Montross Brewery is teeny tiny* and has been open for a little over a year, but you wouldn’t know they were so new by the quality of their beer or their apparent cult-like status. Every few months, they hold an auction that allows customers to pick what kind of beer they want to see next (e.g. rice lager, red, etc.), and the winner’s face gets made into the label. Yes, every beer comes with a story about one of their customers. (That’s either a very good way or a very bad way to retain customers, depending on how they feel about “their” beer, I guess.) Although their beers are seasonal, they will remake favorites.
Right now, they’re only open on Fridays and Saturdays, and everyone wears a lot of different hats. While we were there, our bartender was actually the head brewer, and the owner was running in between errands to check on the three barrel brewing system. Speaking of the brewing system, it was going at full blast while we were going through our tasting, and we got to taste one of their future beers while it was still at the wort stage, which was pretty cool.
Speaking of brewing their beer, they use a system called BeerSmith, which allows them to plug in a ton of recipe variations so they can figure out how their end product will (probably) turn out. Once they have a recipe they’re happy with, they use a 30 gallon fermenter to test it. For a small operation, I think that makes a hell of a lot of really good sense. If you know that two parts x + five parts y = beer style delicious, why not get a little help from technology, right?
Right now, they just growlers and squealers, but they’re working on getting the kinks out of their bottling system. Apparently, carbonation can be tricky.
If you’re not a beer drinker, don’t worry. They also make their own ginger ale from a 200 year old recipe. This is actually what I tried to order a glass of, but Paul made stink face at me, so I had a shandy instead. I should’ve listened to my instincts, but live and learn and write legible notes on a later day, right?
*There are a whopping 12 seats in the bar. By the time we left around 2pm, they were all full, and a handful of people were standing.
Rating: Green (We’ll totally come back!)
Tasting: $8 for 6 (5 beers + ginger ale)
Price: $5 per glass
Kid Friendly: I’m fairly sure minors are allowed, but given the cramped quarters, I wouldn’t bring little kids here.
Highlights: Juan Loco (brewed with hatch chilies)
Time Since Lacy Last Ate: ~4 hours
Strangers Invited to Dinner: 0