Take the Belgrade Interstate exit and the last right before the train tracks to sample a pint of the newest beer in Montana. On Jan. 16, Outlaw Brewing’s taps started flowing.
Located inside the Bar 3 Bar-B-Q restaurant, the brewpub is in an industrial section of town with blaring train whistles adding to the beer drinking experience. New tables and a barbecue joint atmosphere contrast the inside of the building sharply with the exterior.
Two weekends ago, the brewpub had seven beers on tap, ranging from an average Strong Dark Ale to a pretty darn good Imperial IPA.
Three buddies and I sampled every beer on tap (between the four of us, that is), and what follows is a brief description of each. Outlaw’s beers taste “young” — like a brewery still experimenting with its recipes — but that’s perhaps the most exciting time to find a new brewery. They’re not highly hopped and are more reminiscent of 406’s beers than Bozone’s.
Chocolate Porter: Despite the name, there’s no actual chocolate in this beer, just rich chocolate malt. If you like lighter-bodied porters, this is a good choice.
Strong Dark Ale: Not the most interesting of beers, but it’s not bad, with 6.4 percent alcohol and a tart taste.
Irish Cream Ale: Very light, almost cream soda-ish. It’s sweet and heavily carbonated, tasting more like a light lager than an ale.
Amber Ale: A dark-colored amber, with a good malty flavor. It’s got a bit of a rough start, plenty of carbonation and hops, but lots of flavor.
Light Pale Ale: Heavily carbonated, but refreshingly crisp. Lightly hopped so anyone can enjoy it.
English Brown Ale: A light-bodied, sweet brown ale, similar to a Newcastle.
Imperial IPA: Cloudy but with great citrus notes. Not too dry and a late-hitting bitterness. Even if you don’t like IPAs, this one is definitely worth trying.
Bar 3 Bar-B-Q serves up great Texas-style barbecue food, with $10 specials on dinner and a pint most nights. They’re also open every day from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
When I was there, only two other groups stopped in over the course of a couple hours. Make a special trip out to Belgrade with some buddies to try this new brewery — be a beer hipster and try their beer before anyone else you know does. But most importantly, pour that godforsaken Bud Light down the drain and grab a real Montana beer.