Big Sky Brewing Company - Hazy IPA
Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs):60
Serving Temperature:45-50º F
Suggested Glassware:IPA Glass, Pint Glass
Malts:Pale, Flaked Oats, Flaked Wheat, Malted Wheat
Hops:Mosaic, Azacca Lupomax
Pouring a nicely hazed golden hue and capped by a head of off-white foam, Big Sky’s Hazy IPA is already sending its aromas aloft as we consider its appearance. Leaning in, we get a beautifully luscious hop profile delivering the fruit-forward blast we look for in a hazy IPA. Mosaic and Azacca hops are both multifaceted varieties, so it’s no surprise the profile is full of subtle complexities. Citrus and tropical fruits lead the way – look for candied orange and grapefruit peel, freshly cut orange and tangerine flesh, mango, papaya, and pineapple tropical impressions, joined by secondary stone fruit notes along with some piney and floral flourishes. Thankfully, all these hoppy fireworks translate to the flavor, too. This is one juicy brew, delivering fruit cocktail notes front and center, all riding atop a smooth backbone of tangy wheat and very mild caramelization. Perceived hop bitterness is moderately firm, offering plenty of drying bite without hitting the heights of a more traditional American IPA. For pairing options, we’re going to steer towards dishes that complement the beer’s citrus and tropical fruit notes, like Thai pineapple fried rice, or chipotle brisket tacos with mango salsa. 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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