Missoula is known for its many a brew fests. About four are held every year. It's no secret that I have a fond taste for a good brew. I used to drink Bud Light in college. You know, the days of beer pong and flip cup. Don't lie, you've done a few keg stands in your day. Since college and growing older, I have found that I have acquired a taste for well brewed beer. It may have something to do with the fact that I'm Irish. I can hardly choke down a Bud Light now days and I opt for more robust flavor. Go ahead and say it, I'm a beer snob. And I'll fully admit it!
As you probably should know it happens to be St. Patrick's Day next week and since I am unable to celebrate in Butte or Boston, yet alone Ireland, I thought it'd be appropriate to do a beer tasting at home.
Here, I'll take you through my little set up to throw the perfect beer tasting party.
Let's jump right into the main ingredient...the brews. Most brewfests call for hundreds of taps but since mine was on a much, much smaller scale, I narrowed it down to four different beers with four very distict flavors. We also threw in a few stouts and oatmeal lagers to taste and compare.
Widmer Brothers Brewing Columbia Common Spring Ale (Portland, OR) Widmer Brewing Company was founded by brothers, Kirk and Rob Widmer right in their own backyard. They moved to North Portland in 1990 and now host the largest outdoor craft beer festival in the country. The Columbia Common Spring Ale, a seasonal, has mild grassy and spicy hop notes complemented with a fruity zing and goes down clean. Amber Hue. 12oz bottle. 32 IBU. 4.7% ABV.
Rogue Irish Style Lager (Ashland, OR) Again, starting in a basement in 1987, Rogue became a household beer name in Oregon. Opening a small brew pub in 1988 in Ashland, Oregon, started a world-wide beer revolution. The Irish Style Lager is mellow, crisp, and has a smooth finish. 22oz bottle. 28 IBU.
Glacier Brewing Company Flathead Cherry Ale (Polson, MT) Founded in the heart of the Mission Mountains is the Glacier Brewing Co. The Flathead Cherry Ale is a blend of fresh Flathead Cherries and light ale.
Missoula Brewing Company Highlander Beer (Missoula, MT) Highlander Beer dates back to the 1900s when it was originally called The Garden City Brewery. The name "Highlander" came from the baseball team originally called "The New York Highlanders" soon to be known as The New York Yankees. With the change of the name to the Missoula Brewing Company, the Highlander Beer stayed the same throughout all these years. It's a Scottish red ale. Looks heavy but goes down smooth.
If the sunshine had came out it would have been perfect to go outside but since it was overcast we kept it indoors and my mom and I made our own little farm setting with lots of floral, greenery, and reclaimed wood.
Each person was given a tasting card and a small glass. About an ounce to two ounces of beer was given to each person for them to smell, swirl, and sip (yes, just like wine...we like wine too!). On a scale of 1-4 stars would they give their rating (1 = dislike, 4 = like very much) as well as taking notes on the depth, color, hops, and drinkability.
I could have served typical pretzels and brats or even corned beef and cabbage if we're being totally Irish, but I wanted to present some fresh spring time berries into a cobbler and have something sweeter. Berry cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream was surely the best taste of the evening. Recipe to be featured in a later post.
Are you inspired to host a beer tasting party? Get ready because the lucky day of the Irish is on Monday!