The backstory: The crews at Draught Works and Philipsburg Brewing have grown pretty darn cozy over the years. They hang out in each others' taprooms, drink beer, even shred the slopes at Discovery side by side. So you can imagine that sooner or later someone would suggest making a beer together. And that's exactly what finally happened this year. According to Draught Works head brewer Kyle Sillars, Philipsburg co-owner Rob Jarvis floated the idea after a day of skiing, and everybody leapt at the chance.
"We thought that was perfect," Sillars says. "They're the nicest folks you can imagine, and they make great beer."
The fact that St. Paddy's Day is just around the corner? Well, that just gave them a little inspiration...
What you're drinking: On March 17, Draught Works and Philipsburg will simultaneously release their new collaborative brew Irish Twins, an Irish red ale that, technically, comes in two versions. Typically, an Irish red ale comes in around 5 percent alcohol by volume. Recognizing that their respective clienteles have slightly differing tastes, the two breweries went in two different directions. The batch brewed at Draught Works leans toward the imperial side at about 7 percent ABV. The batch that will be on taps in Philipsburg is a lighter, more sessionable take, somewhere between 3 and 4 percent ABV, Sillars says. Both will be available at Missoula's Dram Shop.
How they did it: For the past month, the two breweries have been swapping emails, perfecting recipes and visiting each other's brewhouses to make those recipes a reality. Brewing days started with a group breakfast, and the host crew pretty much played babysitter to the visiting crew, trying to help them get comfortable in a new environment. But working in someone else's brewhouse did bring some perspective. Sillars jokes that the Draught Works crew always thought they worked in tight quarters—until they brewed in Philipsburg. "It definitely felt more spacious when we got home," he says.
Where to get it: The Irish Twins Imperial Irish Red Ale debuts at Draught Works (915 Toole Ave.) on St. Paddy's Day for $5 a pint. Its sister brew goes on tap in Philipsburg at 101 W. Broadway St. the same day.
The original print version of this article was headlined "Happiest Hour"