What it is: Leave it to Missoula to combine charity and beer drinking. The Northside Kettlehouse tapped that idea years ago. Their weekly event supports a local organization, with 50 cents donated for every pint sold between 5 and 8 p.m. That's no small number, based on how many pints were poured between my first and second Cold Smoke.
Who you're supporting: On a chalkboard behind the taps, the group of the week reads "Missoula Butterfly House," which had a table set up near the patio door. The organization is building a tropical butterfly house and insectarium. Future featured locals include the Garden City Gondola, Missoula Aging Services and the Clay Studio.
Who you're drinking with: Families, regulars, youngsters and oldsters gathered in the wood-laden warehouse to give where the giving's good. It was busy but not quite packed. Children were coloring on the patio, old friends met up at the bar and dozens checked out this week's table full of beautiful butterflies. Wednesdays can get crazy, Walker Scarborough tells me between pouring refills of Eddy Out and Lake Missoula Amber. Some come for a specific group, he says, but total volume can be chalked up to weather and timing just the same. In general, people know when to come out and support the community. "We always have a good time Wednesdays at the Northside," he says.
Show me the money: It's an easy, open application process to get your group on that chalkboard, but you'd better plan ahead. As of now, they're booked through Christmas. Scarborough couldn't say exactly how much gets raised on average, but it can be substantial. When it was the Max Wave's turn, the place was overflowing and their coffers were, too.
Where: Christmas comes early at the Northside Kettlehouse, 313 N. First St. W., Wednesdays from 5 to 8 p.m.
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