Northern Rockies: Breweries

We visited three breweries on this trip. Best part of our tasting notes? Done in crayon on the back of the children’s menu/activity sheet.

IMG_20160825_130425913The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company, Canmore, Alberta, Canada: Parking in Canmore is a bit challenging, especially if you have an RV. Made even harder by the the city placing signs directing one to RV parking well after the turn for downtown. Ah well.

We tried Rutting Red Elk, Grumpy Bear Honey Wheat, Powder Hound Pilsner, Big Head Nut Brown, Beaver Tail Raspberry Ale, Rundlestone Session Ale, Big Head Nut Brown, Sleeping Buffalo Stout, and the Evolution IPA. Both the Raspberry and Honey Wheat were well done without the raspberry or honey flavor being overwhelming or the beers being overly sweet. Overall, the beers were well done and were true to the menu descriptions. The Beaver Tail Raspberry Ale was our favorite.

Food was fabulous. Kid’s menu served chicken tenders with a plum sauce. Rather delicious. Shaved prime rib sandwich and elk burger were executed well. The classic poutine was rather tasty.

Take the time to find parking and stop in for food and beer.

Banff Avenue Brewing Company, Banff, Alberta, Canada: This brewery is a little odd to get to – it is on the second floor of a strip mall on Banff Avenue.

We tried Banff Avenue BlondeLower Bankhead Black PilsnerHead Smashed IPAPond Hockey Pale Ale, and Walk a Mile ISA. Unfortunately the Blood Orange Hefenweizen and the Red Ale (supporting the local SPCA) were tapped out. Beers were average, nothing really excited us. We did like the Black Pilsner the best of all the ones we tried.

Food was good. We started with the classic poutine (gravy not too salty) and had the bison burger and venison smokie for lunch.

Check these folks out on a Friday after 4 pm. This is when they tap the cask of the week.

Ten Sleep Brewing Company, Ten Sleep, WY: We found this brewery when we discovered Clear Creek Brewing Company was closed on Wednesday, the day we were passing through. Ten Sleep’s story is intriguing so we decided to give their beers a try. After some questioning of Google Maps’ logic in route selection, we arrived safe and sound.

We tried four beers of the five beers on tap – No Name IPAPack Saddle PorterHuck and Tuck Wheat, and the Outlaw Amber. We enjoyed all the beers but were the most impressed with the IPA and Porter. The IPA was well balance with a lingering, but not unpleasant bitterness. Aroma was citrus with herbal undertones. The Porter was rich and smooth with a roasted and chocolate aromas. We left with a growler of each and discovered later that the Porter pairs very well with s’mores. Porter had a fantastic head, even after two days in a growler bumping around an RV refrigerator.

Definitely worth a visit if are in the approximate area. Owners are friendly and fun to chat with. Small family owned and run place. They also have chickens that served as great entertainment for a toddler. Check out their website, they also host concerts. Favorite brewery of the trip.

Ten Sleep Brewing Company No Name IPA with a charcuterie dinner overlooking Meadowlark Lake.
Ten Sleep Brewing Company No Name IPA with a charcuterie dinner overlooking Meadowlark Lake.

Here is a list of the breweries we wanted to visit, but were out of sync with their days/hours of operation. We will just have to check them out the next time we tour the Northern Rockies.

  1. Clear Creek Brewing Company, Buffalo, WY
  2. Flathead Lake Brewing Company, Bigfork, MT
  3. Missoula Brewing Company, Missoula, MT