porter and loved it. It’s brewed with hot peppers, cinnamon, and chocolate. Need I say more?
Tours are done weekly every Saturday at three different times. Currently, group tours are on pause but will be up and running again once they can hold them in the safest way possible. You can do a private brewery tour, though, and I highly suggest it if you’re visiting with friends or family and want a unique Boise experience.
If you aren’t able to do a brewery tour and just want to hang out at the brewery, make sure to check out the viewing balcony of the production room. Accessed from the Tap Room, it gives you great aerial views of the entire production process. You can bring your beer and geek out with your friends on how beer is made.
As a gal who enjoys learning and trying new things, I love the different classes and tours they offer. Along with private brewery tours, they have in-person beer tastings that you can schedule beforehand. They’re also planning to start group beer classes! Perfect for the budding home brewer.
Be sure to check their site for what they’re currently offering.
Beyond the “behind the scenes” element of the brewery, it’s the Tap Room and outdoor beer garden that seal the deal for why Payette is a staple in the Boise brewery scene.
Bright and airy, the Tap Room is an inviting space with high ceilings and space to spread around. Along with the indoor space, there’s an 11,000 square foot beer garden that’s perfect for Boise’s mild weather. The outdoor lounge has a fire pit, bocce ball court, food trucks, picnic tables, and a stage for live music.
It’s clear Payette is a place you come for the experience of unwinding and letting loose with your friends and family. Both days we were there (Yes, we went back the next day!), the Tap Room was filled with a diverse crowd enjoying the beer and the space. The place is buzzing with the great kind of energy that you want from your favorite brewery hang out.
And yes, kids are allowed and welcome to the Tap Room! It’s Boise…it’s one of the most family-friendly cities you’ll ever visit.
PAYETTE BREWING TRIVIA: Payette is proud to have one of the only female head brewers in the country. Hopefully, that bit of trivia will fade away as more women enter the brewing space.
But what about the beer? A beautiful taproom is great and all, but if the beer isn’t great…who cares?
There’s a reason why Payette has risen to the top to become one of the premier breweries in Idaho. The quality of their beer is amazing. Pulling from locally sourced ingredients, with immaculate attention to detail from start to finish, Payette creates a true “craft” beer.
Their most popular beers are the bright and citrusy Sofa King Sunny, the smooth and easy North Fork Lager, and the aromatic Recoil IPA.
If you’re new to Payette’s beer, I would try out their Greatest Hits Variety Pack, which has all three of the above, plus the Aura Guava & Hibiscus Sour Ale.
I’m partial to dark beers, so I’m a big fan of their rotating Porters. I’ve tried all three, and love the Rasberry Vanilla Porter and the Mexican Chocolate Porter.
I’m currently eyeballing their 12 Gauge Orange Spice Imperial Aged Stout. It has orange peel, clove, allspice, and cinnamon. Come on! That sounds amazing. I’ll be trying that on my next visit.
With 20 beers available on tap, it’s safe to say you’ll find something you love. You can check out their full list of canned beers here.
IDAHO BEER FACTOID: Idaho is the 2nd largest hops producer and the No. 1 barley grower in the United States. That tells you how fresh the ingredients are for all of Payette’s beers.
Boise is a city that prides itself on having a community feeling. Walk through Downtown Boise and save for a small handful of big box stores; it’s predominately locally owned businesses that line the streets. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Payette fosters the same community spirit.
In 2011, they started the Payette Forward Program, where every year they have raised funds for different programs like the Agency for New Americans and Ales for ALS. In 2019 they donated over $10,000 to help communities who were devastated by California’s deadliest wildfire, the Camp Fire.
As well as donating nationally, every Monday they donate 50% of the proceeds from all beer sales in their Tap Room to an Idaho non-profit.
In an era where more and more people are wanting businesses to stand for conscious capitalism, it’s nice to see that Payette exemplifies those ideals.
Beyond their charitable work, there’s just a feeling that Payette Brewing genuinely cares about the people who have made them such a successful brewery in Boise. It feels unpretentious and welcoming….like Boise.
If I lived in Boise, I would look forward to going to their events and being a part of their fun, laid back vibe.
PAYETTE BREWING TRIVIA: The company name hails from François Payette, a French Canadian trapper and explorer noted as the first white settler to come to Idaho. A large portion of southwest Idaho is named after him, including a county, city, river, lake, valley, and forest. His name has come to represent the outdoor way of life that Idaho is known for.
Snapshots of Payette Brewing
A few key takeaways you should know:
733 South Pioneer Street
Boise, ID 83702
Is it casual? Yes! It’s a brewery. Come as you are.
Is there food? A rotating schedule of food trucks make their way and park out in front of the brewery every day. You can see which food truck is featured on their food truck calendar here. The brewery does offer snacks from City Peanut Shop and ice cream from The STIL. Both of those places are amazing!
Are our four-legged kids and two-legged kids allowed? Yup, bring your fur baby and your wild child. We saw several kids and dogs playing and enjoying the outside area.
When are they open? The brewery is open Monday to Sunday with different hours depending on the season. Check here for the latest hours.
We loved our brewery tour of Payette and getting to try more of their tasty beer. They’ve built a business around the spirit of Idaho… well-crafted beer that’s perfect for your next outdoor adventure.
We’ll be exploring more of “the treasure valley” and seeing what other great local spots you have to visit. For now, we’re stoked to see how development is creating a flourishing food and craft beer scene in Boise.
Let us know if you make a visit out to this fantastic Boise brewery and if you have any questions about Payette Brewing.
As Brand Ambassadors of Payette, we were invited down to Payette Brewing to do a sponsored post on our site. You can safely assume that we chose to be brand ambassadors because we love them! You can even check out some of our Instagram posts about Payette. We only suggest what we think is awesome.
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