What you’re drinking:
An imperial wheat IPA, aged in oak. It’s brewed by Meadowlark Brewing
, based on the eastern edge of the state, in Sidney.
Why you’re drinking it:
I mean, do we really have to answer this? Look at that label. Just … look at it. Savor it. Blink. Then look again. Your eyes do not deceive you—that is, in fact, Teddy in an Evel Knievel outfit, sword outstretched, standing in the back of an El Camino being driven by a bear. Don’t sleep on the small details, either. For instance, the car’s No. 27 represents Richland County’s state license plate number.
How it tastes:
Strong, as you’d expect from an imperial with 7.9 percent alcohol-by-volume (and from anything boasting such bold packaging), but also exceptionally smooth. Meadowlark founder Travis Peterson credits the oak for “mellowing out some of the bite” while also adding “a little complexity to the flavor.”
How it came about:
Meadowlark produces a Flights of Fancy series, which basically gives the brewery an excuse to experiment. “It’s a chance for [brewmaster] Tim [Schnars] and I to have more fun than usual,” Peterson says. “We have a lot of fun anyway—I mean, we brew beer for a living—but this allows us to try something different.”
They came up with the idea for the imperial wheat IPA and were impressed with how well it turned out, but the name was harder to settle on. A running list of proposed titles included Teddy Roosevelt American Badass “kind of as a joke,” Peterson recalls, but it ended up sticking. “It’s a badass beer and there’s nothing quite like it,” he says. “We decided a fun beer deserves a fun name.”
And about that logo:
Credit Jason Heuser for the artwork. The California illustrator’s personal website
includes similarly sensational images of George W. Bush blasting six-shooters while riding an airborne great white shark and Ronald Reagan firing an assault rifle while sitting atop a flag-holding Tyrannosaurus Rex. Oh, and there’s also one of Nixon wrestling a sabertooth tiger.
How you know Meadowlark:
Thanks to a Bozeman-based mobile canning operation, Meadowlark’s brews have become common on shelves statewide. The Badlands Extra Pale Ale and Ole Gus Scotch-Style Ale are available in standard six-packs of 12-ounce cans. The Teddy Roosevelt American Badass comes in a single 16-ounce can and proves a little tougher to find. We scored ours on sale for $3.99 at Good Food Store.
Peterson says Teddy will remain on shelves as long as supplies last, but it will continue to be “somewhat limited availability.”
“It takes time to brew,” he says. “Wood-aging isn’t something you can just speed up.”
Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, email email@example.com.