What you’re drinking: Sour beer, aged for three years! Yep! Three years! Sours tend to be a “love ‘em or hate ‘em” style of beer, and the exclamation points should indicate on which side the writer of this column falls. KettleHouse has been releasing sour beers on occasion for a while now, with the latest, called the China Cat Sour, introduced via a launch party on Feb. 24.

How it’s made: This is a drinking column, not a brewing how-to, so we’ll stick to the basics. Step one: Get some whiskey barrels from Dry Fly Distilling in Spokane. Step two: Fill the barrels with Double Haul IPA. Step three: Add wild yeast, bacteria and fresh peaches. Step four: Wait three years. Or something like that.

KettleHouse’s Barrel-Aged China Cat Sour

What it tastes like: The bartender is quick to point out that the resulting beer tastes nothing like Double Haul IPA, which is true. The China Cat has a wonderful oak flavor that I’d describe as sharp but that KettleHouse’s brew team calls smooth. Either way, it’s good. The fresh peaches give the tart beer a subtle fruitiness that I didn’t find to be overpowering, but which the brewmasters describe as “fruit intense.” Clearly I don’t know what I’m talking about. But trust me, it’s good.

Where to find it: The China Cat Sour is available for a limited time in hand-numbered 750 mL bottles for $15, or 9 oz. drafts for $4.50. Northside location only, 313 N 1st St. W.

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

Staff Reporter

Staff reporter Derek Brouwer joined the Indy in 2015 after year-long stints covering education at the Billings Gazette and the Helena Independent Record. He graduated from Montana State University. Follow him on Twitter: @derekwbrouwer.

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