Friday, November 26, 2010

Happiest Hour: Kettlehouse's Imperial Hefeweizen

Posted By on Fri, Nov 26, 2010 at 2:11 PM

Black Friday has dawned again, as much as we'd hoped it wouldn't. And we're guessing that even those crazed shoppers at Southgate are nursing the same turkey-and-wine hangovers we are. But when the Thanksgiving dose of alcohol and Tryptophan wear off, it's a good bet this town will be in dire need of a pick-me-up. Look no further...

This week: Imperial Hefeweizen, courtesy of the Kettlehouse

What you're drinking: Your average hefeweizen packs a bit of a punch, but tends to be a lighter, less alcoholic choice than your other microbrew ventures. "Chick beers, as people call them around here," says Kettlehouse assistant taproom manager J. Ryan Weingardt. Not so with this little ditty. Yes, it's light and smooth. But the Kettlehouse's latest recipe packs a serious punch: 10.5 percent, which is hard to believe considering how easily the Imperial goes down. "This is the kind of beer that'll kick your ass," Weingardt says. "You don't even notice, but you're drinking an extra pint right there."

What it tastes like: The Imperial Hefe is brewed with Goldings hops and Munich malt, but it's the lemon zest that really pleases the nostrils. Kettlehouse threw in about six ounces of the stuff during the boil, then another six ounces after. The resulting beer isn't overwhelmingly fruity like some brews; it teases your senses with a hint of something tasty instead of slapping you upside the head with flavor.

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Where you're drinking: The Kettlehouse's original home on Myrtle Street. Lines of regulars, inside-jokes on the marker boards, "Black Sabbath" pumping through the taproom speakers—every time you walk in, the place feels more like Cheers. As Weingardt says, "You know every face in here."

Who you're drinking with: While others were contending with holiday shopper traffic out on Reserve this afternoon, a handful of smart locals were lying low at the Kettlehouse helping drain the last keg of Maple Stout. Among them was Kettlehouse first-timer Howie Riedl. A resident of Carson City, Nev., ol' Howie had stopped into the brewery while exploring what Montana's Garden City had to offer. "And apparently this tasting room is just one other awesome aspect of Missoula I've discovered," he said. Amen.

When you're drinking it: We lucked out with the Imperial Hefe. It wasn't on tap yet when we dropped by on Black Friday, but we wrangled a special tasting session in the interest of keeping our loyal readers informed. And man, the minute this hits the marker board, we can promise you that taproom will be packed. Weingardt assures that the latest winning recipe from the Kettlehouse will be available whenever the popular Maple Stout runs out. Could be it's happened already, so you best be checking in soon. This is a punch-packing hefe you don't want to miss.

Where to find it: What snowdrift have you been living under? The K-Hole, yo. It's at 602 Myrtle Street, right around the corner from Le Petit Outre.

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