The Dram Shop

The Dram Shop

By in Tasting Event, What's on Tap 0

Belgian Beer Week!

Belgian Beer Week—Sat. Feb. 28th-25th

Brewing in Belgium dates back to the first crusades, and ever since the country has maintained a strong tradition of brewing extraordinarily unique beers. American craft brewers have taken on many Belgian styles with some success, but the original Trappist and Abbey breweries of Belgium retain a distinct character that sets them apart. We have chosen an array of Belgian Styles, both imported and domestic, to try and give an overall picture of the beer of Belgium. There are definitely some styles missing here, notably more Sour beers and Lambics, but we plan on covering more of those beers during our Sour Week this summer!  

Here we have a run down of beer that we will be pouring, including a short description of each style. We’re getting thirsty already!

Selkirk Abbey Chapel 4.9% ABV – Belgian Whitbier: A Belgian Style ale that’s very pale and cloudy in appearance due to it being unfiltered and the high level of wheat, and sometimes oats, that’s used in the mash. Always spiced, generally with coriander, orange peel, or herbs in the background. The crispness and slight twang comes from the wheat and the lively level of carbonation. This is one style that many brewers in the U.S. have taken a liking to and have done a very good job of staying to style.

Viven Imperial IPA 8.0% ABV – Belgian Imperial IPA: Take an India Pale Ale and feed it steroids, and have a Belgian brewer brew the beer. Although open to the same interpretation as its sister styles, you should expect something robust, malty, alcoholic and with a strong hop profile married to the complex earthy flavors that come with a Belgian beer.

Delerium Tremens 8.5% ABV – Belgian Strong Pale Ale: Like a Belgian Pale Ale, the strong versions will also be pale to golden in color. What sets them apart is a much higher alcohol content that can range from hidden to spicy to devastatingly present. Expect a complex and powerful ale, yet delicate with rounded flavors and big, billowy, rocky, white head.

Boulder Good Trip 9.0% ABV – Belgian Tripel: The name “Tripel” actually stems from part of the brewing process, in which brewers use up to three times the amount of malt than a standard Trappist “Simple.” Traditionally, Tripels are bright yellow to gold in color. Head should be big, dense and creamy. Aroma and flavor is complex and spicy with a sweet finish. Tripel’s can be quite bitter for a beer with such a light body, but at times is barely perceived amongst the even balance of malts and hops.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 12.0% ABV – Belgian Quad: Inspired by the Trappist brewers of Belgium, a Quadrupel is a Belgian style ale of great strength with bolder flavor compared to its Dubbel and Tripel sister styles. Typically a dark creation that ranges within the deep red, brown and garnet hues. Full bodied with a rich malty palate. Sweet with a low bitterness yet a well perceived alcohol.

Cuvee De Jacobins Prestige 7.1% ABV – Flanders Red Ale: Flanders Reds are commonly referred to as the “red” beers of West Flanders. Belgian Red Beers are typically light-bodied brews with reddish-brown colors. They are infamous for their distinct sharp, fruity, sour and tart flavors which are created by special yeast strains. Very complex beers, they are produced under the age old tradition of long-term cask aging in oak, and the blending of young and old beers.

Come in for a growler fill or pint, or get a flight of all six for just $12. 

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”

Barleywine Week!

We’re winding up for our monthly style feature here at the shop, and this month, due to the final cold stretch of winter laid out before us, we’ve decided to feature barleywine. Starting Sunday, February 14th, we’ll be featuring 6 different varieties of barleywine. It’s a style that weighs in heavily when it comes to flavor and alcohol content. Large grain bills and generous hop additions lead to big ales, that can be as delicate and distinctive on the palate as fine wine. These ales are also fit for aging for multiple years.

This last fact seems fitting, as the first known references to barley wine date back to ancient Greece. Greek historian Xenophon (sweet name we know) makes mention of barley wine being stored and consumed on a regular basis. These earlier versions would be unlike modern barleywine however as the use of hops was not documented until centuries later. Something tells us these Greek versions were both big and funky.

Style wise, barleywine breaks down along English and American lines. As is somewhat standard in the craft beer world, American versions tend to be more aggressively hopped, while english versions rely on deep malting and more subtle balance. This leaves both versions at similar alcohol by volume percentages, but vast difference in flavor profile and visual appearance. English barleywines can be amber, to deep amber, even to very dark. American barleywines are usually honey colored or even lighter, with amber and red amber being on the dark end. They are all big beers, meant to warm in your glass as you sip slowly and let the burn of the alcohol settle in your stomach.

One more quick aside here, for those of you who like splitting hairs (a favorite pastime of ours)….Barley wine has traditionally been written as two words in britain, and dating all the way back to it’s origins. This makes sense linguistically if it is being described as a type of wine, with ‘barley’ as the qualifier. Legend has it that when Anchor Brewing Company brewed the first significant barleywine on American soil in 1976 (Old Foghorn it’s called), they decided to make it one single word, so that it would not be confused with wine made from grapes in the marketplace. We think it was a wise move, and for the record, we have decided editorially to side with our new world brethren and keep with the tradition. Ok, end of rant.

On that note, we’d like to introduce our starting lineup of barleywines, starting Feb. 14th:

Grand Teton – 2012 Oak Aged Barleywine: 
10.0% ABV – Victor/ID
Brimming with bold flavors of bittersweet malt and heaps of aggressive hops, this barleywine was part of Teton’s annual holiday ‘Coming Home’ series. It was aged in Oak for two years, and then has been aged in stainless since 2014. A rare treat indeed.

Bozone – Wee Nip Barleywine: 9.0% ABV – 100 IBU – Bozeman/MT
Wee Nip boast piney and citrusy hop aromas, and a subtle blend of three specialty malts keeping the beer in balance. A more conservative approach to the alcohol content keeps this brew a little more approachable than other big beers.

Stone – Old Gaurdian Barleywine: 11.2% ABV – 80 IBU – Escondido/CA
The maltiness of this beer is only tamed by a prodigious addition of hops, creating a rich, slightly sweet, ale infused with assertive bitterness and bright hop notes, all culminating in a pleasing dryness.

Rogue – New Crustacean Barlywine/IPA: 11.3% ABV – 88 IBU Newport/OR
Not quite a barley wine and not quite an imperial IPA. Featuring 8 Ingredients: Weyermann & Bohemian Malts; Bravo, Amarillo, Falconer’s Flight & Horizon Hops; Free Range Coastal Water & Pacman Yeast.

New Belgium – Blackberry Barleywine: 10.0% ABV – 50 IBU – Fort Collins/CO
Blackberry Barleywine channels the elegant spirit of a classic English barleywine, but with a kiss of blackberry. A deep wash of caramelized sugar and toasted bread, courtesy of Caramel Munich malts, adopts subtle laces of floral fruit for a proper pairing.

Moylans – Old Blarney Barleywine: 10.0% ABV – Navato/CA         
Our Barleywine Style Ale is a rich and heavy ale brewed to a high gravity. Massive body, mouthfeel and hoppiness. Barleywines are the “brandy” of the ale world. A great sipping ale, and a perfect finish to any meal.

Ask us about our flights too!

 

 

By in News, What's on Tap 0

Smurfs and Beer…Seriously!

This past March, The Mighty Mo Brewing Co. (in Great Falls, MT) held a homebrew contest, and the winner was a Smurf. Seriously. But it’s not quite that simple. The style of beer was a Belgian Saison—a beer brewed with belgian yeast and featuring funky, sweet, and peppery overtones. The beer was brewed by Missoula’s Clint Nissen, and he has his kids to thank for the name.

As he was trying to think up a name, his kids were watching The Smurfs cartoon. So he decided to google Smurf. It turned out to be a Belgian cartoon, and the Saison had a name.

The prize for winning the contest for Clint was to go into The Mighty Mo Brewing Company and brew a batch of ‘Smurf’ on their brewing System. With only 20 kegs available, we were thrilled when Clint called to see if we wanted to serve a keg of the Saison at The Dram Shop in Missoula so that we could give everybody a chance to give it a try.

We’ll be tapping the homebrew keg of Saison this Wednesday June 3rd! Come on by have a pint!

Check out the article in the Great Falls Tribune about the contest!

By in What's on Tap 0

What’s on Tap!

We’re excited to feature our draught menu online!

HERE is a link to the over 35 beers, wine, cider and soda we have on tap. This is updated daily so you can always check to see what we’re pouring!

Next up, our bottle menu will be added too! We carry over 30 options of craft beer, cider (and non-alcoholic beverages) that you can enjoy in the shop or take with you. This list is growing day by day so keep your eyes peeled!

If you have requests for draft or bottled beer that you would like us to carry, please post to our Facebook page.

Cheers!

Beerposter

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.