Big Sky Brewing Company - Big Sky IPA
Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs):65
Serving Temperature:45-50º F
Suggested Glassware:IPA Glass, Tulip, Pint Glass
Malts:Pale, C-75, Dextrin
Big Sky IPA pours a medium amber color with crystal clarity and a robust head of beige foam that persists well and laces the glass nicely. On the nose, we get a big blast of bold citrus notes evoking sliced orange and grapefruit, plus candied orange peel, along with some softer peach-like stone fruit tones and resinous touches of pine. A bit of caramelized malt lurks below. It’s a very traditional American IPA impression and we’re digging it. Those fruity notes emerge in full force in the flavor too, dominated by aggressive citrus zest, while some pine resin follows on to grip the palate into the lingering finish. The malty backbone makes itself known also, with noticeable caramelized and toasty notes plus plenty of sturdy heft to support the hops. A bit of residual malt sweetness is easily overcome by the deliciously firm hop bitterness, keeping this IPA nice and dry overall. For pairing options, we’d look to fruity and spicy fare, like Vietnamese and Thai dishes. Mexican cuisine can work well too, as can grilled meats served with a fruity sauce. Cheers!
Neal Leathers and Brad Robinson were students at Michigan State in the 1980s when they began homebrewing. Their love of beer was born within the early microbreweries they encountered while passing through the Pacific NW on their way to work summers in the Alaska fishing industry. In 1990, Neal, Brad, and a group of their friends moved to Missoula, MT, and they began dreaming of starting their own ale brewery soon after arrival. During this time, they created a local access TV show called Beer Talk, and the enthusiasm of viewers who would call in to the live shows inspired them to get serious about turning their brewery dream into a reality. Unfortunately, while they were knowledgable about beer, their business expertise was lacking. Thankfully, as luck would have it, their new friend Bjorn Nabozney – whom they met while working together at a sports and outdoor gear store – was just finishing up a Bachelor’s in Finance at the University of Montana. As a final project, Bjorn wrote a business plan for his friends’ brewery idea, and then the trio went out to raise money and get the brewing ball rolling. After securing a brewing location in the Riverfront area of Missoula, their first batch of beer was produced in summer of 1995.
Fast forward to today, and Big Sky Brewing Company has come a long way. In the late 1990s, Neal relinquished the brewmaster reins to Matt Long, who has led production ever since. In 2002, Big Sky moved into a new brewhouse just north of the airport, which was over three times the size of the original location. The extra space allowed for both increased production and the installation of a bottling line with which they’ve expanded their reach well beyond their local draft accounts. They also host summer concerts at the venue. Big Sky currently produces about ten canned beers, along with various smaller-run brews, plus multiple seltzers. For more info about the brewery and their Taproom, visit them at bigskybrew.com.
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