I always love getting gifted beers from places I’ve never tried before. And this week I share one of those gifts. My friend just came back from a trip up to Montana and brought me back a pale ale from one of the state’s original breweries - KettleHouse.
KettleHouse Brewing Company hails from Bonner, Montana - a small community of 1,400 people on the west side of the state that sits just about 25 miles from the Idaho border. And, after reading about what KettleHouse accomplished for the state, I really wanted to share it all with you guys.
The founders, Tim O’Leary and Suzy Rizza, began KettleHouse way back in 1995 becoming Missoula’s first BOP (Brew On Premise) but, due to crazy laws, they were only allowed to give away a few free samples of beers to each person. However, in the late 1990s KettleHouse was an instrumental factor in changing Montana’s brewing laws. Along with two other breweries - Himmelberger Brewing and Kessler Brewing (both of whom have since closed) - they lobbied for, and won, the right for on-site consumption. And, in 1999, KettleHouse became the first brewery to charge for a pint in their taproom.
Now they have two locations (one in Bonner and one in Missoula) and they even have something I’ve never seen a brewery have before..a kick-ass amphitheater located in Bonner, Montana as well. How awesome is that?! These guys clearly ROCK!! (pun intended)
But, now, on to the beer.
Today I have Fish On!, which they call a juicy Montana Pale Ale. It was brewed with three hop varieties - Nelson Sauvin, Waimea, and Wakatu - and clocks in on the lower side of things with a 4.8% ABV and 30 IBU. I don’t know how much a four-pack costs but I can tell you this was packaged on April 29th.
Fish On! poured a bright golden straw color with just about a finger of airy white head topping it off. The bubbles quickly dissipated, leaving behind a few clouds and a thin ring around the edge of the glass.
The aroma was light and featured a bouquet of fruits. Grapefruit and orange led the way, with massively juicy notes of the citrus standing out. White wine/grapes, pineapple, and just a touch of mango sat behind the orange and grapefruit. A light grist backing of flaked wheat and oats rounded out the aroma and made this a very inviting Pale Ale.
My first sip started off with a flash of hops and carbonation. There was a low hum of hoppy bitterness that hit the back of my tongue before the flavors really began to pop. And pop, they did.
The orange washed over my taste buds first with some grapefruit peel resin following closely behind. A brief surge of mango hit right up front as well but disappeared just as quickly and was never seen again. The pineapple suffered the same fate as the mango, giving off that slightly acidic flavor early on and then vanishing in an instant.
Midway through the brew was balanced out from those flaked grains, which added a cereal-like sweetness, and a crisp smack from the grapes. The Nelson Sauvin hops showed up here, bringing a brut white wine quality and some lingering dryness that lasted well after the flavors were gone.
This deliciously light beer ended mostly clean. There was no real aftertaste left behind but it did end rather dryly, with a swig of water helping me out every few sips or so.
Fish On! was a crisp, tasty all-day drinker. Perfect for those hot days on the boat or in the water or, hell, just sitting around the house. The 4.8% ABV made it light and crushable while giving off a ton more flavor than a macro light lager. I need this in 24-packs...not just a single can.
Awesome beer from an awesome brewery. So glad I got to try this beer and read all about KettleHouse!