Harviestoun’s Ola Dubh, or black oil, is one of the finest examples of a whiskey-barrel-aged beer that I’ve encountered. I’ve been eyeing this beer every time I go to the Good Food Store, but the $8.99 price tag for the 12-year-old Highland Park aged version hindered me, what with the bad economy and all.
Anticipating a nasty little virus I’ll inevitably inherit from my children this week, I decided to grab a bottle on a whim. Having had a bit of scotch last weekend, I was really looking forward to trying a beer aged in barrels of the finest scotch. I wasn’t disappointed.
The Ola Dubh 12-year-old Highland Park version is dark black and roasty with a malt spine anchored by decent hoppiness. But, it was the scotch notes I was after with this beer. The most noticeable scotch element to be tasted in this beer is a slight smoked-peat flavor with hints of vanilla and bit of fruit sweetness to balance.
Sipped slowly over the course of an hour, this beer opens into something that is truly an experience. I think I smelled this beer until I lost feeling in my nose, but it just kept opening up into new depths.
Can’t wait to try the Ola Dubh 18-year-old Highland Park.
Like a worn and favorite tool kept with you on fire line after fire line through a summer of infernos, Pulaski Porter is a rich and pleasant experience, like a fine memory. With overtones of coffee and hints of dark licorice and vanilla bean, Blacksmith Brewing Co.’s Pulaski Porter carries an alcohol warmth in the seven-percent range and a comfortable, almost familiar taste.
Brutally black with a light-brown head, Pulaski Porter reminds me of another porter from many years ago. Not in taste or style, but in its ability to conjure up fun memories. It was Olallie Lake Porter, and it was brewed by a guy who loved the outdoors, and specifically a small central-Oregon lake called Olallie. We spent many summer nights camping by that lake, and every time I drank an Olallalie Lake Porter, I flashed back to fat rainbow trout and nights under a blanket of blue velvet and stars.
There is something familiar in the smoothness of Pulaski Porter. Maybe its the water, maybe its the fact that the brewery sits in the oldest community in Montana. Whatever it is, this is a fine beer.
There is a new barley wine on tap at Bitter Root Brewery. I haven’t had one from them yet, but knowing how brewer Paul Thomas makes his beer, it’s bound to be good. And if this inversion doesn’t lift soon, I’m going to start looking for a place to live in Hamilton, which means I can drink Bitter Root beer every day.
According to general manager Jason Goeltz, the beer is:
Brew #868, American Style Barley Wine, A hoppy and strong beer with citrus notes and a malty, bitter finish
Can’t wait to try it.
The award recognizes companies and organizations that provide incentives for alternative commuting and innovations to “reduce transportation-related congestion, air pollution and energy demand,” according to a press release.
Big Sky Brewing Co. offers free bus passes for its employees, flexible work schedules, secure bike parking, onsite bike maintenance tools and equipment and a shared company vehicle. Big Sky Brewing Co. also tracks employee commutes and offers cash incentives for choosing sustainable transportation.
What is your local craft brewery doing to reduce its footprint?
I’m excited at how many breweries are making efforts not only to practice sustainable business but to create work environments that are healthy and exciting.
Congratulations to Big Sky Brewing and Free Cycles Missoula.
“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts…and beer.” Abraham Lincoln
There is no way to know if this quote and its final thought actually came out of the mouth of the 16th president, but it’s a cool quote notwithstanding.
Today is a momentous day no matter what your political feelings are. Only in America does power exchange hands so peacefully. This is as close as this republic gets to the pageantry of royalty. Indeed, this is as close to royalty as it gets period.
To find a particular beer to celebrate would be to underplay the significance of the event itself. So, go and buy yourself a beer, any beer, your favorite beer, something you’ve never had before.
Open it and partake in this greatest of American traditions.
A friend of mine spotted this in the Missoula Independent the other day. Don’t know a whole lot about it, but I plan to track down the folks who are planning this and find out more about it.
From the Missoula Independent:
One measure, dubbed the “Craft Brewery Liberation Act,” is reportedly being brought forth by three University of Montana law school students who, after significant study, decided to re-write Montana’s highly restrictive brewery laws. Combined with at least two other bills that seek to raise the legal alcohol limit for beers that can be sold within the state, there’s little doubt that Montanans, who love their craft beers, will follow this one closely.
Sounds like something all of us who love craft brew can get behind. More information soon.
Take a tour of Glacier Brewing Co.
I don’t usually like to write about a brewery I haven’t been to, but this holiday season has been so busy that I haven’t been able to make the quick trip up the Bitterroot to check out Blacksmith Brewing Co.
Because time has escaped me, I don’t want to let another day go by and not bring some attention to the area’s newest brewery.
Located at 114 Main St. in Stevensville, Blacksmith Brewing Co. can be found in a renovated blacksmith shop.
The current beer selection is Cutthroat IPA, Pulaski Porter, Twisted Paddle Pale Ale, Burnt Fork Amber and Brickhouse Blonde.
Mike Howard, formerly of Big Sky Brewing Co, is brewing beer for Blacksmith, and the hours of operation are 3 to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Finally, another tap room open on Sundays.
Eric, Pamela and Mike, I promise I’ll get down there soon. Can’t wait to try your beer and revel in a little Montana history.
Just had to post this comment. I hope this doesn’t screw things up for the ladies in the tap room, this being a contest question and all, but it’s fun to know the history of Big Sky Brewing Co.’s Bobo’s Robust Porter, especially in a town that loves dogs as much as Missoula does.
From Mike Mahns:
And now for the rest of the story . . .
In the early days of the brewery, during the last millennium, there lived a small, yet valiant Chihuahua named Bobo. ( I have this story on good authority from one of the founding partners who left the brewery some time ago; parts of the story have been changed to make it more interesting.)
Bobo’s family took a vacation on the Rocky Mountain Front, enjoying all that good mother nature had to provide; fishing, swimming, camping, etc. And Bobo was a part of it all! Alas, the day came to depart the wildlands there on the eastern side of the Bob Marshall Wilderness and so with heavy heart, but fond memories, Bobo’s family packed up the car and headed back to Missoula. Unfortunately, Bobo was not with them! Of course they went back ( or maybe just called up the Sun Canyon Lodge to see if a “small and ugly dog was laying around), but, too late, Bobo was gone.
What to do? Search and Rescue wouldn’t go out and look. And Bobo was too small to see from the air. Also, he didn’t have anywhere to out pocket change so that and a lack of opposable thumbs made it difficult to use a phone. So the family grieved and they vowed to keep Bobo in their hearts for at least another week or so.
A month and a half went by. Summer began to turn to fall. Bobo was, by and large, nearly forgotten. Then one day, as the family stood around the car in the driveway, the littlest child turned to look up the street, only, incredibly, to see a small, ugly chihuahua limp-running toward the family! It was Bobo! The little girl shouted, the family all turned, smiles blossoming on their faces! Bobo was home! He was 20 yards out and running faster, so close and now one saw the black Dodge Ram backing out of the driveway across the street, not the family, and not Bobo. And guess who didn’t see Bobo. Yup.
So when you lift a glass of Bobo’s Porter, remember the little dog that made it home through the wild heartlands of Montana,braving icy streams, the talons of eagles, the snarling lips of Ursus Horriblis(Uh?) dodging all that Mother Nature threw at him, to be taken out by a Dodge Ram!
Cheers to you Bobo!
This isn’t set in stone yet, but I wanted to give you a peek at the possible full menu for the Big Sky/Blue Canyon Beer Dinner that is happening on Jan. 23, 2009. I went last year, and the pairing of Big Sky’s many specialty beers this year promises to be a rare treat indeed.
A couple weeks ago, Big Sky Brewer Matt Long and I went to Blue Canyon with a few bottles of some of the barrel-aged and other specialty beers in hand. We tasted a bit, and chef Larry would run off to the kitchen and cook something based on the flavor profile he picked up from the beer and our discussions. This is how this menu was created. So be tempted by this, it’s an amazing meal, and if you’re not a beer connoisseur yet, you will be after this.
Big Sky/ Blue Canyon Beer Dinner Tasting 1/23/09
6:30pm in the Blue Canyon Bison Room
$75 per person plus gratuity
Seared Sea Scallop, Thai Ginger Emulsion
Big Sky Saison
Pretzel Crusted Rainbow Trout with Wholegrain Caper Butter Sauce
Big Sky wine Aged Trippel 09
“Duck 2 Ways” Seared Hutterite Duck Breast with Duck Confit, Butternut Squash, Amalethia Goat cheese Risotto
Big Sky Imperial Strong Cherry Ale
“Intermezzo” Big Dipper Cilantro Sorbet
Big Sky Scape Goat
Moose Drool Braised Short Ribs with Smoked Ghouda Polenta
Big Sky Biere De Noel
Smoked Daily’s Bacon Wrapped Tenderloin with Crispy Potato Dumpling and a Peppercorn Blue Cheese Cream Sauce
Big Sky Barley Wine
Chocolate Covered Crème Brulee
Ivan the Terrible