The Dram Shop

brewery

Wheat Beer Week!

Summer is upon us, and what better time to feature Wheat Beers! These crisp and refreshing beers are perfect for this time of year. They feature low alcohol content, but do not come up short on flavor. There are many modern versions of wheat beers that vary from fruit infused to hop crazy. We’ve featured what we hope is a nice balance of old and new world examples of this classic style of beer. Here’s a tiny snippet of background information, just so you’re not flying blind here:

Wheat beers fall into two major categories: German weizenbier, of which the better known hefeweizen is a type, and Witbier, the Dutch version which is based on the Belgian brewing tradition of using coriander and orange peel to add depth of flavor profile. The main characteristic of wheat beers however, is that they use at least 50% wheat in the grain bill, cutting down on the malted barley used. The increased amount of wheat, containing higher protein than barley, result in a thicker, longer lasting head, as well as a ‘phenolic’ character which comes across as flavors of spice, banana, and sometimes herbs.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to wheat beers, as berliner weisse, gose, and lambic are also included under the umbrella of wheat beers, among others. But, it’s hot and we’re thirsty so here’s our line up for Wheat Beer Week at the shop:

Hofbräu Hefe Weizen
5.1% ABV – Munich/Germany                              
Back in 1602 Weissbier could only be brewed by ducal privilege. It was Munich’s first Hefe Weizen. Hofbräuhaus enjoyed this exclusive right for nearly 200 years, thus holding a monopoly on Weissbier in Bavaria. Characterized by its sparkling rich foam and distinguished by its unforgettable refreshing and fruity taste.

Hoegaarden Witbier
4.9% ABV – Hoegaarden/Belgium
500 years went into making this beer that features the aroma of orange peel, coriander and herbs that the merry monks imported from sunny Curacao. Light yellow and naturally murky, and the soft foam adds a cloudy finish. Then there’s the soft taste, light and slightly sweet and sour and with subtle citrus notes.

Selkirk Abbey Chapel
4.9% ABV – 20 IBU Post Falls/ID
Selkirk Abbey’s classic Belgian witbier is light in body and delightfully easy-drinking; brewed with orange peel and coriander to provide a kiss of citrus that’s sure to be refreshing any time of the year.

Highlander Wolf Point Strawberry Wheat
5.0% ABV – 18 IBU Missoula/MT
This classic fruit forward wheat beer from Highlander Brewing features a huge strawberry aroma, mild fruit taste, and soft mouth-feel. Look for biscuit overtones and a smooth, creamy head.

Lone Peak Raspbeery Wheat
3.9% ABV – 23 IBU Big Sky/MT
No overwhelming sweetness here, just crisp raspberry goodness. Adding the Oregon raspberries while our yeast are still active means the little guys take care of all that extra sugar before it gets into keg. The result is a refreshing beverage meant for the heat of summer.

Meadowlark Teddy Roosevelt – American Badass – Barrel Aged Wheat Imperial IPA
7.9% ABV – 95 IBU Sydney/MT
Brilliant gold topped with a mountainous white foam head. This Imperial Wheat IPA is smooth-bodied with hop characteristics of pine and stone fruits. Oak-aging lends a vanilla or almond-like flavor and aroma and smooths out the beer’s bitterness and warmth.

Flights of 6 for $12, or available by pint

Cheers!

By in Behind the Scenes, Events, News 1

10 Things I Learned in the First Year of Business

by Zach Millar, owner of The Dram Shop in Missoula, MT

There are no known unknowns.
Simple right? The fact is, you don’t know what you don’t know. So keep an open mind, and be ready for your perceptions to change. A lot.

You are your best (and often times only) advocate.
You better get used to getting out there and fighting for your dream. Nobody else is going to take over while you sit on the couch and watch Seinfeld reruns.

Lean on your friends.
They’ll want to help you, and you’ll need them. A lot of your network will likely be really excited about your endeavor. Enthusiasm is contagious, so put them in coach.

Be nice.
This seems obvious, but just remember, you don’t know everything. You don’t even know that you don’t know everything yet (see #1). So be nice to EVERYBODY. Chances are you’re going to need their help sometime soon (see #3). And if you do make it through the startup crucible, you’re likely going to owe them a truckload of thank you’s.

Listen to your elders.
Also, listen to your youngers. Heck, listen to anybody who is willing to take the time to give you advice. It’s really important to remember where your scope of knowledge lies. For us, it was somewhere between breakfast and lunch, and we were lucky to get a lot of great advice.

Make fear your friend.
You’re going to need to get used to your fight or flight instinct, because it’s going to follow you around. It probably is already. You’re taking risks. Sometimes really big risks, and there will be times when every sinew in your body will be telling you to split and head for Mexico. Also, Mexico can be a very useful motivational tool.

Be ready.
Running your shiny new business is a lot different than starting your new business. You’re going to have to make a lot of adjustments as you go along, and you don’t want to get caught flat footed. So try not to get too attached to the little things you’ve accomplished along the way. You probably screwed them up and are going to have to go back and redo them.

Study up.
Chances are you’re going to become an expert on a subject that to date you know nothing about. Take parking requirements for example. Not only are they are super interesting, turns out they are kind of important. You’ll be way better off if you can discover problems before they become problems. (See #1)

Keep going.
If you’re anything like us, there will be some doubts. OK, a lot of doubts. You have to learn to put them in a box and throw it off of a very tall building. You can do it. One foot in front of the next.

Success is a trip to the grocery store.
Things get busy and crazy. Really busy and really crazy. When things finally calm down enough that you can do normal, everyday activities without a sneaking suspicion that total disaster lies around every corner, you’ve arrived. You probably just won’t be sure where it is that you’ve arrived at. It doesn’t matter, you’re probably leaving first thing in the morning.

Upcoming Events:

Sunday, April 10th: Patagonia Worn Wear Event Happy Hour and Film 6-9pm

Saturday, April 16th: Cider Tasting featuring Montana CiderWorks

Sunday, April 17th: Saison Week Kick-off and Super Tuscan Wine Tasting

Thursday, April 21st: Firestone Walker Brewery Missoula Release and Tap Takeover

Saturday, April 30th Craft Beer Week Kick-off

CraftBeer.com votes The Dram Shop the “Best Beer Bar in Montana”

By in Behind the Scenes, What's on Tap 0

What is Cask-Conditioned Beer?

Ever wonder what that sideways keg and crazy tangle of beer tubes is that you see at the front of The Dram Shop every weekend? Well, you’ve come to the right place! What we’ve got here is a bonafide explainer on what is called Cask Beer.

Cask case

Our Cask Case

Cask-Conditioned beer, which is unfiltered and unpasteurized, is served from a traditional cask without additional nitrogen or carbon dioxide (CO2) pressure. What is a cask you ask? A cask is simply a term for a container that has been used dating back to Babylon in 424 BC, where there is reference to ‘casks of wine’. During the Iron Age, Northern European Celts developed wooden casks held together by a band of metal. This basic design is still used today, although most casks of beer are now stainless steel.

By the 17th Century, bottled beer was commonplace, although expensive. The bottles were mostly consumed by elites who eschewed the common pubs for their rowdy publicans and tumultuous environment. For commoners however, it was off to the pub for a bit of the pint, and the beer that was drunk came right off of a cask. As beer styles became lighter and lower in alcohol, it became more of a challenge to keep them preserved in a cask. Louis Pasteur’s sterilization coupled with more modern refrigeration methods certainly helped in warmer climates, but in many cooler parts of the north, traditional cask beer remained largely unchanged.

Okay, let’s back up for a minute and go over some of the things that make cask beer unique. A cask is quite a bit different from a keg. First off, there is no downtube ensuring every last drop is used. Casks are designed to capture yeast and other large particles in the bottom as the beer is poured off. Kegged beer is filtered, fined, or centrifuged, making this action superfluous. Secondly, kegs use ‘head pressure’ provided by CO2 being pushed onto the beer to force it out of the faucet.

Cask beer is served one of two ways. If the cask is on a counter or bar top, a spigot is used to simply let gravity fill the glass. If the cask is stored below, a ‘beer engine’ is used to suction the beer up and into a waiting glass. In this instance, casks would traditionally be kept in a cellar, remaining at 55 degrees, the traditional temperature that cask beer is served at. At The Dram Shop, we keep our casks in our cask case at the front of the shop, which is chilled down to our lovely 55 degrees.

So that mostly covers the hardware part. Next, let’s talk about the beer itself. By the 1970s, the majority of draught beer was artificially carbonated, pasteurized, and filtered. That means that the beer is brewed and fermented normally. Then, when the beer is ready, it is heated to 161 degrees, run through a filter that removes all of the large particle proteins and sugars, and force carbonated with CO2 to augment any shortcomings. You end up with a clean beer that has an extended shelf life before turning sour. In order to make cask beer, you would capture beer in a cask after primary fermentation. At this point additional yeast and sugar or some kind of sweetener are added for a secondary fermentation inside the cask. Finings are added to assist in the dropping out of the yeast as well. Often times brewers add adjuncts at this point, such as hops, fruit, or other flavor enhancing ingredients. All of these additions stay in the cask, making for a cloudy appearance and often times a bigger mouth feel and more complex flavor profile.

In 1973, The ‘Campaign For Real Ale’(CAMRA) was started and a movement back towards the roots of cask beer had begun in earnest. The qualifying definition is: “beer brewed from traditional ingredients, matured by secondary fermentations in the container from which it is dispensed, and served without the use of extraneous carbon dioxide.”

We love serving cask-conditioned beer at the shop and tap a new cask every Friday afternoon! The casks are from local brewers at Big Sky Brewing Co. and KettleHouse Brewing Co. We get to help come up with some crazy recipes that are fun to drink!

Tapping the cask

This Friday, we will be tapping a ‘Cherry-Chocolate Moose Drool’ that ought to be pretty delicious! Come see us this weekend and we’ll have fun trying some cask-conditioned beer together!    

 

 

By in Events, Gallery, News 0

First Friday: Photography by Joey Early

We have to say, we were thrilled when Joey Early presented us with the idea of traveling around Western Montana and taking portraits of various breweries and their brewers. We immediately recognized that bringing representations of all these breweries together at The Dram Shop almost exactly mirrored our ideas about what we aim to be to the brewing community. And we’re hoping this show will be a way for all of the area brewers, breweries, and their fans, to celebrate the unbelievable dedication to craft demonstrated in Western Montana’s local beer.

Joey has put together a collection of portraits taken with his medium format camera. Breweries included in this show: Blacksmith, Draught Works, Philipsburg, Big Sky, Great Northern, Wildwood, KettleHouse, and Great Burn.

In addition to the portraits that we’ll on display at the shop, Joey also captured some behind-the-scenes images of brewers doing their thing. We think they’re awesome, and here’s a few that we couldn’t help but post straight away.

Photo by Joey Early

Photo by Joey Early

Photo by Joey Early

Photo by Joey Early

Photo by Joey Early

Photo by Joey Early

So come down to The Dram Shop on Friday, August 7th and help us celebrate! We couldn’t be prouder to be showcasing Joey’s work, and we’re looking forward to the chance to give him a tip of the hat, and perhaps a tip of the glass.

Want to learn more about Joey Early? Here is his bio statement:

“I believe in simplicity, I believe in telling stories, I believe in truth and I believe in the power of being monochromatic.

Photography is one of few constants in my life. It is a driving force behind many of my life choices and big decisions, it is what brought my wife and I together. Photography both helps me remember and allows me to forget, it has been there for me when I needed it and at times has been a distraction. No matter where I am, or what I am doing, I feel at home with a camera in my hands. That is why I photograph.”

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