Boise Breweries – Barbarian and Boise Brewing Company

Barbarian Brewing

I tried six tasters that barbarian brewing based upon recommendations from my friend suggesting that this is the best spot in the city. None of the beers particularly stood out as favorites and the sours were not particularly exciting compared to my top 5 sour producers in the country. For sours from a small brewery they are fairly average and I preferred the sours at Woodland Empire personally.

I started with wheezing the juice, a hazy IPA. It was creamy with strong hop acidity, suggesting that it was quite fresh, with notes of pineapple but otherwise fairly muted hop aroma. The acidity was a bit overpowering the rest of the beer. The Imperial Stout was lightly smoky with notes of cherry though overall not a ton of flavor.

Blackbirds sour was acidic and berry forward with a nice tart finish while not overly sweet with an acidity that lingered at the finish from the berries. This was the better of the sours, although I have had better examples of a similar beer. The Red Sonja, was nicely balanced red sour with light oak and a strong tart finish that balanced nicely with notes of white cake.

Tooth stains, blueberry sour with coffee, was an interesting blend of blueberries and coffee though the coffee overpowered. The beer was quite tart and acidic on the finish although I did not particularly care for the mixture flavors. Pisco sour, an interesting take on the Peruvian mixed drink, had mild oak character and on Nitro at least had a similar mouth feel to the original drink. Overall, it felt a little bit too subdued in flavor for the style and the drink it is meant to imitate.

While I had a couple of sours that I enjoyed here, they were not at the level that I would suggest someone make a trip specifically to visit them. Fans of sours would likely enjoy the blackbird and/or Red Sonja, though they are both fairly average in the sour category. Still a sour fan will likely find one or two sours they enjoy here as long as they aren’t expecting world-class sours.

Top two:
Blackbirds berry sour
Red Sonja

Boise Brewing Company

I tried six tasters at one of the older breweries in Boise on my second day in town. While I was not expecting much, I was quite impressed by the flavor and balance of the various IPAs and Hoppy beers that I tried. I started with the red session, which I expected to be more of a balanced smooth red ale but instead was a take off the session IPA style with a little more malt character. The beer was super dry with an herbal hop bite, mild bitterness, and light caramel malt base that worked in line with the session IPA style.

The Porter was fairly thin with notes of cherry and coffee and mild caramel. It was fairly average and not particularly remarkable. The Irish red was decent, with cherry character from the malts and a dry finish. I would’ve preferred a little bit more roasting malt base or body to the beer. The American pale ale was quite dry with a medium bitterness on the finish and a nice mixture of herbal hop right with tropical fruit on the finish. It was nice because the bitterness did not linger on the tongue and the hops were not particularly overpowering.

The two IPAs, called obstruction and hip check, were both quite excellent with extremely dry finish and fairly mild bitterness. Of the two I preferred obstruction with its hint of tropical fruit character, though neither one of the two was particularly hop aroma forward. Hip check was a bit more malt forward, balancing toasty malts with resin and pine. Though both beers claimed to be 100 IBUs, I did not experienced them to be that bitter. Though none of the beers were particularly hypermodern, or exploding with hop aromas, they were excellently crafted and none of them lingered on the tongue more than they should.

Top two:
pale ale
obstruction IPA

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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