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River Brews and Beer News


If you're looking for something a bit more esoteric than Pabst cans for you next river trip, you have a couple of new choices this week. Of course we're not talking the Boise River, because an open container there is illegal. But if you're planning to raft the Payette, the Snake or the Salmon Rivers, check this out.

Until recently, the expense of a canning line meant only the big boys could play. But Oskar Blues Brewery in Lyons, Colorado, found affordable new microcanning equipment in Canada, and used it for their Old Chub Scottish Style Ale and Dale's Pale Ale. The Old Chub is seriously heavy stuff, rich and creamy with chocolate overtones to the sweet malt. Light on hops but big on flavor; it has a subtle hint of smoke on the finish. This big-bodied brew would work best on cooler, overcast days. Its partner pale ale offers big hop flavors with lightly sweet malt. An exceptionally well-balanced brew, it's smooth and creamy with a nicely aggressive hop attack that plays against the malt. Finishes with a lightly herbaceous kiss of citrus. It's a seriously big ale that should help brace the spirits after your raft flips on that seriously surprising Class 4.

On the beer news front, you should know that it's here in bottles. Back in March they said it would be six months-that meant the first of September. That's the way it was done in every other market: San Francisco, Seattle, Portland. Introduce it on draft first, then six months later, roll out the bottles. Considering it's the most successful import invasion in the history of beer, it appeared to be a smart marketing move, and one they weren't about to change for little ol' Boise.

We'll they did, and it's here-Stella Artois in bottles. So if you're a fan, and from keg sales it would appear that at least half the valley is, then forget what I said back in April and pick up a six-pack of the most hyped pilsner on the planet. But do yourself a favor and grab a Pilsner Urquell and a Czechvar at the same time. Try them side by side with the Stella and let me know what you think.