Friday, March 18, 2011

Happiest Hour: The Iron Horse Brew Pub

Posted By on Fri, Mar 18, 2011 at 3:30 PM

The sun made another appearance today, bringing the temp in Missoula up to light-jacket levels. Didn't help our desire to get the weekend started fast, so here's your drink-time preview. See you at the taps.

This week: The Iron Horse Brew Pub, a.k.a. the I-Ho

What you’re drinking: In honor of Missoula’s impending spring fever, the Tulip seemed like a solid choice this week. Billed as “an Iron Horse favorite,” this refreshing little ditty blends Absolut Vodka with Bols Black Raspberry Schnapps and a decent helping of lemonade. The Tulip balances out some of the Iron Horse’s hotter menu items, like the Kansas City BBQ sandwich, without losing its springtime flavor. Sorority girl connotations aside (the mixer proves a welcome alternative to the standard vodka-cran), the Tulip hits the spot when the sun starts its annual teasing routine.

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Atmosphere: While the hurricane mentioned in the Tulip’s menu slug may reference the glass your drink comes in, it could just as easily apply to the scene around you. We found the joint packed with throngs of noontime March Madness spectators Friday afternoon. But don’t let the lunch crowd fool you; the families and local business types quickly give way to a glut of college-age drinkers as the evening wears on. Sure the Iron Horse starts to smell a bit like a magazine cologne ad around 11 p.m., but the bar offers a decent pour for a good price. Stake your claim early at the 501 Lounge upstairs and you can avoid the sea of elbows below.

Claim to fame: We would have asked, but a tight-lipped bartender declined to chat with us, so we’ll have to fill in the blanks ourselves. The most obvious point of interest is that the Iron Horse used to reside in the old railroad depot at the end of Higgins Avenue in the early 1990s. The place was attached to Bayern Brewing back then, and still hosts the brewery’s choice refreshments alongside other local taps. Iron Horse fries have also made our Best of Missoula list several years running.

Happy hour: Nightly specials vary but mostly mirror popular happy hours elsewhere in town. Monday Madness features a bucket of beers—five total—for $7. Fat Tuesdays bring half-price well drinks 9-11 p.m., as well as $5 pitchers of domestic beer. Wicked Wednesday is a true drinker’s paradise, though, with $4 deals on a Jager shot with a bottle of Pabst and “strawberry sex drinks.” Sounds like a definite hump day happy-ending.

Where to find it: At 501 N. Higgins Ave.

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