A Guide to the Best Missoula Breweries so you know where to drink (and what to drink) while you’re in town.
I had no idea about the craft beer scene that would welcome me when I arrived in Missoula, Montana.
I had heard from a friend living there that craft beer was getting bigger around town, with quite a few recent Missoula breweries opening up, but every person and their mom says their city has the best craft beer scene in America these days.
So, I landed in town with a skeptical mindset. I mean, everyone said Portland had the most AMAZING craft beer scene too before I moved there, and that wasn’t at all the case in PDX.
However, what we found in Montana, and especially Missoula, far surpassed the quality of most breweries you’d find in Portland. I could not have been happier to spend four days in town exploring the best breweries in Missoula.
The unique aspect about breweries in Missoula, MT is the fact that most of them don’t have liquor licenses.
Liquor licenses cost a bundle (sometimes up to a million dollars), and they’re very limited in Montana because there is only a small number up for grabs in any given city.
Instead of the Missoula breweries, it’s mainly just the local Missoula bars that have been there for ages that hold liquor licenses and the freedoms that come with them.
The 6 best things to do in Missoula, Montana, no matter what season it is.
I knew when I first heard Nomadic Matt talking about all the things to do in Missoula, Montana during his book tour a year ago that it was a place I wanted to visit. I did a little research, started following the Visit MontanaInstagram (warning: they post photos that will make you move to Montana), and was soon inspired for my own trip to Big Sky Country.
Less than an hour and a half flight from Portland, tickets were quickly booked and I put out my blog feelers to see if Destination Missoula would like to work together for my upcoming trip.
I knew I would be fond of Missoula before I arrived. It is exactly the type of place I love visiting. A vibrant arts culture, foodie cafes & restaurants, an up and coming craft beer scene, and known to have some of the friendliest people around. It’s also a place with rustic architecture and is incredibly photogenic no matter the season.
On a stunning property next to the Gallatin River and just west of Bozeman, you’ll find the tucked away gem, Gallatin River Lodge. After Kendall and I spent our quick day around downtown Bozeman, we drove the short distance in the late afternoon to the winter hideaway and discovered one of the most beautiful spots of Southwest Montana in the process.
I was only able to spend a short amount of time in Bozeman compared to Missoula, but I still enjoyed my day in the city, exploring the small downtown area, fitting in a craft brewery, and taking in another side of Montana.
Think back to the late 19th Century, a time when the West was for the brave and wild-hearted, a place for adventurers. Sam Wilson was one of these classic westerners. He laid the foundation for what is now the 320 Guest Ranch in southern Montana in 1898 with his 160 acre homestead along the Gallatin River.
I’m still new to this whole snowboarding thing. I finally learned how to properly snowboard last month outside of Portland, at Mt. Hood Meadows, but other than that my experience in the snow has been close to nilch.
This is partly why I felt so honored to have heard back from Big Sky Resort during my recent trip to Montana with an offer of an all-access lift ticket to enjoy their slopes for the day. I would be able to improve my skills in the snow while experiencing the biggest skiing in America. Yes, this was going to be the best kind of adventure.
The Holiday Inn gets a bad rap for being a generic hotel chain, and before I actually stayed at a nice one, I would’ve completely agreed with the naysayers. However, after staying at the Holiday Inn Missoula Downtown, I can safely say that I was more than a little impressed with what I found at this particular location.
Although there were the generic aspects you tend to find at every other hotel chain, such as 70’s style interior that needs some serious sprucing up, drab carpet, and standard room sizes, there were enough positive aspects about my stay to more than make up for these minuscule touches.