Tomorrow is the day. Montanans will legally be able to purchase beer up to 14 percent alcohol by volume. Now, the question remains: Who is bringin’ the big beers? The folks at Bitteroot Brewing answered first, so here’s what’s coming up on tap Up The Root.
With the passing of house bill 400, which goes into effect tomorrow, October 1st, Montana breweries will now be able to serve beer up to 14% ABV. Our first BIG beer will be on tap VERY soon: collaBEERation Baltic Porter:
A strong Baltic Porter brewed with organic specialty grains and hops.
Unfiltered and aged in freshly emptied bourbon barrels for 69 days.
About 9% ABV….
The next BIG beer we will offer, which recently spent the morning in the kettle is our 1000th brew, we’re calling it the power of 10 IPA:
Brew number 1000, or “the power of 10 IPA” :
An Imperial IPA, this is brew #1000 since the start of Bitter Root
Brewing 11 years ago. 100 IBU’s, 10% ABV, dry hopped with 1 pound per
barrel of hops. A unfiltered, very hoppy, very bitter beer brewed with
over 3.5 pounds of hops per barrel.
Most people didn’t outright celebrate the passage of HB 400 this past summer. After all, October 1 was a long way off. But here we are on the cusp of one of the biggest changes in Montana beer law in more than 80 years.
On Oct. 1, Montana brewers will be allowed to sell beer that is up to 14 percent alcohol by volume.
Why would you need a beer so big, you might ask? Simply put, because you can.
I’ve heard many brewers have a little something special sitting around for the occasion. What I’d like to know is what is it, and what’s the ABV?
Brewers, share your high-octane beer stories here. And we’ll see you at the brewery.
I like good quotes, and when I’m out on a story, I’ll often pen out something I really like to mull over it later. However, while covering a wine festival several years ago, I heard a couple pretty Montana girls say they “prefer beer.” It was so out-of-place at a wine tasting, I just had to try and use it in the story. Not to mention that Missoulian wine writer Kate Murphy had given me a little background on her two childhood friends who had been so brutally honest with a reporter. It all made for a fun evening and a decent story for the paper the next day.
I hadn’t thought much about that quote since that day, but I literally ran into it again last night at Big Sky’s Betty’s For Beer class. Turns out Megan and Molly Harrington, those “We Prefer Beer” girls are taking the class, and they were sporting a new line of clothing based on their now famous quote. MontanaBeerGirls.com “We Prefer Beer” sells T-shirts with the company’s logo and saying on it.
Now it’s said that Helen’s face launched a thousand ships, but for one beer blogger to have spawned a business off of one quote, man, that’s up there. Just kidding. I was so happy to see the shirts and Molly and Megan, that I completely forgot to ask them if I could buy one for sister, who just had a birthday and is on her way to Montana next week. But that’s OK, you can get them at the Web site: MontanaBeerGirls.com.
Check out their story from the evening at the wine tasting. Brought back fond memories for me.
Just a quick reminder that it’s $5 growler-fill-day at Big Sky Brewing Co., which is probably my second-favorite day of the week after Friday. But I digress. Beers that are available as of today are as follows: Mexican Lager, Dry Hopped Summer Honey, Trout Slayer, Belgian Wit, Scape Goat, IPA, Moose Drool and Slow Elk.
Stop by and have a few free samples while you pick up a couple of growlers. While you’re there, update your wardrobe with the latest fashions available in beer couture.
If all of that doesn’t tempt you, you can always take a self-guided tour of the brewery from the viewing deck. Now who wouldn’t want to do that.
I’m a huge fan of reader questions, and once-in-a-while a question comes up that has to go out to the broader community. Here is one such question:
I’ve been brewing shop bought syrup beer kits for past couple of months, and although my hubby assures me they taste good, I want to move on and concoct my own brews now. Having discovered that way back in the Medieval times, women were brewsters, I just wondered if any one out there had a recipe that captured as near as possible the essence of what a Medieval ale would be like.
First, let me applaud your efforts to brew using beer kits in order to gain confidence and knowledge for moving to all-grain brewing. I think you’ll find it very rewarding.
It’s huge. Smell that is, not your nose. However, if you have a big nose, research shows it can really help to improve your sense of smell. Me, I’ve got a small nose, or, as my mother put it, two holes in my face. But I’ve learned to work it so that I can get my honker, as it were, far down into a beer glass to get a good whiff.
By way of a small confession, I’m off beer and wine for several more weeks due to interference with meds I’m taking to control a food allergy. Phew, that was harder than I thought. Being off the beer hasn’t been that difficult, and lord knows I’ve dropped a few pounds on this beer fast, but I sure miss the nectar of the gods on these 80 + degree days.
Last night I popped over to the latest installment of Betty’s for Beer, and yes, we do know about the apostrophe, and we’re OK with it, to see what Tim Chisman and the ladies from Big Sky were up to.
I didn’t taste any of the great beers they were pouring, but I really enjoyed smelling them. And, for the first time in a long time, the really delicate smells of hops, yeast and barley assaulted me like I was smelling them for the first time. I was enraptured by the grapefruity goodness of Scapegoat, the earthy esters of the Belgian Blonde and the almost nose-hair-singing vapors from the IPA.
Now I’m not recommending a beer fast here, but if you’re a beer connoisseur, don’t forget the role your proboscis plays in your enjoyment of beer. Before you pour that next one, take a long pause and spend a little time sniffing that beer for all that it adds to the experience.
If you were following the twitterverse yesterday, you’d know that all is right with the world. Why? Because the NBC’s “The Today Show” called our own little ice cream shop, Big Dipper, to ask for some of their on-the-verge-of-famous Cold Smoke Ice Cream.
A KECI story featuring the malt bomb on cone went national last week, and NBC decided that morning anchors Kathy Lee and Hoda Kotb would like to try some on air.
Nevermind that you first heard of the Cold Smoke Ice Cream right here on Grizzly Growler last summer, I’m fine with the world thinking that NBC discovered this little gem in our fair mountain berg.
“We’ve been doing a lot with Facebook and Twitter, like putting our specials out there,” Hickey said. “Somehow KECI got wind that were going to set up production again. They came down and watched. It hit nation wide. We’ve been getting reports back from Kansas to Seattle.”
Cold Smoke, which is not the easiest flavor for the company to produce, considering the fact that they have to cook down copious amounts of wort, will nonetheless become a staple flavor on the board for Missoulians who love their beer and ice cream at the same time.
For Kathy Lee and Hoda Kotb, well, just remember that this isn’t just a novelty from Missoula, Montana. This is a way of life. Respect it.
Thanks to my good friend and coffee guru, Jon, for this truly inspired bit of beer writing. I’m grateful he was able to cover for me in my absence, as you all have a right to know everything about your local beer festivals.
Take it away Jon:
Leave it to my good friend, the Grizzly Growler, to lead a horse to water. In the middle of a grueling workday and brutal workweek, all it takes is a simple divulgence of a new seasonal brew or beer-related event to whet my appetite for a wet whistle. As a relatively new transplant to Missoula, I’m ticked to live in a town with, not one, but two vital Brew Fests – overflowing with the best from Montana and an ample sampling from beyond.
Admittedly, I arrived to the Maverick Brew Fest at dusk, not knowing that my tardiness cost me a taste of Bayern’s Oktoberfest drawn from a wooden cask. Still, I eagerly stepped up with my plastic micro-stein to initiate the season with an Oktoberfest presented by Bitterroot Brewing. Twilight shone through an autumnal hue and my first sips of the evening delivered a crisp and delightfully caramel-honeyed sweetness.
One of the (many) benefits of being married is going to Brew Fest together and doubling your tickets’ worth by tasting twice as many beers. Following GG’s recommendations (if I had a pint for each of GG’s recommendations…), I sampled the spectrum from the orange-like citrus of Blackfoot River Brewery’s O.P.A. (Organic Pale Ale) to the earthiness of Big Sky Brewing’s Slow Elk Oatmeal Stout. As I’m building my literacy of Montana craft ales, it was insightful to try Missoula Brewing Company’s Highlander – the most under-the-radar beer with its own website.
As the Tom Cats dusted off some of the 70′s and 80′s best songs to brew-fest to (first time I’ve heard a cover of ’867-5309′), the crowd buzzed like late-summer yellow jackets, and I tried to complete my experience with a dose of hops. From Big Sky’s dry-hopped Summer Honey (good-bye summer) to New Belgium’s Hoptoberfest (hello autumn) to Great Northern’s Big Fog (winter already?) to what I knew would be an appropriate pinnacle to this festive experience: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.’s beautifully big Anniversary Ale – its complexity is matched only by its harmony.
Thank you, Grizzly Growler, for your constant takes on good beer and tastes of the Good Life. I always look forward to sharing the next one with you.
Let it flow -
Don’t forget about the Maverick BrewFest, that fall reminder of football and tailgate parties along the Clark Fork River. Come on out if for nothing more than to support a good cause and to try some new brews from the likes of Quarry Brewing Co. in Butte and Bitterroot Brewing in Hamilton.
Bitterroot will have their new Oktoberfest on hand.
Here are the details:
Maverick BrewFest Sep 11th 2009 4:00PM
Location: Caras Park
Contact: Missoula Athletic Club
Join us for the 11th annual Missoula Mavericks Brew fest! We will be hosting more than 45 beers on tap, food and live music from the TOM CATS. $10 gets you in and an 8-ounce signature tasting glass with three drink tickets – additional tokens are just $1 each. Come early for best selection and remember the Missoula Athletic Council has been supporting youth athletics for over 40 years so come down for a great time and a great cause!
There is perhaps no greater advent of the fall season than the return of the slow elk. That grazing beauty that sits atop a hill or in a thicket slowly munching grass, the lusty target of many an overzealous hunter. The bovine equivalent of a Playboy centerfold to a man shut away for many years, many a brave slow elk took a mistaken bullet meant for its more majestic and wild cousin.
And so slow elk stout, a celebration of all this is slow and elk-like in Western Montana, is back on tap at Big Sky Brewing Co. But go and fill your growlers quickly. The hunting season is short. Shorter still for the slow elk.