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Taste Buds Do a Happy Dance at New Tamarack Brewing Company in Missoula

By RYAN NEWHOUSE

On Monday April 11, Tamarack Brewing Company’s doors quietly opened to the Missoula public and there was much rejoicing – at least by me and the small crowd who had to check it out.

The intentional soft opening of the new brewpub at 231 West Front Street gives Tamarack Brewing Co’s its first and only location outside of its hometown of Lakeside, Montana.

Bringing with them an ample selection of their craft beers and the same food menu served in Lakeside (complete with recommended beer pairings), it’s more than conceivable that Missoulians will appreciate the location, ambiance, menu selection and great beer this new brewpub has to offer.

With two stories of seating, the upstairs features a classy bar perfect for that after-work pint and a separated restaurant side suitable for a nice dinner date.

Downstairs the scene is more sports bar-like, with flat screen TVs and a wrap-around bar. Both upstairs and downstairs have outdoor seating options for when the weather permits.

Husband-and-wife team, Josh and Andra Townsley, say they will plan a fitting Grand Opening when the time is right and any discovered kinks are worked out, but they are happy to finally be open for business in Missoula – a town, they tell me, that has been more than receptive to their presence.

Now let’s get to the good stuff – of the sudsy variety. A friend and I enjoyed a couple pints and their $8 flight of nine 4-ounce pours, which is everything Tamarack Brewing Co. currently has on tap.

A few that immediately stood out were the copper-hued Hat Trick Hop IPA, with a preserved malt sweetness yet generously infused with a trio of hops (hence the play on “Hat Trick”).

Their very traditional Dock Days Hefeweizen, served with a twist of fresh lemon, is one of the better “Hefs” I’ve had outside of Germany, respectfully playing up its banana and clove esters and its unfiltered, creamy body.

But I save the best for last – the current seasonal offering at Tamarack Brewing Co. is the Old ‘Stache Whiskey Barrel Porter, released this year on February 15.

This brew is not available for growler fills due to its limited availability (and rightly so), and it was the clear winner on opening night from everyone with whom I chatted.

Served in a 10-ounce snifter, the 8.8% ABV black porter was aged in Knob Creek whiskey barrels (provided by Jim Beam) for over 100 days.

Deep chocolate and richly toasted caramel flavors take this beer a step above all others I tried that night. It was perfectly aged in quality charred casks, allowing it to not be overcome with sweetness, as can easily happen with barrel-aged beers. It will be a sad day when this seasonal beer is gone.

Tamarack Brewing Company-Missoula is open from 11 a.m. to around midnight seven days a week. They have a Facebook page to stay in touch with community. They also run a daily happy hour from 3-5 p.m. and 10 p.m. to midnight.

Growler fills are $10, but on Wednesdays and Sundays you can fill up for only $8. Give them a try and let us know what you think below!

For more local blogs, including Ryan’s “Drink It” and “Cooked Animals: Recipes for Wild Game” blogs check out http://www.makeitmissoula.com/

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