Happiest Hour: Five must-try beers at the Montana Brewers Festival 

It's time to prepare for the weekend, party people. We're setting our sights on Caras Park for the 4th annual Montana Brewers Festival. The event features 70 different Montana-made beers from more than 20 Montana Brewers Association breweries. You can see the full list here, but we've singled out five must-try selections for our 6-ounce tasting glass.

Imperial Honey Citra IPA from Bitter Root Brewing
The Hamilton brewery is serving this special "Festival Release Beer" with an ABV of 9.35 percent. An imperial India Pale Ale is typically stronger and hoppier than a traditional IPA, but it sounds as if the additional sweet flavors may balance that out.

Montucky Sour Cherry Brown from Flathead Lake Brewing Co.
Flathead Lake describes this as a "Flanders Style Brown Ale" with an ABV of 6.8 percent. What the heck is a Flanders style beer? AllAboutBeer.com describes it as perfect for a fruity beer, with a "tangy, fruity aroma, magical ruby color, and refreshing yet earthy taste."

Single Malt Oktoberfest from Tamarck Brewing Co.
'Tis the season for Oktoberfest brews, and it's always the season for single-malt. This special "Festival Release Beer" comes in at 5.8 percent.

Taddletale Scottish Ale from Neptune's Brewery
Chalk this one up to personal preference and previous missed opportunities. For whatever reason, every time we've traveled through Livingston recently, the brewery was either closed or too packed. The Brewers Festival offers a chance to finally taste Neptune's version of a Scottish ale, which they call "full-bodied," "slightly sweet" and "very dark in color."

Wine Barrel Tripple from Blacksmith Brewing Co.
A Belgian tripple ale is known for its long fermentation process and a strong flavor (this one has an ABV of 9 percent). Blacksmith kicks it up a notch, though, by aging its tripple in wine barrels. Needless to say, this is another special "Festival Release Beer."

The Montana Brewers Festival runs Saturday, Oct. 6, from 1 to 7 p.m. at Caras Park. $12 gets you a 6-ounce tasting glass and two drink tokens. Additional tokens cost $1 each. Also, there will be live music from The Growler, Chele Bandalu, and Kung Fu Kongress, and food vendors.

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

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