2015 BEER DISCOVERY TOUR: Flathead Lake Brewing Co., Missoula, MT (July 9th, Brewery Stop #37) (recovered post) The 37th brewery visited during our cross-country beer discovery tour (click to read about the whole trip) was the Flathead Lake Brewing Company and Pubhouse in Missoula Montana. It was approaching dinner time, and we decided to visit Flathead Lake Brewings downtown Missoula location to get some food and try their lineup. This is a higher-end restaurant and pubhouse with no brewery production on site, but they do have a great setting for hanging out.
The building they are located in has two floors. The upstairs is the ‘sports bar’ type vibe, the first floor room is more for the ‘fine dining’ approach. We did take a look at the upstairs, but decided for the beer tasting and dinner to stick with the first floor. As this was not the first time I’d been to this pubhouse, I was looking forward to trying their beers again, and perhaps some of the guest taps they had available from Blackfoot, Blacksmith, and Big Sky. We settled on a table towards the back of the dining area, and ordered up a round of their tasters and some food.
The food did take a little while to show up, which was fine, as we were doing the tasters first. As with the brewery we were just at, Draught Works, some of their beers were just middle of the road, but nothing ‘bad’. They didn’t really push any of the styles they offered and kept pretty safe with the hop profiles on their APA and IPA’s. Since there isn’t any production on site, we didn’t expect the servers to know much about the brewing processes they use, or speak in depth about their lineup. We were left to figure out their beers from the chalkboard on the wall and the beer list on the table. The primary brewing location is in Woods Bay, north of Missoula which we didn’t have time to visit this trip.
Sadly, they didn’t offer up any of their seasonals the day we were there. We had a good dinner and ordered a pint of a couple of their beers to have with the food when it showed up. I’d say, if you’re in downtown Missoula, and need some decent food and a beer, give them a try. There are a few other breweries within walking distance of this location, so you might not want to go out of your way for the beer. Out of what we tried, I preferred the Fall Equinox. If you’re looking for a spot to get some beer and watch a game, then visit their upstairs bar location. Overall, the beers were ok, nothing special, reviews go right to left as pictured. They do can and distribute across most of the upper-mountain states, so look out for their beers if you’re wanting to give them a try.
|Wild Mile Wheat
Flathead Lake Brewing Company • American Pale Wheat Ale • IBU: 13 • ABV: 5.1% • SRM: 6
MALTS: 2-row pale, wheat, and orange peel
Hazy orange/golden draft with a frothy small bubble head that dropped to a sheen quickly, minimal lacing. The nose is lemons, clove and some spice. The front to mid mouth is brighter orange peel/pith bitterness, some other citrus show up towards the mid. The malts are wet-breads with some corriander and clove showing up on the back where it dries out a bit.
Flathead Lake Brewing Company • India Pale Ale (IPA) • IBU: 53 • ABV: 7.3% • SRM: 16
MALTS: 2-row pale, wheat, caramel, Vienna, and honey malts.
HOPS: Zythos and Centennial.
Amber draft with a minimal white large bubbly head, dropps to a sheen quickly, some spidery lacing present. The nose is earthy and spicy. Front to mid mouth is solid bodied, lots of carbonation, strong citrus pith and strong bitterness, mid to back has some floral and pine notes showing up. The mouthfeel is great, but the hops fade behind the caramel malts towards the back.
Flathead Lake Brewing Company • Imperial IPA • IBU: 73 • ABV: 8.6% • SRM: 15
MALTS: 2-row pale, wheat, and caramel.
HOPS: Simcoe and Cascade.
Amber draft with a solid white foamy head, some retention and good lacing on the rim. Nose is juicy fruits, grapefruit to orange and pineapple. The front mouth is a dry citrus explosion followed up with pine resins and dried pithy notes. The spices show up on the mid to back with the caramel malts that help along the strong hop profile to be more balanced on the tongue. Dries out on the back, bitters linger well past the swallow.
Flathead Lake Brewing Company • Brown Ale • IBU: 21 • ABV: 7.4% • SRM: 30
MALTS: 2-row pale, white wheat, caramel, chocolate malts, and tangerine peel.
Dark brown draft with a tan small bubbly head that had some retention to the end and lots of lacing on the rim. The nose is rich with roasted chocolates and coffee hints. The front mouth is complex with some citrus and pine lying on top of the burned/roasted coffee and chocolate malts. The mouthfeel is full bodied, chewy and solid. Great carbonation and lots of flavors around the mouth.
Flathead Lake Brewing Company • Belgiam Spice/Herb/Vegetable • IBU: 13 • ABV: 8.6% • SRM: 24
MALTS: Pilsner, wheat, Munich, black malts, oats, and sugar.
Dark amber draft with a slightly off-white frothy head that dropped to a sheen and had minimal lacing. The nose is yeasty funk, some sugars and hints of citrus. The front to mid mouth is hoppy with lemongrass and some crushed ginger on top of the yeasty funk. The mid to back has more roasted grains and dark sugars showing up. Flavors are competing more than complementary.
Flathead Lake Brewing Company • Brown Ale • IBU: 20 • ABV: 6.2% • SRM: 28
MALTS: 2-row pale, wheat, caramel, chocolate, black, and biscuit.
Dark maroon/brown draft with an off-white small bubbly head, great retention and tons of lacing. The nose is chocolate, dried grains and sweet sugars. The front mouth is dry with cocoa powder and some spice notes. The mid to back show off the strong malt profile with minimal hop resin/cone showing up on the way back. Sweet finishes, solid bodied, full mouthfeel.
Flathead Lake Brewing Company • Amber Ale • IBU: 24 • ABV: 5.8% • SRM: 16
MALTS: 2-row pale, wheat, caramel, and chocolate.
HOPS: Golding and Fuggle.
Dark amber draft with a solid white frothy head, great retention and some lacing on the rim. The nose is sweet caramels and dry grass. The front to mid mouth is solid malt bodied, dry grains, some bitterness from the hops, but they are really hidden behind the sweet malt build. The mouthfeel is chewy and solid with great carbonation and a lingering sugary backwash.
|Rising Sun Espresso Porter
Flathead Lake Brewing Company • Porter • IBU: 26 • ABV: 6.5% • SRM: 40
MALTS: 2-row pale, caramel, chocolate, and black malts.
HOPS: Cluster and Golding.
Totally opaic black draft with a one finger tan head, solid retention and tons of lacing. Nose is day old coffee grounds. Front to back this is all old burned coffee notes. The bitters come from the coffee profile, low hops are overpowered by the thin coffee flavors. The back is dry with tons of bitterness. If you like coffee this is for you, if you don’t, be warned!