Happiest Hour 

Occupy Pale Ale, Tamarack

What’s the story?: A few months back, as the Occupy movement began to sweep the nation and the globe, Tamarack Brewing released a refreshing late-fall pale ale dubbed Occupy. Why? According to manager Lacy Lopez, the name was partly derived from the fact that “it’s brewed with all-American hops,” putting it in the spirit of the sentiments brewing on Wall Street. Occupy Pale Ale has generated some laughs, but not all have taken so kindly to the recognition the brewery gave the movement. “A lot of people have actually been offended by the name,” Lopez says.

Why you’re drinking it: Whether or not you agree with the Occupy movement, Tamarack’s tip of the hat is a damn tasty brew. Sampled alongside the staple Lakeside Pale Ale ESP, it offers a sharper, fuller experience. It’s a wetter pale, with a sweeter citrus tone than the more traditional, English-style Lakeside. And at 5.5 percent—compared to Lakeside’s 4.5—it’s a stronger pint than you’d expect. As one bartender says, “It’s a great conversational beer. And great drinkability.” Oh, yeah. We’d definitely have to agree.

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Why it’s more than just beer: Earlier this month, the Missoula County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution—effective immediately—banning non-permitted camping on county property. The county recently denied Occupy Missoula’s request for another camping permit, making the protesters’ presence on the courthouse lawn a violation of county policy. In a move more related to questionable structural integrity than camping violation, Occupy Missoula agreed to take down its token big green tent sometime around Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Sheriff’s deputies removed the rest of the camp early Tuesday morning, Jan. 17, and arrested one protester.

Where to find it: For the next few weeks at least—until the keg runs dry—Occupy Pale Ale will be available at Tamarack Brewing at 231 West Front St. in Missoula.

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, e-mail editor@missoulanews.com.

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