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Bayern Brewing Company
1507 Montana Street
Missoula, Montana
(406) 721-1482
Visited on June 26, 2008

I felt like hearkening back to my days out west today and adding a new state to the list of those I’ve visited brewpubs in, so we’re headed to Montana. Missoula is a college town located on the western side of the Big Sky State, and aside from a giant “M” laid out in rocks on the side of a mountain, it’s also got Bayern Brewing Company.

Bayern specializes in German beer and they do a great job. I recall a taproom that looked pretty new – beautiful light woodwork with little to no scuffing or engravings. I also recall a brewpub cat hanging around the joint, and I’m a sucker for cats. I remember rolling into town on my move to Idaho and getting a free sample (3 ounces each or so) of each of their beers. I don’t think I’ve ever come across free samples before. They don’t really serve food, except for some pretzels, packaged goodies and perhaps some cookouts on select summer days, so they don’t get a full ranking. But the owners and operators are really German, so they’ve got that going for them!

Original Review

The brewery is tucked behind a very poor looking neighborhood and it made me really worried while driving there. But the fears were unfounded, as upon walking into the establishment, we were greeted by a gorgeous, friendly, recently trimmed white cat. The place was unbelievably clean, with great woodwork, and logo lights all over. A beer garden wasn’t in use (it was lunchtime) since they don’t really serve food.

Really hard to rate the food at a brewery with no kitchen. They do serve chips and salsa, beef jerky, and outstanding home baked pretzels, though. I’ve read that they also serve German sausage and kraut in the evenings on the weekend, but I can’t say for sure. The pretzel is obviously baked from dough and not just reheated. It’s puffy, irregularly formed, and wonderful. It comes with three types of mustard, each of which is pretty good.

Owned and operated by Germans, Bayern shockingly makes only German lagers under the German purity laws. Outside of any type of bock, I’m actually not a big fan of German styles. But putting that aside, the beer is excellent, exceeding (in my opinion) Hofbrau House and Penn Brewery. My favorite was an amber lager, which I was told was the first beer brewed. I need to come back in the winter when they have a Dopplebock on tap.

Excellent bartender who filled up my sample glasses a few at a time so none would get warm, promptly got our snacks, engaged in conversation, suggested other places for actual food around town, sold me a great logo pint glass and a Dopplebock shirt, neither of which were on display, and then somehow charged me $24. I know the beer tasters are free, but I’m wondering if he didn’t miss something somewhere, because we got a lot for very little.

Location: 19
Food: NA
Beer: 17
Service: 20
Overall: 18
Total: 74 (out of 80)

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