Saturday Night Blue Collar Brew Review – Montana Trout Slayer Ale


Bill DanceIt was a most fortunate visit to the Morris Beer Store on Friday morning as I happened to walk in on an ongoing discussion between Gail, the Beer Maven and a beer salesman representing a distributor. As I scanned the shelf, I was picking up some of the distant blurbs of comments and phrases.

The the Handsome Young Guy appeared in the aisle (his ball cap must be sewn to the back of his scalp) and I asked him if there was anything new. “No, but that’s probably why THAT guy is here.”

I made the choice of an ale I’d been eyeing for several weeks and grabbed the sixpack and headed closer to the action. At first I stood by quietly. As the gentleman spoke, I could tell he knew his stuff and didn’t come off as a salesman at all, but rather as a representative who’s tasted much of the wares he was suggesting.

Gail had the guy’s glossy, full-color catalog and was leafing it through as I interjected comments about the beer styles the rep was talking about. Gail leaned over to me and asked, “What should I order?” I felt greatly honored that she added me to not only part of the conversation, but also to the strategy of selecting a beer for the public to buy and consume.

She and I agreed on on two or three selections, one of which was a breakfast oatmeal stout. The salesguy agreed that it was a wise choice, “You have the oatmeal, some coffee and chocolate all in one. It’s breakfast in a bottle.”

More names got bandied about. I asked about getting some Half Acre beer. Nope. Different distributor. How about some Alaskan Smoked Porter? Nope. Schlafley? Out of St. Louis? Sorry. Pfft! I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to sit down with this guy over a couple of brewskis and discuss craft beer, the industry and his job?”

TSA sixI quietly bowed out of the conversation, paid the tab and walked out. What I had selected was a sixpack of Montana Trout Slayer Ale brewed by the Big Sky Brewing Co. of Missoula, Montana. (How can we get beer from Montana, of all places, and not be able to get beer from the north side of Chicago?) The tab was rather steep at a quarter over $9. Is it Illinois and it’s troubled state government? The distributors taking a bigger piece of the pie? Or is the MBS and its owner? Who knows. I was stuck regardless.

Trout Slayer was one of the beers that I sampled at the last homebrew club meeting I attended. I remembered it to be different that the other beers. When one is sampling many different beers in small quantities, with commercial beers and homebrews thrown into the mix, sometimes the taste memory fades or just gets inundated with too many flavors to remember.

Saturday dawned with its usual grayness and 40 temperature. It was a great day to stay inside and surf the Internet. Before I knew it, two meals had been eaten over the span of time and I was hankering for some of that liquid bread. A few quick checks on the beer at the beer sites, a couple of image grabs and it was finally time for some Trout Slayer.

I’ve learned that T.S. is a wheat ale. This blurb comes from the Big Sky website:

They say the best way to shrink a fish is with with a ruler, but the best way to grow a fish is with a beer. Montana Trout Slayer is the beer to drink when you’re knockin’ back a couple cold ones and tellin’ fish stories. Who knows the next one might be the best yet! “A bigger tale with every ale.”

Trout Slayer is a filtered wheat ale, fermented at cool temperatures, making it a smooth drinkable session beer. Brewed with Palisade, Glacier, and Mt. Hood hops, this straw colored beer is sure to please any craft beer drinker.

Trout Slayer is a filtered wheat ale, fermented at cool temperatures, making it a smooth drinkable session beer. Brewed with Palisade, Glacier, and Mt. Hood hops, this straw colored beer is sure to please any craft beer drinker.

This should be interesting. It’s an ale made with wheat. What the hell glass should I choose? (This is the only facet of manhood that equates to what women go through when choosing what to wear.) RB suggested a straight-sided pint shaker AND a wheat beer glass. Forget it. I chose one of my nice Walmart specials solely dedicated to my penchant for drinking craft beers. Let us begin.

TSA foamUp came the beer sporting a pale yellow color which was surprisingly cloudy, obviously stemming from the wheat with which it was brewed. Large and small bubbles slowly rose to the surface and the head was a sparse eighth-inch or more. There wasn’t a lot of aroma but that doesn’t really mean anything in this case.

The first sip was quite a mouthful. The beer had a great flavor in the middle and a slight hop kick at the end. All this may change as we get to the bottom of the glass. More of the flavors blended in a nice sweetness came forward. The hoppiness receded slightly and the whole of the beer taste made for great experience. Each time I took a swig a different part of the recipe came into the spotlight.

TSA glassI’d say that this beer almost tasted like a lager with its full flavor, slight sweetness and hoppy swallow. As the sips continued, that hoppiness once again made a nice synergistic blend with the other ingredients. It was the highlight of each swallow.I was completely amazed when I discovered that this beer was rated at 35 IBUs. But then again, I may be getting use to the higher hop taste in some beers.

This beer in particular had me sitting back on my haunches. For me it had a most satisfying taste on different levels, the sweet, the flavor and the hop kick. I was so glad that this beer tasted so good and I was glad that I had made the purchase. It’s a full, yet subdued taste with surprises in each sip. How nice!

This is an excellent “anytime” beer. Whether it’s football games on TV or barbecue out on the patio, this beer would fit in perfectly. And at 4.7% ABV, it could be sessionable, and in any other state besides Illinois, it might even be affordable. Try this beer if you see it on your shelf. It’ll fit right in with anything you’ll be doing that day.

TSA logoThe SixPackTech ratings for Montana Trout Slayer Ale are:

Taste: A- > The end result is greater than the sum of the parts.
Smoothness: A > Sliding down an icicle pole.
Drinkability: A- > When you get ‘em home, hide ‘em.
Bang for the buck: C > I just don’t know who to blame this on.
ABV: 4.7%
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: (Sip)… (silence.) (sip) Um, almost lemony. (sip) Slight bitter but not a lingering. (sip) Actually, it’s kinda good. (sip) Mild, I like mild. (sip) It’s kind of good. (Her taste buds are obviously arranged differently than mine. The feminine mystique lives on.)









The Ultimate Trout Slayer, Bill Dance. Himself.

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