Beerchasing in Idaho – Part I and The Dirty Shame Saloon in Yaak, Mt.

2016-07-09 10.29.10

In July, we had a chance to hitchhike a road trip onto the wedding of my niece, Brooke, and her fiancé, Matt near Coeur d’aline (hereafter CDA), Idaho. The wedding, held at a beautiful, rural setting in Altho, was wonderful and it gave us a great opportunity to spend a day exploring CDA and then several days on a subsequent road trip through McCall and then Stanley, in the beautiful Sawtooth Mountains.

Pam Williams and Janet at the entrance to the historic depot

Pam Williams and Janet at the entrance to the historic depot

And, of course, Beerchasing was part of this trip. The first stop was for lunch at the Ice Harbor Brewery in Kennewick, Washington.   Sister-in-law, Pam Williams joined us on the trip to the wedding.

The brew pub at the marina on the Columbia River is much newer and we checked it out, but opted for the more historic downtown location.

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Adam and Angelique discuss lunch options with Janet and Pam

It’s in an old train depot where you could still see remnants of an old fire on the ceiling and where each time a train passes by, rattling the place to its foundation, patrons have a chance to get a discount on beer based on the result of a spinning wheel on the wall.

P1040458

The “Train Discount” Wheel

Staffers, Adam, who worked in the brewery and Angelique, who was our server, were very nice, talked about the history of the brewery – opened six years ago. I downed their good Tangerine ExBeerience – a gold medal winner at the North American Beer Awards in 2011.

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The brewery at Ice Harbor

Coeur d’aline

The famous Floating Green - I need a drink.....

The famous Floating Green – I need a drink…..

While there is no question that CDA is a tourist mecca, the downtown has a lot of character. There are a few good brewery/tavern options and one can understand based on the famous Floating Green at the Coeur d’aline Resort where countless golfers have dunked golf balls in the drink, why they want to discuss the experience over a beer.

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Décor’ consistent with the theme at Chained Up

Taphouse Unchained – this new bar with a cycling theme was spotless and sleek and had interesting décor’. It had not opened for the day but Tai and Sarah, who worked there, let me in to take some pictures.

According to some of the social media reviews on Yelp, they are still working out some of the customer service kinks.

The Moose Lounge – for Thebeerchaser, the best bar option because it reeked of character and Tara, the bartender, besides being a very interesting and attractive woman, was a wealth of information.

Bartender, Tara, at the Moose Lounge

Bartender, Tara, at the Moose Lounge

She was originally from Las Vegas, but does not like big cities.  On her journey, which eventually brought her to Idaho, she worked at the Dirty Shame Saloon in Yaak, Montana – a notable dive bar which will be visited on another road trip.  (see note and pictures at the end of this post for more  interesting info on the Dirty Shame)

The Moose Lounge has  animal heads (and skins….) and classic beer signs hanging from the walls, American flags, tons of old memorabilia and a large space where bands play on many evenings.  They also have karaoke and a great Trivia Night. 2016-07-09 11.08.56

While I drank a draft Blue Moon, Tara also showed me the “Moose Mug” – a 34 ounce monstrosity.  The social media reviews of this quaint place are good and unfortunately, we were not there for an evening visit, but it would definitely be worth a stop.

She also told me that the Corner Bar, although off the main drag, was a dive bar worth visiting.

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The “famous” 34 ounce Moose Mug next to my pint of Blue Moon.

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The Corner Bar  – We made a short visit to this classic dive and the second-hand smoke would hold up the ceilings if a load bearing beam ever collapsed.  Evidently Idaho law still allows smoking in some bars although I did not attempt to analyze the idiosyncratic regulations in detail.

A dive bar where you can smoke inside

A dive bar where you can smoke inside

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Crafted Taphouse and Kitchen – we had lunch at the very popular and relatively new pub, which has a spacious patio in front, fifty beers on tap and great gastro-pub food. The seafood chowder was incredible.   Crafted reminded me a bit of the Ecliptic Brewery in Portland.  Great beer selection and good food, but a little too sleek and glossier than the dark ambiance of the Moose Lounge or any dive bar for that matter.2016-07-09 10.21.41

That said, based on their website they do take pride in their venture and distinguishing their establishment from others.  “Each member of our bar staff has formal Cicerone training.” (that could be more marketing than substantive training….)

Outstanding!

Outstanding!

 

I appreciated the sign below at the front of the patio, but I guess they did not follow this warning literally as we did not see any amped up kids wandering around and Humane Society volunteers were nowhere to be seen.  It did, however, make me wonder about the converse of the statement on the sign…..2016-07-09 10.22.34

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Fifty Beers on Tap at Crafted

The CDA Hotel Bar

The CDA Hotel Bar

Finally, we strolled down to the Coeur d’aline  Resort – a luxury hotel on the water, with a great golf course and other amenities.  The bar looked pretty spiffy as well although I’m sure one would pay premium bucks for a draft beer…2016-07-09 11.52.08

 

 

 

McCall

We spent the first night in the historic Hotel McCall – opened in 1904.  McCall still maintains its charm although the city has grown tremendously as a year-round tourist mecca. Some of the best skiing in Idaho takes place at Brundage Mountain and Tamarack Resort.  McCall dubs itself “Ski Town – USA.”

Rachael - a future architect.

Rachael – a future architect.

We talked to Rachael, a server in the very cozy, nook bar at the hotel, who was a delightful and sharp young woman – a recent Washington State graduate who will start her Master’s in Architecture at the University of Oregon in the fall.

We drank one of the outstanding Grand Teton 208 beers that we first downed on our trip to Wyoming last year and learned that the beer is named after the Idaho Area Code 208.  Perhaps the brewery will develop another “numeric” beer soon, as Rachel reported that Idaho would soon get a second area code.

The Salmon River Brewery

The Salmon River Brewery

The Salmon River Brewery is one of three in McCall and although the space is limited, was a nice venue with some good beer and outstanding fish and chips. It is adjacent to the Hotel McCall.

Like the Ice Harbor Brewery in Kennewick (above), our server, Cynthia, told us that it’s housed in an old railroad depot – their second location for the pub.  Salmon River was hopping on that Sunday night .  The fire pit is a nice feature and I’m sure appreciated by skiers in the winter and their art is also eye-catching.2016-07-10 18.16.12

Innovative art - this is a salmon.....

Innovative art – this is a salmon…..

 

 

 

 

Their PFD Pale Ale was a silver medal winner at the 2013 North American Beer Awards.  They  have about thirteen of their own beers plus a few rotating taps which makes a nice selection of eighteen drafts.

SRB - good selection of beers

SRB – good selection of beers

SRB has an Oregon connection as explained on their website:

“Salmon River Brewery’s Co-founding owner/brewer, Matt Hurlbutt has a direct family connection to the hop fields of Oregon’s famed Willamette valley. Matt’s sister Kelly, and brother in-law Monty are the owners and operators of Weston Bend Farms. The farm is named for the location, which is situated on the most westerly bend of the Willamette river.”

The next morning we drove around Payette Lake and walked through the compact downtown area.   Janet dropped into the Country Treasures Store to browse and was a little surprised by the request made by the staff.   The propietor asked my wife, Janet, if she would mind the store for about ten minutes while she went to the grocery and bought toilet paper.   I then walked in and may not have looked as trustworthy, as proprietor then said that she would make the trip at noon!

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On the Idaho trip, we visited three good breweries, but our favorite was clearly the McCall Brewing Company.   Perhaps it was their outstanding second-floor patio overlooking Payette Lake or the more spacious quarters.  Those factors helped, but it was the graciousness and charisma of the staff and owner which sent it to the top.  P1040465

It started with Carl, the bartender, who patiently let us sample multiple beers of the twenty-four they had on tap (of which ten are their own brews) and explained each beer and the history of the brewery.

Carl, the helpful bartender

Carl, the helpful bartender

Edgar, the brewmaster, although busy, met with me and stopped so I could take pictures.  He also hailed the owner, Louie, who was a dead ringer for Sam at Cheers (Ted Danson) and they both gave a tour through the micro-brewery – right in the middle of the building and slated to expand.

Edgar - Shouldn't a good brewmaster contemplate his craft?!

Edgar – Shouldn’t a good brewmaster contemplate his craft?!

Although it had not opened for the day, he took us up to the patio and explained the interesting tail of how he became the owner in 1994.

And their beer was superb, most notably the Hippie Hopped Pale Ale which has as it’s logo a VW Bus – one that brought back memories of my dad’s red and white VW in which we toured the US in 1959 and resulted in us moving from Ohio to Oregon.

Louie on the patio - we looked for Shelley Long but she was out....

Louie on the patio – we looked for Shelley Long but she was out….

Hippie Hop Pale Ale

Hippie Hop Pale Ale next to the model of my dad’s VW

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Our last day and night 2016-07-11 19.28.49 in McCall was a real treat for both Janet and me.  My Oregon State SAE fraternity brother, Gary Barton and his wife, Kathy, live in Boise, where Gary is an investment consultant, but have a cabin just outside of McCall.   P1040474

(Gary and I sat up late reminiscing about house dances, keggers, the highlights of his time on the OSU football team under Coach Dee Andros and our college nicknames – his was “Golden Boy” and I was (and still am) “Dirt,” which may be some comment on our respective social strata in Corvallis……

They picked us up and Gary, Janet and I took a beautiful four mile hike to Boulder Lake.  Kathy cooked a wonderful dinner and we took off for Stanley in the Sawtooth Mountains – about 150 miles away, the next morning after breakfast.

Trailhead to Boulder Lake

Trailhead to Boulder Lake

The scenery and the Barton hospitality were a treat.  2016-07-11 16.39.28-1

 

Supplemental Notes on the Dirty Shame Saloon in Yaak, Montana

dirty shame

One of the pleasures of my Beerchasing hobby, has been the people I’ve met and what should possibly be described as the “six ABV’s of separation” in what I will label the “beer and bar community.”  Examples abound – Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter, Dr. Sam Holloway from the University of Portland (see TheBeerchaser post on 8/25/15) an internationally traveled brewery consultant, is a good friend of The Beer Goddess – Lisa Morrison (see Thebeerchaser post on 4/9/15), also a prior Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter.  Another coincidence is that former Beerchasers-of-the-Quarter, Jud Blakely and Steve Lawrence and I all cherish $2 happy hour draft PBRs.

Those in the “fraternity,” appear to be collaborative and supportive rather than competitive to others in the business.  It may also give some insight why Thebeerchaser.com is primarily about bars – their history, the bartenders and the regulars – rather than a technical analysis of beer.

That was evident on the Idaho trip.  McCall Brewing Company’s owner and brewmaster (Louie and Edgar), both told me to look up their friend and former colleague, “Mikey,” when we went to Stanley, Idaho (my next Idaho post) where he now works in the Casino Club Saloon.  The McCall Brewing staff was also trained on their bottling machine by the staff at Ice Harbor Brewery (see above) in Kennewick, WA., home of the machine’s manufacturer.

Dirty shame 3Tara, the bartender at the Moose Lounge in Coeur d’aline told me she had worked in the Dirty Shame Saloon in Yaak, Montana (population 248 and the most northern community in Montana) and it was a wonderful dive bar.  When I finally got in touch by phone with John Runkle, the current owner, he remembered Tara and notwithstanding the fact that his cook was gone that day and he was manning the grill, spent time chatting about his bar.

And the Dirty Shame Saloon has an incredible history which may best be appreciated by reading the two articles from the links below:

“The Not-So-Dirty-Shame Saloon” by Bill Schneider from 8/17/09 Newwest.net

http://newwest.net/topic/article/the_not_so_dirty_shame_saloon/C41/L41/

http://www.dailyinterlake.com/members/biker-bar-bounces-back/article_8ee1d2a4-cfe6-11e2-9602-0019bb2963f4.html

Dirty shame logoJohn appeared to be a guy with whom anyone would love to raise a mug and he laughed when I told him that both the Dirty Shame bars in Garden Valley, Idaho and John Day, Oregon had identical names to the original Montana Dirty Shame establishment which has trademark and copyright protection.  The John Day version on the Facebook page labels itself as “It’s a Dirty Shame Saloon,” evidently in a misguided effort to get around the intellectual property legal issues, but still uses the abbreviated name on their building etc.

John, however, seemed to be the kind of guy who is more interested in preparing for the Yaak Crawdad Festival (which he originated), Yaak Attack and the Yaaktoberfest, than lawyering up. The Crawdad Fest was moved from the spring when John maintained it was “too butt-stinging cold…”

And you will see the Dirty Shame story continues to evolve.  In the first article, Bill Scheider talks about meeting the new owner, Don Belcher, and his wife of twenty-five years, Gloria, while on a Montana cycling trip.  It turns out that Belcher, who was 81 at the time of the article, was convicted in 2011 of molestation charges and sentenced to five years probation.  The bar went into foreclosure.

John, who also owns the Yaak River Lodge, and his former partner, Ray Falzone, both of whom were paratroopers in the Army’s 509th Airborne Infantry Battalion, invested a lot of capital to bring the bar’s plumbing and interior to par.  Dirty shame before remodel

“Over the years, the Dirty Shame earned a reputation as a tough biker bar……Locals said the most captivating stories about the Dirty Shame would be inappropriate for a family newspaper.  

 ‘When we came up here, we had to pull bullet slugs out of the wall,’ Runkle said. ‘One of the owners used to shoot pool balls off the table with his .357, you know.’”

I ended my phone call by stating that an ideal future Montana road trip would include a stay at his lodge (where you can get the Moose Room for $149 per night) during the Crawdad Fest and having a beer in the Dirty Shame after visiting the world famous Clinton Testicle Festival (“Testy Festy”)  which was August 3-6th this year. Or you could stay until Thanksgiving when veterans eat for free.

Of course, those events are in the summer and fall, but if the trip was in the spring, at least we could hit the Dirty Shame’s Adult Easter Egg Hunt.  Better get your reservations soon, however, Flathead Livng Magazine recently (6/10/16) named the Dirty Shame Saloon as a gem in its Brief manual for the off-the-beaten-path seeker of roadside burgers and beer!”  Dirty Shame easter egg

The World Famous Dirty Shame Saloon       Yaak, Montana

(Photos from Dirty Shame Facebook page used with permission of John Runkle)

 

Thebeerchaser in Montana and Wyoming – Part II

Old Faithful

Old Faithful

Part I of our Montana and Wyoming trip in 2015 was posted on this blog this February.  It reviewed the wonderful bars in the city of Missoula – a great college town, but also one filled with bars laden with character and history among them Charlie B’s, the Oxford and the Stockman.

The Tetons

The Tetons

And don’t forget some outstanding breweries including Draught Works, Flathead Lakes and Kettle Mountain Breweries.  You can review the post by clicking on the following link: https://thebeerchaser.com/2016/02/12/thebeerchaser-does-montana-and-wyoming-part-1/

Eric, Cassie and Annabelle Hall

Eric, Cassie and Annabelle Hall

From Missoula we traveled southward to Helena on the way to Wyoming and Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Helena is home to our friends, Dr. Eric Hall, his wife Cassie and her mom, Candy, and their wonderful little daughter, Annabelle.

Both work for Carroll College in Helena, which has an impressive campus.  Ph.D. Eric is an Assistant Professor of Theology and Philosophy and is working on his second book.

His first book, co-authored in 2014, was entitled: Groundless Gods: Post-Metaphysical Philosophy of Religion.  Dr. Hall is an extremely intelligent and learned guy and is also a great bar companion.  (I learned a lot about Thomas Aquinas and Rene Descartes when Eric linked the latter’s advocacy of dualism to an assertion that both Budweiser and micro-brews have redeeming social value).

Caroll has an outstanding academic program of which the football team can be proud…..It was ranked # 1 in Western Regional Colleges in the latest US News and World Report collegiate academic rankings.  Cassie, the college’s Registrar, also has an impressive background, having played soccer at the University of Washington where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and then earned her Master’s Degree at Claremont Graduate University. 

And the college has also had some notable football teams in the past:Carroll_College_Helena,_MT_Seal

The Carroll Fighting Saints football team began playing in 1920 and is one of the most successful programs in the NAIA division of college football. The program has won six NAIA Football National Championships and 40 conference championships, 14 while a member of the Montana Collegiate Conference and 26 as a member of the Frontier Conference.

The team is currently coached by Mike Van Diest who in his 12 seasons at Carroll, has compiled a career record of 144–20. His winning percentage of.878 is the third highest of any head coach with at least ten seasons of experience in college football history…”

St. Charles Hall at Carroll College

St. Charles Hall at Carroll College

It certainly bears noting that on the way to Helena, along US Highway 12, we passed through Clinton and I was captivated by the signs advertising  the Annual Testicle Festival, the World’s  largest.  It attracts 15,000 people each  year and as you might expect, it is not considered to be a family-type outing.

Rock Creek Lodge, just outside of Clinton, is the home of the Testy Festy where a $20 general admission ticket will gain you entrance to:

“………the world’s largest testicle festival every fall attracting more than 15,000 fans annually to its five day event.  Tossing around its motto, ‘I had a ball at the Testicle Festival,’ the festival feeds over 2 ½ tons of bull balls to its many hungry revelers. 

Not only can you get a taste of these yummy delicious deep-fried bull’s testicles, but while you’re there, you’ll no doubt want to participate in the bull-chip throwing contest, the wet t-shirt or hairy chest competitions, and bull-shit bingo.”

Rocky Mountain Oysters -- Really!!

Rocky Mountain Oysters — Really!!

And in case you thought that Rocky Mountain Oysters were shipped in from the coast after being harvested from the Pacific Ocean, this item on the menu consists of:

“USDA approved bull testicles(used) in preparing the delicacy……also known as Rocky Mountain Oysters. The membrane is peeled, marinated in beer, breaded four times, and deep fried to result in what appears to be a fat breaded pork tenderloin.”

While attendance at this “seminal” event will have to wait for another Beerchaser road trip, we pushed on to Helena where we toured the city and visited two breweries/pubs with Eric and Cassie:

Blackfoot River Brewing Company

http://blackfootriverbrewing.com

and

Lewis and Clark Brewing Company

About Lewis and Clark Brewing Company

P1030613Blackfoot River Brewing Company and Tap Room is right in the heart of Helena and its two levels with a nice second-floor patio add to the enjoyment. The idiosyncratic Montana alcohol laws again were apparent by the sign stating:  “Montana law does however, limit consumption to 48 ounces per person, per day and only until 8pm,”

That means 8:00 PM even on weekends and meant we had to buy a ticket first and then obediently hand it to the bartender to get a twelve-ounce glass – you can’t even get a pint!   It makes one wonder why a state known for its rugged individualism and independence (which undoubtedly saw a lot of bar fights and cowboys throwing down shots at 3 AM in the past) allows a paternal regulation which doesn’t make a lot of sense. (I neglected to ask Eric what John Locke, the Father of Liberalism would think about this situation.)

Montana Tap Rooms Black River) - no tickee, no brewie....

Montana Tap Rooms Black River) – no tickee, no brewie….

Black River was founded in 1998 by three home brewers (a story Thebeerchaser has founded repeatedly in his five-year journey). It is another case of successful planning and growth as evidenced by this exerpt from their website:

“In May of 1998 the dreams of a brewery were coming to fruition in a recently vacated garage building located next door to Miller’s Crossing.

Given the bank loan, lots of creativity, loads of hard work, and help and encouragement from many friends, Blackfoot River Brewing Company became a functional brewery.   In October of 2008, after eight years of thriving in the cozy environment of the original building, the brewery moved into a wonderful new facility built on what used to be a parking lot next to the old brewery.”

 The Lewis and Clark Brewery

House in an historic building

Housed in an historic building

It is housed in a very cool, historic and expansive structure with great ambiance (considerably better than Black River if you only have time to visit one in Helena).  Part of the structure dates back 125 years.  And at least it’s open until 10 PM Sunday – Tuesday and 11:00 the remainder of the week.

“The oldest building is the Stone ‘Smokehouse’ which was built by T.C. Power in 1885 to smoke meats. Shortly thereafter the ‘Packing & Provisions’ building was built and was used as a 3 story ‘Ice-House’ with ice removed from the lakes in the winter then transported up the pass by rail and stored in caves until brought back down in the summer and hoisted up to the third floor to cool the entire building  P1030620

Montana Packing & Provisions Company closed the property (and it) could have been used as a jail (although no historical records support this so maybe the bars were installed for security), then a seed warehouse. Later it became the birthplace of Columbia Paint.”

P1030693From Helena we traveled southward to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. As a side note, since we are retired, we usually visit our wonderful National Parks while school is in session, but other travel plans precluded it and we wondered what the crowds would be like in the middle of July.     P1030694

We were pleased, however, that although there were a lot more people, it never seemed overwhelming – even at destinations such as Old Faithful. It did require, however, making reservations well in advance and we stayed in West Yellowstone at a somewhat dilapidated old motel that cost a lot more than it should have for two nights, because we could not get lodging in the Park.

Yellowstone Falls - may look like a painting but the real thing!

Yellowstone Falls – may look like a painting but the real thing!

And the first National Park in the US (dedicated by President Grant in 1872) was spectacular.   I had not visited since my family camped there during the earthquake in 1959.  (I still remember the shaking and the animals howling in the middle of the night from this 7.5 magnitude quake which killed twenty-eight people not too far from our campground.)

The scenery is dynamic – from bubbling muddy pools to Old Faithful to Yellowstone Falls to the wild animals – including the bison which roam freely and don’t seem to care about the highways and vehicles which invade their domain as the picture below shows.

This is MY territory...

This is MY territory…

And oh yes, while it was not a highlight, since this is a blog about bars and taverns, our beer at the Wild West Pizzeria and Saloon in West Yellowstone, is worth at least a mention.

It had a bunch of Harleys out front and one young guy in the saloon said to the bartender:

“I want to thank you for kicking me out of here last night which kept me from getting the crap beat out of me a few minutes later.”

P1030640You know when the men’s john has the label seen in the picture below, that this watering hole, which has live music four nights per week in the bar, has some character.  P1030639

Their pepperoni and sausage pizza was also recently named the best in Northwest (Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Utah and Colorado) in the International Pizza Competition in Las Vegas.  Had we known, we would have definitely had a pizza there!

 

2015-07-24 10.15.29While Grand Teton is less expansive than its neighboring park only twelve miles to the north, the spectacular view of this forty-mile long mountain range (without foothills because of the geological origination) rising abruptly from the prairie, has to rival Grand Canyon for its breathtaking beauty.

Jackson Lake Lodge - Amazing!!

Jackson Lake Lodge – Amazing!!

And better planning allowed a two-night stay in the Park at the marvelous Jackson Lake Lodge. Staring at the peaks while drinking a cold micro-brew and devouring a great burger in the Lodge bar, while listening to a performer’s impressive version of Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic,” now makes me wonder why candidate Trump harps on the slogan “Make America Great Again.”       

Van Morrison would approve

Van Morrison would approve

Not that we don’t have significant challenges which need strong direction and discipline to overcome, but failure to recognize the nation’s blessings as evidenced by such visionary accomplishments as the National Park System and focusing on the negative is not the kind of leadership we need.

A raft trip down the Snake River in which we saw eagles, moose and elk, and a four-mile hike to Taggart Lake were highlights of our second day in the Park and then a stay in nearby Jackson (formerly known as Jackson Hole) was our final night before starting the journey back to Oregon. (Solitude Float Trips and our guide, Justine Evans were A+)

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Janet Williams on the Snake River

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And Jackson was hopping and home to many restaurants and bars we unfortunately did not get to visit because of time constraints.   That said we did enjoy our time at a few venues in this tourist town.

P1030735

Although we stopped in the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar because we had heard a lot about it, we didn’t have a beer.  First, there was a cover charge (although it is not advertised on their website) and secondly, it reminded us of the Red Dog Saloon in Juneau that we visited in 2012.  P1030733

Kind of garish and with little character – just a lot of bucks spent on touristy décor and an emphasis on their retail sales although it does have live music and dancing and they brag about authentic western memorabilia and features such as real saddles for bar stools…..

P1030724

We then hit a neat little brewery, however – Melvin Brewery.  It actually shares space with a Thai restaurant (Thai Me Up).  The bartender was friendly, offered a lot of samples and they had good beer – an impressive nineteen on tap.

Their Indian Pale Ale won a gold medal at the World Beer Cup earlier this year.

Melvin - impressive beer for a small operation

Melvin – impressive beer for a small operation

And dinner at Gather, a superb restaurant where, as is our custom, we ate at the bar and met some people from Boston who were in Jackson for one of the many business conventions that come to town.

Fortunately, we got there late for their “reverse happy hour” (from 9 PM till close) and I had the best gin martini on the trip.

P1030731

We left Jackson heading east for the two-day drip home to Portland.

Shortly after we left town, we passed Grand Teton Brewing Company.  Although closed, it was nice to see the home of outstanding beer we had enjoyed throughout the trip.

Two of the outstanding beers from Grand Teton

Two of the outstanding beers from Grand Teton

This brewery which claims to be, “…….the original brewery of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. We have been brewing our handcrafted beers at the base of the Tetons since 1988,” is actually located in Teton Valley, Idaho which is on the west side of the mountain range.

And the narrative from their website, although fairly bold and which might be challenged by some Oregon brewers, seemed to be validated by the excellence of their beer – even though only bottled where we could get it – especially two of their signature brews – 208 and the Sweetgrass American Pale Ale.

“Our water is glacial run-off, filtered over 300-500 years by Teton Mountain granite and limestone before it surfaces at a spring a half mile from the brewery. Teton Valley grows the world’s best malting barley, and Southern Idaho includes some of the finest hop farms in the world.”

Janet and the Bartons

Janet and the Bartons

We spent the last night in Boise, where after forty-five years, I reunited with Gary “Golden Boy” Barton, who also was an SAE at Oregon State and is an investment consultant in Boise.  We had a great dinner with Gary and his wife, Kathy.

Our ten-day trip covered a lot of miles, but the clarion call from Montana and Wyoming to return for the majestic scenery and great bars and breweries will lure Thebeerchaser back for another road trip.

Cheers to Montana and Wyoming

Cheers to Montana and Wyoming

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