Whenever I visit a new place, I sniff out the breweries. You should do the same. Why? They’re a great way to really get to know a place and her people, specifically:
- You get a colorful history lesson from brewers who proudly name their beers in honor of local legends. (See Bunkhouse Brewery’s Placer Pilsner or Bozeman Brewing’s Plum Street Porter.)
- Due to size requirements, breweries are often located in interestingly obscure or up-and-coming locations that you wouldn’t otherwise visit.
- Your fellow patrons, whose tongues have been loosened by a couple—but not too many—beers are happy to chat and fill you in on what they really think—about anything.
Bozeman is no exception. Known for being independent yet generous, adventurous yet practical, we Montanans love to share a good story over a cold beer. This enthusiasm for hop-filled story telling has had dramatic economic results. Since 2012, the state’s brewery count has doubled. Today, more than 60 licensed breweries manufacture over 4.3 million gallons of beer. And half of the 7 million pounds of malted grain used by local breweries is Montana-grown.
With an annual economic impact of over $60 million, one thing is certain: The beer is good.
Montana’s brewery laws—namely that customers can only have 48 oz (3 pints) per day and breweries must close at 8pm—have led to tasting rooms that welcome beer lovers, families, foodies (hello food trucks!), and active socializing. From asking my neighbor what they think of the Amber Ale to how they fared on the river or which run to hit if you make first chair, I always leave with a few more friends than when I walked in. You will too.
Be safe out there. And remember, it’s all about the Journey!
Recommendations Before You Go
Download the free, Bozeman-born app PintPass to learn about what’s on tap, the daily drink specials, and how to send free beers to friends at local breweries in Bozeman and around the country. Or, if you’re limited for time, hire Tour de Foam for a guided tasting tour. They’ll pick you up, give you a tasting journal and pint glass or growler to fill at your favorite brewery. (FYI, get $5 off any Tour de Foam brewer tour package with PintPass.) Finally, if you venture outside Bozeman, see the Montana Brewer’s Trail Map to help plan your route.
Everyone has a favorite—ask your Journey Rent A Car representative for their recommendation!
And Now, Bozeman’s Best Breweries
Map Brewing – Trendy lodge ambiance with mountain views and award-winning brews. If you’re looking for a cozy fireside atmosphere and award-winning beer after a day at Bridger Bowl, travel no further than Map. With nearly a dozen beers on tap, it’s always a tough decision. Another positive? Once the pond freezes, you can practically throw a line from the deck for a bit of ice fishing. Drink Recommendations: Go for a tray of award winners and see if you agree: Northbound Golden Ale, Sticke Shift German Alt Amber, or Steep Terrain Double IPA. (My personal favorite is the Golden Ale.)
510 Manley Rd.
406 Brewing – Local art and nachos in the Historic Cannery District.
You can accomplish a lot in a single visit to the Cannery District. Where else can you mosey from a distillery to a (beer) brewery, a (kombucha) brewery and a sushi joint within one hundred feet? It’s possible at 406, Wildrye Distilling, Dean’s Zesty Booch, and Seven Sushi.
Drink Recommendations: The White Peach Wheat (clean and peachy) and the Porter 406, especially if you’re still wearing ski pants.
101 E Oak St
Bozeman Brewing Company – BBQ food truck, cozy tasting room, seriously good beer.
With roughly 13 quality beers on tap and an “only locals come here” location, the Bozeman Brewing Company is for serious beer connoisseurs. Hungry? Lucky for you, the Blue Smoke BBQ food truck is right outside Wed – Sat.
Drink Recommendations: You cannot leave Bozeman without trying the best IPA in the Gallatin Valley, Hopzone IPA (citrusy, with an oh-so bitter-hoppiness), and the always-solid, flagship Bozone Amber Ale. (Seriously, they ask you at the airport before you leave.)
504 N Broadway Ave
Lockhorn Cider House – Downtown location, outdoor fireplace, acoustic tunes.
This ain’t your granny’s sweet cider. With Lockhorn’s dry ciders, sugars are fermented out of the picture. So rather than a saccharine syrup lingering on the tip of your tongue, this crisp cider rolls across your palate more like a complex wine. It’s also a good gluten-free alternative.
Drink Recommendation: I always include the Bone Dry Cider, Ginger (spicy!), and the Bourbon Reserve on my tasting tray. The fourth choice is up to you.
21 S Wallace Ave
Bridger Brewing – Award-winning pizza and thirsty co-eds.
Located on the MSU campus across from the Field House and a block from Bobcat Stadium, it’s best to arrive early. You’ll be rewarded with colds brews, tasty pizza (with gluten-free options), campus gossip, and mountain views. (Plus, double your fun by heading a block north to try a few more promising beers at Bunkhouse Brewery.)
Drink Recommendation: The Scotch Ale (oh, sweet maltiness!) and the Antilogy Black IPA (a burnt, malty intro with all the glory of a hoppy, IPA finish).
1609 S 11th Ave