This week's warming temperatures leave us dreaming about thawing out over seasonal lager and a satisfying bratwurst. That's why we dedicate this week's Happiest Hour to Bayern Brewing and its tidy yet boisterous German beer garden.
Ambiance: Bayern feels like a neighborhood bar with a distinctly German twist. Owner and brewmaster Jürgen Knöller was born in Bavaria. He recreates the feel of an open-air German beer garden in Bayern’s outdoor patio, featuring a massive chessboard dotted by super-sized kings, queens, and rooks. The beer garden is a perfect spot to soak up the sun and play chess while savoring a maibock.
What you’re drinking: Seasonal brews, including kilarney, an Irish red beer, Faceplant, appropriately named with its 7.6-percent alcohol by volume, and maibock. Heavy on the malt, this last beer, a strong golden brown lager, is brewed in the winter and tapped in the spring.
Who you’re drinking with: On a recent sunny Wednesday afternoon, regulars, mostly white-haired men, sit inside as a steady stream of professionals and college students wearing T-shirts and shorts file into the beer garden. The place gets packed on Friday nights. It’s often busy, but Bayern isn’t a rowdy joint, says bartender Katie Jacobson. That’s largely because the state says breweries can only serve 48 ounces.
What you’re eating: Bratwurst. The German sausage sells a la carte for $4 every day except Friday, when a German chef takes over the kitchen, making potato salad and sauerkraut that’s served with the brat, for $6.
Happy Hour specials: On Tuesdays the beer of the day, typically a seasonal brew like maibock, sells for $2.50. Bayern serves up daily sample trays that include eight 6-ounce beers for $10.
How to find it: 1507 Montana Street, one block west of Russell.
Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, e-mail email@example.com.