There’s good news today from Flathead Lake Brewing Co.
Preparations for opening a new eatery and tasting room in Missoula are moving right along.
Here’s the latest from Sandy Clare:
Things are going well in Missoula and it looks like a Nov. 9th opening. We will have Montana hand crafted beers from Flathead lake Brewing Company, Kettlehouse, and others. For those grape lovers we will also have a few wines on hand. We’ll be serving Shrimp Po’ Boys, Glacier Buffalo Chili, and The Bar Burger (featuring local beef) dishes to name just a few. We’ll have live music on the weekends and be doing community events on Wednesdays. More info to come soon. You can check out Flathead Lake Brewing Company of Missoula on Facebook for more updates.
Watch, too, in Monday’s Missoulian – when reporter Betsy Cohen will have a story on the plans for not only Flathead Lake Brewing, but for a new downtown restaurant and a cooking school.
Widmer Brother’s Reserve Cherry Oak Doppelbock gives way to Prickly Pear Braggot, a beer and mead combo
I remember when I stopped drinking Widmer Brother’s Brewing beers. I was on a high road to beer snobbery, and I felt that the brewery had sold out by selling out to a larger brewing conglomerate. Years later, when I came back to their beers because of a number of good experiences with their winter seasonals, I remember lamenting my decision to stop drinking their beers.
This illustrates two things. One, that brewers must produce seasonals and specialty beers in order to keep current customers coming back looking for new and exciting experiences based on the brewery’s reputation. And two, that customers need to realize that just because a brewery might be sold to a larger conglomerate doesn’t mean their quality or reputation should suffer.
OK, lesson learned.
Here’s my latest regret. Last week I was at John’s Market in Portland, Oregon. I saw this beautifully labeled box of beer from Widmer. It advertised a Cherry Oak Doppelobock as part of their Brother’s Reserve Series, a selection of one offs that are hard to find and of really high reputation. I should have bought one, but I was looking for other brands and breweries that I wanted try instead, so I bypassed it. I shouldn’t have. Here’s the description from the Widmer site:
Cherry Oak Doppelbock is a high gravity ale co-fermented with Dark Sweet and Red Tart cherries. After primary fermentation the beer is allowed to condition with and ferment the cherries, and then later conditioned w/ new toasted American oak. The result is a dark ruddy beer with up front malty sweet and cherry fruit notes overlaid on and completed by undertones of caramel malt, dark chocolate, and oak. Cherry Oak Doppelbock is cold fermented with an American Ale yeast.
And now, I’m seeing that Widmer is marketing the latest in their series, which has a description like this:
Reserve release #2, our Prickly Pear Braggot, is now out in full force. Braggot is a style that is a combination of mead and beer. Remember those picture of our brewers dumping the honey in the kettle? Mmmmmm…you’ll love this.
If you happen to run into one of the Brother’s Reserve Series, pick one or two up.
Still no official word on even if a brewery is going to take up residence in the old Artcraft building, but the rumor mill keeps swirling. I’ve heard back from at least six breweries, many of which have some interest in the Missoula brewing scene, and no one could confirm anything about the mystery brewery.
However, some information came my way several months ago about a Hellgate Brewing Company. I’d heard that a couple with ties to the Bitterroot had plans to open a brewery in Missoula, but news from that died out a while back.
According to several friends who know of the people who registered Hellgate Brewing Company, It seems that it might be the very brewery seeking variances to be able to brew in the Artcraft building. Again, nothing is substantiated here, and if you know more about this, leave a note. Missoula is dying to know more about this new addition to our stellar brewing scene.
As always, check back for updates. I’ll post the whole story when we know more about the mystery brewery and the Artcraft building.
Have a great Saturday.
That’s the United States Beer Tasting Championship, if you didn’t know.
Good old bourbon-barrel-aged Ivan also won best of the Northwest/Pacific in the barrel-aged category. And Bobo’s Robust Porter picked up the best of the Northwest/Pacific in the porter category. Here’s a breakdown of the Northwest/Pacific region and the winners in each category.
Ivan the Terrible Big Sky Brewing Company Missoula, MT
Honorable Mention Bourbon Barrel Double Vision Grand Teton Brewing Company Victor, ID
Old Crustacean Rogue Brewery Newport, OR
Honorable Mention Mirror Mirror Deschutes Brewery Bend, OR
Mogul Madness Ale Rogue Brewery Newport, OR
Honorable Mention Wassail Full Sail Brewing Company Hood River, OR
The Abyss Deschutes Brewery Bend, OR
Honorable Mention Imperial Stout Rogue Brewery Newport, OR
Obsidian Stout Deschutes Brewery Bend, OR
Honorable Mention Polar Bear Stout Coeur d’Alene Brewing Company Coeur d’Alene, ID
Bobo’s Robust Porter Big Sky Brewing Company Missoula, MT
Hazelnut Brown Nectar Rogue Brewery Newport, OR
Honorable Mention Lakeside British Ale Coeur d’Alene Brewing Company Coeur d’Alene, ID
Sheep Eater Scotch Ale Grand Teton Brewing Company Victor, ID
Dick’s Grand Cru Dick’s Brewing Company Centralia, WA
Honorable Mention Ménage À Frog Issaquah Brewery Issaquah, WA
Dirtoir Black Lager Rogue Brewery Newport, OR
Honorable Mention Session Black Full Sail Brewing Company Hood River, OR
Fest Bier Marzen Lager Grand Teton Brewing Company Victor, ID
Auld Acquaintance Pike Brewing Company Seattle, WA
Smoke Beer Smoke Ale Rogue Brewery Newport, OR
Belgo-American No winner declared
Congratulations to Matt and the crew at Big Sky Brewing Co., awesome job on the Ivan and Bobo and all the other great beers you guys make.
As far as I can tell, pumpkin ale goes back to the time of George Washington and perhaps farther. Particularly brewed around harvest, these so-called spiced ales reflected the need to use up as many resources as possible so that nothing was wasted. You see, pumpkin doesn’t actually add that much flavor to a beer. Often what you’re tasting in the beer is spices added by the brewer. These spices give the taste and feel of pumpkin pie rather than the sweet, buttery taste of the gourd.
The funny thing is that spiced ales are much older, and certain spiced ales have been associated with certain holidays and festivals, especially harvest and solstice. In my opinion, pumpkin beer is a novelty that has become somewhat mainstream because the flavors invoke fall, harvest, celebration, oncoming winter and festivities. Just look at the way people get excited about pumpkin lattes at Starbucks. Read more about the popularity of pumpkin beer in this article.
It brings up a good question though. Do you think pumpkin ales are a seasonal gem or a bad blend?
Anybody know of any Montana breweries doing a pumpkin ale this year?
Just because I gotta know.
I don’t like making beer lists, because finding new beers to try is what I’m all about. However, I have a few readers out there who live for beer lists, especially those featuring seasonal varieties. And since we’re just entering spring in the Northern Rockies, I thought I’d do a little bit on what I’m liking right now.
Spring, in the Northern Rockies, can be downright nasty. From frequent showers and snowstorms to a pleasant 60-degree day all in a few hours is not uncommon.
With that in mind, it can be tough to pick your favorite spring beers. Here’s what I do. I want a spring beer that still has a little alcoholic warmth to it and a little body as well. You know, for those cold April nights.
This year’s picks:
Lagunita’s Imperial Red Ale: Ever since a few skater punks began handing out beer in their small Santa Rosa brewery, I’ve been stoked on nearly every style they brew. The Imperial Red Ale kind of defines spring beers for me.
Inversion IPA: Aside from the fact that this one the IPA category at the Garden City Brewfest this year, Deschutes Brewing Co.’s Inversion IPA is a phenomenal spring beer with enough kick to get really take the sting out of that early season hiking or the chill off when you wade the rivers.
Dead Guy Ale: Many of my fellow bloggers usually pick this beer in their fall lineups, but I find it to be a great spring beer as well. This malt bomb delivers a great combination of flavor and warmth without the heaviness of a stout or porter.
India Brown Ale: Dogfish Head’s India Brown Ale just might be the perfect hybrid for spring. Characteristic IPA hoppiness with lush brown malt accents in a great blend of fantastic styles.
Highlander Scotch Ale: With its distinctive sweet maltiness and silky smoke flavors, Missoula Brewing Co’s Highlander bears no resemblance to its namesake. However, as a spring beer, this one stands out for its balance of easy drinkability and developed tastes and flavors. Oh, and it just won Best Montana Beer at the Garden City Brewfest.
Get out and get some beer and enjoy spring to the fullest.
Take a tour of Glacier Brewing Co.
Since the last beer post was not beer related. This one will be.
Here are my three local picks for tonight’s Griz/Spider game.
The order does not represent importance, as each of these beer can hold their own against the others.
The Griz had a strong year. Their one loss to Weber State was avenged later in the year, and they put up phenomenal number against the rest of the league. And they topped it off by beating the number-one-ranked team in the country for a shot at the title game.
This calls for a strong beer.
So, I would have some Kettlehouse Brewing Co. Cold Smoke on hand tonight.
Because this is the final game of the year, and it’s on a Friday night, I’d stay with the strong beers and have a little Big Sky Brewing Co. Powder Hound around. Again, you’ve got an easy going beer that packs a bit of winter-warmer punch into the mix.
To round out the triple threat, I’d get myself a mini keg of Bayern Brewing’s Doppel Bock, the epitome of smooth.
Just like the Griz, these beers are smooth, tasteful and they pack a serious punch.
If you plan to drink the triple threat tonight, don’t plan on driving anywhere, especially not in this weather. Nothing can ruin a championship season like a DUI or worse.
According to a news report from Sky New, which I find suspect simply because the website is owned by Rupert Murdoch, people are drinking 1.8 million less pints of beer a day this year than last in the UK.
Read the article here.
If that’s the case, than it doesn’t bode well for American pubs, especially craft breweries that have been enjoying many years of growing popularity.