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Drinkin' la Vida Local

Portable brews for defining tastes

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Boy, does the weather change fast around here. One week it's a hard freeze and highs in the 50s, the next week it's pushing 90. The good news is that it's finally time to shift to warm-weather activities. Whether that means a trek to the mountains or a float down your favorite stream, if beer is your beverage, you'll want it in a can. A few years back, Boise was devastatingly devoid of local canned brews, but like the weather, things have changed.

Crooked Fence Rusty Nail Pale Ale, $1.39-$1.79

This beer has a bright amber pour sporting a two-finger head that lingers nicely. The aromas are somewhat subdued, but you get enticing whiffs of toasted malt, bread dough, floral hops and sweet fruit. The flavors alternate between caramel-laced malt and resin-y hops, with the hops definitely dominating the finish. Love this brewery's labels.

Payette Brewing Pale Ale, $1.39-$1.89

This one pours a slightly hazy pumpkin, topped with a thin but very persistent cream-colored froth. Rich and nicely balanced aromas come through on the nose, along with ample citrus, backed by pine-laced hops, biscuit and a touch of caramel. That caramel carries through on the palate, along with creamy citrus and just the right hit of bitter hops. This is a classic pale ale and the clean flavors have good persistence.

Sockeye Brewing Hell-Diver Pale Ale, $1.29-$1.69

A burnt copper in the glass, this brew has a decent head that collapses quickly, leaving a nice lacing. The beer opens with spicy, almost minty hops on the nose, colored by lightly toasted grain, soft malt and orange zest. You get smooth malt and citrus in the mouth, but there's definitely more of a hop presence than the Payette, with a lively bitterness throughout. This is a solid brew from a Boise stalwart.