The Dram Shop

craft beer

By in What's on Tap 0

How to Choose Your Next Beer

Okay, so here’s the situation: You finally managed to organize a group of friends to go out for drinks, and you’ve decided to try a new place with a large number of beers on tap (not going to name any names here). You arrive, and begin to peruse the menu, and there it is; that feeling of paralysis. There’s just too many choices, and you’re not sure what you’ll like. You don’t want to spend your hard earned cash on a beer that doesn’t add up.

Well, here’s some good news about your situation. Contrary to popular belief, craft beer is not snobby. If you’ve thought about bringing pretentiousness to the party you can leave it at home. The truth is, we love to talk about beer. And most people who enjoy craft beer love to talk about it too. All you really need is a starting point. Maybe it’s a beer you like, or a flavor you tasted that one time when you had that beer at your buddy’s BBQ. If you’re telling somebody who knows the beer selection well, chances are they can give you a few options that you’ll love.

The other great thing is that these days there are more and more options of different beers from different breweries, and they are almost all pushing the envelope on style. Basically, there’s never been a wider variety of high quality craft beer than there is right now.

It’ll help however to have a few terms handy, so let’s do a super quick fly by on brewing and beer classifications. Brewers are adding all kinds of crazy ingredients into some beers these days, but in it’s simplest form, there are four main ingredients in beer: water, yeast, grain, and hops. Different beers use different grains, and although barley is most widely used (most ales), wheat (think Hefeweizen and Witbier), and rye are also common. These grains are soaked in water and roasted, making sugars in the grain available. This is important because the yeast is going to be hungry, and it’s going to eat some of the sugars, producing both alcohol and carbonation, and also leaving some uneaten sugars that provide sweetness in the beer. I’ve heard it described as “yeast eats barley, farts beer.” Not the most eloquent description, but not all that inaccurate either.

Speaking of yeast, there are three main types:

  • Top Fermenting Yeast—Used for ales and ferment at higher temperatures.
  • Bottom Fermenting Yeast—Used for Lagers and Pilseners and ferment at lower temperatures.
  • Wild Yeast—Yeast and Bacteria present in the environment used for Belgians, Sours, and Lambics.

Lastly, but certainly not least, we have hops. Although historically used as much for a preservative as an agent*, the modern use of hops is all about flavor and aroma. Hops are added during the brewing process, adding bitterness to the beer and providing a counterpoint to the sweetness from the grains. Hops can also be added afterwards directly into fermenters in a process called dry hopping, which adds a strong hop flavor and aroma, while adding less bitterness to the beer.

We hope this gives you a general understanding of different beers. And remember, if you have any questions, want to compare and contrast some different styles, or just want to talk beer, come see us at the Shop!

*The popular IPA style which stands for ‘India Pale Ale’ are the hoppiest beers out there. This style was originally hopped so much so that the beer could make the trip by boat from Britain to India and not go bad along the way.

 

By in History 0

The Story of the Growler—”Rush the Growler!”

For a lot of folks these days the growler has become a ubiquitous part of life. Often times, the story goes something like this: You have a small herd of growlers roaming around somewhere between your kitchen and garage. You cull a couple from the herd here and there to take down to your local brewery or growler fill station and fill them to the brim with your favorite beverage. You take them home or on an adventure, and enjoy the libation within a few days. You try to remember to rinse them out when they’re empty. We emphasize the word ‘try’ here. Then, they probably roll around in the backseat of your car for a while before being returned to the herd. And the process can begin again…

That story may sound familiar, or maybe not, but the history of the growler in the U.S. has more in common with the way we use them now than you might think. And in many ways, The Dram Shop’s model is more similar historically to the way growlers were used originally in this country.

The use of growlers was, as is usual, a case of necessity being the mother of invention. It may be hard to believe, but there was a time in this country when beer was largely unavailable outside of a tavern or saloon. In the mid 1800’s, with the lack of pasteurization and modern bottling techniques, large scale bottling was practically non-existent. Bottles that were available were out of the price range of ordinary citizens. It sounds crazy, we know. And apparently folks back then thought so too, which is why growlers came to be used.

Growlers originally were buckets made of tin, glass, or pottery that would be brought to a tavern and filled on the spot. The growlers would then be taken to a job site or home, often times by a young men referred to as “bucket boys.”

The "Bucket Boys"

The “Bucket Boys”

The process of growler delivery was called “rushing the growler,” as most growlers had no lids and were to be consumed immediately. This began the tradition of a growler being for fresh beer. We like to think of them as a ‘mobile pitcher’.  Multiple growlers would be carried by hanging the handles on a pole. The pole would then be carried, moving 6-8 growler buckets at once.

Prohibition-rushing-lunch-growlers-beer-pails-1909

As the temperance movement that eventually brought about prohibition in 1920 gained speed, the act of filling growlers was outlawed in as many as twenty cities across the US. The proud tradition then lay dormant until it was revived by the modern craft beer industry in the late 1980’s.

So the next time you stop by The Dram Shop to fill a growler, and you don’t have time to stay for a cold one, just tell us you’d love to stay but you’ve got to “Rush the growler!”

Although we don’t sell tin buckets as growlers, we do sell a variety of glass, insulated and plastic growlers (for wine too!) to fit your needs. Here are our three different size amber glass growlers, and you can find more on our shop page. 

unnamed

Read more about The Dram Shop in the Missoulian’s Business Section and in the Missoula Independent’s recent “12 Things to Love About Missoula” (see #4)

By in Remodel 0

Open For Business!

As we rub the sleep out of our eyes on this Wednesday morning we suddenly realize, The Dram Shop is open!

These last weeks have been a blur of long days and nights, incredible hard work from friends and family, and of course frantic last minute preparations. In fact, we procured our Business License and Certificate of Occupancy around lunchtime on a Thursday, finally got our point-of-sale system set up at 2:30 p.m. and our private opening began at 4:00 p.m. Plenty of time to spare I kept telling myself.

And what has been the best part so far? It’s really hard to say, so maybe I should just stick with the laundry list approach. We’ve dealt with the shock of seeing our saw dust laden construction site go from filthy to beautiful almost overnight. And it turns out, you really can put lipstick on a pig. We’ve gotten to see reactions from friends, family, and colleagues as they see our place for the first time, which is just too much fun. We’ve had the pleasure of being on the receiving end of so many congratulatory messages, it’s overwhelming, but in that awesome way. But the most satisfying thing we’ve seen, is people coming through the front door, ordering a beer, and filling up a growler to take home with them. And it remains a bit hard to believe that we can already provide this service for folks. It seems like only yesterday we were trying to figure out what the best floor plan for our place would be.

Framing the cooler

Framing the cooler

Framing the bar

Framing the bar

Cabinets hung, bar top being built

Cabinets hung, bar top being built

Building shelves, pony walls, bench

Building shelves, pony walls, bench

In truth, there’s really far too many people to thank. We had so much help along the way, it’s really been a very humbling experience. So if you are one of those folks, we can’t really say how much we appreciate the support. And if you’re not one of those folks, well, come on by for a drink and we can fix that problem in a hurry!

Cheers!
Zach and Sarah

Hours:
Tuesday-Thursday 12-9 p.m.
Friday-Saturday 12-10 p.m.
Sunday 12-6 p.m.

 

By in News 0

Our first First Friday: Tom Robertson + The Pearl Pub Grub

This is our first First Friday at The Dram Shop! We’re excited to feature Tom Robertson’s photographs on our walls. We hung his show last week, leveling and straightening right up until the doors opened—making the space complete. Tom’s photos were taken across the Rockies, from Yellowstone to Fernie, and right here in Missoula’s own backyard.

Starting this Friday, we will also be offering a select menu from The Pearl Cafe, located right next door. You can order directly via phone from their special menu “Pub Grub” and they will deliver it to you at The Dram Shop!

unnamed-1

Tom’s bio: Tom Robertson is a freelance photographer, as well as an endurance athlete, outdoor enthusiast and avid adventurer based in Missoula. He especially loves incorporating his fitness with his work, keeping up with world-class athletes as he documents their endeavors. Tom has been recognized nationally and internationally for his projects throughout the United States and Europe. Clients include Saucony, Trek, The North Face, Runner’s WorldBicycling, and Adventure Cyclist

Here’s the sample menu from The Pearl Restaurant:

unnamed-2

 The Dram Shop is now open! Come visit us at 229 E. Front St. (between The Trailhead and The Pearl). Open Tues-Thur 12-9pm, Fri-Sat. 12-10pm, Sundays 12-6pm. 

 

 

 

By in Remodel 0

An Architect’s View

guest post by John Geurts, Project Lead, McNelis Architects

The Dram Shop, a growler fill station and taproom for lovers of craft brewing in downtown Missoula, Montana is well on the way to becoming a reality with the opening now less than two weeks away.

McNelis Architects, recently licensed to practice in the State of Montana, worked with proprietors Zach and Sarah Millar to capture their conceptual vision for a family friendly environment to showcase the well-established local micro brews as well as regional offerings.

Located in the historically designated 100-year-old Missoula Mercantile Warehouse Building, the design defers to the exposed 20 foot tall brick walls and fir timbers. McNelis Architects, with John Geurts as project lead, provided complete architectural, engineering, and interior design services from site selection and initial schematic design through construction management phases including documents for all permitting and construction. Interactive virtual walk-thru renderings and shop drawings were produced in house.

New simply detailed wood and colored surfaces introduce an inviting and engaging feeling into the airy space. Stainless steel and ceramic tile surfaces support the sanitary conditions at the back bar. The carefully designed lighting considerations illuminate the appealing variety of the liquid hues as well as the rotating gallery hangings on the surrounding wall surfaces. The new bar top itself showcases sustainable engineered laminate structural fir which enters a design dialog with the original fir floor.

Plans for future growth were incorporated in the design from the inception. In coming months, new folding glass doors will open and invite patrons to enjoy covered sidewalk seating in the Rocky Mountain air.

Before: Vacant tenant space when the lease was signed with members of the Millar family.

Before: Vacant tenant space when the lease was signed with members of the Millar family.

10172806_279955668841770_148437630419579529_n

Proposed view from the entry.

 

10897989_279955765508427_2566203644335712306_n

Proposed view of the bar with 32 taps.

10406761_279955828841754_4672730045917312664_n

Stud framing for the custom built walk-in-cooler complete with electrical work.

Insulation and drywall underway and cable suspended track lighting complete.

Insulation and drywall underway and cable suspended track lighting complete.

Wall painting in progress and cabinet delivery.

Wall painting in progress and cabinet delivery.

 Completed sheet flooring, and Levi installing the back bar base cabinetry.

Completed sheet flooring, and Levi installing the back bar base cabinetry.

Back bar and bar front installation.

Back bar and bar front installation.

Bar installation and setting the cask keg display case.

Bar installation and setting the cask keg display case with Damian Mast & Co.

Follow McNelis Architects on Facebook

 

By in History 1

What is a Dram?

Why exactly did we name our place ‘The Dram Shop’ you may be wondering? Well, it’s sort of a long story, so here goes. First off, we love the term. Second, our business happens to be located in the Historic Missoula Mercantile Warehouse Building, and we like to think that sets us up within a unique historical perspective. And it turns out the history of the term ‘dram’ is rich.

Missoula Mercantile Warehouse. Photo taken between 1900-1910.

Missoula Mercantile Warehouse. Photos taken between 1900-1910.

unnamed-4

Here’s what you need to know in order to wow your friends at the next BBQ:

From its origin, a ‘dram’ refers to a unit of measurement. Most folks who are familiar with the term relate it to its more recent Celtic application, referring to a ‘thimble full’, usually of liquor. But more accurately, the term was used in the modern apothecaries system until the mid-20th century, even here in the U.S., defined as exactly 1/8th of an ounce.

If you follow the term further into the past however, you find that it dates back to the term ‘drachma’ in ancient Greece. It was used for both a measure of weight and the name for a coin. Often times, it was used to mean a “handful’, as a unit of measurement. Now that’s an awesome measurement, and don’t think we haven’t thought about it!

But back to our story… Romans subsequently used the term ‘dram’ for a unit of measurement, and also as a noun for currency. This usage was followed by the Ottoman Empire, and then the Celts. It’s still used today in several Middle Eastern nations, as well as in Armenia as the name of its modern currency, the Drachma.

It’s a long history we know. But, we think it’s a great fit. We’re selling beverages that are enjoyed by many people from all over the world, and we’re selling them in specific units of measurement, right here on historic Front Street.

So the next time somebody asks you; “What’s a Dram anyway?” you’ll have something to talk about.

unnamed-3     unnamed-2
Selection of new glassware and growlers … Get yours now!

NOW OPEN —> Sign-up for our newsletter and stay in touch!