The rollout: Snoop Dogg would have to admit, the timing was good good. As the famed rapper rolled into Missoula Dec. 6 for the latest stop on his Puff Puff Pass Tour, Kettlehouse Brewing announced the hotly anticipated release of Fresh Bongwater Hemp Pale Ale in cans. The brewery teased the rollout on social media by inviting Snoop himself down to the Northside taproom for "a swizzle on us." He didn't show, but Fresh was the tap du jour at the concert that night.
The reception: Anyone even half awake in this town was aware for much of 2016 that once Kettlehouse's new production facility in Bonner got up and running, Fresh would be joining the flagship four-pack fold. The brew has long been a taproom favorite, and the appeal of cans became immediately clear. Mere hours after the release, one Indy staffer found the beer case at Orange Street Food Farm completely cleared out of the stuff. The shelves have since been restocked.
The taste: Fresh Bongwater ranks among the most drinkable craft selections in Montana, with a smooth, almost nutty flavor and a mellow 5 percent alcohol by volume. It's the personal favorite of Kettlehouse co-owner Tim O'Leary, who confessed to Colorado-based Brewery Week in a profile this fall that he keeps a keg of Fresh at his house. Best we can tell so far, aluminum hasn't done a thing to sabotage Bongwater's slightly sweet, slightly hoppy taste.
The stash: Score a four-pack of 16-ounce Fresh cans at Orange Street Food Farm (701 S. Orange St.), Worden's Market (451 N. Higgins Ave.) or Missoula Fresh Markets (800 W. Broadway St. and 3801 S. Reserve St.).
Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, email email@example.com.
The original print version of this article was headlined "Happiest Hour"