Every November through March, I try my darndest to not complain about the weather. This is in part because I don’t want to fall into yet another Minnesotan stereotype, but also because I know exactly what I signed up for when I chose to continue living here.
That being said, there are a few days each year where the air quite literally hurts my face. The night I shuffled my freezing butt into the Montgomery taproom was one of those times.
After loosening my fingers enough to pull the taproom door shut, I was greeted by warm air, cold beer, and the easy beat of folk music. Every other Wednesday, the taproom hosts a jam session of some half a dozen dudes, including the head brewer. Let me tell you–listening to Wagon Wheel while drinking a beer and reading The Growler is one of those moments that just can’t be duplicated.
Modern-day Montgomery Brewing is located in the same building as the town’s original brewhouse, which closed its doors decades ago. The first brewery crafted Rye Lagers, so I naturally opted for the modern Redbird Rye PA (ABV 6.8% IBU 40), an homage to the taproom’s roots. The wheatiness of the beer balanced well with more complicated hop flavors. I also tried the ESB (ABV 5.1%, IBU 33).
AJ, the head brewer, took a break from his harmonica to offer me a bit of advice. “Happiness should be the goal. For most people, it isn’t. The goal shouldn’t be more money or more stress. My last job was at a large financial institution, and I woke up every day wanting to puke because I had to go to that job. When I came home, it took every ounce of strength just to be kind to the people that love me the most, and that’s not life. We started a brewery to teach our young children to follow their dreams.”