My crazy-but-awesome summer continues with a week-long trip to Montana, primarily to hike Glacier National Park. It’s honestly the most beautiful and unspoiled place I’ve ever been, and I’d encourage everyone to check it out before global warming melts all the namesake glaciers (roughly 20 years from now).
I flew into Missoula, Montana early today and promptly banged out a five-mile hike up Sentinel Mountain, known for its 2,000-foot view above the city. Pretty sweet start to the trip, but I worked up a serious thirst and paid a visit to Big Sky Brewing Company’s nearby taproom. I loved tasting their brews on tap during my last trip to Missoula in 2011, so I couldn’t wait to try them right from the source.
There’s only one thing better than good beer, and that’s free beer – exactly what the awesome folks at Big Sky will give you! Guests are encouraged to try up to four flight-sized beers per day for free, so damn skippy I tried the heck out of their brews.
First up was the seasonal Summer Honey Ale, brewed with Montana honey and Pacific Northwest hops. Summer Honey was pretty much what you’d expect – clear straw color, wheaty and sweet aroma, with a crisp honey sweetness through the middle and touch of hops on the end.
I went a bit hoppier for my second beer with the Trout Slayer Wheat Ale, a pale ale brewed with a blend of Northwestern hops. Like the Summer Honey, this brew was what I expected, and still quite good. Trout Slayer has a big hops bite up front and a long bitter end note, and it can hang with any other pale ale out there.
Big Sky’s iconic Moose Drool brown ale was up next, I’ve had this beer before, but not in years, so I’d forgotten just how good it is. Moose Drool pours out the color of root beer, with a syrupy-sweet aroma and creamy foam crown. This brew is dominated by molasses at the start and a bit of chocolate through the middle, but balances out nicely with a roasted malt end note.
Last, but certainly not least, Big Sky IPA. I’ve reviewed this beer and believe I’ve seen it in D.C.-area beer stores, so I knew I was in for a treat. Grassy hop notes dominate the pour, and stanky hops pretty much punch the back of your throat on the first sip. Big Sky mellows out with some grassy hops through the middle, and closes on a long crisp bitter end note.
Obviously, Missoula isn’t around the corner from most folks. But if you ever find yourself in this part of our great country, make sure to order some Big Sky on tap. And, if you’re lucky enough to see their brews on the shelf, pick some up!