The winter months are the perfect time to discover the real Missoula. It is during these cold dark days that Montanans band together to combine their love of local drink with escapades designed to get everyone — locals and visitors alike — through to the brighter days of spring. Take on these six drinking destinations to get a real taste of Missoula in the winter.
Taste German Influence at Bayern Brewing
Bavaria comes to Missoula through Bayern Brewing. As Montana’s oldest brewery, the team has had 31 years to perfect its pours. Winter-themed beers such as the Face Plant Doppelweizen and the Dopplebock dark lager are hearty and pack a punch to warm you up after a day playing in the snow. Be sure to stop in on Sunday for Biers and Brunch to pair a glass of Groomer Wintermärzen with a plate of Wiener schnitzel or bratwurst and sauerkraut from the on-site Edelweiss Restaurant.
Defying the Odds at Ten Spoon
Located in Missoula’s picturesque Rattlesnake neighborhood, Ten Spoon Vineyard and Winery has done what some say couldn’t: grow grapes and produce heralded wine in the Big Sky State. Visit the cozy tasting room Friday and Saturday evenings to hear live music from local musicians and taste Montana in a glass with the Flathead Cherry dry red wine made from Lambert cherries grown just north of Missoula. Before your visit, take some time to explore the Rattlesnake Wildernes — the main trailhead lies less than two miles from the winery and offers access to a staggering amount of cross-country skiing and snowshoe trails.
Date Night with Montgomery Distillery
The Roxy Theater and Montgomery Distillery have partnered to offer couples the perfect way to enjoy a romantic Missoula evening with the Date Night special. For only $20, guests receive two cocktails at Montgomery Distillery and two movie tickets to The Roxy. Start at Montgomery to sample its spin on the classics like the Jabroni Negroni and the Honey Highball made with the house Quicksilver vodka and local Wustner Brothers’ honey. After, walk across the Higgins Avenue bridge to The Roxy Theater, Missoula’s oldest movie house, where movie-goers are treated to first-run independent movies and cult classics. Continue your drink tour with a can of local beer during the show like Draught Works’ That’s What She Said cream ale.
Local Focus at Western Cider
Missoula’s first cider house is a local establishment in every sense. Western Cider sprang from owner Michael Billingsley’s apple orchards in the Bitterroot Valley, south of Missoula. To best taste the bounty of the valley order a sample platter with offerings like Hewe’s Rouge, a dry crisp sipper, and the single-varietal McIntosh. Check out the cidery’s Facebook events page before you go to schedule your visit during one of their many community activities. Release your inner artist the third Wednesday of every month at Drink and Draw and take in some classic pickin’ the first Wednesday of every month at the Old Time Cider Jam.
New Brews at Gild Brewing
Missoula’s newest brewery is the perfect edition to the Hip Strip, a block of funky boutiques and eclectic restaurants located across the Higgins Avenue bridge just south of downtown. At Gild Brewing, grab a glass of the spicy Hail saison or delightfully bitter Gildebeest double IPA while you enjoy rotating tacos from the kitchen and before you head downstairs to the basement arcade, open Thursday through Sunday. Relive your teens playing Pac-Man and Galaga and trying your hand at dozens of pinball machines.
Clinks Stems at Red Bird
Amid a wealth of quality restaurants in Missoula, Red Bird Restaurant and Wine Bar seamlessly combines the perfect drink, food and location. Found downtown in the historic Florence Hotel building, Red Bird offers patrons delectable dishes such as Champagne fondue or a grilled bison tenderloin with a multi-page wine and beer menu. Express your tastes to the knowledgeable staff for them to hand-select the perfect pairing with your meal or choose the rotating wine flight designed to highlight a specific region or variety.
Photo courtesy Destination Missoula