Boise Brewpub Tour
Brewed Awakening - The Birth of Payette Brewing, Part 5
Originally published 07/11/2011
Most people would consider Friday the 13th as an inauspicious day for a business to open its doors. Mike Francis is not one of those people. That's because after waiting for what seemed like forever and suffering his fair share of setbacks along the way, good news is good news, no matter what day it arrives.
So on Friday, May 13th, when Francis finally received his Garden City beer & wine license, which meant that he could now legally sell the beer he had recently started brewing at his fledgling brewery, he was far from superstitious. In fact, he turned all superstition on its head, choosing to instead call it a lucky day to start selling beer.
Perhaps there was something to that belief, judging from the overwhelmingly positive response Mike has received so far for his beer.
"I'm a little amazed at the response that the beer has gotten so far," says Francis. "I knew that I made good beer and that I knew what I was doing, but I didn't think the demand would take off that fast."
Having held to his original plan to sell only by the keg to restaurants and other venues who sell draft beer, Francis quickly found tap space at numerous local establishments, including The Front Door, Bar Gernika, The Reef, Boise Fry Company, Bittercreek Alehouse, and Brewforia. That's no small feat, but it says a lot about how local businesses are willing and eager to promote quality local products.
People also showed up in great numbers at Payette Brewing's official grand opening, which was held June 3rd and 4th. This is when most people got to drink Outlaw IPA and Payette Pale Ale for the first time and tour the inside of the brewery. They also got to check out the brewery's hidden back patio, where food trucks of all sorts will be setting up shop on Friday and Saturday nights to offer Payette beer drinkers plenty of tacos, fries, and burgers to go with their suds.
The end result of these early in-house and restaurant sales is that demand has surprisingly outpaced Payette Brewing's initial capacity, which caused them to actually run out of Outlaw IPA for an entire week.
"I'm maxed out already," says Mike, "but I should be more than doubling my capacity by the end of the summer."
The issue right now, Mike adds, is tank space and not brewing capacity. He can brew 15-barrel batches of beer multiple times a day if he wanted to, but he only has a 15-barrel fermenter, a 30-barrel fermenter, and a 15-barrel brite tank to put the beer in while it ferments and conditions for 5-14 days.
This is a good problem to have, though, considering the kegs have only been rolling out for around two months and no one really knew how a fifth brewery would fit into the local market.
Given this initial success, Mike is already making plans for when he gets his additional fermenting tanks. The extra space will mean he can brew different varieties of beer more often instead of dedicating almost all of the available brewing capacity to his flagship beers, the Outlaw IPA and the Payette Pale. He was recently able to sneak in a batch of Leaning Barn Farmhouse Ale, a summer seasonal, but he's waiting on the new tanks to brew his first batch of barleywine as well as a collaboration brew of some sort with Dave Krick from Bittercreek Alehouse. In the meantime, Mike and his assistant brewer Jake have been using their 5-gallon pilot system to test out new recipes, occasionally putting a keg of the test beer on tap in the brewery's tasting room so they can try it out on folks.
So if you're curious and find yourself cruising down Chinden Boulevard on a Friday or Saturday night, stop by the brewery and see what Mike has on tap; it could be something completely new. You'll probably also get a chance to meet Mike, who's a splendid chap who knew what he wanted to do and then pressed forward until he made it happen. He'll tell you all about the process if you want, and we're pretty sure he won't mind you drinking the fruit of his labors.
Brewed Awakening - The Birth of Payette Brewing: