The best watering-holes by activity.
The sun warms your skin and you shed a layer as you push harder and higher into the mountains. Just when you think you can’t go on, adrenaline kicks in, and you take that last step, sprint that last quarter-mile, or clean that last rock garden. You have no regrets, and at the end of the day, nothing left over but sweat-stained gear and the anticipation of your next trip. For now, though, it’s time for a drink. We’re all familiar with après-culture: it’s a way to honor close calls, laugh about crashes, and talk big with like-minded adrenaline junkies. A beer at the trailhead is standard, but where should you go once you’ve returned to town? Here’s a rundown of where to go and what to order.
Après Ski. The snow in the north Bridgers was soft and the turns were smooth, but now it’s time for a stop at Bozeman Brewing to polish off the day. Saunter in and order a Hopzone (or three) and recap the day’s tour until the growing din drowns out your heroic lies.
Après Mountain Bike. Though trails in the Bozeman area don’t dry out till June, true biking addicts will head to Lewis & Clark Caverns or Pipestone to scratch that early-season itch. After a long, hard day of riding, numb those achy legs at 406 Brewing. Their Imperial Red will do the job, at 9.1% ABV. If serious rejuvenation is in order, slip back to WildRye Distilling for a double-shot of Montana rum. Either way, you’ll need only one (or maybe two) to forget about your bloody elbows and bruised ego.
Après Kayak. The water’s still freezing, but that won’t stop you from paddling the Mad Mile. If your day left you wetter than planned and gasping for air, head to Bridger Brewing for a Vigilante IPA. Get there for happy hour, 2-4pm, and enjoy three-dollar pints.
Après Run: After a long winter of pounding pavement, the first dirt-road runs of spring bring the potential for pain. Reward yourself with a Passive Aggressive Pale Ale from Outlaw Brewing. This brew is light enough to enjoy post-run, but not without taste. Don’t forget to hop on the pull-up bar for a well-rounded workout and compete for a discounted beer.
Après Ride: After a day in the round-pen, running your mare in circles until she’s foaming at the bit, head to Copper and ride out a different kind of kick—their signature “Rough Mule.” Made with Roughstock Distillery’s whiskey and served in a shiny copper mug, a couple Rough Mules can help you forget that burning in your tailbone.
Après Garden: We didn’t forget about all you hippies out there a-plantin’. Once you’ve tucked away those cabbage seeds into a bed of perfectly-preened Montana soil, rest your aching green thumbs at Lockhorn Cider House while enjoying a smooth ginger cider. If you’re lucky, a bluegrass band will be playing on the fireplace patio where you can lighten your load and brainstorm ways to keep the mulies out of your garden.