On August 20th 1910 a firestorm ripped through Idaho and Montana leaving a path of 3 million acres decimated. Historians would later refer to this fire as “The Big Burn”, “The Great Fire of 1910” and “The Big Blowup”. The forest still wears its scars to this day and the tragic loss of life both in human and animals will never be accurately accounted for.
Great Burn Brewing in Missoula Montana pays homage to the Fire of 1910. The tasting room is surrounded by heavy wood beaming, a wooden bar and pictures from the fire. I found myself a seat at the bar and began reviewing the beer list while learning at bit of history behind the fire of 1910.
Since I was there to drink some beer I started with the Great Burn IPA, a 6.2% Alcohol By Volume (ABV) and a 40 International Bittering Unit (IBU). It was a tasty IPA with a nice mild citrus hop flavor powered by a selection of 4 different hops.
My next beer taste was the Cold Trail Pale Ale a 5.8 ABV with a 30 IBU. This beer had a pretty red/amber color. It was also less aggressive with the hop flavor and with a 30 IBU that wasn’t surprising. 100 is usually deemed the highest on the bittering scale although there are some breweries pushing the limits with over 100 IBUs for the hopheads looking for a little bit more hop kick.
My last taste of the day was the Back Burn Black IPA. I saved this one for last as I had been thinking about it since the first time I had researched this brewery. I love Black IPA’s and this one did not disappoint. So much so that I took a full growler home of it and enjoyed it for the next few days. The Back Burn had a 7.2 ABV and a 50 IBU. This beer had a nice roasted flavor with no hints of coffee, which can sometimes find their way into black IPA’s however it is a flavor I do not enjoy. This beer was smooth and flavorful and with a medium-sized IBU I recommend this beer to even non IPA lovers.
As I finished up my beer I found a Montana Brewery Passport for sale at the bar. It was an interesting idea, going around to the different Montana breweries and acquiring stamps to track your travels. It also had a spot for tasting notes, which would come in handy instead of tracking everything on my phone. I could have used this passport about 4 years ago and it would now be heavily decorated with passport stamps. I ended up not purchasing the passport mostly because I have a slight obsessive compulsive disorder when it comes to things like that. I would feel the pressure to gather all the stamps as quickly as possible. And since there are 7 breweries in Missoula alone it would take me awhile to leave the town… not that I ever want to leave Missoula anyway.
The Great Burn Brewery is located at 2230 McDonald Ave in Missoula Montana.