Random Beer Shots (and notes) for Your Viewing Pleasure

Some days blog posts darn near write themselves.  Other days, not so much. So, until the next idea strikes, here for your viewing pleasure are some random, recent beer shots.

First up is a Headwall Double IPA from Tamarack Brewing Co. at their Missoula location.  It’s an excellent full bodied bunch of hop goodness over a strong malt backbone.  We dubbed this a “freakishly good beer” when we first had it in 2009 and it’s maintained that quality. Unfortunately, it’s gone for now.

Next is a very interesting brew from Rogue Ales, a John John Hazelnut aged in rum barrels. Yes, you can definitely taste the rum and its associated spiciness. Quite a twist on the much more common aging in whiskey barrels.

If pumpkin ales are more your beer spice of choice, Blacksmith Brewing Co. in Stevensville has a very good one.  It not only boasts a perfect pumpkin color, but a great balance of a smooth, easy drinking brown ale like quality with nutmeg and other spices. 

Last year, Kettlehouse Brewing Co. kicked out a fresh hop ale dubbed Garden City Pale Ale that flew out the kegs.  It was that good and we took home our fair share of it.  This year proved how finicky hops can be when you’re relying on collecting random plantings from around town.  Missoula’s weather is usually very conducive to hop growing, but not this year.  Many hop plants didn’t produce and it left Kettlehouse unable to add much aroma hops, one of the qualities that created such a great version last year.  The result was a good pale ale, but lacked the wow factor from last year.

Anyone a fan of German-style rauchbiers (smoke beer)? This one will play tricks on your mind.  Every rauchbier I’ve ever tried has been dark brown or black.  Think Alaskan Smoked Porter.  But as you can plainly see from this picture, Rogue Ales’ Smoke Ale is anything but dark brown or black.  The aroma is of strong charred wood from the campfire that got wet.  Strong flavors of peated malt paired with liquid smoke follow.

And finally, a shot of one of the wall sconces inside Bayern Brewing Co.’s warm and comfortable tap room in Missoula.