Big Sky Brewing Company - Brown Ale
Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs):26
Serving Temperature:48-53º F
Suggested Glassware:Pint Glass or Mug
Malts:Pale, C-75, Chocolate, Black
Big Sky’s Brown Ale pours an absolutely gorgeous deep garnet-mahogany color with perfect clarity when held up to the light, topped by a head of beige foam. On the nose we’re greeted with notes of toasted bread crust, cocoa powder, coffee grounds, caramel, and brown sugar, overlaid with a woody, herbal-spicy hop contribution. On the palate, expect a very round and smooth experience that’s not overly heavy; in fact, this is a remarkably drinkable brown ale that’s at once flavorful and light on its feet. Look for plenty of toasty character here, with those caramel, coffee, and cocoa aroma notes re-emerging in the flavor and melding with some nutty touches and a just hint of dried dark fruit. Hops contribute moderate bitterness, balancing the residual malt sweetness without overpowering it and offering a nicely spicy character and perhaps even a bit of an evergreen quality. For pairing options, we’d steer towards grilled and roasted meats and cheesy dishes. Roasted turkey, grilled sausages, and mac & cheese are high on our list. 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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