Why you’re drinking: Cold and snow be damned. Throw on your parka and elbow your way into the eighth annual Winter BrewFest in Caras Park. You know you will. Because if there’s one thing Missoula does better than ritualistic brunching and ranting about traffic, it’s throwing a brewery-themed bash. And while not everyone around here is a raging hophead, it’s hard to pass on a party. Plus, there’s an extra draw this year…

What you’re drinking: A cocktail. Yeah, you heard that right. This year, the Missoula Downtown Association has broadened the Winter BrewFest menu to include spirits and mixers from Montana Distillery and Montgomery Distillery. So toss back that highball glass, beer haters, and rejoice. Or just sip hot toddies as the rest of us curse about forgetting our koozies.

Winter BrewFest

What you’re drinking, more specifically: You might not normally associate Paul Bunyan’s flannel-clad kin with a pink drink. But in the case of Montana Distillery’s Lumber-Jack cocktail, the name is apt. It’s a mix of fresh lime, cranberry juice, maple syrup and ginger vodka, and it tastes like something a lumberjack would order by the gallon. A little sweet, mostly tart, not unlike a Moscow Mule but far more flavorful. Montana Distillery’s Jacob Stalnaker based the recipe on a cranberry sauce he whips up every Thanksgiving. Who needs gravy? I’ll smother my turkey with this stuff.

Where you’re drinking: If it’s Feb. 17 between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m., then you’re in Caras Park and the Lumber-Jack will cost you three tokens. If not, the seasonal cocktail will be available through February at Montana Distillery, 631 Woody St., for $7.

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

Staff Reporter

Alex Sakariassen began working at the Indy in early 2009. He primarily reports on state politics, the environment and the craft beer industry. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Choteau Acantha and Britain’s Brewery History Journal.

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