Last night, Alan and I joined some beer-loving friends at The Rhino, Missoula’s premier craft beer bar for an incredible time enjoying the summer evening with great beer. The event was the first-ever ‘Aged Beer Nite,’ the brainchild and collaborative effort between Rhino co-owner, Kevin Head, and Summit Beverage’s leading “beer guy,” Mark Waiss.
“This was an idea Kevin and I were tossing around for about six months,” says Waiss. “We had all these beers from the 1990s and early 2000s that just needed to be consumed.” And consume we did (responsibly, of course).
A $10 fee and proper ID were the only requirements to take part in the tastings. Participants were encouraged to bring out their own beers to share, but it wasn’t required.
What we enjoyed most, other than the fantastic beers, was seeing a mixed crowd of approximately 40 people from college seniors to seasoned craft beer geeks. Matt Long, long-time brewer with Big Sky Brewing Co.
, contributed greatly to the cause by lining up an impressive vertical of Ivan the Terrible Imperial Stout – including some pre-release from the upcoming 2012 version. Matt also brought along a variety of specialty brews that were never released. Eric Hayes and Mike Kelly of Blacksmith Brewing Co. were lucky enough to happen by while out delivering kegs.
While the list of bottles was too long to capture, here’s a recap of some of the bottles that were opened and enjoyed:
Big Sky Brewing:
–MDX (10th Anniversary Moose Drool, an imperial version of Moose Drool from 2004)-Ivan the Terrible vertical (08, 09, 10, 12, yes, we got a sample of the upcoming release!)
-Olde Bluehair barleywine (03, 04, 08)
-Two never-released bottles, including a single-barrel Bluehair aged in a Jim Beam barrel and a Belgian Dark Strong “Imperial Ale” brewed in 2005 and bottled in 2007
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot 1995-1999
North Coast Anniversary X
Old Bawdy Barleywine (1997)
Old Boardhead Barleywine (1999)
JW Lees Harvest Ales (mid-90s to 2003)
09 Abyss, 07 Dissident
Thomas Hardy’s Ale (1989-2000)
Sam Adams Triple Bock (1994)
Anchor Christmas Ale (1998)
Yeti Imperial Stout 2008
HOTD Adam (batch 21)
The majority of these bottles were graciously bestowed on the crowd by Kevin, Mark and Matt. Others trickled in from fellow beer devotees, and though a summer’s eve may not seem like the most ideal and refreshing setting for high-ABV beers, it was a perfect evening to enjoy great beer with fellow fans.
“Isn’t this great?” asks Kevin Head. “We’re going to have to do this twice a year moving forward. People obviously like it.”
We say it all the time on Growler Fills: Beer is Social. So when it comes to beer, people like to share and that’s why an event like this will always be a success. Who’s in for the next one?