I popped into the Myrtle St. Kettlehouse the other day for a beer, and I was pleasantly surprised to see they had a Crystal Pilsner on tap. This single-hop Pils was perfect after walking out of my air-conditioned office into Southern Baptists Sanctuary heat of a Missoula summer afternoon.
Clean and crisp with some spice on the nose and palate from the Crystal hops, this beer has an unmistakable bubble gum or fruit characteristic that makes it not just a good thirst quencher but a really fun beer to sip in those nice lager glasses that Kettlehouse is now using.
The Crystal Pils would make for a great river beer or with a dinner of grilled chicken and salad or even seafood. Lot’s of fun stuff to do with this beer.
Across town, I found an interesting Red Rye Ale at Big Sky Brewing Company. If you’re not familiar with Rye-style beers, this one might come as a surprise. It’s not a big beer, per se, but it’s a bold beer. Rye has a certain spice or boldness to it that barley or wheat beers do not. I told my wife it’s like the difference between eating pastrami on wheat and eating pastrami the way it was meant to be eatin’, on rye. The base of that sandwich makes all the difference, and it’s the same with the beer.
Again, it’s not a heaviness, it’s a certain mouthfeel, maybe an astringency that really plays nicely with the hops and yeast characteristics on this beer. It lacks the biscuity quality of barley beers, but that rye backbone holds up a nice hops structure that’s as wide as it is tall.
The Red Rye Ale would make for a good porch sipper, and it’s spectacular with spicy barbecue, especially Asian rubs or Korean barbecue.