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Happiest Hour

Blackfoot's Single Malt IPA



About the beer: Helena-based Blackfoot River Brewing Company's IPA is made with two different types of hops. This combination of Simcoe and Cascade hops makes for a delightfully bitter brew that, we think, tastes best when savored from atop a barstool in the back of Charlie B's. Blackfoot Brewing Company co-owner Brian Smith says that we're not alone. "Charlie's is probably our best IPA account in the state."

Why we're here: We love spending the holidays at Charlie's. On Christmas and Thanksgiving, the iconic watering hole fills with misfits of all ages—people who are inclined to eschew the traditional trappings of family celebrations and instead get a little drunk with friends and neighbors.

  • Photo courtesy of Blackfoot River Brewing Co.

Who we're drinking with: On the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving, it's old timers in blue jeans who sit in the front of the bar talking amongst themselves. A younger crowd files in as the night wears on. At one point tavern owner Charlie Baumgartner, as is his periodic custom, buys a round of drinks, including at least one Blackfoot IPA, for a crew of 30-somethings sitting in the back.

What you're eating: Red beans and rice from the Dinosaur Cafe. It's perfect to soak up the IPA, which, at 6.8 percent alcohol by volume, carries a punch.

How to find it: Blackfoot's Single Malt IPA is sold in roughly 25 Missoula-area bars and restaurants, including the Rhino, Al's & Vic's, James Bar, Silk Road and, during ski season, Montana Snowbowl. You can drink a pint or a pitcher at Charlie's at 428 N. Higgins Ave.or as regulars like to say, at the corner of space and time.

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

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