What keeps craft brews fresher than bottles? Cans. What leaves a smaller carbon footprint than bottles? Cans. And what is more easily recycled than glass? Cans. If you're into buying local, you'll be happy to know that many of the valley's breweries now offer 12-ounce cans, perfect for packing in (and out). Here are three eminently sessionable local ales:
Payette Brewing Mutton Buster Brown Ale, $1.39-$1.79
This beer pours the color of lightly brewed coffee with a decent tan head that collapses quickly. That coffee theme carries through on the nose, which is something like a sweet cafe au lait colored by toasted grain. The flavors are simple but pleasant, with creamy caramel and vanilla malt nicely balanced by light hops that come through on the clean finish.
Slanted Rock Brewing Iron Butt Red Ale, $1.39-$1.79
There's a touch of ruby to this otherwise orange/amber brew that sports a thin-but-persistent head. Fruit cake aromas dominate with orange, candied cherry and sweet baked bread. The flavors are a well balanced mix of ripe citrus, toffee and resiny hops. Those bitter hops linger nicely on the finish.
Sockeye Hell-Diver Pale Ale, $1.39-$1.79
This brew is a hazy, copper-tinged amber in the glass topped by a thick, off-white froth that leaves a nice lacing. There's a touch of spice to the fresh baked bread aromas backed by just the faintest hint of hops. The palate is smooth and creamy, offering a hearty hit of pine-laced hops up front that mingle nicely with the soft malt and tropical fruit (orange, papaya, grapefruit).