The look in Mike Francis' eye was one of delight, as he pressed a button and an insulated shutter door dropped from above, sealing what will soon be an enormous walk-in refrigerator. "It's like Star Trek," said brewery owner Francis.
The walk-in refrigerator—large enough, Francis said, to roll a forklift into—is one of many improvements at Payette Brewing's huge new facility at 733 S. Pioneer St. near River Street. A larger, more accessible walk-in is a leap forward for beer storage, and one of Francis' favorite improvements. Boiseans got a taste of what's to come from the hometown brewer's new endeavor on April 29, when the tasting room opened to the public. The new brewery is a natural extension of Payette's rapid growth since Francis founded the brewery in 2010.
The tasting room—within easy walking distance of the Boise Greenbelt—is spacious. The tables are each stained with a unique emblem while the metal seats have been welded with the Payette Brewing logo. No detail has been overlooked when it comes to ambiance, but the main feature is the bar and its row of 20 taps. Besides Payette's core lineup of beers, it will serve up seasonals, monthly "Ales of No Return" and collaborative brews, and patrons can buy six-packs from a nearby refrigerator.
Additionally, the tasting room opens into a courtyard that may soon feature seating and games like horseshoes. The brewery doesn't have a kitchen, so nearby space has been made available for multiple food trucks.
Behind the scenes, the new brewery operates on a 60-barrel system and is capable of brewing 40,000 barrels of beer every year. According to Francis, more equipment could be moved into the 32,000-square-foot facility to increase that to 100,000 barrels a year. Payette's original Garden City brewery operated on a 15-barrel system and now can produce 10,000 barrels of beer yearly.
Production at the new location is expected to begin the week of May 16. After that, Payette will continue to use its Garden City facility for specialty and cooperative beers. Its most popular beers, like the Mutton Buster Brown Ale and Rustler India Pale Ale (formerly Outlaw IPA), will remain continuously in production.
"We hope to not have any hiccups," Francis said.