Monday, January 30, 2012

Happiest Hour: The Bierstube

Posted by on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 2:00 PM

We heard Whitefish was supposed to get snow this weekend. And they certainly did. Nine inches in 24 hours and it was light, fluffy and made for darn good skiing. Of course, we couldn't help taking a trip to Whitefish's premiere apres-ski hub...

This week: The Bierstube

The Stube was a bit steamy...
  • The 'Stube was a bit steamy...

Why you’re here: Whitefish got dumped on last weekend. Again. And up at Big Mountain, that means one thing: party at the ’Stube. When the snow starts falling, you can be sure the place will be packed with thirsty powder hounds by 4 p.m. There’s hardly room to breath on the patio when the warm spring days and skimpy ski outfits descend. A combination of live music, good humor and great pizza make the ’Stube the de facto stopping point on the long trek back to town.

Who you’re drinking with: On a recent Saturday, hosers. Whitefish’s proximity to the Canadian border makes it a popular getaway for Albertans. Tonight, they’re down here for the World Skijoring Championships, a three-day kickoff event for the Whitefish Winter Carnival. Skijoring involves a skier being towed by a horse at top speed while hitting jumps and weaving through gates, which definitely sounds like something Canadians would dig.

What you’re drinking: If you’re subscribing to the “when in Rome, eh” model, you’re drinking a vodka Paralyzer. Bartender Brigid Fra—a six-year vet of the ’Stube—has no idea why Canadians like this drink. But they’re drinking it. A lot. “It’s basically like a white Russian with Pepsi,” Fra says. I gag at the comparison. “It tastes kind of like a root beer float,” Fra adds. I order a pint of Great Northern Brewing’s IPA.

Why you’re coming back: Powder. And the fact that, as fake as their money may look, the Canadians are a damn fun lot. One falls for the ’Stube’s “souvenir ring” trick: She asks for the complementary ring—advertised throughout the bar—and the bartender rings a heavy brass bell. Everyone laughs. It’s a stale gag, but spirits are high, even if they do taste like a root beer float.

How to find it: Follow the après-ski crowd to 3889 Big Mountain Road in Whitefish Mountain Resort’s upper village.

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, e-mail editor@missoulanews.com.

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