Happiest Hour: Missoula Spirit & Ale Trail 

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF RYAN WEINGARDT
  • photo courtesy of Ryan Weingardt

What it is:
A passport where you can document your visits to all nine Missoula breweries and all three Missoula distilleries. It includes a map of the drinking trail with spaces for stamps from each location and it features local tips on food trucks, happy hours and award-winning brews.

Where it originated: Former Bay Area residents Brice and Lisa Ginardi built the website and have been test running the booze trail for the last five months. Kettlehouse bartender Ryan Weingardt recently relaunched it and will continue to update the site and Instagram account. “I’m trying to be a source of information for craft beer and spirits,” Weingardt says.

What you win: Once your passport is full, you can send it to Weingardt at P.O. Box 8411, Missoula, MT, 59807. Checking off all breweries gets you a stainless steel pint glass. Checking off all distilleries gets you a stainless steel shot glass. Or you can get both if you’re a true lush.

How to do it: The Spirit and Ale Trail is for locals and tourists alike, so approaches vary. Anyone can rent the 15-seat Thirst Gear bike-like contraption for groups that want to really make a dent in the trail, while the free bus system offers a cheaper option. But there’s no rush: If the burgeoning craft alcohol industry is any indication, this trail isn’t disappearing anytime soon.

More info: Visit missoulaspiritandaletrail.com to print out a passport or stop by a local brewery or distillery for further details.

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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