Missoula's annual celebration of suds promised the usual bounty of beers, but it seemed like everyone was talking more about the crappy weather than the craft brews. Not here.
Of the 61 beers on tap at the event, the Zoo City Zymurgists singled out nine winners. We've listed them, along with our own review.
Cowboy Coffee Porter, Big Sky Brewing: This porter packed quite a punch, winning distinction as both Best Dark Ale and Best of Show. We wholeheartedly agree. A delicious blend of beer and our favorite caffeinated fuel, Cowboy Coffee kept those of us working the event warm and awake during the afternoon storm. Thick, heavy, with a hint of chocolate flavor—we'd been looking forward to this one, and we weren't disappointed.
Belgian White, Blue Moon Brewing: A tap standard these days (Blue Moon is owned by Coors), it nonetheless walked away with the Best Belgian Beer award. Meh.
Single Malt IPA, Blackfoot Brewing: According to many Montanans, this is arguably the best beer in the state—and winner of the Best IPA award last weekend.
Mighty Arrow, New Belgium Brewing: It's named after a dog, yet still won Best Pale Ale.
Blackout Stout, Blacksmith Brewing: Sadly, all of us missed the Dark Ale/Strong winner. But if the brew experts at Zoo City Zymurgists singled it out, we're pretty sure it's worth the 30-mile drive to Stevensville.
Summer Ale, Alaskan Brewing: Won Best Light Hybrid Beer. We don't drink light beer.
Seeley Axe White, Kettlehouse: The local brewery's latest experiment—an instant favorite among Missoula's gluten intolerant—received Best Specialty Beer.
Salmon Fly Honey Rye, Madison River Brewing: Winner of best rhyme, and Best Wheat/Rye.
Rope Swing Pilsner, Redhook: Talk about a pleasant surprise. None of us thought to make a beeline for the Red Hook taps, but Rope Swing, winner of Best Lager, proved one of the tastes of the day for at least one Indy staffer.