For serious craft beer nerds, Boise is most easily recognized for housing a huge outpost of 10 Barrel Brewing, a craft upstart that was recently sold to AB-InBev. But 10 Barrel's not the only game in town: a rash of equally reputable small-batch breweries have sprung up around Idaho’s capital city, coming together to form the tourist-approved Boise Ale Trail.
In addition to the the mid-1990s OG Boise breweries like multi-award-winning Sockeye, three new area microbreweries are helping to transform the Treasure Valley from a craft beer desert into a noteworthy destination. 2010 saw the arrival of the forward-thinking Payette Brewing Company, a hipster enclave brewing excellent ales and lagers down by the banks of the Boise River. Payette's put out a ton of beer over the years, but two brews consistently top the fan-favorite list: 12 Gauge imperial stout, a bold, 10% ABV stout best enjoyed aged, and the Slaughterhouse Red, a velvety red ale teeming with toffee malt and dank hops.
Slanted Rock Brewing Company, established in 2011, maintains a core roster of four traditional, easy-drinking styles while also creating some exceptional seasonal beers, including an 8% ABV Scotch ale that showcases the age-old style's molasses-like sweetness. Crooked Fence Brewing, opened in 2012 and relocated to nearby Eagle in late 2015, is the youngest member of the area's craft cohort, and it's making a killing among Boise's heavy-metal and punk scene (yes, it exists) with its high-gravity, devilishly labeled brews. Try the flagship 9.2% ABV Sins of Our Fathers imperial stout -- it’s bound to put some hair on your downy chest.