Happiest Hour 

Coconut IPA

What it is: An India Pale Ale brewed with 280 pounds of coconut. The special collaboration is the brainchild of homebrewers Robert Masterson and Ryan Reschan; Paul Sangster and Guy Shobe of Rip Current Brewing in San Marcos, Calif.; and Mitch Steele of Stone Brewing in Escondido, Calif. It carries a hefty 7.5 percent ABV and is available locally in 22-ounce bomber bottles.

How we found it: Missoula is lucky to have an abundance of well-stocked beer aisles, including those at Orange Street Food Farm, Liquid Planet, Worden's and Good Food Store. We went to Summer Sun Garden & Brew, which may offer the most eclectic selection, and simply asked for something new, different and relatively rare. It says a lot that we were shown about 20 worthy options before settling on the Coconut IPA.

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF STONE BREWING
  • photo courtesy of Stone Brewing

How it tastes: The coconut cuts through a typical bitter and hoppy IPA taste, and lasts to a creamy finish. We don't love overpowering IPAs, and even though this one packs a punch the flavor is complex and smooth enough to make us want more.

Talk more about this coconut flavor: Weird, right? It sounds strange, but it works. We'll let Steele explain how the brewers dialed in the recipe: "The primary flavor note is coconut, and its intensity was achieved by two additions, one in the whirlpool and the other post-dry hop. The selected hop varieties add subtle tropical fruit and berry notes that blend well with the coconut. There is no doubt this is a big IPA, but with a very interesting twist!" That tropical twist earned this brew a new fan.

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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