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Happiest Hour: Great Burn and Stone Brewing make a Terrible Rye IPA


  • Photo by Derek Brouwer
The drink: An aggressive Rye IPA, born from a collaboration between Great Burn and San Diego’s renowned Stone Brewing, made from Chinook, Simcoe, Cascade and Citra hops.

The backstory: Great Burn owner/brewer Mike Howard got his start at Stone Brewing—a logical origin for Missoula’s most hop-forward brewer. With a California vacation scheduled earlier this year, Howard decided to reconnect with his former brew buddies to team up on a new beer that both breweries could serve. They worked out the recipe by email, then Howard spent a day of his September vacation back in his old brewery. “I think collaborations are great for the industry,” he says. “It’s bringing good brewer minds together to have some fun.” Stone introduced the Terrible Rye during San Diego beer week. It landed on tap at Great Burn earlier this month.

The name: “Terrible” doesn’t refer to the beer itself—at least not its flavor. Howard says the high level of rye in the recipe (almost 50 percent of the malt) clogged up the mash tun, turning a six-hour brew day into a marathon 14-hour session. Not exactly the ideal California vacation. When Howard brewed the beer for his Missoula taproom, it took a slightly more reasonable ten-hour shift.

The taste: At 10 percent alcohol by volume and 70 IBUs, the Terrible Rye will knock you out. But it’s surprisingly smooth for brew of such heft. Howard says he’s “really happy” with how the beer turned out. Great Burn has three IPAs on tap at the moment, and it’s worth trying them all.

The details: Find the Terrible Rye IPA at Great Burn Brewing, 2230 McDonald Avenue. A snifter costs $5—no growler fills, please.

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

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