Craft Beer in South Western Montana

Our Lady of the Rockies watches over the people of Butte Montana. This is the largest statue in the Western United States.   (Photo Montana Outdoor)

 

On a recent trip with a dear friend, I managed to visit all of the breweries in and around Butte, Montana. Just before that I had reached my 500th unique brewery with my husband. We enjoy  traveling around to the different breweries when we can and chatting with the owners and brewers. While we have met some incredibly hospitable folks in the last few years, nothing parallels the humbled hospitality of the people in South Western Montana.

The brewers of Butte Brewing Company brewing the famous IPA. (Photo Butte Facbook page)

We started out at Butte Brewing Company and enjoyed the Nelson, Gold Digger Blonde, and the Pale Ale. I was bummed that I was just missing the IPA, but I guess that means I will have to go back! We had a great little chat with the head brewer, owner, and brewers assistant. Butte Brewing Co. opened it’s doors in 2015 after the original Butte Brewing Co. had shuttered for more than fifty years.

My tour continued onto Muddy Creek where we tried their taster tray- the Crazy Beautiful Pale Ale was the fav. The taproom is located in the upstairs of an old building right in downtown Butte. They make it easy for beer travelers to take their favorite beers home in these small, plastic, recyclable bottles.

The brew house at the Vault (the taproom) at Philipsburg Brewery in Montana.

On day two of my tour we headed out to Philipsburg Brewery. The brewery and taproom are located right off the main drag in town. They opened the brewery in 2012. Up the road they have the main brewery and production facility where they brew and can (aluminum bottles) all of the beers for the wholesale market. The large brewery is a 50 barrel brew house and sits beside an old hop kiln that was built in the 1870’s. They plan to eventually turn the old hop kiln into their barrel room where they will house all of the wood barrel for their barrel aged and sour beer program.

The original hop kiln next to the 50 barrel brew house where Philipsburg brews most of their beers in Philipsburg, Montana.

The popular Tramway Ale in the aluminum bottles at Philipsburg Brewery in Montana.

The taproom has a cozy feel with tables and bar stools that sit right beside the small brew house allowing guests to feel like they are actually sitting inside the brewery while sipping their beers. Some folks even get to chat it up with Ben (lead brewer) while he is working on the beers.

I met one of the owners at the taproom along with head brewer, Mike, lead brewer, Ben, and sales and marketing gal, Maddy. They were all so kind, taking time out of their day to share the Philipsburg story with me and show me around both facilities. For being in such a country like setting, Philipsurg Brewery is very innovative in the technology they use and the way they package their products- they are the only craft brewery packaging their beers in aluminum bottles. It’s brilliant, they travel well just like cans, and it’s a great way to bring beer camping, boating, or to any other summer activity. The beers are all fantastic! They are all low in alcohol and loaded with flavors. Ben, the lead brewer names all of the beers, so not only does he brew his own line up and assist Mike, he gets to come up with all of the creative, fun names. The whole crew is small, like most successful family owned businesses, they all wear many hats. That aspect made the experience feel more genuine and charming.

Here are the brews I had:

  • Razzui – Oregon raspberries, raspberry wheat. 5.2% ABV
  • Otter water – hefe 4.5% ABV
  • Gonk Amber- amber hybrid 5.8% ABV
  • Corners porter- coffee porter brewed with a pound of coffee 6.6% ABV
  • Irish twins session red 3.7% ABV
  • Ginns Best Bitter – Named after a man who lived off the grid and was kind of scary when you’d first meet him, but was really a very nice guy – similar to a bitter beer, people see the word bitter and think it’s going to taste bitter when in fact it’s actually an older term for a sweeter style beer.
  • Rope Swing – A Saison aged in Chardonnay barrels from Sonoma County! That’s a pretty cool little fact. Their distributor has contacts and clients in Sonoma County so they were able to buy barrels from local wine producers right in my own backyard. Small world. Ben has always wanted to name a summer beer rope swing. Saison means “season” and during the summer season being in the water on rope swings is what people love to do so it made sense.

Philipsburg Brewery is worth the stop if you’re in the area! Great beer, great people.

 

Quarry Brewing – “We Dig Beer”.

The last beer stop of the trip was Quarry Brewing – “we dig beer” is their slogan. I met with Chuck and Lyza Schnabel, owners. Chuck, the brew master showed me through all of their beers on draft as well as a few special beers that he had in barrel. He was diligent with my friend who is not a beer fan, but she does enjoy wine, so he went over several beers with her until finding one that she fell in love with (it was the sour! Most wine people end up gravitating towards the sour beers, they’re more wine-like). 

Chuck is a veteran who ended up in Lakewood Washington working for Rams Restaurant and Brewery. He worked there for a number of years as the head brewer overseeing all of the restaurants beer programs. In 1998 he started the Washington Brewers Guild. Chuck and his wife later decided to move back to Montana to get away from the “rat race”. They settled back in Butte and opened Quarry Brewing in 2007 on Galena Street. When they quickly grew out of that location, they purchased the old Grand Hotel on Broadway in uptown Butte. There they have space for their brew house, the taproom, easy access from the street into the brew house for transporting malt and grain on brew days, a bakery, and a large room that is available for rent for large groups, parties, and special events.

The new brew house at Quarry Brewing.

The upstairs events room in Quarry Brewing. This room can be rented out for special events, parties, dinners, and music.

The building was originally built to be labor temple where masons, construction workers and plumbers would sleep and live, sharing one bed among three men who would switch every eight hours – while one man was sleeping the other two were working. The brewery (the bottom floor) was an old boxing ring: High Altitude Boxing Ring.

The couple cares about the buildings and towns history and has done everything in their power to preserve what they can from reusing heater pieces and old door knobs to create accents in the updated rooms to preserving most of the original tile flooring. The building is stunning, it’s evident that a whole lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into fixing it up and now they can be proud of the brewery space they have built.

The street entrance into the Grand Hotel. The reception area where they kept the library card holder in the back and cut the heater arms and used them in the front of the desk as decor.

The beer is off the charts – and they are all gluten reduced. They use a clarifying agent that they purchase from White Labs in San Diego to create a clearer beer and it happens to be the same agent that is used to make brews that are gluten reduced (just 5 parts per million). Years ago when the mines were active, Butte was about 90% Irish, and the Irish and Italians who originally came to Butte were gluten intolerant – nobody knew it at the time and they couldn’t figure out why they were all getting so sick. In later years, it was discovered that those two heritages had an intolerance to gluten. Chuck and Lyza now brew their beers with little gluten to show homage to the original Butte settlers.

My favorite brews:

The sampler tray at Quarry Brewing in Butte, Montana.

Basalt India Black Ale, Galena Gold, Gneiss IPA, and the Ryolite Rye Pale Ale. They’re all amazing. I bought a growler and left it for my pal to fill up when they return in July :). I can’t wait to return to Butte and visit Quarry again to see what other cool new beers Chuck is working on.

Southern Montana is doing some great things in the craft beer realm, it was a pleasure meeting the people behind the great beers. I can’t wait to return and see all of the new things they are working on!

Cheers!

 

 

 

Shop LOCAL + Eat LOCAL + Play LOCAL

Summertime is about being out in the beautiful outdoors with family and friends enjoying life. Life for me is all about great food, wine, craft beer, and family. There’s nothing better than being in the middle of a vineyard with stunning views soaking up the sun, sipping on something tasty. Being from here, some would think I’d want to get away to enjoy life, but really, life is so good right here in my backyard. I love the idea of hanging out at Trione {or any of the gorgeous wineries in Alexander Valley} enjoying a good, fresh picnic, playing bocce, and letting the day slip away. I’m excited that at Trione we are offering an incentive to keep people local, keep the money in our area… shop at any of these local cafe’s and grocery stores, bring your picnic to the winery, show us your receipt to receive a 10% discount on wine purchases that day!!

Here are the stores:

Big John’s Market

Geyserville Market

Oliver’s Market- Windsor

Jimtown Store

Geyserville Mud

The Dry Creek General Store 

I shop at these places regularly. I love the cold pressed coffee and breakfast sandwich at the Geyserville Mud. The freshly made burritos at the Geyserville Market are to die for. The Jim Town Store and Dry Creek General made killer sandwiches. The lines for these places can get a bit long so be patient, it’s worth it. And…Big John’s Market and Oliver’s have everything you could possibly want to add to any picnic. I love Oliver’s, I go all the time and they’re 2 minutes from my house, so naturally when they opened {just last month}, my life got a little bit better!

Here’s my perfect picnic:

Here is my perfect whole30 compliant picnic:

  • Salami
  • Butter lettuce leaves
  • Roasted red bell peppers & onions
  • Fresh cut baby bells, carrots, and cucumbers
  • Radishes
  • Castelvetrano olives
  • sliced avocado
  • Meyer lemon olive oil & balsamic {for dipping}
  • Roasted red pepper dip
  • strawberries & blackberries
  • tomatoe salad with olive oil
  • fresh fruit flavored water
  • sparkling water with fresh fruit cubes

http://jessposhepny.com/2015/04/fresh-fruit-cubes/

 

Here is more info on Trione’s Summertime special. Enjoy the Summer!!

Grand Teton: Beers & Burgers

I have had beers from Grand Teton and heard a lot about the brewery, but have yet to visit. Max Augustine, a fellow beer lover, contacted me about contributing on Moxie Lady. I figured that a guy who loves to write about craft beer and food, well, why not? Victor, Idaho sounds like a great place to enjoy some cold brews, and after Max’s article, I have added it to my beer travel list!

Beers and Burgers in Victor, Idaho

http://jessposhepny.com/

If you love craft beer and the great outdoors, an excellent place to go is Victor, Idaho. Near the Idaho/Wyoming border at the foot of the Teton Mountain Range, Victor is a great staging point for all sorts of mountain biking, hiking and camping.

Victor, Idaho has more to offer than just being an outdoorsman launch point, they also are the home to a fantastic brewery, the Grand Teton Brewing Company. Despite being an Idaho native and avid craft beer lover, I had yet to sample anything the good folks at Grand Teton had brewed up so I went into this with no idea what to expect. Looking over the tap selection, the first beer I asked to try was the Whiskey Barrel-Aged Black Cauldron because, well, it’s all in the name. It was wondrous, but only having a small sampler would not suffice, so I ordered a glass.

http://jessposhepny.com/

Grand Teton Tap Room

There is, in my opinion, no beer made by humans now or ever before, that is as good as the Whiskey Barrel-Aged Black Cauldron. It is an Imperial Stout that they aged in whiskey barrels, giving it a healthy 10.25% ABV and ~54 IBU and is just the best. As a note, they do not bottle this particular version of Black Cauldron nor do they fill growlers with it. You can only get it on tap, at the brewery. I feel like the words do not exist to describe this brew properly, so I will leave it to you to go there and taste it for yourself.

Shortly after arriving, a man came in and asked the bartender “Do you guys have a session beer?” Prior to this point, I had heard the term but never bothered to inquire further. I soon learned what ‘session beer’ was and gave their version of this Ale 208 a try. Coming in at 4.7% ABV and 16 IBU, it was tasty and easy to drink. I continued to sample the rest of what was on tap and I failed to find a single beer I did not like.

http://jessposhepny.com/

Both my wife and I were hungry prior to going to the brewery and so after we left, we made our way back into town looking for a place to eat. With her in the driver seat (because she was sober) it did not take but 5 minutes in the car before we saw the sign shown above, parked, and went inside. Once again, I was impressed with what we found. A small burger joint playing great music with a friendly staff. I ordered the Yellowstone Burger and my wife had the quarter pound burger with avocado. Now, I read the menu, but being a bit drunk, I guess I failed to realize that a half pound burger is going to be rather large.

http://jessposhepny.com/

 

About Max:

“I am a creative writer at heart but branching out into the world of blogging. A craft beer enthusiast, I love to sample the fine beers of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. My wife Heather has stuck by me through it all and she is the reason for everything positive in my life. Follow me on Twitter @Max_Augustine1”

 

 

Cheers!

International Food Bloggers Conference

I will be boarding a plane at STS tomorrow morning to head to Seattle {A food mecca} for the International Food Bloggers Conference where I am pouring Trione wines and will be blogging and tweeting live about all of the goods.

Follow along with the IFBC on twitter and check out the pretty pictures on Instagram.

I will be tweeting from @Moxie_Lady and @TrioneWinery as well as on Instagram {Moxie_Lady} and {TrioneWinery}. All photos are shot with a Nikon D5100 and Iphone 6Plus. If you like the photos I post of your food during the event, I am happy to share them with you for appropriate credit!

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http://moxielady.org/

I am most looking forward to listening in on these sessions:

– 11:30-12:30 Writing session: Honing the craft by Jess Thomson (Hogwash) LOCATED IN BALLROOM A

– 2:10 – 3:10 PM Writing, Food Photography and Prop Styling
 Andie Mitchell (Can You Stay For Dinner), Aran Goyoaga (Cannelle et Vanille, author, food photographer, food stylist), and Jenn Elliott Blake (A Blog Named Scout and prop stylist). LOCATED IN BALLROOMS A & B

I am bringing some cool schwag to the gift suite on Friday night: wine skins for those who are wanting to bring home a bottle of wine or olive oil from the event {These wine skins are the perfect travel companion and last for many uses} and while supplies last I’ll have Trione external battery chargers for your phone {this works for droids and iphone, all you need is your cord}. If you pick up a gift, please post a photo of yourself with it, or something cool, and tag us with #DrinkTrione. We love to see that people are using our schwag!!

Find me in the 3rd floor foyer on Saturday evening after the conference sessions for the grand tasting wine reception from 5:30-7pm. In the Metropolitan Ballroom I will be pouring at the expo from 7-9pm. Come say hello, post your photos, sip on Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel.

I know there is going to be a lot of great food vendors, awesome gadgets to check out, good people to connect and network with!

See you there!

 

Southwest (Airlines) Porch at The Park Tavern: Atlanta, Georgia

Normally I would not be so blatantly opinionated- I would weave in the positives too, but there were none here.

 

Southwest Porch at Park Tavern 
 
It sounds like southwest is supporting this restaurant and that’s a huge mistake because southwest has high standards. This place should be shut down.
It’s a great location but if the health department doesn’t shut them down then the locals will by not patronizing them because the staff is very rude and poorly managed.
We had a very bad first impression:
the small lot in front was filled with cars but no sign of life
anywhere, so we walked around the back and finally found the hostess.
Hostess said hello and seemed nice but didn’t know the name of the brewery and simply asked us to sit anywhere we’d like.
We walked in and the table in the middle of the restaurant having what appeared to be family meal 4:30pm They OPEN at 4:30pm for service.
We went up to the bar to inquire about their beer and the bartender was quiet, not too responsive, didn’t seem to want us talking to her, and seemed quite rude. We still asked questions about the beer, then each ordered one pint (we asked for a half each but they would not do that…)
Our $4.00 pint was served to us in a plastic cup. Mine was $5.00.
At the tables: everything was already put on: a stack of plates, a bin of forks, chop sticks, and napkins. Menus were ripped and dirty.
It’s was about 95 degrees and humid- the door leading to the restaurant was left open and I watched the staff (I noticed about 16 people) walk by the open door and not ever consider closing it. The hot air proceeded to come inside and that changed the environment greatly.
Did I mention this is a sushi place? They serve raw sushi, rolls, and various other things.
I would think the cool air would be much better in that type of restaurant.
These gals came in while we were sitting at a bar table and asked for a table- the hostess brought them in, asked them to wait, then ask someone else where to sit the ladies because they had a party of 20- something (the room was filled with empty tables and loads of space) coming in shortly. The hostess proceeded to ask the ladies if they had an appointment, they replied no, she then went on to let them know they had a large group coming in soon.
She sat them in an entirely different room.
Then a lady in the back spoke loudly, across the room and said, “NAME, next time don’t ask them where they want to sit, it’s better that way”.
This place had so many flaws.
We grabbed our things and walked out towards the front and saw three of the staff (who I can only assume we’re already on shift) smoking cigarettes. All we could talk about is, “where is the manager??”
A little side note:
When we got back to our car, all of the cars in the very front were still there, yet we were 3 of 5 people (patrons) meaning those cars belonged to employees. That’s a terrible place for employees to park when you’re expecting customers.

Southwest should reconsider being associated with the Park Tavern. I do not recommend this restaurant/brewery. This please operates in a very backwards, no managed manner.

Oskar Blues is killing it!

Oskar Blues just outside of Asheville has been growing and growing and their beers or customer service don’t suffer with the expansion. 

They’ve got class and style from the people they employee to the decor in the taproom. It’s chill, the people are cool and they also make bikes. Their concept is rad- they take care of their employees: they get one free massage per week, free gym membership, and a bike after two years. Who wouldn’t want to stay working for them? The experience is super pleasant and worth the trip out to North Carolina for sure. 

If you’re heading out to NC, make this a priority stop! They’ve got a killer smoker out front, have food trucks, and they rock.

A big Thank you to cellar manager “Big” Ray. He took time out from his busy schedule to tour us around, he was tired and hadn’t had any beer yet- but he was a great host! Brewery number 346. 

#BBC15 

   

 

  

  

Loving North Carolina Beer! 

It’s hot and humid but the beer is cold and delicious! 

   

           

Myriad Gastro Pub: New to San Francisco

Chef and owner Tricia Tracey of Momo’s and Thirsty Bear Brewery, among other restaurants in her 25 year career, comes back to San Francisco from New Jersey to open her very own space: Myriad Gastro Pub. Just in time for the blowing up craft beer scene in and around San Francisco Bay Area, Tracey will feature globally inspired menu with seasonal, local ingredients. The gastropub will have snacks, small plates, and larger portions to pair with the various craft beers she will have on tap. Smaller plates for all palates ranging in price from $6-15 will include intriguing items like bone marrow with sherry demi glaze, tarragon-horseradish gremolata and crostini. YUM!! They’ll serve larger portions ranging from $14-28 each and will include dishes like roasted Halibut, Lamb, and even a Mayan pork stew. The menu will rotate based on what is available.

 

Myriad will have over 40 different wines available and creative house cocktails, but I am most excited to see what the beer selection is like.The Mission district is an ever growing area in San Francisco, home to hipsters and craft beer drinkers alike. Located in the old Nombe space, it’s also not far from my beloved AT&T Park and Cellarmaker Brewery. The concept seems hip and cool without the snobbery that some tapas places can have. I am excited to visit when they open in mid June. Stay tuned for a restaurant review of the food, service, and craft beer list!

http://www.myriadsf.com/index.html

Photo Courtesy of Myriad website.

 

Cheers!

Best Damn Dirty 30 Ever

My husband and I went to my favorite place on earth for my 30th birthday: New York City. We went to see some friends, hang out, eat great food, see the city, and drink beer. My husband had something more up his sleeve…he arranged with Charlie Palmer and his Chef at Aureole a special dinner menu based around all of my favorite foods. He invited three of my favorite people to spend the evening with us and mailed a bottle of my very favorite champagne ever: the Charlie 1985, so we could toast to me with this special wine. It was incredible. Every minute of this evening was special and filled with laughter.

We had a stunning five course meal that incorporated every single thing I love, some things in an obvious way and others not so obvious but very creative. I love carrots, watermelon, pot roast, ahi, foie gras, macadamia nuts, garlic, mustard, celery, truffles, and so many other things… my husband sent this list of what he knows I love and we were “awed”.

Some of the highlights:

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~Foie Gras terrine and pan seared…

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~Wild Dover Sole with black truffles, celery root & apple puree, and whole grain mustard vinaigrette.

http://jessposhepny.com/category/restaurant-reveiws/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~Dry aged rib eye, braised short rib agnolotti {This was the ode to my favorite dish in the world: Pot Roast!} with roasted garlic and miso butter.

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~My birthday dessert… WOW.

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The food was all incredible, rich, artful, and made the entire experience one to remember. BUT one of the best parts of this whole meal was the simple efforts the chef made to accommodate my friend who doesn’t eat seafood and didn’t want to cause a scene by not eating it. They prepared two dishes for him that looked exactly identical to the rest of the tables, only in chicken instead of sole and watermelon instead of ahi, served him first and explained the dish, then served us all. My friends level of comfort wasn’t compromised by the thought of eating fish- it was awesome. We have dined at so many high-end restaurants and never had this personal touch- the chef is brilliant. Dining at Aureole is an experience everyone who has a passion for food should try.

 

 

 

Aureole on Urbanspoon

Ninkasi

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 Ninkasi is a cool spot. They have a nice big outdoor area with fire pits to sit and chill because the inside is rather small. The beers of course, are great. We have been fans of a lot of the beers we get in California but we were super impressed with the single hopped series. 

They do samplers of all their beers and will sell growlers of anything.

Ninkasi Brewery on Urbanspoon