And it has my name on it. Well, not really. It has the Grizzly Growler name on it, but since I try to fill those rather tremendous shoes by posting under that name, I’ll count it.
So I was finally able to stop into Bitterroot Brewing to try some samples of all their current Brewer’s Whims. And I was not disappointed in the least. The Imperial IPA is everything you’ve heard it is. With four hops with citrusy characteristics, it’s kind of like the Greyhound of beers. Big, fruity with a lighter body than you might expect in a an Imperial IPA, this beer literally knocks your socks off with hop flavor on a very comfortable base. Big alcohol with a nose like walking into a tropical greenhouse, the hop profile on this bad boy takes you back to the early days of Oregon and Washington when they were perfecting the Northwest-style IPAs. But rest assured, this beer retains those magical Montana qualities that have made Bitterroot Brewing such a destination in this state.
The CollaBeeration Porter, a Baltic-style porter that spent more than a little time on bourbon wood, is a fantastic early winter beer. I can only imagine joining my colleagues at the Ravalli Republic as they plot their next snowboard or back-country ski adventure over a few snifters of this. Chocolaty with some vanilla hints from the bourbon, this beer displays some deeper notes characteristic of dark malts like dried fruit and even some coconut that I thought rounded out the bourbon flavors a bit.
The year-old Barley Wine was phenomenal, as only aged barley wine can be. With honey, straw, whiskey, dried fruit and some Euro-style licorice, this beer is a conucopia of flavors. I can only imagine what it would taste liked aged another year or two. Oh, well, some beers you just have to drink now.
And finally, if you can’t get down to Bitteroot Brewing for their Brewer’s Whims, you should be able to get a hold of their Winter Ale, a very well-balanced dark ale with a hint of spices on a very smooth and drinkable malt base. With an effervescent white-ish head and some healthy hop structure, this winter bear harkens to those favorites like Deschute’s Jubalale, but the hop profile makes this one extra special. If you like those big, dark beers that warm you on cold winter days, this would be one to try.