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Bigfork, Montana Area Chamber of Commerce

Tap Rooms and Tasting Rooms

Made-in-Montana products have come a long way from 1946 when Eva Gates first produced the strawberry preserves that made the little white house in Bigfork famous.  Today, there is a wide range of items created with local ingredients.  And some of the newest are wines, ales, beers and spirits made from local ingredients and pure glacial water.

It started with wines, continued with the development of craft breweries that now produce more than 40 varieties of ales and lagers, and now includes distilleries that hand-craft small batches of spirits.  In other words, there’s something for any taste. As we said in another article, a favorite drive is one that circles Flathead Lake.  And while you’re enjoying the scenery and the wildlife, why not stop along the way to sample some other local favorites?

A relative newcomer to Bigfork, Whistling Andy distills vodka, rum, gin, bourbon and moonshine (the legal term for un-aged whiskey. Try their Hibiscus Coconut Rum, winner of the 2011 Platinum Award given by Spirits International Prestige Awards (SIP). Whenever possible, they buy and mill their grains in the Flathead Valley with the excess grain returned to the farmers as slurry for their livestock. The Tasting Room is open daily from noon until 8 pm.  Along with the hand-crafted spirits, they offer a full espresso coffee bar and light lunch as well.  There are plenty of non-alcoholic beverages available; all made the traditional way without corn syrup.  www.whistlingandy.com

Flathead Lake Brewing Company is located south of the Bigfork village on Highway 35 in Woods Bay. The Brewing Company features handcrafted & award winning beers along with good food and lakeside views. The brewpub features brews on-tap along with a variety of growlers and bottles available for sale. There’s also live music, special events and a mug club. On Tuesday night, visitors are invited for “Brew & View” featuring some of their favorite ski and snowboard movies. On Wednesday, Trivia Night challenges all comers. They are open for tastings daily from 3 pm until 8 pm.  www.flatheadlakebrewing.com.

Down in Polson, Glacier Brewing Company has been making handcrafted beers and sodas since 2003.  In the tap room and beer garden, you’ll always find a selection of seven beers and two sodas on tap along with seasonal offerings such as Glacier Select Oktoberfest. Flathead Cherry Ale started as one of their seasonal ales, but it has become so popular, it’s now here to stay. Sample a pint or try the sampler tray of two-ounce glasses. You’ll find Glacier Brewing products in stores throughout Montana or you can pick up bottled beer, growlers, kegs and soda to go.  www.glacierbrewing.com.

Heading north on Highway 93, it’s time for some fine wines.  The Mission Mountain Winery is one of the older kids on the block. The vineyard was started more than 30 years ago with the first vintage produced in 1984. Their wines are now known internationally, winning more than 100 medals, mostly gold.  Using grapes from their Montana and Washington vineyards, Mission Mountain currently produces approximately 6,500 cases of wine a year including:  Vin Gris, Riesling, Monster Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, a “blush” wine called Sundown, a variety of dessert wines, Ice Wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir,  Syrah, Cream Sherry and Port. The Tasting Room is open May through October from 10 am until 5 pm. www.missionmountainwinery.com

Tamarack Brewing Company in Lakeside offers a casual brew pub with pub fare and handcrafted ales. In summer, the creek side patio is a visitor favorite, but “The Rack” offers spectacular views of Flathead Lake year-round. They feature eight beers brewed on site along with seasonal offerings such as Headwall Double IPA or Stoner Kriek. Tamarack is open for lunch and dinner daily and kids eat free on Monday and Tuesday. Tamarack features special events such as Trivia night every Tuesday with Community Tap Night on Wednesday. The restaurant is open daily all year from 11 am. www.tamarackbrewing.com.

North of Bigfork and Flathead Lake, visitors will also find breweries and brew pubs in Whitefish, Kalispell and Columbia Falls.  Stop by the Visitor Center for the Connoisseur Tour brochure that contains contact information and a map of every location in the valley. www.bigfork.org

To learn more about Bigfork, visit www.bigfork.org.  Media queries may be directed to Carol Beck-Edgar at edgecomm@montanasky.us. 406-837-2061.

 


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