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Won't You Be My Neigh-Beer?

A mixed bag of local-ish brews

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It's a mixed bag of beers this week, with different styles all connected by locality. We've got a bomber from a Bend, Ore., brewery that's about to open shop in downtown Boise. There's an ale from Redmond, Ore., that has a Bend connection (the brewery operates the Cascade Lakes Lodge in Bend). And last but not least, we have a porter from the valley's newest brewery in Garden City.

10 Barrel S1nist0r Black Ale

This Bend, Ore.-based company will open up a new brew pub at the corner of Ninth and Bannock streets this summer. As a preview, three 22-ounce bottles have recently hit Boise (the India Session and Apocalypse IPA round out the trio). This ebony-colored black ale offers lightly sour, toasted malt with bits of biscuit and caramel on the nose. Smooth chocolate-laced malt comes through on the palate, along with hints of coffee and grain. The oh-so-subtle hops lurk in the background. This beer is easy drinking.

Cascade Lake Project X NW Pale Ale

From Redmond, Ore., this brew has a hazy golden pour that is topped with a thin but persistent head. It leads off with a floral mix of fresh straw, subtle malt and soft, citrusy hops with a touch of herb. In the mouth, this beer is a well balanced effort, where subdued malt and hop flavors are backed by round, ripe citrus. All in all, it's an eminently sessionable quaff.

Crooked Fence 3 Picket Porter

Crooked Fence's bottle offering leads off with this delicious porter. It's the color of espresso with a nice crema, and the aromas, while light, are a pleasant mix of cocoa, toast, subtle hops and smoke. The flavors are much bolder but beautifully balanced with just bitter chocolate, coffee bean, creamy malt and biscuit. Resiny hops poke through on this brew's finish, which is smooth and dry. It's a great portent of things to come.

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