I know I give my GPS, Samantha, a lot of crap for not knowing where places are, or getting me lost often, but it may not always be fair to get upset with her dimness. I mean lets be honest, I do not know where the things are that she is looking for either. Granted I am not linked up to a satellite orbiting the earth like she is… yet… but if someone asked me how to get some where new I would probably have to recalculate a few times too.
I have however referred to myself as the human-brewery-locator, sort of like a GPS for beer. It is a gift that will grant me nothing more than endless amounts of money spent on beer and countless hours of time spend on torrid love affairs that I manifest in my head with other brewery dwellers.
I believe my brewery locating skills are well-developed, however I was taken back a bit when I entered in the address into Samantha for the Missoula Brewing Company as I departed my hotel. The brewery was an 1/8 of a mile away (.20 km) from the hotel. I do not know how many times I have stayed at that hotel, but it is a lot, and to have just found out that a brewery is within walking distance was pretty shameful. I now know how Samantha feels when I point out her dimness, as I was now pointing out my very own dimness.
Although this was my first visit to Missoula Brewing Company it was clear others had heard about this brewery, who had opened their doors in 2007 in this location. The parking lot was overflowing with cars which resulted in me having to park on the street. Parking on the street is not necessarily a bad thing, to me it means the beer is good if there are a lot of people there. I found myself a seat at the bar and took in the eclectic ambiance of the taproom. The room had high ceilings with industrial piping giving a chic contrast to the warm use of wood framing the kitchen and bar. You could see directly into the brewery from the bar. As someone who loves to take brewery tours, being able to peek in on operations is always welcomed. There was also an abundance of Highlander paraphernalia all around the taproom.
The history of Highlander Beer dates back to 1910 when Highlander Beer became quite popular in Montana during the early 1900’s. If you keep an eye out in older Montana towns you can sometimes spot “ghost signs” of Highlander Beer logos painted on the side of brick buildings. Butte Montana has several. The original Missoula Brewing Company, producers of Highlander beer, closed their doors in 1964 after 54 years of producing beer, minus the 13 years during the United States Prohibition of course. In 2007 the doors opened again, but in a different location however the mindset was the same, to produce great beer.
I started tasting my way around Missoula Brewery with the Thunder Mountain Black IPA. This beer had a 6.1% Alcohol By Volume (ABV) and a 55 International Bittering Unit (IBU). I am typically a big fan of black IPA’s but this one I was not, solely for the reason that it had coffee notes. I do not care for coffee flavors, which I am sure a lot of you just raised your eyebrow at me in disbelief.
I know, how can I not like coffee?
Like I tell everyone who asks me that question I only have enough money for one vice to be done well and that vice is beer. The Thunder Mountain did have a nice malty finish and sticking to it’s style of a cascade ale, where it was not overly hoppy even though classified as an IPA.
I moved on to my next beer, the Grapefruit Mount Jumbo IPA. A 6% ABV with a 55 IBU this beer is a classic American style IPA. Citrus hops flowed throughout the beer and had a nice hop punch. It was also at this point that I noticed many of the beers were named after peaks, mountains and points that I later found out were peaks, mountains and points located around Montana state.
I had dinner plans elsewhere but I needed something to tied me over until dinner. A light snack you might call it. Per a recommendation from the waitress, or beer facilitator as her t-shirt stated, I ordered the Clark Fork Pizza. It was a red sauce pizza with sliced tomatoes, fresh garlic and mozzarella. The pizza is sold by the slice and ranges from $3 to $4.50 USD. When my slice arrived I realized that I may have ordered more than just a snack as the slice was ginormous making a mockery of the small plate that it was on. Just as the beer facilitator had stated the pizza was delightful and was completely consumed by me. So much for dinner.
To go along with my pizza I ordered my last beer of the night, the Mystic Mountain Rye IPA. This was my favorite out of the mix of beers that I tried that night. I love rye beers although this beer only had a hint of rye flavor. The IBU is low with a 24, along with a low ABV at 4.5 which means that you can enjoy this beer all day without getting sloppy.
The Missoula Brewing Company is located at 200 International Drive. They are open Monday – Thursday 3 pm to 8 pm and Friday – Sunday Noon to 8 pm.