Happiest Hour: The Frost Rail 

This week: The Frost Rail

Where you’re drinking: Last year, the Rhino opted to replace the scuffed, dented, initial-encrusted bartop that’s been there seemingly forever. Always looking to push the envelope and try something new, owners Brad Martens and Kevin Head decided to add a little flair that’s caught on at some bars in bigger cities like Las Vegas. It’s called a frost rail—or cold rail, or frost strip, depending on who you talk to—and it’s pretty freaking ingenious.

Where to put your beer: Drinkers may have already noted the 5-inch-wide, 40-foot-long strip of frosted metal running the length of the Rhino’s new bartop. The frost rail is designed to keep your beer ice cold even when the temperature is sweltering. “It’s going to be great in the summertime,” Head says, “especially if someone steps out for a smoke.” The frost rail was installed this January and is set into the bar with cement. Head says the early response has been entirely positive.

What’s keeping it cold: The frost rail works on a cooling system similar to what keeps beer at the same temperature between the keg cooler and the tap. A refrigerant called glycol cycles through the strip maintaining a constant 15 degrees. The cold metal reacts with humidity in the air to create a thin layer of frost. So far the Rhino is the only bar in Missoula to install a frost rail, Head says, though he hopes other establishments in town will catch on. The next closest frost rail is at the Philipsburg Brewing Company. “It’s something new and fun,” Head adds. “And it’s great for our customers.”

How to find it: Set your beer, cocktail or martini on ice at 158 Ryman, and enjoy. It’s also a great way to scrawl your initials on the bar without defacing it.

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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