I like to visit Missoula Montana often. I have written about it a lot, as well as my fondness for Montana in general. If I ever decided to move it would most likely be to Montana and most likely Missoula. My love for Missoula centers mostly around beer and I consider Missoula a beer town. As of 2016 there are 66,788 people who live in Missoula and there are nine breweries with ten locations. That is a pretty decent saturation.
During my last trip to Missoula I had finally checked off visiting Missoula Brewing as well as Big Sky Brewing. Big Sky Brewing was probably the most embarrassing that it had not been checked off earlier. It is after all one of the largest beer producer in the state of Montana. Regardless of my shame I felt accomplished. Like an avid collector I had finished my collection of breweries in Missoula. Or so I thought…
As I sat in my hotel room for the night I foolishly scrolled through the internet on my phone looking at my beer accomplishment. Sure it had taken me a few years to hit up all the breweries but I felt it was impressive none the less. And just like that I scrolled too far and found another brewery had been added to the list, Imagine Nation Brewing. And just like that my departure time for the next day was pushed back to accommodate Imagine Nation Brewing’s opening time.
I arrived early the next day, not socially unacceptable early, but close to their opening time of 12:00 pm on the weekend. The tasting room was filled with tall tables, books and a wide arching bar. I made my way to the bar and skimmed over their beer list. It was a tight collection of tasty looking beers.
My first beer tasting was the Only Small Things session IPA. This beer has a 4.7 Alcohol By Volume (ABV) and a 40 International Bittering Unit (IBU). I have really been enjoying session IPAs lately. This beer was full of citrus flavor with a golden-yellow color. It finished smooth and was not aggressively hopped. It would be a perfect summer beer to drink all day out on the patio, which is where I had this beer.
Although I typically like to sit at the bar, I decided to take in the sunny day on the back patio that was shaded by large trees and overlooked a field.
I was not sure if there was service outside, so once I was ready for my next beer I went back inside and selected the Freedom Fighter IPA. This beer has a 6.8% ABV and a 65 IBU and flavored with citrus notes, like grapefruit. This was my favorite beer out of the bunch and I filled up a growler with this beer before I went home.
My last beer taste for the day was the Lone Voice Double Red. This is a double imperial red ale with a 8.1% ABV and 64 IBU. I was not a huge fan of this beer and felt it had a strange aftertaste. I did however notice a note from the brewer on their website
“In order to constantly pursue the adventure of making better beer, all of our recipes will be honed. If a beer does not taste exactly as it did the last time you were here, it’s because the brewing team is experimenting with slight modifications to offer you the highest quality brew possible”
Perhaps I will give the Lone Voice Double Red a try again in the future. This “honing” their recipes is a common occurrence with new breweries as they work through their beers. It is a good sign to me as a consumer as the brewer actually cares what they are putting out for their customers to drink. Sometimes you do not always see that.
I finished up my last beer, took my filled growler and headed home with the accomplishment as of May 17th 2016 at 7:36 am Mountain Standard Time that I have completed visiting all the breweries in the town of Missoula Montana. We will see how long this accomplishment holds up as I am sure there are already more breweries on the horizon of Missoula’s beer scene. And of course I am OK with that as it will give me another reason to visit Missoula.
Imagine Nation Brewing is located 1151 West Broadway. They are open Monday through Friday 2pm – 8pm and Saturday – Sunday 12 pm – 8 pm. Remember Montana beer laws require tasting rooms to stop serving beer at 8 pm and must be consumed by 9 pm. Growlers can be sold up until 9 pm but can not be consumed at the brewery.