What you're drinking: This summer, two Missoula breweries associated with dueling amphitheaters released dueling versions of an American classic: the Lager. In one corner is Big Sky Brewing, which released Griz Montana Lager in celebration of UM's 125th anniversary (see "Griz get buzzed," pg. 6). In the other corner, KettleHouse released Bonner Logger (pun-intended) to celebrate the new KettleHouse Amphitheater in Bonner. These lagers aren't exactly light—we would never accuse a craft brewery of such a crime—but if this were a boxing match, we'd be squarely in super welterweight territory. Yes, that's a Mayweather v. McGregor reference, because this is the craft brewery fight of the century, ladies and gentlemen. Without further ado, we present the Indy Lager v. Logger taste test.
The rules: Each Indy staffer drinks each beer and chooses a favorite, with commentary. The beer with the most votes wins.
Editor Brad Tyer: Beer doesn't last long in my house, but either one of these brews would languish in my fridge at least until the bourbon runs dry, and probably until I'm out of rootbeer, too. The Logger has an uncanny ability to taste warm even when it's ice-cold, and the Griz, as noted below, has an afterburn that's the wrong kind of snappy. Point: Griz Lager, but only because it comes in a smaller can, so it's gone faster.
- photo by Parker Seibold
Arts Editor Erika Fredrickson: I don't mind admitting that my Hamm's-drinking roots allow me to enjoy almost any beer depending on the occasion. I liked the Logger fine, and would happily drink it on a hot day, though I'd probably add lemonade and make it a shandy. The Griz Lager, though, had a sharp aftertaste that lasted way too long. When you need a beer back for your beer, that's bad. Point: Bonner Logger.
Reporter Alex Sakariassen: So much for Montana craft beer being an alternative to yellow fizzy water. We've slipped into some parallel universe where two of the oldest and largest Montana breweries are taking a cue from the flavorless mass-market swill (read: Miller, Coors, Bud) they vowed to supplant. I hope Ashton Kutcher shows up soon to tell us all we've been punked. Point: neither.
Reporter Derek Brouwer: Look, I'm a Bobcat, but the Logger doesn't cut it. Are we sure this isn't expired Rainier? Does beer even expire? I detect some spice—or at least hops—in the Griz Lager. Point: Griz Lager.
Winner: Big Sky's Griz Lager, by the thinnest of margins. Uh, enjoy?