April is Idaho Craft beer month, so, with that in mind, it seems appropriate to give a nod to a few Gem State breweries—and what could be more in keeping with the Northwest beer scene than India pale ale. Here are three, all weighing in at 6.5 percent alcohol by volume: two from Boise, one from the Panhandle.
Laughing Dog India Pale Ale, $1.60-$1.90
Hailing from Ponderay, the head on this gold-tinged, hazy orange entry is on the thin side, but leaves good lacing. Resiny hops dominate the nose with touches of citrus and caramel. Subdued for a Northwest IPA, but still with a lively hop profile that's balanced by smooth malt and backed by stone fruit. A nice bitter edge colors the velvety finish.
Payette Brewing Recoil IPA, $1.70-$2
A bit more of a head tops the Recoil, but the color is the same gold and hazy orange as the Laughing Dog. The aromas lean toward the floral with a surprising hit of spice and subtle, fruity hops. Light on the hops on the palate as well, more in the style of an English IPA, offering just enough to add a bit of bitterness to the creamy malt flavors. Still, eminently quaffable.
Sockeye Dagger Falls IPA, $1.60-$1.90
An off-white, two finger froth with good retention covers this crystal clear, dark amber pour. The nose is filled with big, pine laced hops and citrus. Definitely the hoppiest ale of the trio, with a solid but not overwhelming bitterness throughout. Sweet malt, citrus and graham cracker flavors round things out. Sockeye was the first modern-day Idaho brewery to can its beers.