Happiest Hour 

Draught Works

Who you're drinking with: It's lunchtime, and a crowd of mostly 20-something men and women gather around Draught Works' smooth, wooden bar celebrating the first hour of business at Missoula's newest microbrewery. They talk about ale, schoolwork and getting sprayed with root beer at Insane Clown Posse's Wilma show last week.

What you're drinking: The Clothing Optional Pale Ale is the first beer poured for Draught Works' first customer, Zach Johnson. Brewery co-owner Paul Marshall, a Missoula native, says the "clothing optional" sign at Jerry Johnson Hot Springs inspired the name. Draught works also serves Gwin Du Welsh Style Stout and Scepter Head IPA. Two additional brews, the alt-style Shadow Caster and Quill Pig, a Czech pilsner, will be on tap soon. Draught Works also sells a dark and deliciously sweet root beer. Everything is brewed on premises. Pints of beer run $4. Root beer is $2 and comes with free refills. Growlers cost $10.

Ambiance: Red-brick walls reinforce Draught Works' cozy neighborhood feel. The alehouse's smooth wooden bar is made of salvaged larch logs that sank to the bottom of Flathead Lake while en route to a Somers sawmill 100 years ago. There's a chalkboard that patrons are encouraged to draw on in the corner. Marshall, who has a seven-year-old, plans on bringing in toys for kids to play with, too.

How to find it: 915 Toole Ave., by North Dickens Street. It's about three blocks north of St. Patrick Hospital, on Missoula's Westside.

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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