Summer season ushers in fresh, warm weather beers

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Itís true what everyone says ó Montana has some nice places that happen to be outside. As it gets warmer, things get greener and more pleasant. Wildflowers pop up in lots of places that have just been snowy banks for months.

One of the best things about Montana though, is that as those wildflower blossoms begin to open, those of us that call this place home know that another beautiful thing is beginning to open: brewery patios.

This monthís Fresh Pours are selected summer seasonal beers from Glacier Brewing Company in Polson, with a great outdoor garden, and Flathead Brewing Company in Bigfork, with a deck offering stunning views of their namesake lake. You should consider visiting the brewery in Polson, and if you like it you should buy it. Itís been for sale for some time now, listed at $750,000 heading into the busy tourist season.

Cherry Sour Ale (Glacier Brewing Company): A-

There isnít a better time of year than right now to make the trip south down the length of Flathead Lake to check out Glacier Brewing Company. Though the cherry blossoms are beginning to fade on the trees that bear fruit along the shoreline, that only means the fruit used to make this beer is beginning to grow again. This is a neat take on the staple Flathead Cherry Ale this brewery makes, and is definitely worth trying. It is light in color, hazy and slightly reminiscent of stuffing too many sour cherry Laffy Taffy candies in your mouth when you were a kid.

Flathead Premium Lager (Flathead Lake Brewing Company): B-

With strong notes of Pabst Blue Ribbon and a hint of Vitamin R, this is a beer that will make baseball fans rejoice and all the rest of us remember just how boring baseball season can be, at least until Rudy Giuliani or Justin Verlander are getting booed.

If you like beers that arenít particularly bitter or that donít taste like much at all, youíll find this crisp, clean lager quite pleasant.

Citrus Smash IPA (Flathead Lake Brewing Company): A-

This is a great take on the citrusy IPA, with one big and interesting caveat. It is a single malt, single hop beer that is quite well done. Using only Montana two-row barley and Equanot hops that are chock-full of tropical fruit flavors, this beer is then blessed with grapefruit before serving. Perhaps the best thing about it is this beer will be canned and distributed throughout the valley, so it can be enjoyed on outdoor adventures.

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