Friday, July 9, 2010

Brewpub Review: Quarry Brewing - Butte, MT

So again, like Great Divide, this is not really a brewpub but a tap house in the brewery. The lone brewery that I visited on my trip to Montana, but I may have just picked the best one. I say this because of the friendliness of head brewer and owner Chuck Schnabel and his wife Lyza who is the head bartender and co-owner. The atmosphere when walking in was overwhelmingly Butte, Montana. Hardworking people enjoying good company and good beer. 

The brewery is located in the historic district of Butte, an old copper mining town which boasts the richest hill on earth. It's a great little part of the city that used to be Montana's largest. There is ample parking on the side of the building and plenty of room inside.

I am guessing the building was an old warehouse, perfect place to revamp, add some fermenters, and start a brewery. As told by Chuck, Butte is the biggest drinking city in Montana, probably a good idea to start the first brewery there since the 1960s.
 Everyone seems to want to crowd around the bar but there is also ample table room as you walk in and the building expands to a lot more room in the back, as long as you don't mind sharing the room with some grain sacks.

Along the walls hang cases from other craft breweries as well as historic photographs and old mining antiques. The place really gives you a sense of the historic town you are drinking in. 

The brewery lies on the other side of the bar in it's own separate room. Large windows allow patrons to view the large vats that are making the delicious beer that they are consuming.

I believe it is Chuck and Lyza's plan to stay very local. They currently distribute to local bars and restaurants and serve at their tap room. Chuck explained very straight forward that he has no plan to bottle/can and likes it the way it is. I really can't blame him for that, sometimes in a capitalistic world you forgot your roots, and the Schnabels' seem dug deep into Butte.

My favorite part about the establishment (besides the beer) is their mug club. There hangs around 150 mugs on the wall each with an individual owner who have perks for being in the club. I was told that there is about 275 people on the waiting list, and if you're on the list and don't come in for awhile you are probably going to get bumped down. I have only seen one other place that has something like this, and the most amazing part is Chuck and Lyza know every single mug owner who is on that wall. Someone would come in, they would give them a huge hello, grab the mug right off the wall, and make sure they were getting their usual.

So on to the best part, the beer. Quarry has a pretty standard year round lineup with English roots. Chuck said the water profile of Butte is very very close to Burton on Trent which is famous for their outstanding English ales. The Shale Pale Ale, Open Cab Copper, and Open Pit porter all live up to their British beginnings. My only issue is I thought they were a little light handed on the carbonation, which is probably just the American in me.  

The Headframe Hefe is light and refreshing and the German yeast gives it the perfect profile. I felt there should have been a little more body and maybe a little more malt presence however. The Galena Gold was an absolute perfect blonde ale, full of flavor but easy drinking that you can survive a few of them after a day of working the mines. 
My favorite of the selection was Quarry's seasonal Basalt IBA. This is a new emerging style called a Cascadian Dark which is basically and dark india pale Ale or rather an india black ale. Perfect blend of hops and roastiness that left me wanting more.  
Like I explained before, Chuck and Lyza were extremely friendly and passionate about their business. He seemed almost gitty to explain all of his creations to me and I happily lapped them all up. Luckily I had a designated driver, it's just not possible to go to a place like this and not want to try everything they have to offer.


If ever again I find myself in Butte, MT I will be stopping by Quarry for another pint. I recommend that anyone who loves beer and is anywhere near the area should stop and and have a look for yourself, you will not find one disappointing aspect of this new brewery.  

1 comment:

  1. Nice post about my favorite Brew Pub and philosophical forum. - EcoRover (proud mug club member #138)