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Friday, August 3, 2018

New Beer Friday, Big Sky Country Edition (August 2)

Barb, Steve and a couple of healthy browns
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

Last May, just a few days after landing her first trout on a fly rod, my wife Barb told me that she would like to go fly fishing in Montana. After giving my face a hard slap to make sure I wasn’t dreaming, I told her that angling for wild browns and rainbows in the famous trout streams of Big Sky Country sounded like a pretty good idea to me too. We did some research and after a week or so of weighing our options we decided to book a weeklong stay at the Broken Arrow Lodge, a ranch and outfitter located in the Snowcrest Mountain Range in the southwest portion of the state. It turned out to be a good decision.

Broken Arrow Lodge sits on a high ridge overlooking the Ruby Valley, supposedly one of the best areas for hunting elk, grizzly bears, mountain lions, antelopes and mule deer in the state. In addition to guided fishing and hunting outings, the lodge offers hiking, horseback riding and overnight pack trips. The family run operation is rustic but comfortable, laid back but chaotic with most of that chaos being generated by owners Irwin and Sherri Clark’s brood of grandchildren and enhanced by a pack of mischievous goats and a couple of chicken-chasing hound dogs. It didn’t take long before we felt right at home.

Broken Arrow Lodge
Barb and I fished hard for five days, expertly guided by the Clarks’ son Chris, and we were able to catch and release an incredible number of trophy sized trout. We would leave the lodge after a hearty early breakfast, have a lunch on the river and on some days we didn’t sit down for an excellent home cooked supper until it was dark. After relaxing with a few Manhattans on Broken Arrow's front porch we were ready for bed.

Guide Chris
Chris is an extraordinary guide. His fly fishing knowledge is unsurpassed and he seems to know every run, riffle and hole on the area’s rivers. Each day after landing our first fish he would pump its stomach to see what it was eating (a procedure that is harmless to the fish). One day he placed the contents in a plastic container filled with water and that night back at the lodge he tied a bunch of flies that matched the bugs. The next day we used those flies to tie into some huge rainbows.

At the end of the week our feet hurt, our legs ached and our arms and shoulders were sore. But aches and pains are a small price to pay for a week’s worth of incredible fly-fishing memories.

New (and Returning) Beer

  • Arbor Brewing Crystal Peacock, $2.19/12oz - "This kettle-soured Berliner Weisse pours hazy straw yellow with a stark white foam. Aromas of lemon rind, pineapple, and tart grapefruit complement the pleasant malty wheat flavor. A combined fermentation from ale yeast as well as the souring Lactobacillus give it a quenching tartness, light body, and crisp finish" (source).
  • Atwater Brewing Raspberry Vanilla Java Porter, $1.99/12oz - No commercial description.
  • Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale, $1.79/12oz - "A crisp, single-hop pale ale with floral and citrus notes from 100% Cascade hops and a smooth caramel malt character" (source).
  • Short's Brewing Synalpheus Pinkfloydi, $2.59/12oz - "Synalpheus Pinkfloydi is a cherry lemonade Gose brewed with Lemondrop hops, Himalayan Pink Sea Salt, coriander, lemon and Balaton cherries. With a red hue and great clarity, this summertime Gose smells of bright cherry, tart lemon, and a little salt. Despite a lengthy list of ingredients, Synalpheus Pinkfloydi has a great balance of flavors. Tart cherry and lemon complement the saltiness of a classic Gose. A dry and tart finish rounds out this easy drinking summer brew" (source).
  • Southern Tier Help! On The Way!, $4.09/16oz - "The fourth release in our Science is the Art Collection leverages mangoes and tropical hops to create a fruit bomb that combines the extra body and creamy richness of the Double IPA with the addition of lactose. Turn the can upside down before opening for increased hazy appeal. Or don’t. Either way, it’s a flavorful and aromatic trip into the cosmos" (source).
  • Boulevard Berliner Weisse, $1.89/12oz - "Few beer styles can match the delicate, sparkling character of the classic Berliner Weisse, with its light body and tart palate. It’s said that Napoleon’s troops referred to it as “The Champagne of the North,” high praise for beer, coming from Frenchmen. With Berliner Weisse, we pay tribute to the style, while giving it a distinctively American twist. Bright and thirst-quenching, the beer is enlivened by soft lactic notes" (source).
  • Nowhere In Particular Batch 027, $2.89/12oz - "Juxtaposition can be a fun little thing when it comes to beer. This is a prefect example of that, with more traditional C hops being used in conjecture with some fun new techniques we have picked up along the way. Combine that with Hornindal Kveik yeast, a fun little  Norwegian yeast strain thats just a couple centuries old, almost went extinct, and has seen a recent rise in popularity. It's easy to see why all these ingredients have been popular at one time or another, this guy is flavorful and juicy, has almost no bitterness, and my personal favorite, has plenty of well disguised alcohol! You'll be drunk before you know it, seeing ghosts of your Norwegian ancestors looking on with pride. Maybe our parents weren't wrong when they said they don't make em like they used to, so cry out jubel and drink promiscuously friends" (source).
  • Dogfish Head Fruitful Fort, $9.99/12oz - "A twist on our beloved Fort, Fruit-Full Fort is brewed with four types of berries - Raspberry, Blackberry, Boysenberry and Elderberry! This juicy blend of dark berries creates depth and complexity reminiscent of a jammy red wine" (source).
  • Odd Side Ales Thunder Gun Express, $2.59/12oz - "A hazy American DIPA brewed with oats and lactose with loads of late addition Citra, Amarillo, El Dorado, and Mosaic hops" (source).
  • Schramm's Mead Heritage Raspberry Mead, $40.69/375ml - "'Heritage' is a variety of red raspberry, which has been grown in the Schramm family for generations. Our estate-grown raspberries all go into in The Heart of Darkness, but we recently found some delicious Heritage raspberries for purchase. Tasting these raspberries took us right back to berry picking in the backyard of Great-Grandpa Schramm's house. We think this tasty jammy mead would make him proud" (source).

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