A Worthy Day in Boise
Mon, 28 Apr 2014 18:55:00
The craft beer scene in Boise is hopping. Michelle and I loaded up the wagon and headed East to check it out. Naturally, the Walter Mitty in me imagined what a few of Boise’s landmarks might look like with a Worthy touch up.
We rented cruisers from Idaho Mountain Touring, which is a great place with a friendly staff. We rolled over to the beloved Boise River Greenbelt, a smart, smooth and gentle path through lush riparian habitats, and headed upriver. First stop was Bronco Stadium, with the iconic blue turf. The curtains match the carpet, no?
We crossed over the swift Boise River on a foot bridge near a golf course and it seemed appropriate to break out a can of the Easy Day Kolsch. Cruising on a fat tire bike with a big soft seat and a wire basket, checking out the sights, enjoying the sunshine, with no particular destination and no clocks — this is what we invented Easy Day for.
We came upon a garden of bright pink and orange tulips and they just sort of reached out for us.
I’d never been to Idaho before. My impression going in was that Idaho was another word for “potato.” I expected to see shiny bronze monuments glorifying the almighty tubers. After all, Idaho is the leading producer of spuds (in front of Washington and Wisconsin). But the locals shrugged off the association, educating me that Idaho was instead “the gem state.” I learned that pioneers flocked to Boise and parts surrounding in the 1860’s because of the discovery of gold. Not finding any spud statues, we pedaled over to the local co-op to lay hands upon a bushel of home grown Yukon Golds. No, our IPA isn’t made with potatoes.
We stopped by the State Capital and found the obligatory Civil War vintage cast iron cannon. Not sure the last time this big fella erupted in fury. We learned it was a “sea coast cannon” used by the Confederacy in the Civil War. Idaho didn’t join the Union until 1890.
In 1906, a bunch of motivated Boise schoolchildren cobbled the funds to build the “Pioneer Monument,” which depicts a Nez Perce Indian counseling an apparently lost Lewis and Clark on how to get back on The Oregon Trail. No, they probably were not asking for directions to “Beertopia.”
Boise’s vibrant downtown pub and restaurant scene lived up to its reputation. I’m sort of a fan of the back alleys, where a spray can and an independent spirit can sometimes unite with brilliant results. We found “Freak Alley,” a dumpster strewn corridor in which local artists are encouraged to let their “Freak Flag fly.” Even without a black light, the colorful murals at dusk cast a three dimensional glow that opens the mind’s eye.
No, alas, we found no potato pedestals, but we did find an interesting tribute to those brave and adventurous souls who came to Idaho 150 years ago to pan for gold. Today, the locals seem more interested in prospecting for the latest golden IPA.
After a fabulous day touring the University, the Greenbelt, the Capital grounds, and the Anne Frank Memorial (my favorite motto: “Idaho is Too Great for Hate”), we settled in for dinner at The Fork. We were absolutely dazzled by the asparagus fries, the roasted beets on a bed of warm Golden Greek cheese, the pan seared Idaho trout and the ale-braised short ribs. Scrumptuous! As an added treat, Shaun, the bar tender and our gracious server, poured us a can of Worthy Pale Ale from his superbly stocked cooler.