Drinking, Distilled

Bozeman Spirits, Montana Distillery
Willie's Distillery, Montana Distillery
Willie's Distillery, Montana Distillery

Drinking, Distilled

Lewis, Jimmy
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A guide to local liquor.

Maybe you’re just getting off of your bike after an early-fall ride, or you’re inviting your bird-dog into the cab of your truck after a day of grouse hunting in a secret cover. It could be you’re heading west out of town to strip streamers for pre-spawn browns on the Madison, or simply arriving back at Main Street after a leisurely stroll along the Gallagator with the kids in tow. There are more outdoor inclinations offered in and around Bozeman during the months of autumn than I have space or imagination to list. Thankfully, there are just as many cocktails offered by local distilleries to quench your thirst when the excursion is over. Here’s a sample of what you’ll find around southwest Montana these days. 



Wildrye Distilling – Northside Bozeman
Located beside 406 Brewing on the east side of Oak St., Wildrye has a speakeasy kind of feel, a humidified cigar room, and an outdoor patio upon which you can enjoy both cigar and cocktail. Wildrye is located far from the madding crowd of Main Street, and food can be ordered from 406 Brewery. Perfect Pairing: The “Pain Killer” after an epic fall trail run.

Bozeman Spirits – Downtown
Walking into Bozeman Spirits, I was greeted by live music, merry people, and a festive mood. It is likely that you will be, too. Huckleberry vodka tops their drink list. Perfect Pairing: Go for a hike along the Gallagator, then step in for a “Huckleberry Press.”

Dry Hills Distillery – Four Corners
If you’re looking for a warehousey feel and you’re into gin or vodka, then head for this distillery located in the Four Corners area. While the presence of a food truck is unreliable, Buffalo Bump Pizza is a short walk across the street, and the proprietors of Dry Hills don’t mind if you bring back a large pie. Perfect Pairing: Raft Bear Trap Canyon with a group of friends and call Buffalo Bump on the way back to Bozeman. Then take your pizza over to DHD where you can order everyone in your party a round of the vodka-based “Challenger” at a large, group-friendly table.

Willie’s Distillery – Ennis
Ennis is an Old West town and Willie’s has an Old West feel. A variety of whiskeys, moonshine, and liqueurs are available, along with a sensuously smooth vodka. The tasting room is boisterous and busy, but amiable and inviting. Perfect Pairing: After a day of working streamers on the upper Madison, go with a “Madison Valley Old-Fashioned,” made with Willie’s Bighorn Bourbon.

Roughstock Distillery – Four Corners
Roughstock prides itself in being “the first to make whiskey in Montana in over 100 years.” A variety of different whiskeys is what they offer, and since the distillery has been around awhile, some of their top-shelf offerings have become smooth and complex. Sadly, Roughstock’s tasting room lost its lease and the distillery needs a new location. Meanwhile, find a retailer and buy a bottle of “Black Label” to bring along to elk camp.

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