Portland, OR and Missoula, MT have many similarities. From the craft breweries, bike craze, Birkenstocks, outdoors-men, organic foods, diverse restaurants.. Portland Oregon and Missoula Montana have a lot in common. Here are ten reasons, and counting, why these two cities are so similar, and what makes them such great places to live.
Portland and Missoula are listed in the top ten cities for beer drinkers. Portland beats out Missoula at 3rd place to Missoula’s 8th, but that recognition alone shows how much both cities love beer. There are nearly ten breweries in Missoula alone and Portland has 58 within the city limits.
Biking & Pedestrians:
Bikers always win in Portland. There are these green bike boxes downtown that allow bikes to wait in-front of cars while at a stop light. If you work downtown, chances are you bike to work and are well familiar with the many bikers all over the roads. In Missoula, there are many bikers as well thanks to the large selection of bike paths in the city, and downtown you can find elevated sidewalks only for biker use.
The Good Food Store, Missoula Fresh Market, Natural Grocers.. Missoula has many options for organic and natural foods and like Portland boasts farmers markets throughout the summer and fall seasons.
Montana roots gear is extremely popular in Montana, and in Missoula. Locals sport this clothing to show how much they love this state. Much like Portlander’s and Oregonians wearing the ironic “put a bird on it” shirts and their willingness to show their love for their hometown.
Hiking, Biking, Skiing:
Missoula is home to great hiking, biking, and skiing trails. You don’t have to go far to see the incredible places this city has to show you. There isn’t a time when there arent people exploring and hiking the “M trail” about the UM campus. Portlanders need to travel a bit further for hiking or skiing, but they are still favored weekend activities. There are also parks within the city, like Forest Park, where you can spend a whole day exploring and enjoying nature.
In Portland, you could eat your way through the city with any kind of food you are looking for. There are incredible and unique restaurants all over the city, not to forget the food carts around downtown that have their own unique food scenes. Missoula has great choices for food as well. Being a college town, you can find great burgers, pizza, and brunch.
A river runs through it:
Portland has the Willamette river. Missoula has the Clark Fork. Both rivers run through the middle of the city and are used for recreation. Dragon boats, kayaks, and rowers can be seen on the Willamette, especially during the summer months. A favorite summer time activity of Missoula is floating down the Clark Fork on inter-tubes. The Clark Fork is smaller than the Willamette and makes it easier for fishing and walking along it.
It snows in Missoula, and it rains in Portland. Both cities are often covered by gloomy gray clouds and have very temperamental and changing weather. While Missoula is well equipped for snow, Portland tends to shut down for less than two inches of snow. Even in April, the mountains around Missoula are covered with a light dusting of snow.
Griz games are huge in Missoula. Timbers soccer games are huge in Portland. Portland and Missoula both have huge support for their sports teams and if thousands of screaming fans doesn’t show this I don’t know what does.
Portland and Missoula are both incredible cities. Living in Missoula reminds me so much of Portland, which is home for me, has been incredible. These are two cities that are great to live and work in.
Written by; Kelsey McCauley – native Portlander
It’s that time again. Time to dive into 8 more mouthwatering foods that you MUST try in Missoula, Montana. As if the first 10 weren’t delicious and satisfying enough, here’s a list of 8 more dishes to add to your tasty Missoula food repertoire. Trust me, you’ll enjoy them.
Missoula (Mo) Club: Mo Burger
The Mo Club is popular all hours of the day. Whether you’re lookin’ to get some lunch with your family, grab a beer and shoot some pool with your buddies, or get your midnight drunkin’ snack fix, the Mo Club can hook you up. They have a rather small menu, featuring burgers and shakes, but it’s truly all you need. A Mo Burger begins with ground beef that gets mixed with a generous dose of chopped onions before heading to the flattop grill, enhancing the juiciness and flavor. Now this is where the real magic happens. The grill remains greasy and always crowded with juicy burgers, so you know that your sizzling meat patty will always come out tender and delicious. Choose your cheese, add some bacon, and maybe even make it a double. It comes served on a grilled bun along with pickles and sliced onion. Honestly one of the best, if not the best, burger you will ever have.
Iron Horse Bar & Grill: Tender 501
The Iron Horse is a cool joint located on Higgins in the heart of downtown Missoula. The dynamic building offers four outdoor seating areas, a huge bar downstairs with plenty of TVs, as well as an upscale bar upstairs known as the 501 Lounge. The menu hosts a variety of dishes, with massive salads, pastas, sandwiches, and much more. The one thing on the menu that you have to try would be the Tender 501. This sandwich starts with perfectly seared tenderloin slices cooked to your personal taste bud preferences. Atop the savory tenderloin sits sweet caramelized onions, and a slathering of slightly spicy sriracha aioli for the perfect balance of flavor. Finish it all off with a cheesy Romano hoagie, and you have one heck of a delicious sandwich. Stop in for Martini Monday or two-for-one well drinks on Thursday for the perfectly satisfying evening at the IHo.
The Depot: Shrimp Won Tons
This Western steakhouse is best known for its quality steaks, prime rib, seafood and wine selection, as well as its Larry Pirnie artwork. Now, if you’re looking for some delicious upscale dining, this is definitely the place to go, but make sure you begin your meal with this special appetizer. Shrimp Won Tons. These perfectly fried pillows of heaven are filled with chunks of buttery shrimp, velvety cream cheese and oniony chives. They come pilled high and piping hot to your table, alongside a choice of hot mustard and sweet and sour sauces. Pair it with a nice glass of wine or a local brew and you have one perfect Western Montana meal.
Double Front Café: Chicken
The building has been around since 1909 and the chicken has been served since 1935. If you want a little taste of history with your chicken, this is the spot to go. Their motto says “The Best Takes a Little Longer,” meaning that their fresh, never frozen chicken takes about 30 minutes to make. But it is absolutely worth the wait. Choose from light meat or dark meat, or both if you want. This hand-battered and fried chicken is good no matter what part of the bird you choose. Get a side of golden fries and some sweet corn nuggets, and don’t forget the side of pickles! It’s the perfect greasy, salty, cheat-day meal.
Ciao Mambo: Pasta Ravenna
This beautiful Italian restaurant has figured out how to create the perfect romantic atmosphere. Soothing music, low lighting, and delicious wine will get you in the mood…for some pasta. The dish you have to try is the Pasta Ravenna. Gorgeous, vibrant color comes from the sun dried tomatoes, intertwined in a luscious, creamy roasted garlic cream sauce. Juicy grilled chicken, artichoke hearts, and mushrooms all combine with perfectly cooked bowtie pasta noodles. While you wait for your heaping plate of luxurious carbs, feel free to pick up a crayon or two and create a masterpiece on the white, paper tablecloth. Stop in for the perfect romantic evening for two, or bring the family for a nice night out to decorate the table with the kids. Either way, you will be flawlessly satisfied.
Sweet Peaks: Ice Cream
Sweet Peaks first opened its doors in Whitefish, Montana, but has now expanded to other nearby locations, including a relatively new location in Missoula. Made from cream and milk from local Hutterite dairy farms, as well as other fresh, local Montana ingredients, this ice cream is something special. From pistachio dark chocolate to Lafaza Madagascar Vanilla, there is definitely something for everyone. With a rotating list of flavor offerings, it’s difficult to say which ones to try, so I would suggest sampling them all! Cupcake is my favorite flavor, with rainbow sprinkles of course. The waffle cones are also made fresh daily, and are slightly cakey with a hint of cinnamon. So stop in to get a split waffle cone so that you can try two flavors at a time, and while you’re at it, there’s even doggy ice cream to serve to your best puppy pal. You won’t be disappointed!
Bagels on Broadway: Bagels and Cream Cheese
If you are a bagel enthusiast like myself, then you will thoroughly enjoy Bagels on Broadway. This bagel shop opened over 20 years ago on Broadway in Missoula. They offer over 20 different flavors of bagels with a variety of cream cheeses to shmear all over, not to mention a delicious assortment of bagel sandwiches. The chewy bagels are made fresh, in-house, daily and include anything from Cinnamon Raisin to Rosemary Focaccia. Choose from an array of cream cheese spreads such as Bacon Scallion or Honey Walnut. I can’t tell you which combination to try, because there are so many incredible creations to be made! I will tell you, however, that my favorite is the Cornmeal Bagel with Lox cream cheese. Get it toasted and smeared high with yummy cream cheese and you have the perfect jump-start to any morning.
Missoula Brewing Company: Strawberry Wolf Point Wheat
The Missoula Brewing Co. is located off of North Reserve Street in Missoula. They boast a 2,000 square foot taproom with a retractable garage-style door for those warm spring and summer months. Glass windows separates the brewery from the taproom on one side while the Grant Creek flows on the other, all nestled in Cottonwood trees. Sound like a dream? You haven’t even heard about the beer yet. Missoula Brewing Co. offers four flagship Highlander beers that are offered year-round in their taproom: a Northwest IPA, Red Ale, Montana Lager, and an American Bock. One taproom offering that you have to try, however, is called the Strawberry Wolf Point Wheat. A strong strawberry aroma will draw you in, followed by a subtle fruity taste and soft finish. Don’t be skeptical about trying this berry inspired brew, it is truly incredible. Did I mention they have incredible pizza too? I mean beer and pizza? It doesn’t really get better than that. So stop on in and grab a beer and a slice. It makes for the perfect end to a week of amazing Missoula eats.
If you missed the first list of “The 10 Foods That You Must Try in Missoula, MT” you can find it here!
If you live in Missoula, and enjoy drinking beer, then I am sure that you are fully aware of what has happened in the last 10 years, but first, go back in time to 1986. At this time, Missoula Brewing had been out of business for over 20 years, and Americanized pilsners like Ranier dominated the market. In 1987, German brewmaster Jürgen Knö¨ller opened up Bayern Brewing, and the local craft beer industry had once again been established in Missoula. Five years after Bayern’s opening, Jürgen and a few other local business owners started an annual tradition that still holds today. The annual Garden City Brewfest had begun, and craft brew lovers have flocked to Caras Park in downtown Missoula for the event ever since.
Now, look back to just ten years ago. Believe it or not, there were only three breweries in Missoula. In the past 10 years, the love for craft beer has blown up to ridiculous proportions, and the greater Missoula area is soon to be home to over 10 breweries!
When you live in a city like Missoula, which is in a state that takes 2nd in the nation for breweries per capita, one brewfest is simply not enough. The first brewfest of 2016 was the Winter Brewfest, which was on February, 19th but there are still five more to come!
Remember, drink responsibly!
Bacon & Brew Fest
Garden City Brewfest
MBA Fall Fest
Wildwood Brewery is located in the Bitterroot Valley, on Hwy 93, North of Stevensville, Montana, just south of Missoula. Jim Lueders is the owner and head brewer who moved to Montana in 1979 and is taking the brewery world by storm. Wildwood Brewery is three years old and is home to some of the most delicious organic beer in the state! Here are a few reasons why Wildwood Brewery is one of the area’s best breweries and why you should go down and check them out!!
One of the most important factors when deciding to visit any brewery is the delicious beer. Wildwood Brewery does not disappoint. A few simple ingredients brewed together just right makes these beers an attraction for any craft beer lover. They are Organic and they are amazing!!
Organic Mystical Stout
Mystical stout is an Irish style dry stout similar to that brewed by a renowned brewery in County Cork, Ireland. Organic two-row barley and black roasted malts give this beer a flavor and aroma reminiscent of coffee. This beer is easy drinking and user friendly.
Organic Bodacious Bock
Bodacious Bock is a traditional German spring bock. Three organic malts are employed to give a complexity, which hints of honey. Only German noble hops from the Hallertau region are used for a soft bitterness and floral aroma. It is decoction mashed in the old world tradition. This is a strong beer, imbiber beware!
Organic Discerning Pilsner
Discerning Pilsner is a Bohemian style lager like the original brewed in Pilsen, Czech Republic. This beer is made only with organic Pilsner malt, Czech Saaz hops and very soft water. This beer is decoction mashed in the old world method. It is well balanced between floral hop bitterness and malty sweetness.
Organic White Bark Wheat Ale
White Bark Wheat Ale is a classic Bavarian wheat beer, often called Weiss Bier or Hefe-Weizen. This beer is fermented with a special yeast from Southern Germany which lends some banana and clove flavors. The yeast creates these flavors naturally and there are no additives. Only certified organically grown wheat and barley malts are used and double decoction mash programs in the tradition of German brew masters.
Organic Ambitious Pale Lager
Ambitious Pale Lager is a classic Munich style lager. Only certified organically grown barley malts are used. It is cold conditioned, well balanced between malt and German noble hops.
Organic Karapiller Red Lager
Karapiller Red Lager is made with organic Caramunich malt from Germany and pilsner malt made from two-row barley grown in Montana. The roasted malt gives it a subtle caramel flavor. There are just enough hops to balance the malty sweetness. This beer does not fit any classic style, but it is the brew master’s creation.
Organic Loquacious Duck
Loquacious Duck is a classic German Dopplebock. Malty rich, very subtle hop character. A good choice when trying to keep warm on those cold Montana nights!
2.) The Experienced Brewer
If you’re going to drink fresh, local beer, you might as well drink beer brewed by one of Missoula’s most experienced brewers. In 1987 Jim Lueders, owner of Wildwood Brewery, was hired as assistant brewer at the Bayern Brewery in Missoula and thus began his commercial application. In 1990, Jim traveled to Munich Germany and spent 9 months studying brewing, malting, and soft drink technology at the prestigious Doemens Academy. After finishing at Doemens, Lueders went on a tour through 12 countries getting behind the scenes tours of nearly 100 breweries and related facilities. Upon returning to the USA, Lueders found himself in demand in the young craft brewing industry, which was growing fast. He was first hired as a start-up consultant and head of production for the Saxer Brewing Company in Portland, Oregon in 1993. With youth still on his side he left Saxer to continue consulting for brewery start-ups across the US and overseas. The Wildwood project started in earnest in 2002 when Lueders’ bought all of what was left of the Saxer Brewery, from his past employer. Wildwood Brewery officially opened their doors in March, 2012.
Wildwood Brewery is located in the heart of the Bitterroot Valley. The Bitterroot Valley is nestled between the Sapphire and Bitterroot Mountain ranges. It is home to some of the best recreation spots in the US, including hiking, biking, fishing, whitewater rafting, skiing, wildlife and nature viewing ~ you name it! Whatever takes you outdoors; you can find it in the Bitterroot Valley! Whether it is winter or summer, there is always something to do in the Bitterroot Valley. This surrounding recreational area makes Wildwood Brewery the perfect stop after a day of outdoor activities.
Wildwood Brewery is building an integrated production system, which will transform waste streams from the brewing process into inputs for a network of industries. The cyclical, efficient use of raw materials and energy will reduce operating costs, allow the associated businesses to sustain themselves at lower production levels than their competitors, and provide a model for sustainable development. In a traditional brewery, producing beer results in a significant waste stream. This waste is a business expense, an inefficient use of resources, a burden on the environment and community, and a loss of opportunity. The Wildwood Brewing Company offers a better way by turning wastes into value added inputs to support other productive enterprises. Eventually, the cycles will be completed so these enterprises provide the majority of needed inputs to each other. The Wildwood Brewing network will be based on a flow of materials from one enterprise to another, making the best possible use of generated “waste” of each process. In this manner, value is added at each stage, and costs are lowered.
5.) The Brewery
Wildwood Brewery has a great small town, community vibe and is located in a beautiful area. The view you have of the Bitterroot Mountains while sitting outside having a beer is unmatched. If you want to sit inside, the taproom has a great, old school brewery feel to it. The state of the art brewing system is feet away from the taproom, so you really get a feel for how the whole brewing process works. You also have the opportunity to help in the canning process. Not only do you get to experience and help in canning the beer, but you will also get paid in beer for it. What could be better? The Building: Wildwood Brewery is a large stucco, timber-framed dairy barn originally built in 1901. Lueders found the rundown structure in Wisconsin, and it took two trailer loads to haul the pieces to Montana. Lueders lined the 22-inch-thick walls with straw bales purchased from a farmer in Corvallis and installed radiant floor heating. The bar is made of salvaged timber from another barn, this one built in Pennsylvania in the 1880s, and the roof is made of recycled metal purchased in Missoula. Lueders made all of the tables in the taproom from old wheel rims and sawed log pieces. The wooden tap handles were sustainability harvested from the top of St. Mary Peak. The building is a really unique and fun place to stop in and have a beer.
6.) The Equipment
The Wildwood Brewery is a state of the art brewing system. It starts with three malt silos, which can hold nearly 100,000 pounds of bulk malts. The malt is brought into the building with a cable and disc conveyor and empties into the malt hopper where it is electronically weighed. An intermediary hopper is used to add specialty grains, which come in bags. The malt gravity flows from the malt hopper through a Künzel 4 roller mill and into the grist hopper. The Künzel is the BMW of malt mills. The grist is brought out of the bottom of the grist hopper with a screw auger, which empties into a bucket elevator bringing the grist up more than 25 feet. The elevator empties into a chain drag conveyor, which gently moves the grist to the mash kettle. A grist hydrator is used to evenly mix the dry grist with temperate brew water. The mash kettle was designed by Mr. Lueders in 1992 and custom made by Mueller, Springfield, Missouri. The other three vessels of the four-vessel brew house were made by BAM, in Freising, near Munich. These vessels include a Brew kettle, a lauter tun, and whirlpool. There is a 50 hp high-pressure boiler, two 50 bbl hot liquor tanks, and a 30-ton chiller. A 1000 square foot cooler building is built in the shadow (North side) of the larger brewery barn. For additional efficiency, there is a 600-gallon glycol reservoir inside the walk in cooler. An outside 600 gallon water/ice tank which includes a heat exchange coil can be used as a pre-chiller at times when the temperature outside is below 30°F. There is cellar capacity of 240 barrels.
All these reasons make Wildwood Brewery a prime stop for any authentic craft beer lover. From the beer to the atmosphere, Wildwood Brewery is a great place to enjoy a delicious organic beer.
Where you can find Wildwood Brewery:
Wildwood’s driveway is about 1/4 mile north of the Stevensville cut off road, just east of where the middle Kootenai Creek Road intersects highway 93. We are across the highway (East) from Lucky Lil’s Casino. Look for a big yellow building with a rust colored roof and three large grain silos in front about 200 yards from the highway. 4018 US Hwy 93 North Stevensville, Montana.
The taproom is presently open everyday from 4:00pm to 8:00pm.