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Happiest Hour: Blodgett Canyon Cellars tasting room

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PHOTO BY DEREK BROUWER
  • photo by derek brouwer
What it is: A wine tasting room in downtown Hamilton that blends refinement with the feel of a classic Western bar.

The backstory: Blodgett Canyon Cellars began as an experiment in co-owner Kevin Broughton’s basement. Broughton is a microbiologist by training and says the winery is “just the classic story of the hobby spun out of control.” Blodgett has been selling its bottles for several years but in 2015 opened a tasting room, which Broughton says has transformed its business model. The grapes are grown and fermented in eastern Washington, then blended, aged and bottled onsite.

Why you’re here: The tasting room is remodeled from the former Ponderosa Bar. There’s an immense mural over the dimly lit bar back that was brought to life after Broughton says his crews scraped 1/4-inch of nicotine off the paint. This summer, however, patrons can also opt to drink on Hamilton’s only rooftop deck. The deck, according to Broughton, is the result of a strong relationship with the building’s owner.
“He actually built it for us, basically,” Broughton says.

What you’re drinking: Blodgett’s chardonnay has a light, crisp flavor that works well in the sun. Broughton’s personal choice for the new deck, he admits, is his sangria.

Where to find it: 111 West Main St. in downtown Hamilton. The tasting room is open Tue.-Sat. from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Fri.-Sat. from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, email editor@missoulanews.com.

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