Bruno’s Montana IPA: a Beer with a Story

March 29, 2017

The Beer is Better when it has a Story

Montana has some amazing breweries.  Being in Billings, we have access to some of the best (in fact, Uberbrew was named as the best small brewery and brewer of the year at the Great American Beer Fest last fall).  And if the local brews are getting you down, well you can always travel to a nearby town and grab a pint… or travel downtown.

Recently Last Chance Pub and Cider Mill opened here in Billings.  While they’re hailed as a cider house (and they do make a fantastic cider), they are also a tap room for Red Lodge Ales.  Our neighbors to the south have been creating some awesome brews for almost 2 decades now, and now you don’t have to drive to Red Lodge for a crisp brew from Red Lodge Ales.


The Full Selection of Fine Brews

Aside from some of their specialty bottle releases, Last Chance carries the full selection of Red Lodge Ales.  If you want one of their mainstays, like Glacier Ale, Czechmate, or Bent Nail, you can get it on tap at the pub (but those are some you can get at a variety of restaurants around the area).  If you want something a little different, perhaps off their seasonal or rotator menu, then Last Chance has what you need.

I’m a man that enjoys all forms of beer (except those overloaded with fruits; they are the wine coolers of beer).  But if you drink with me, you’ll probably think I have a special affinity toward IPA’s.  It’s true, I often go for the IPA.  But there are reasons for that, and it’s not just because I like them better than other styles.  The first reason is that craft beer drinkers as a whole are still on their IPA kick.  This means that the rotator menu is usually going to feature a “new” IPA.  The other reason is that many beers, like ambers, browns, and some porters, are sticky and sweet.  They leave your mouth feeling coated like you ate ice cream and now you need a big glass of water to get that stickiness out of your mouth.  The IPA doesn’t do that.

That’s a big long intro that you don’t care about, all to discuss one of Red Lodge Ales’ recent releases: Bruno’s Montana IPA.

Bruno’s Montana IPA

You likely know about the grizzly bears at Zoo Montana.  And if you’ve been there more than twice, and actually read the signs, you know that one of the bears is named Bruno.

Red Lodge Ales gave one of their old kegs to the zoo as a plaything for the bears.  Bruno took a special affinity to this new toy, and could be seen for quite some time kicking it around, batting it, trying to get the last drops of delicious beer out of it, and overall tossing the thing about.  It was his favorite toy (kind of like when you give a little kid a box and he absolutely loves it even though it was destined for the trash).

Photo from Red Lodge Ales’ Facebook – go “Like” them!

So, the bear loved his toy, why not name a beer after him?  But it needs to be different than other IPA’s, it needs some local honey (well, honey created in a Columbus apiary, that’s local for Montana).

When you sniff it, you don’t get any whiffs of honey.  Actually, you don’t even get a lot of hop smell either.  Your first sip, however, will give you a big taste of hops.  But still there’s not really any honey smell there.  You’ll notice the citrus and the mouth-drying IPA effect, but it’s not until halfway through the glass that you start to notice the subtle honey tastes.  They come as a bit of an aftertaste, a refreshing change to your typical citrus IPA.  Slow down and savor it… then get another.

Drink with Me

Next time you’re at Last Chance Pub and Cider Mill, check out the new beers from Red Lodge Ales.  You’ll probably find something you like, and experience something new.  Be sure to ask your server if there’s a story behind the beer and its name, because you might accidentally learn something.

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by scott
Scott is a writer, outdoor enthusiast, beer snob, and woodworker. When he is not out exploring all of the wonders around Billings, he loves to sit down for a frosty brew at one of the many great breweries we have available to us. You can read about most of his adventures, and many of the fine brews he has sipped right here; or contact him through his website if you need some adventure tips.

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