Thursday, February 26, 2015

Winter Brewfest in Caras Park, Missoula

Snow or no, the Missoula Downtown Winter Brewfest returns tomorrow to Caras Park. The forecast is showing partly sunny and dipping down from 32 degrees by the time the beers start pouring. Nevertheless, there will be burn barrels, a lot of beer, and great music. The brewfest runs from 5-10 p.m. Admission is $12 and includes two drink tokens. Additional tokens are $1. Must be 21 or older.

This event is hosted by the Missoula Downtown Association and sponsored by Kettlehouse Brewing Co. and the Trail 103.3 FM.

Click here for a full list of the 35+ beers >>>PDF<<<

Here are a few I'm excited to try!
  • ‘Citra’ Eddy Out Pale Ale Kettlehouse Brewing Missoula, MT
  • Red Dread Imperial Red Ale Bitterroot Brewing Hamilton, MT
  • White Wit Beaverhead Brewing Dillon, MT
  • Bad Finger Imperial Stout Phillipsburg Brewing Phillipsburg, MT 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Tamarack Sip and Go 'Yoga Pants' Special, Today Only!

In response to Rep. David "Doc" Moore HD92-Missoula's proposal to strengthen the state's indecent exposure law, presumably to deter future Naked Bike Rides, Tamarack Brewing Company's Lakeside brewery location and Missoula brewpub location will be offering $1 pours of Sip & Go 'Yoga Pants' (aka. Naked) Apricot Ale. Today only, Wednesday February 11, 2015.

Here's an excerpt from the Billings Gazette article (link above):

The proposal would expand indecent exposure law to include any nipple exposure, including men’s, and any garment that “gives the appearance or simulates” a person’s buttocks, genitals, pelvic area or female nipple.

The Republican from Missoula said tight-fitting beige clothing could be considered indecent exposure under his proposal.

Yoga pants should be illegal in public anyway,” Moore said after the hearing.

Rep. Moore goes on to say "I don't have a crystal ball," when responding to whether police would act on that provision or Missoula residents would challenge it.

Of course he doesn't have a crystal's too see-through! 

Go get your $1 pint at both Tamarack locations today. Speedos and yoga pants not required. ;-)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Beer is for Lovers: V-Day Specials in Montana

It's true, Valentine's Day is the premier holiday to spend time with those we love. So let's take a moment to say the words: "I love you IPA." "I love you Russian Imperial Stout." "Yes, I really do love you, American Wild Ale." Feel better?

Of course, sometimes you might want to share your love of beer with your significant other. Thankfully, there are a few Montana craft breweries that are serving up just the right occasion to do so.

If you know of any more, please leave a comment below!

Valentine's Day Fourplay at Draught Works - Missoula


Stop by Draught Works anytime between noon and 9pm to get your tickets – only $12.50/person in advance! Have questions? Call Draught Works at 406-541-1592.


Beer and Chocolate Lovers at Wildwood Brewery - Stevensville


Just Added:

Lolo Peak Brewing Co. is taking reservations (act quick, it's already near capacity!) for its six course evening of food and beer. And the next time you're in, ask for a "Chocolate Covered Huckleberry," pictured on the right. Ooh la la!

What I'd really like to do, though, is organize a variant of this run and call it CUPID'S Beer Undie Run. Who's with me?! 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Flathead Lake Brewery hits a grand slam with its new Bigfork facility!


   As I approached the new Flathead Lake Brewery I admit I really didn't know what the interior of a LEED certified craft brewery might look like.  Short of constructing this place out of dirt, this facility is about as green as you can get so there was a very good chance that I was going to walk into a place unappealing, understated, and underwhelming with walls made out of unpainted OSB.  Judging from the exterior of Flathead Lake Brewing's shiny new mothership facility in Bigfork, I had a pretty good idea that I was about to walk into something special.

  Before I go any further, I think it's worth pointing out exactly what it means to be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified, because it's really a commendable step that FLB has taken, not to mention very expensive and time consuming.

   Developed by the U.S. Green Building Counsel, LEED is an ecology oriented building certification program that concentrates its efforts on improving 5 areas of environmental and human health: energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, material selection, sustainable site development, and water savings.  What does this translate to, where you're concerned?  Well, let me tell you.  For starters, when you park in the parking lot (when the parking lot is finished) you will be parking on a lot designed to funnel away and collect the majority of that nasty, oily, runoff water and clean it before it makes its way into the aquifer and down the embankment into that jewel of a body of water, Flathead Lake, which sits directly below.  As you pass through the entryway, you will be passing under wood that was reclaimed from an historic bridge that once spanned the Swan River.  Speaking of wood, all the wood used to construct this building was sourced locally and what wasn't cut was pulled out of Montana rivers.  The brick you see on the exterior and interior were all salvaged from a building being demolished in Spokane.  The bar stools you will be sitting on are made from repurposed old wine barrel slats and tops made by Whitefish's Vinoture, the fan blades on the deck fans are made from old sail canvas, and even the menus are from recycled paper.  Solar panels on top of the building heat water for the brewery, and a high tech geothermal system uses recycled steam to heat the wort vs. using a gas flame.  A water furnace heat pump is also used for boiling as well as heating and cool the brewery.  As you can see, the focus on the design of this building is to conserve, repurpose, recycle, and reuse.  Even the spent grain is shipped out to local farms to feed livestock.  I mention all this because I want you to walk into this place and know that it's not just another pretty face that sells beer to be fussed over; it's an outstanding example of responsibility and stewardship of this rock that we all live on.

  OK, those were the technical bits and we all already know that they make great beer, but how does it look?  In a word, fantastic!  I'd put this inviting space up against any trendy brewery in craft beer crazy Seattle or Portland and defy you to say that it's lacking.  I have to say though that I was a little surprised to see all the wasted space encountered on that long walk from the front door to the hostess' podium.  I can only hope that they have plans for this large empty space in the future and that it's just a simple case of them not furnishing it yet due to their desire to open for their adoring fans as soon as possible.

   The layout.  As you make that walk from the front door to the hostess' podium, you will have ample time to admire the beautiful wood floor they installed, but when you look back up you may have some confusion as to what's what and which way you should go.  To the right of the hostess you will find a tap room which is a low key, quieter space that my group of 15 had to use as a kind of waiting room while the main bar thinned out enough to accommodate my group.  The tap room is a nice intimate space that you and your brew-buddies can easily discuss the attributes, qualities, mouthfeel, front end, and fish of the craft beer that sits in front of you.  Through watching the highly hypocritical Budweiser Superbowl commercial, we now all know this activity as "dissecting" the beer.  The tap room is also where you get your 1st glimpse, through 3 large windows, of where "Montana's Liquid Treasure" is produced.  Looking like missile silos in a nuclear submarine, these 8 60 bbl tanks stand as a testament to how serious Flathead Lake Brewing is at being a major player in the Montana craft beer industry.

  We eventually made our way to the main bar area where you will be find a U shaped bar with a 3 sided chalkboard with each side displaying all the beer available along with the ABVs, IBUs, and the per pint/growler price.   Tables and chairs abound with a few monitors on the walls that should satisfy most sports fans.  FLB has a full liquor license so if you bring in any non-craft beer drinking friends, they've got you covered.  The brewery also has, thank God, a restaurant which I know is going to make a lot of people happy.

   There's one thing I haven't mentioned yet...the south facing deck. Oh the south facing deck!  With its panoramic views of its namesake, beautiful Flathead Lake, these are going to be the most popular seats in town come summer.  I just wish they had doubled the size of it as it's not going to accommodate all the people that are going to want to be out there when the weather turns warmer.

   That having been said, I'm just glad the place is finally open as this end of the Flathead Valley is teeming with craft beer aficionados.  This is just one more reason for us to get down on our knees and thank whatever deity we take comfort in for interceding on our behalf causing us to call this area home.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Black Eagle Brewery Joins the Ranks of Montana Craft Breweries

Soaring into Montana's vibrant beer scene, Black Eagle Brewery (adjacent to Pit Stop Tavern & Raceway Cafe) is serving and kegging beer north of Great Falls, Montana.

"We've been planning this for over a year and a half," says partner and head brewer, Jason Lehman. "We have a new 15-barrel system that was made for us in Nebraska, so we'll be able to distribute kegs right away."

With this volume, Black Eagle Brewery already fills its own taproom and has beers available at the Pit Stop Tavern. The starting lineup includes: Smoke Stack Scottish Ale, Black Eagle IPA, Roe River Pale Ale, Smelter Men Blonde Ale, and Copper Nail Nut Brown Ale.

Lehman is somewhat of a homebrewer-turned-pro, but he had a little help from the other side of Montana.

"Paul Roys from Lolo Peak Brewery was instrumental in helping us get the brewhouse set up," says Lehman.

"Our theme is very industrial," he continues, "which reflects what Black Eagle was built on, and what Great Falls was built on." That is evident with the copper and custom woodwork throughout the brewery and taproom. Lehman knows that nearly everyone in Black Eagle has some ties to the smelter. He even had someone bring in a copper nail from the smelter and asked it be used in the brewery.

With the ability to produce up to 2,000 barrels of beer annually, Black Eagle Brewery might not be too far off from distributing their beers beyond taproom sales and kegs.

"We've been in communication with Spokes Mobile Canning [the Spokane-based mobile canner]," Lehman says, "but we may also get our own canning line before long."

So when you're out Great Falls way, stop in and check out the newest brewery in the area, and the first for Black Eagle.

The brewery plans to have a grand opening celebration on Super Bowl Sunday, February 1, 2015.
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