“Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grasses and gentians of glacial meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of nature’s darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings, Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but nature’s sources never fail.” – John Muir
We really do live in our own paradise here in Missoula. Not only do we have amazing access to some of the best Mother Nature has to offer, but we also have a LOT of great beer options – six breweries in Missoula alone! Take a growler along on your next hiking adventure. Make yourself work for your beer and be rewarded handsomely. We have compiled a list of all our current beers on tap and the hikes we think they go best with. Read ’em, and then get yourself outside!
Scepter Head IPA + Two Larches: Its a great hike but a better bike ride. Starting location: Lincoln Wood Trailhead.This trail is located in the Rattlesnake Creek area at the top of Lincoln Hills Drive where the road turns to dirt.
Shadow Caster Amber Ale + North Fork of the Blackfoot River: Channel your inner Paul Mclean and hike/fish the North Fork of the Blackfoot River. This is a gorgeous area and involves more hiking than most anglers are willing to tackle, so you will probably have some nice secluded fly fishing.
Gwin Du Oatmeal Stout + Any Winter Yurt Advenure: Yurts are a fun and unique wintertime activity. Not only is Gwin Du a relaxing libation to sip on, but it will also pack the calories you need to replenish your energy from a long day of winter fun. Try Stateline Yurt, over by Lost Trail, about two hours from Missoula or choose closer to home with Yurt-Ski in the Southern Swans – about an hour away.
‘That’s What She Said’ Cream Ale + M Trail on Mount Sentinel: Perhaps the most well-known and well-accessible hike in Missoula, the iconic M trail towers above the University of Montana campus and the valley surrounding. Although this hike may seem like the easy and light choice, it can get pretty intense, just like our cream ale. You can stop when you hit the M, or venture further up Mount Sentinel and explore the network of trails. The higher you go, the better the beer will taste and better the view will be. Simply park at the base of Mount Sentinel, on the U of M campus, and you are ready to roll.
Clothing Optional Pale Ale + The L Trail on Mount Jumbo: The L is visible from just about everywhere in Missoula, sitting on the side of Mount Jumbo. Together with the M, it creates a perfect gateway into the Bitterroot Valley from the East. You might have the urge to go “clothing optional” and bare it all to the sunset, but really, there are kids around! I know where you thought we were going with that pairing.
Late Bloomer Hibiscus Saison + Upper Rumble Lake: It’s best to wait until later in the summer to tackle this one. At such a high elevation (gain of 3,500 ft.), you get a beautiful abundance of wildflowers and alpine scenery. If you’re really feeling adventurous, you can take the trail all the way up to Holland Peak, which offers a superb view of the Seeley-Swan area, or just enjoy the refreshing water. To get there, make your way over to Condon, Montana. For a more detailed description and directions, click here.
Brugh Hefner Hefeweizen + McDonald Reservoir: This hike involves a trip to the scenic Mission Mountains. This landscape is impressive with old cedar stumps at the head of the lake, reminiscent of Lord of the Rings. If your really want to test your mountain climbing prowess, venture on to McDonald Peak, one of Montana’s most impressive peaks.
Quill Pig Czech-style Pilsner + Rattlesnake – Spring Creek to Guardsmen: Not too far from Missoula lies the scenic Rattlesnake National Recreation Area. This hike is easy, peasy, lemon squeasy, just like our Quill Pig Czech-style Pilsner. This is a beautiful hike, with a creek crossin’ too! If you are lucky, you might spot a quill pig on your journey, but resist the urge to cuddle it. Take the well-traveled road to the Rattlesnake Trailhead and get to gettin’.
Citra Mafia SMASH Triple IPA (collaborative brew with Tamarack) + Heaven’s Peak in Glacier: This is a long one, folks. You’re gonna have to find your inner billy goat, but the Citra Mafia 11.8% ABV at the end will be worth it. To get there, enter Glacier National Park, then drive up McDonald Creek (For the full route, find it in Climb Glacier National Park Volume III.) There is good pull out for parking almost directly from the mouth of where McDonald creek enters lake McDonald. We recommend the East Face Route and a 50/50 growler.
Any seasonal + Northside Loop Waterworks Hill: This dog-friendly hike is best tackled in the spring (right now!) when the Arrow Leaf Balsamroot and other wildflowers are in full bloom. Waterworks in spring is the best place to see the elusive Montana state flower, the Bitterroot. It is also close to town and makes for a perfect Saturday hike. Finish up the hike by swinging by Draught Works for one of our seasonals! To get to the trailhead, drive North on Madison to Greenough Drive. Take the first left after crossing I-90 and continue up the road to the signed trailhead.
Pineapple Express Tropical IPA + Lolo Peak: via Carlton Ridge. Lolo Peak really has something to offer year round: terrific skiing in Winter, beautiful colors in Fall, and the perfect day adventure for Summer. To reach the most-often used trailhead for Lolo Peak, go West on Hwy 12 from Lolo. In about four miles, turn left onto Mormon Peak Road, but wait until after May 15th to use this access point since it is closed for wildlife from December 1st until then. Click on the link above for alternative routes open year round.
Now come fill your growlers and get out there, people! We will leave you with one last John Muir quote, which we think is fitting: “Another glorious day, the air as delicious to the lungs as nectar to the tongue.”