Billings, Montana’s Trailhead, is a beer lover’s base camp. Livability identified Billings as one of the top 10 best beer cities in the nation. Outside Magazine named Billings “Best Town in America of 2016,” in part due to the exceptional recreational access and the downtown brewery district which features six breweries and two distilleries, all within easy walking distance and offering their own Montana flavor. It may sound too good to be true — but, it’s not! Let’s take a quick look at these breweries and see why they’re each worth a visit.
Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co. features Montana-esque favorites like Grizzly Wulff wheat, Wild Fly Ale, Huckleweizen and Black Widow oatmeal stout, often showcasing live music, too. Next door, the owners also operate the Spirit of Montana distillery tasting room offering 40 Love gin, Cliffhanger vodka and Buffalo Bill Cody rye whiskey. The spirits are made in a German still using malts and botanicals native to Montana.
Überbrew won the 2016 Small Brewery & Brewer Of The Year award and snagged several medals at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. Try the award-winning White Noise or Humulus Insani and a full menu of pub food. Their fries are seriously some of the best!
Trailhead Spirits creates award-winning Montana-made gin, vodka and whiskey inspired by time-tested traditions while pioneering new tastes and techniques that reflect their Montana heritage. Mixologists serve handcrafted cocktails in the historic tasting room housed next to the restored Billings Depot, the city’s original train station built in 1909.
Carter’s Brewing, named after the owners’ son, was built by family and friends. Carter’s initially operated on a seven-barrel system pieced together from old dairy tankage, but has since expanded and now runs a 15-barrel MetalCraft brewhouse and produces beers in seventy different styles including local favorites Coldwater kölsch, Black Magic porter and Farmhouse Ale.
Angry Hanks was named after a family friend who was only happy when he had a beer in his hand. Angry Hanks has eight ales on tap, including Anger Management Belgian-style wheat, Street Fight, Dog Slobber brown and Head Trauma IPA, along with seasonal beers. If the weather cooperates, you can enjoy your brews outdoors on the patio with popcorn and hot sauce.
Thirsty Street Brewing Co.’s full-flavored beers include Dubbel Trubbel, a Belgian-style ale, Nutty Professor nut brown ale and Big Bison American stout. They serve Montana-made hot dogs and sausages and have a game room with pool, shuffleboard, darts and big screen TV. Looking for a unique way to enjoy your beer? The brewery partners with local yoga studios and artists to host events like “Brewga” (brews + yoga) and “Brews and Brushes.”
Montana Brewing Co. is the oldest brewery in the district. Their award-winning beers include Whitetail wheat, Sharptail pale ale and Fat Bell amber and seasonal beers like Clark & Daly copper ale in honor of Montana’s Copper kings and Huckleberry wheat made from Montana’s most famous berry. Glass windows keep the brewing area on display for patrons to enjoy.
Historic Downtown Billings is home to dozens of restaurants, boutiques and galleries in addition to the Brewery District. The Western Heritage Center, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, preserves the history of the region and the Yellowstone Art Museum exhibits works by regional artists. Famous and not-so-famous bands perform nightly at the Pub Station and downtown bars and events take place year-round, keeping the city hoppin.’
From breweries to distilleries, concerts to art exhibits and baseball to nightlife, we’ve got it all in Montana’s Trailhead.