Craft Brewing at its Finest in Central MT

Text by Mark Baune • Photography by Jim Wells

If you follow my column or you are just tapping in, there is one thing that’s clear –I love beer! Not just any beer… I love craft beers! You might even say I’m a bit of an artisanal snob. Acquiring this status didn’t come over night. I went through years of the mass produced stuff… Bud, Miller and the likes but, when the craft beer revolution began, I dove headfirst into the thick, dark, hoppy beers and never looked back. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not above accepting a lawn mower beer if offered but as good brew masters have refined their recipes for good beer; I too have educated my palate in quality, taste, uniqueness and the creativity of these flavorful libations.

The craft beer revolution has new brewers firing up their fermenters across central Montana. Great Falls alone has three breweries, Mighty Mo, The Front and Bowser Brewing. Black Eagle is home to Black Eagle Brewing while Belt boasts long time brewer, Harvest Moon. Havre lays claim to Triple Dog brewery and White Sulphur Springs recently tapped into the brewing scene with 2 Basset Brewery.

This issue, we are heading to the Mighty Mo for a peek at its offerings. “The Mo”, as the locals refer, is located in the middle of downtown Great Falls. This cleverly renovated historic brick building boasts a fun and casual atmosphere with food that compliments the heart, soul and passion that is poured into every batch of beer they brew.

The Mo has its keepers and its seasonals (catch and release). Dam Fog is American Hefeweizen, and is named after the fog like mist the Great Falls of the Missouri produces when the river is flowing hard. It checks in at 5.0% ABV and 20 IBU’s (International Bitterness Units – the bitterness rating of beer). Rising Trout is a West Coast style Pale Ale that comes in at 5.4% ABV with an IBU of 49. The Rendezvous Red is an American Amber/ Red Ale. It pours a garnet red with a thick creamish tan head. The Lip Ripper is an IPA that pours a nice cooper color and checks in at 6% ABV and 33 IBU. The Smoke Jumper is a fine representation of a Scottish Ale. Checking in at 6.4% AVB and 21 IBU’s, it’s a definite palate warmer!

On the catch and release list, the Mr. Brownstone, an Oud Bruin (Old Brown), is a style of beer that requires a long aging process allowing the residual yeast and bacteria to develop a sour flavor. It checks in at 5.6% ABV and at 20 IBU’s. The Motorboat Apricot Wheat Ale is the perfect summer quencher. Checking in at 5% ABV and 20 IBU’s, this American Pale Wheat Ale offers great flavor with a very clean finish.

Check-in next issue as we continue our tour of breweries in Central Montana. In the meantime, forego the bland, flavorless, watered-down idea of a desirable beverage and embrace the ever-growing, constantly-evolving group of craft beer enthusiasts right here in central Montana. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

— Cheers! Beer Man