Unemployment usually sucks. Unless you're Bob Phaff. Bob wasn't really unemployed, but the unapologetic, ambitious Brit didn't have a work permit when his wife Jen dragged him across the pond--and the Rockies--to Boise last year. So he hopped in his trusty Ford Escort and drove up and down Idaho drinking. (Not drinking and driving, mind you.)
Phaff visited all 17 breweries in the state and typed up a pamphlet he calls, "One man's journey across his new home of Idaho, led by a passion for quality beer."
Phaff's fresh, British taste buds provide a keen perspective on our beer. He says he's now tasted more hopped-up IPAs than any other Englishman alive, though he shows his true colors knighting the Coeur d'Alene Brewpub's Lakeside British Ale and Grand Teton Brewery's Au Natural Organic Blonde the two top brews in the state.
So he's still a nationalistic ale guy who likes blondes.
Forced to pick a top Boise beer, Phaff tells BW he likes the Stimulator Stout at Tablerock.
Phaff's book, A Guide to the Beers and Breweries of Idaho ($3.50), introduces each brewery or brewpub in the state, includes comments from the brewmasters and rates each label with a score from 1 to 5. Phaff provides the brewer's notes as well as his own poetic observations.
Phaff eventually found legal employment, working on Morning Owl Farm, a Boise organic farm and duck egg hatchery. You Yanks can meet him, grab a beer guide, get it signed and hear his tales of Idaho brew lore at a release party sponsored by Boise Co-op and The Front Door.
Bring a pocket translator though, 'cause the dude speaks English.
Wednesday, Dec. 2, 6-8 p.m., FREE, The Front Door, 105 S. Sixth St., 208-287-9201, thefrontdoorboise.com.