Drinking Made Easy
United States of Beer: Montana, Red Lodge Ales

United States of Beer: Montana, Red Lodge Ales

May 8, 2012 0

A Drive Across the Country to Learn Beers by the Region

As a writer and journalist, we all go through that time when you just don’t have work. For me, that time came in early 2012. When you reach that point, it’s all about what you are going to do about it. You can sob, pout, complain, search for work, what have you.

As for me, it was a no brainer. I decided to go on a cross-country road trip to blow the money I don’t have in search for tastes of the regions throughout this massive country.

Over the course of 11 blogs here on DME’s Daily Drink, I’ll break down my thoughts of the six packs of beer I got from five different regions (Northwest, Midwest, East Coast, South and Southwest) amassing 11 states. Last time, we sampled some session pale ale from Idaho. This entry, we’ll look at our last stop of the Northwest: Montana.

After getting out of hop heaven, I was feeling a bit more adventurous with my beer, so I picked up an IPA. After heading to Yellowstone National Park for some sight-seeing, I made sure to pick up a six pack from Montana and picked up the Bent Nail IPA from Red Lodge Ales Brewing Co.

Located in Red Lodge, Mont., Red Lodge Ales has eight regular rotation beers and nine choices that are provided on a seasonal basis. Two of their brews have taken medals at the Great American Beer Festival. In 1999, their Reserve Ale (modeled after a German kolschbier) took bronze; in 2007, the Bent Nail IPA also took bronze.

Being out of Idaho, I felt a little more comfortable going with an IPA. However, being next door to it in Montana, I was expecting a much higher IBU count (IBU count not available on bottles or the website; merely going off smell and taste) on this ever-growing in popularity style of beer.

The aroma of the cascade hops definitely gave it a wonderful citrus aroma so upon cracking open my first bottle, I was pleased to the nose. And after pouring it into a chilled glass to get that sight of the beer and the sound of the pour, I took my first taste. Yeah, this beer is definitely worthy of bronze at the GABF.

Bent Nail IPA is not exactly a session beer, but I’m not really looking for session-ability with my IPAs. And at right around 6 percent alcohol by volume (12 proof if you’re into that reading), you shouldn’t really be treating this as an all-day type of beverage.

My only regret is that I couldn’t have stopped by the tap room to try out some more of their numerous selections. If you are ever in southern Montana, head down North Broadway in Red Lodge and make a stop at Red Lodge Ales. As they say at Red Lodge, “Good Times. Good Beer.” Here, here to that.

With Montana in the rearview mirror, as well as our beers of the Northwest, our trip continues going east to the Midwest region of the country. Next up on the cross-country joyride to beer heaven: Illinois, specifically Chicago.


Like it? Hate it? Love it? Let me know. I’m sure you’ll be pleased though.

Giovanni Albanese Jr.
San Jose, Calif.
Follow Giovanni on Twitter @GAlbaneseJr

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