In the town of Whitefish, Montana, a half hour from Glacier National Park, and located in the tallest building downtown is the Great Northern Brewing Company Brewery and Draught House.
The ground floor level holds the brewery and a very small bar/swag sales area. Upstairs are several bars, quiet corners, and a “sports room” with darts and other games. The main bar on the upper level has floor to ceiling windows and there are several small balconies from which one can enjoy a beer and view the magnificent scenery.
Eight beers were on tap when I visited. I had to try the Tea Pale Ale or “TeaPA” as it is infused with Earl Grey Tea and bergamot. This is a spring seasonal beer and I was there on the fourth day the beer was released! I didn’t catch any of the tea flavoring when the glass was consumed, but there was a pretty wild aftertaste, much like when drinking Earl Grey tea. This is a pretty hop forward beverage with an IBU of 50. It’s a unique beer, I had never tasted one infused with tea before, but the aftertaste did distract from the enjoyment the first time around.
If I didn’t have such a long drive back to the hotel, I would have tried a Going to the Sun IPA at 54 IBU’s. This is one of Great Northern’s flagship beers and one that is bottled and sold in liquor stores. One of the other Great Northern beers I want to sample is the Wild Huckleberry Wheat Lager, a light lager blended with Montana huckleberry juice.
Western/Northwest Montana has a burgeoning craft beer industry with over two dozen microbreweries in Missoula, Great Falls, Bozeman and environs. In fact, the best beer I had on the trip was locally produced: Missoula’s Draught Works Brewing Scepter Head IPA. This ranks in the top ten of any IPA’s I’ve enjoyed, hitting the right notes of bitterness, hops, citrus, and pine.
The Montana Brewers Association has a Trail Map, and that’s definitely one trail I’d like to “hike” one day.