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Happiest Hour: The Inaugural Missoula Brews Cruise


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What it is: This Saturday, Sept. 19, craft beer fans will have another excuse to drag local taprooms as five breweries and two bars play host to the first-ever Missoula Brews Cruise. The event is a bicycle-based poker run, and participants will pedal their own course from the Northside Kettlehouse to Bayern, Draught Works, Flathead Lake Brewing, Imagine Nation, the Top Hat and The Dram Shop before finishing at Great Burn Brewing, all for a chance to win prize baskets or a brand new bike. Entry is $10, helmets are required and all proceeds go to support the MTB Missoula mountain bike club.
  • Cathrine L. Walters

How it works:
The goal of the Missoula Brews Cruise is to build a poker hand by biking from one participating location to the next, picking up individual cards at each (you only need to hit five locations). Those hands have to be turned in at Great Burn between 5 and 6:30 p.m., and the best male and female hands each win a cruiser bike. Poker runs are traditionally done on motorcycle, says Montana Brewery Passport’s Ryan Newhouse, who organized the event alongside Townsquare Media and Missoula Bike Source. But given the craft beer community’s creative streak, it’s not surprising the concept would be adapted for bikes. “There are similar events around the country,” Newhouse says. “Denver does them quite regularly.”

More reasons to sign up: Missoula Brews Cruise happens to coincide with a few other brewery events this weekend. There’s a pre-party at Bayern Friday night—the same night Bayern is debuting its new food menu. Anyone visiting Imagine Nation as part of the cruise Saturday can also join the brewery’s grand opening festivities. And then there’s the opportunity to participate in the first of what could be many brews cruises to come. “If it works out, as early as next year we’ll do it twice a year,” Newhouse says. “We’ll do a spring ride and a fall ride. We want it to grow, we’ve protected the event, we’ve got it trademarked.”

Where to go: You can register online through Eventbrite or in person at any of the participating watering holes through Sept. 17. The cruise itself starts Sept. 19 at noon at the Northside Kettlehouse, 313 N. First St. W.

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


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