While I love to fire up the grill, even in the dead of winter, Labor Day weekend traditionally marks the end of the summer barbecue season. And beer (especially in cans) is the appropriate adult beverage for this last hurrah.
This year, why not keep the celebration local? Boise's Payette Brewing recently began offering a couple of its signature brews in cans. And to round out the trio, I picked an organic ale from Jackson Hole, Wyo.-based Snake River Brewing, just across the border.
Payette Brewing Mutton Buster Brown Ale
In the glass, this beer is a lovely cafe Americano in color with a decent head that fades quickly but leaves a nice lacing. The lightly toasted malt aromas are backed by hazelnut, fresh-baked whole-wheat bread and a touch of caramel. The flavors open with creamy malt, colored by ripe fruit and toasted grain with a hop spike on the mid-palate. That light bitterness carries through on the finish.
Payette Brewing Pale Ale
A hazy golden pour that's topped by a thin head, this beer's resiny hops come through on the nose with a light touch of citrus. More hops lead off on the palate, followed by light grain and the barest hint of malt. This brew is a leaner-styled pale that finishes with a crisp astringency. It is definitely one for the hop lovers.
Snake River OB-1 Organic Ale
A persistent mocha-colored head tops this brilliant mahogany pour. The nose is filled with grain-laced malt, while the flavor profile echoes those aromas. This brew is filled with sweet malt and grain, with a light touch of hops. Just for fun, I added an equal portion of the hop-driven Payette Pale Ale to the glass. The result was a nicely balanced brew that, to my taste, was rather appealing. No rules!