Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Happiest Hour: Bayern's Bakken Bock

Posted By on Tue, Mar 13, 2012 at 11:30 AM

This week, we sample a Missoula beer you can't find in Missoula.

Fueling the boom: Every month some 16 million barrels of oil are extracted from the Bakken formation in eastern Montana and western North Dakota, the largest known oil deposit in the country. Just thinking about all that light, sweet crude can make a man thirsty. Enter Bayern Brewing’s newest offering: Bakken Bock, a dark dopplebock lager.

“We have always been experts when it comes to brewing bock beers and German lager beers,” says Bayern owner Jürgen Knöller. “A lot of high-alcohol beers, well, being a German, they have for me a taste like paint thinner...a lager is just a lot smoother and easier and goes down a lot like oil.”

That occurred to Knöller a while ago while sipping lagers with a few pals from eastern Montana, and Bakken Bock was born. Bayern brewed it, local designer Eileen Chontos created the oil derrick label and the first cases were shipped east in January. The beer was featured at the first annual Bakken Brew Fest last weekend in Sidney.

How it tastes: It’s very similar to the dopplebock Bayern’s been brewing in Missoula since 1987, which is to say dark, sweet and smooth—and strong, with an alcohol content of 8.4 percent.

Where to find it: Unfortunately, only on the eastern side of the Divide. Look for a six-pack the next time you’re in Billings, Miles City, Glendive, Sidney or Glasgow.

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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