Happiest Hour: Highlander's Graveyard Hill Pumpkin Stout 

click to enlarge PHOTO BY DEREK BROUWER
  • photo by Derek Brouwer
What it is: A new seasonal stout from Missoula Brewing Company that doesn’t get too carried away with the pumpkin flavoring.

Why you’re drinking it: Summer is over, and so are the days of light, fruity beers. I showed up to Highlander’s taproom on a dreary Tuesday looking to taste the stout. It wasn’t on tap yet, so I ordered the Strawberry Wolf Point Wheat. A quintessential summer brew, the beer was subtle and tasty, but it didn’t feel right for the weather. It certainly didn’t feel right to head brewer Gary Gagliardi, who decided he’d rather pour me a snifter of the as-yet uncarbonated stout straight from the tank rather than finish explaining to me the intricacies of a strawberry wheat.

What it tastes like:
There’s just a hint of pumpkin (which, on any day that isn’t Halloween, is the correct amount). But the brew itself is hefty, clocking in at 10 percent alcohol by volume.

The pumpkin plan: To pour me that snifter, Gagliardi had to sneak past two rows of whisky barrels, where a portion of the batch is destined to be aged over the following year. Last year’s pumpkin brew, the Graveyard Hill Belgian Double, was also aged in whisky barrels and was recently packaged into 22-ounce bomber bottles. It’s the start of what Gagliardi expects will be a fall tradition and part of a burgeoning barrel-aged brewing program.

How to get it: It’s now officially on tap and Gagliardi hopes it lasts at Missoula Brewing Co.’s taproom, 200 International Drive, through Halloween. Bottles of last year’s Belgian double should be on shelves soon.

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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