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Boise Booze News

Openings, events and collaborations


We've got a lot of booze news to cover, so we'll get right down to business: Woodland Empire Ale Craft is finally open at 1114 W. Front St. The brewery's opening day bash went down Jan. 14, with taps pouring the City of Trees IPA, Rabbit Fighter ESB, In the Morning Mild with Doma Coffee and Gold Days Tripel.

Boise Weekly stopped by for a sneak peek tour of the building Jan. 13. You can check out a slideshow at

If you missed the opening day party, Woodland is also hosting two pint night events this week: one at Bittercreek Ale House Thursday, Jan. 16, and the second at Bier:Thirty Friday, Jan. 17. A selection of Woodland beers will be on tap and some of the brewery's crew will be on hand both nights to chat about their beers.

Speaking of beers on tap, the Whole Foods River Room is now offering Pints to Go in its upstairs bar. After making a $1 deposit on a glass Mason jar, patrons can cart home 16 ounces of their favorite craft beer on draft. It's like a much smaller growler fill that we're totally sure you'll wait until you get home to drink.

And in other Whole Foods River Room news, the space recently beefed up its menu. You can now order from a wider selection of small plates like grilled halloumi, a vegan kale salad with pickled beets, wood-fired pizzas and an array of sliders including The Old Pen with turkey meatloaf and the Hyde Park beet burger.

In other grocery store booze news, the Boise Co-op is now bottling and selling Walla Walla, Wash.'s Proletariat Wines in its main store. You can purchase a Co-op wine bottle for $4.99 and then fill it with one of four Proletariat wines on tap: a sangiovese-cabernet blend, a cabernet, a red blend and a reserve chardonnay. Fill prices range from $15.99-$17.99 a bottle, and you can fill bottles from 4-6 p.m. every day.

"Right now we're just filling our bottles," explained the Co-op Wine Shop's Kathy Warr. "I guess if you had a wine bottle and you came in, we could probably do that."

And speaking of boozy partnerships, Payette Brewing Company joined forces with Eugene, Ore.'s Ninkasi Brewing Company in late November to craft a collaborative beer.

"We have known Ninkasi for a while. Actually, our brewer, Ian [Fuller] was Ninkasi's first employee over in Eugene when they opened, so he's always had a close connection with them," explained Payette's Sheila Francis. "At the 2012 Great American Beer Fest, all the guys were hanging out--our brewers, their brewers--and were like, 'You know what? We should do a collaboration.'"

The two breweries used Payette's facilities to concoct 45 barrels of an India dark lager they've dubbed the Cabaret, which will be released Friday, Jan. 17, at 6 p.m.

"We're starting at Payette Brewing, where we're going to tap it, and then Payette Brewing has also secured tickets to the Red Light Variety Show over at the Visual Arts Collective, where they will also have the Cabaret on tap," said Francis. "It's the Cabaret and there's conveniently a burlesque show a few blocks away, could this be more perfect?"

Payette will be giving away 15 tickets to the Red Light Variety Show's Nostalgia performance, which starts at 9 p.m. If you can't make the Cabaret release party, Francis said the beer will be on tap at around 20 Boise establishments.

"At this point, it's not planned to go back to Ninkasi just because there were so many interested parties here in the area that we figured it was better for us to sell it here," she said.

And in other Payette event news, the brewery is hosting a Walk About Beer Dinner in downtown Boise Wednesday, Jan. 22. The progressive beer dinner starts at 6 p.m. at Taphouse Pub and Eatery and winds its way to Bittercreek Ale House for the second course and finally to The Chocolat Bar for dessert. Tickets are $35 per person, which includes gratuity and Payette beer pairings. Tickets can be purchased at Payette Brewing, 111 W. 33rd St., Garden City, or by calling 208-344-0011.

And that's not the only event Payette has on the horizon. The brewery is also organizing the 2014 Brewer's Bash Saturday, Feb. 8, at Fourth and Grove streets. According to the event's Facebook page:

"If you have ever wanted to watch some craft breweries to go head to head in a snowball war, this is it. We are gathering the brewing community together to raise money for a couple of nonprofits by throwing snowballs at each other."

Here's how it works: The breweries are divided into two teams--Payette Brewing, Woodland Empire, The RAM Boise, Slanted Rock Brewing Company and TableRock Brewpub on one side, and 10 Barrel Brewing Company, Sockeye Brewing, Crooked Fence Brewing, Edge Brewing and Kilted Dragon Brewing on the other.

There are donation stations set up at most of the participating breweries. A $1 donation buys a snowball for that team's arsenal, with a cap of 500 snowballs per team. The Payette team has selected Idaho Brewers United as their nonprofit, while 10 Barrel's team has picked Fuzzy Pawz. One hundred percent of the proceeds will benefit the two nonprofits, with 70 percent going to the winning team's nonprofit and 30 percent to the other.

The event starts at 2 p.m. and will include a beer garden, music, fire pits and food truck grub from Archie's Place and Voluptuous Vittles.

"A big ol' snow ball fight downtown for a nonprofit? Sounds like a great time to us," added Francis.