On Tuesday I visited the new Montgomery Distillery in Missoula, Montana. Some may wonder why I was traveling through Montana… the fact is, I live here so it’s pretty easy to visit said place. You may now ask why it took so long to visit the distillery, after all, it’s been open for almost a month… the fact is, I don’t have an answer to that question, but, it was worth the wait.
As I walked into the Montgomery Distillery, I was greeted with a large open room with the bar on one side and tables throughout. There was a group of business people conducting a meeting at one of the large tables, and another group of nursing students who appeared to be studying for an upcoming test. Both groups had drinks in front of them which really showed the culture of this place, and it was fantastic.
As I approached the bar, I was greeted by two wonderful smiles asking how I was doing today. I said, “much better now”. We started off with a sampler of their vodka (the only liquor they have available for consumption at this time). It was very chilled and had a great flavor, something you don’t always get with unflavored vodka. It was smooth to the taste and quite enjoyable.
Next, we were handed a menu of cocktails they offer made from their vodka and other fine ingredients. The bar tenders were knowledgeable about their products and pretty passionate about making quality drinks. I started off with a Honeybee Highball which consisted of Quick Silver Vodka, Arlee honey shrub, lemon juice, soda water and rosemary sprig. It was a much different tasting beverage than anything I’ve had before but I tell you what, it was a good different. It had such a unique taste to it, which grew on me with each sip. A customer next to me explained that he feels he should have some easter eggs in front of him as the smell reminded him of dying eggs. Don’t let that fool you though, it was a great flavor.
Within our group we sampled most of the drinks they offered and one of my favorites was the Indian Summer, consisting of Vodka, lime juice, agave syrup, muddled strawberry and jalapeño. It started off with a delicious fruity flavor and ended with a mild spicy jalapeño flavor that left you in a state of amazement. I couldn’t get enough of this drink, I wish we could have more than 2 drinks a day (state law).
While consuming these fine beverages, the owner, Ryan Montgomery was nice enough to offer me a tour of the production area located in the basement. He walked us through the entire process of making vodka and what his hopes and aspirations were for the distillery. His passion is to make a quality whiskey, which he knows takes time and doesn’t want to rush the process just to get product on the shelves. He is going to do it right and age the whiskey appropriately, which sadly means, we are at least three years away from tasting any of the Missoula made whiskey. In the meantime, we will be able to enjoy their vodka and their gin, which is a few weeks out as they perfect the floral flavoring.
I learned a lot about the process of making vodka, whiskey and gin and can’t thank Ryan enough for taking time out of his busy schedule to show me around. I’m also looking forward to participating in one of the upcoming bottling parties.