Montana Brewing Company
113 N 28th St
Visited on June 25, 2008
Yes, I’ve been to brewpubs in Montana. They are few and far between, as are the people who live in Big Sky country, but they’re there. The one in question on this trip was Montana Brewing Company, found in downtown Billings, which has a rather unpleasant aroma throughout its city limits.
Surprisingly enough, however, downtown Billings is kind of cool despite the stench and remoteness. The brewpub had a nice outdoor patio that my mother and I took advantage of. I don’t recall many other details – hopefully the following original review will jog some memories – but I do seem to remember rather enjoying their beers as well as their sweet potato fries that were actually more like chips.
I was extremely worried headed towards the brewpub because Billings sucks. It smells, the buildings are dirty and run down, and the hotels are scary. Despite this, the Montana Brewing Company rocks. On a completely deserted downtown street, the building projects a fenced patio with an overhanging canopy jam packed with people enjoying beer. The interior is nothing special, a little skimpy on the seating, but it screams salt of the earth; relax after work and have a beer.
They have absolutely first rate sweet potato fries. Actually, they’re more like potato chips—thin and crisp yet retaining a good amount of chewiness on the inside. Well seasoned, with a killer dipping sauce, they are by far the best sweet potato fries I’ve had since leaving Palo Alto’s, “The Counter,” behind. They feature excellent bison burgers, mine was souped up with black pepper and bourbon sauce. For some reason they felt like it still needed the traditional garnishes of onion, lettuce and tomato. In hindsight, I would have left those off, and it would have been even better. The desserts don’t read as huge, but they are. Be careful when ordering, because although the “cherry pizza” and “chocolate chip cookie pizza” sound out-of-this-world, they’re really only average.
The beer was pretty outstanding. They had a strawberry beer that only hinted at sweetness, contained some sour, and was so good my mother, who hates beer, ordered a pint. The light lagers are good introductions for Bud lovers, but what really stood out to me was the rye beer. Different and flavorful, it would be on my top 25 list (at the time), if I had one.
The service was not the best, but not terrible. The place was pretty busy so the attention was rather limited. However, she did her best, and spouted off everything I needed to know about each beer off the top of her head.