Thanks to Thorsten for sending me this good info. Don’t want my readers to forget about “Halloween with a German Touch.” The boys at Bayern Brewing will be tapping a wooden barrel of Doppelbock at 5 p.m. this Saturday. Get your fright night started with a round of this traditional German strong beer as defense against what’s sure to be a chilly night. The celebration ends at 8 p.m.
Just another in a myriad of possible events for your Halloween:
Halloween costume contest and live music by Joan Zen, Saturday, October 31st
Before hitting the streets in costume and in pursuit of Hershey’s products make sure to come down to the brewery to see if your costume is the best of the brewpub! The winner with the best costume receives a gift certificate from the brewery…and all contestants get a free beer. Also, get ‘yer funk on with Joan Zen from 6-8:30pm….
There are any number of famous cocktails out there served up for Halloween. There’s your obligatory Blood Mary, Black Cat Martini and Little Devil and any number of Witch’s Punch recipes. But for the sophisticated celebrant of all things dark and evil, there are a few beers that will eclipse those foofy cocktails any day.
One thing to remember is when to start your celebration. Halloween, at last check, was all about chubby kids in pink tights and angel wings walking from house to house yelling, “Trick Or Treat,” at the top of their lungs. That means that beer celebration of all things dark and evil should not begin until after the witching hour, generally 8:30 or 9 p.m., or whenever the little rug rats have ceased ringing your doorbell incessantly. I say this only because it’s awkward to have a very drunk person dressed as Santa Claus hand your children melted Hershey bars at 7 p.m. True story by the way.
The other reason is that all those little ghosts and goblins haunting your neighborhood make for a gauntlet difficult for sober drivers to maintain, let alone inebriated Halloweeners.
But when it comes time to put the severely over-sugared children to bed and break out the adult treats, what’s it going to be.
For me, Halloween has always been about one thing, dark beer. Here in Montana, Halloween often marks the unofficial start of winter, with frigid temperatures and kids stuff with every conceivable warm cloth mom and dad can fit in a $10 Batman suit.
That means that those semi-dark nut browns from fall can officially give way to the big, dark, sinful beers of deep winter.
My three favorites, all available in Missoula, are, in no particular order:
Full Sail Brewing Co.’s Session Black – This recent GABF Gold Medal Winner is the perfect Halloween beer for it’s dark color, easy drinking lager taste and relatively light body. You can enjoy a few of these without turning into a mumbling, incoherent zombie.
Rogue Ale’s Dead Guy Ale – This obligatory Halloween beer even came in glow-in-the-dark bottles for a while. I have two in my garage. One of my favorite Halloween and fall beers, Dead Guy is a Maibock-style beer that is big, but with sweet, caramel flavors and malty undertones. It goes perfect with almost any kind of Halloween candy, with the exception of Sweet & Sours. Trust me on that.
Avery Brewing Co.’s Mephistopheles Stout – Last in the Demons of Ale series by this Denver brewery, Mephistopheles is perhaps the best treat in your bag of goodies on Halloween. Serve it in a goblet and sip it to reveal all the amazing licorice notes that follow the dried fruits and caramelized raisins before dissolving in a heap of hops on a very stout finish. An ode, if there ever was one, to everything dark and evil.
Beer dinners abound these days, and if you haven’t received your invite to one them, let me extend an invitation your way. This comes courtesy of Laura at the Red Bird, which also happens to have one of the best Belgian beer selections in the state. Sign up now, these things have a way of filling up fast.
Beer Feast! Red Bird is hosting a beer dinner with five of our local breweries. We have chosen a beer from Bayern, Big Sky, Blackfoot, Blacksmith and Kettle House. Each beer is paired with a course to be served Family style. Come meet the folks from the breweries and have some great beers and food. This Monday the 2nd at 6pm. Please call for reservations. 549-2906
I was pleasantly surprised to find that someone had delivered a box of beer to my office yesterday. Great Northern Brewing Co. sent me some Frog Hop Fresh Hopped Pale Ale as well as some Glacier Chaser Marzen Lager, which I’ll be tasting and writing about next week when I return from a short trip to Las Vegas.
Having beer arrive at my office hasn’t happened since I used to write the blog “Will Blog for Beer” many years ago in Salem, Oregon. At that time, breweries from around the U.S. would send me beer to write about. It was the best of times.
Things changed upon my arrival in Montana. For one thing, even well-stocked stores in Montana don’t carry a lot of craft beer brands, so my sources mostly dried up when they found out their beer was not available here. No reason to send it if there was no market for it, right?
For the last year, I’ve been purchasing beers through mail order when I can’t find something local, as it is a way to get your hands on something fun and new.
Yesterday, after putting the Great Northern Brewing Co. beers in the fridge to settle after their no-doubt bumpy ride to my doorstep, I started thinking about all the Montana beers I rarely get to try because they’re not available in the bottle or the distribution is limited.
So, I’m just putting this out there. If you’re a Montana brewer and you’d like to send me some beer via the U.S. Postal Service, I’d be happy to taste it, write about it and post pictures on the blog. Rest assured, I’ll purchase it when I see it here in town, but if you’ve go something special you want to bring some attention to, by all means, send me a sample.
That said, for all you brewers out there who don’t get mentioned much, I’d like to invite you once again to put me on your E-mail list, send me updates on new beers that you’re offering, events you’re hosting and all the fun happenings at your tasting rooms.
For any of you who might not have the info, this is where you can send me beer:
Grizzly Growler Beer Blog
C/O Tim Akimoff
500 S. Higgins
Missoula, Montana 59808
And if you’d like me to put out updates from your E-mail announcements, sign me up at email@example.com.
Growing up on the 45th parallel, halfway between the Equator and the North Pole has its bonuses. There is nothing really extreme about it. It does not have the spiciness and humidity of the lower latitudes nor the cool remoteness of the upper latitudes. You get a lot of rainy, gray, overcast days and television shows like Gray’s Anatomy. You get really good Pinot Noir and Burgundy wines. Hops tend to grow well there, and people from elsewhere seem to want to move there.
But drop a degree south, and you’ve got something altogether different. Vodka.
In Idaho’s famous potato belt, which, incidentally, is the 44th parallel, the production and distillation of vodka was almost a no-brainer. I’m just glad someone had the brains to do it.
44 Degrees North produces everything from flavored vodkas to a premium soft winter wheat vodka that is everything I’m starting to think a Rocky Mountain vodka should be. Clean and with a consistency like heavy silk, 44 Degrees North carries with it a hint of that Rocky Mountain water purity and all the clear goodness of Idaho’s soft winter wheat.
A chilled shot served neat will give you a clear picture why micro distilleries in Idaho and Eastern Washington are taking home the biggest prizes in the liquor world. No medicinal or vegetal tastes are discernible, and even when the drink is warmed, only the brightest esters consistent with good vodka are released on the nose and on the palate.
Even bruised by ice, as in a martini, 44 Degrees North comes across superbly clear tasty. While mixed into a cocktail like the classic lemon drop or a cosmopolitan, it serves as a big backbone for the tart and citrusy flavors rather than a thin, veiled alcohol in lower-grade vodkas.
Try the Mountain Huckleberry Vodka or the Rainier Cherry Vodka if you’re into flavored vodkas. They are both made from Idaho’s famous potatoes. But, if you’re into high-end tasty vodkas for food or martinis, try the Wheat Vodka. They all are available at Grizzly Liquor in Missoula.
Bayern master brewer Thorsten Geuer sent me some info on some new things going on at Bayern Brewing recently, including the release date for the much-anticipated Doppelbock and a brand-new program to reduce, reuse and recycle cardboard beer carriers.
More from Thorsten:
Bayern Brewing will take back used 6 pack carriers for 10 cent cash refund or 15 cent in house credit. The carriers can be returned through the tasting room. Here we call it: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! The recycle part is meant literally!
We are planning on launching Doppelbock the week of Halloween! This event ( since it is the favorite of so many beer enthusiasts ) will be celebrated with the tapping of a wooden barrel at the brewery Saturday October 31st, 2009
Here is a roundup of upcoming craft-beer events. Hey Montana brewers, do you have an event you’d like me to post on here? Send the info my way, and I’ll make sure to get it out there for readers to find.
October 16: 3rd Annual Burning Dog Pray for Snow Party at Big Sky Brewing Company in Missoula, MT benefits the West Central Montana Avalanche Foundation. Powderwhore Films premiere of “Flakes”, music by Lifesavas and plenty of Big Sky Beer (21+only)! The party starts at 6PM behind the brewery and tickets are $11. This crazy bonfire party is something not to be missed! Also, look for the Avalanche Foundation Float with the “Dog” in the Homecoming Parade on October 10 in Missoula.
October 21: Beer Dinner @Caffe Dolce in Missoula, 6 & 8:30 Seating Times, $50 per person, call 830-3055 for reservations.
The Montana Brewers Association announces its first annual Brewers Festival to be held October 23 at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds. With Oktoberfest in the air, come meet the brewers, enjoy good food, good music, and sample Montana’s finest craft brews. 17 Montana Brewers will attend and over 40 Montana made brews will be available for your tasting pleasure. Proceeds will benefit the Montana Brewers Association, the Gallatin Valley Land Trust, and KGLT.
November 2: Red Bird Beer Dinner featuring Montana Breweries including Big Sky Brewing Company. Call (406) 549-2906 to reserve your spot!
Really need to get down to try this beer, but if any of you happen to be down in Hamilton this week, stop in to Bitterroot Brewing and grab a growler and bring it back to Missoula. I’m moving to a new house this week, and I don’t think I’ll be getting out of town. If nothing else, stop in to Bitterroot for a pint and let me know what you think of this beer.
Colabeeration Baltic Porter is now on tap!
(About 9% ABV) A strong Baltic Porter brewed with organic specialty grains and hops. Unfiltered and aged in freshly emptied bourbon barrels for 69 days. Paul did a great job on this one, do yourself a favor and get a taste before it’s gone!