The backstory: Before the mercury took that first steep dive last month, Draught Works head brewer Kyle Sillars was already anticipating a chilly winter. So he dosed the brewery's latest seasonal offering with a heavy helping of crystal malts—a not-so-normal move when crafting an IPA. The result is Draught Works' new Shreddy Day Winter IPA, a beer with a 7.4 percent ABV kick and enough warm malt character to, as Sillars puts it, "balance the cold weather."
The taste: Don't tip your glass expecting a full-on hops assault. Shreddy Day trades the powerful aroma and taste of standard-issue IPAs for a mellower, sweeter malt vibe. Sillars likens it to Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale, which he says set the precedent for maltier IPAs. It's the kind of brew that goes down smooth while fortifying your senses for that windy chairlift ride ahead. That said, Missoulians seem to be guzzling it up even after the lifts shut down. Shreddy Day has been one of Draught Works' top three taproom sellers since its mid-December debut.
What's in the name: Sillars, a snowboarder turned skier, admits he had "skiing on the brain" when he settled on a moniker for his new seasonal brew. And he's hardly the first local brewer to riff on slopeside jargon. Shreddy Day joins the ranks of ski-inspired Missoula beer names like KettleHouse's Cold Smoke, Big Sky's Powder Hound and the twin Bayern seasonals Groomer and Face Plant. Sillars initially brewed Shreddy Day as a one-off, but says it will likely reappear in winters to come due to popular demand. "I definitely drink them on the tailgate at Snowbowl," he adds. "It's my apres beer right now."
Find it at: Shreddy Day Winter IPA will be hanging around Draught Works, 915 Toole Ave., through mid-January. Price is $5 a pint.
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The original print version of this article was headlined "Happiest Hour"