Great Northern Brewing Wild Huckleberry Wheat

One of the best parts of traveling is tasting local beers.  And when you’re in Montana in summer, huckleberry everything is available.  What a find to stumble on Great Northern’s Wild Huckleberry Wheat Lager!  I’ll admit, we bought it because my wife likes this genre of fruity wheat beers.  It’s didn’t take much to convince me though once I tried it!

IMG_1746

Brewed in Whitefish, MT with pure glacier water, Great Northern brews some fantastic beers.  This light and refreshing lager is made with northwest hops and local huckleberry juice.  Now, while we thought huckleberries sounded exotic, they’re really just wild blueberries.  Nevertheless, they’re delicious in everything – including this beer.  Just a hint of hops gives some body not overwhelming the flavor.  You get a good dose of wheat, the perfume of huckleberries and a slightly sweet finish.  It’s fruity without being dessert-y, if you get my drift.  It’s only 4.7% ABV and proved to be a perfect after-hike sipper.

If you’re in the northwest or can find it locally, give this one a try.  It pairs well with chicken, fish, pasta, sunshine and fresh air!  These brewers hit a home run though.  Check out their website for more details and availability at greatnorthernbrewing.com.

Advertisements

‘Nell’s – Many Glacier, MT

Spending three days in Many Glacier, MT was an awesome experience.  We hiked and explored more than I thought possible – and boy did those busy days leave us hungry!  Given there aren’t many options in the heart of this National Park, we were fortunate to eat several times at ‘Nell’s.  Grinnell Glacier is at the center of the park and is the namesake of this full-service joint located at the General Store and Office for Swiftcurrent Motor Inn.  Both the Glacier and the restaurant are named for George Bird Grinnell, an early American conservationist and explorer.  It’s only fitting that you explore some of the great dishes here!

IMG_1920

A newly remodeled space with ample seating and a long counter for dining as well, it’s comfortable and spacious.  It’s also at a trailhead, inn and campground so there’s almost always a wait.  Thankfully, there’s a good selection of domestic and craft beers and a big porch for recounting stories from the day.  Our first night there, I had the mac-n-cheese with grilled chicken.  Nothing unusual here, but it was creamy and delicious.

FullSizeRender 2

Breakfast selections here are abundant as well ranging from continental choices, smoothies and full-fledged “explorer breakfasts”.  On the day of our 10-mile adventure, I sampled a perfect sausage gravy and biscuits with fried potatoes, eggs and crispy local bacon.  Can I get an Amen??

FullSizeRender

Our last dinner was by far my favorite meal.  Local lake trout with butter, capers and almonds was the star of the show.  It’s hard to say that considering the delicious roasted beets with micro greens and the best roasted cauliflower I’ve ever had!  Honestly, this is a dinner worthy of any fine restaurant around the country – only here, you’re surrounded by gorgeous snow-covered mountains.  The execution was perfect and impressive considering the whole place is staffed by a seasonal crew.

IMG_2042

You’re not going to get fast service here, but relish the time it takes and enjoy the scenery.  Make ‘Nell’s the bookends of your daily outdoor activities while you’re in the park and I guarantee you’ll find yourself ready for whatever’s next – be that a short walk to see moose in the lake or a few pages of a book before your head hits the pillow.  You can find the details at ‘Nell’s – dig in!!

Moose’s Saloon – Kalispell, MT

On our recent trip to Montana, we made our first stop at Moose’s Saloon in Kalispell.  Recommended by a couple locals, this mainstay is a must-stop before traveling 30 miles to see the beauty of Glacier National Park.

FullSizeRender 2

Now, you won’t find an ounce of refinement in this place, but that’s how the locals and visitors like it!  A dark loud place, the floors are covered in peanut shells and sawdust while the walls sport graffiti and license plates from the countless numbers that have walked through their doors.  There’s a great selection of beers ranging from your mainstays to local breweries – a lot of them!  Think Huckleberry Wheat or Hat Trick IPA, both were excellent!  And let me tell you, beer is cheap!!  Good thing though, because this is a cash-only establishment.  Get a glass or pitcher, find yourself a seat and crack some peanuts while you read the graffiti on the walls.

IMG_1738

You have to order your food at a window and it will be brought out to you, so there’s not really five-star service here.  What they do have though is pretty good pizza and basic sandwiches.  My roast beef and swiss was nothing special, but a good sandwich on fresh-baked bread.  The salads were good-sized and fresh too.  It was a great starting point for our big group to begin a 10-day wilderness adventure.

IMG_1740

If you get to Northwest Montana and want a true experience, I highly recommend it.  While it’s pretty loud and had a limited menu, the place was packed with families and softball teams so you know it’s definitely a favorite.  And although we won’t get back there often, it’s one of ours now too!

FullSizeRender