When people think of craft beer travel destinations, many thing of spots like San Diego, California or Portland, Oregon. Well, I’m here to tell you that the rest of the country has caught up with the long time favorites, and you’d be best served exploring some new emerging craft beer scenes. One place you should book this year would be a trip to Montana. Unlike the hustle and bustle of large Metropolitans, you can experience craft beer in the fresh country air with unspoiled nature.. We have teamed up with Montana Tourism to introduce a handful of must-visit craft beer destinations within the great state of Montana.
May is Montana Beer Month and a great time to celebrate the state’s wide variety of local brewers. With the fourth highest amount of craft breweries in the country and a wealth of local ingredients, Montana is a thriving hotspot for beer lovers. Using locally grown wheat and barley, fresh glacier water, and Montana hops, brewers pride themselves on providing a unique taste in every beer they serve. Visitors can tour breweries or enjoy the local brews at restaurants and taprooms across the state. In May the state celebrates the start of summer with a number of craft beer festivals, but these beers can be enjoyed all year round. These local craft beers and delicious dishes to pair them with will help you celebrate Beer Month, or any month, in style.
Mighty Mo Brewing Company: Dam Fog
Mighty Mo Brewing Co. takes inspiration from the Missouri River, which runs through the central Montana city of Great Falls. Using the water of the mighty Missouri, this brewery prides itself on continuing the tradition of Montana brewers of the past. Those interested in beer with smooth and satisfying flavor should try Mighty Mo Brewing’s flagship beer Dam Fog, named for the fog-like mist the Great Falls of the Missouri River produce when the water comes off the dam. This beer goes nicely with fish, which you can find at Dante’s Creative Cuisine on the north side of Great Falls. This restaurant sits in a converted ironworks building and serves a variety of delicious dishes, including its famous bronzed halibut.
Angry Hanks Brewing: Street Fight Imperial Red Ale
Angry Hanks is a brewpub in the heart of downtown Billings. The beers at Angry Hanks have their roots in Montana’s vibrant natural resources, from water sourced from the Yellowstone River, in-house grown yeast, and Montana-grown barley. This brewpub is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a summer day in Billings, offering a friendly and open environment. Make sure to try the Street Fight Imperial Red Ale, a deep red brew that’s low in hop bitterness and high in caramel flavor. If you’re looking to pair this beer with dinner, head to The Fieldhouse just a few blocks away. This environmentally-conscious restaurant uses local ingredients to create mouth-watering dishes. Have your ale with The Fieldhouse’s signature meatloaf, complete with their delicious huckleberry chipotle ketchup.
Great Northern Brewing Company: Wild Huckleberry
What could be better than a cold drink with the flavors of Montana’s sweetest fruit? Great Northern Brewing Company is an award-winning craft brewery located in Whitefish. This brewery has become a regional leader in craft brewing. To get the true taste of Montana, try the Wild Huckleberry, an American Wheat Lager that captures the flavor of the state with pure glacial water, northwest hops, and the juice of handpicked Montana huckleberries. This is a refreshing and satisfyingly sweet drink that will have visitors calling for a second round. Then take a trip to Loula’s Cafe, which emphasizes made-from-scratch dishes and fresh, local ingredients. Loula’s chicken pot pie uses the restaurant’s famous piecrust to create this can’t-miss meal. And don’t forget dessert: a large slice of huckleberry pie.
Meadowlark Brewing Company: Badlands Extra Pale Ale
Meadowlark Brewing opened in 2014 in the north-eastern town of Sidney and has since become a state favorite, offering beers that are sure to satisfy any taste. While Meadowlark Brewing is relatively new to the craft beer scene, it has quickly gained popularity and received positive reviews from BeerAdvocate. Visitors are welcome at the brewery’s public house where they can enjoy on tap favorites and a large menu of appetizing dishes. One of Meadowlark’s signature brews, Badlands Extra Pale Ale, takes its name from Sidney, which sits where the Montana badlands meet the plains. This satisfying beer combines the best of pale ale malt profiles and the flavors of an IPA, creating a fruity beer without the bitterness. For those having their Badlands Extra Pale Ale at the Public House, pair it with Meadowlark’s Baja fish tacos, a meal that’s sure to satisfy.
Quarry Brewing: Open Pit Porter
After a 35-year absence, Quarry Brewing revived Butte’s longstanding tradition of handcrafted brewing in 2007. Quarry Brewing has since received rave reviews from beer lovers throughout the country. Every month the brewery offers “Pints and Pilates,” where visitors can enjoy a stimulating Pilates class followed by a delicious pint. For those who enjoy a dark beer, try the Open Pit Porter, which has slightly sweet chocolate overtones and smooth richness that many compare to mocha coffee. Pair this with a tender ribeye at Park 217, a locally-owned restaurant that combines fine dining with a comfortable, stylish atmosphere.
Bitter Root Brewery: Bitter Root IPA
Located in the heart of the Bitter Root Valley in the town of Hamilton, Bitter Root Brewery offers a collection of craft beers and a large menu to feed your appetite. While you’re there, make sure to order the Bitter Root IPA on tap. This beer is full of flavor and is made with Montana-grown barley and Citra hops. Match the hoppy flavor with the Leeky Goat burger, topped with local goat cheese, fried leeks, and sweet huckleberry mustard.
Looking for more ways to explore Montana’s best microbreweries? These tours take visitors across Montana’s cities for a taste of all the local craft brews.
Bozeman: Gear Belly
How do you make a brewery tour even better? Spend a day downtown visiting Bozeman’s breweries, distilleries, and cider houses with Gear Belly, which offers pub bike tours. These guided tours last three hours and take visitors to destinations such as Bozeman Brewing Company, Bozeman Spirits Distillery, White Dog Brewing Company, and more. This is truly the best way to experience Bozeman, give your legs a workout, and get a taste of some of Montana’s greatest brews.
Missoula: Tap Room Tours
Visit Missoula’s best breweries and distilleries with a chauffeured bus ride from Tap Room Tours. This excellent day tour takes visitors to a number of local hotspots, including the famous Big Sky Brewing Company, Kettle House Brewing, and more. Tap Room Tours also offers Bitterroot Hop On tours, where visitors can explore the nearby Bitterroot Valley and its unique microbreweries. Driving in sight of the mountains stretching along the horizon, this tour combines delicious craft beers with incredible views of Montana.
Billings: Brewery District Walking Tours
Looking to explore on your own pace? Take a walk through the brewery district of Billings, a 1.5 mile route that passes six breweries and two distilleries. Beginning at Yellowstone Valley Brewing and ending at the award-winning Montana Brewing Company, this self-guided walking tour takes visitors through the heart of downtown Billings, and includes a variety of local landmarks to combine history with your beverages.