Here’s the thing. Everyone thinks their city is the best city for beer, wine and booze. I recently wrote a post on the best (and most underrated) beer cities in America and I got a lot of comments about cities I left off the list, including Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, Grand Rapids, the entire state of Michigan, Charlottesville, and a whole lot more. Evidently it should have been something like, “The 200 best beer cities in America.”

History repeats itself, so here I am again giving my take on America’s best boozy cities, except today I’m talking about what I think is one of the most overlooked regions of America, Montana’s Glacier Country, and more specifically, Missoula. If there was more in the way of wine, I might would say that it’s the most underrated booze city in America hands down, but alas, Montana’s climate isn’t so conducive for growing wine. But what Montana’s Glacier Country lacks in wine, it makes up for in craft beer and spirits.

But beer and whiskey wasn’t even on my radar when I went to Montana in June. And it’s only been recently that it could be on anyone’s radar, since Montana state laws (especially on spirits) have long been strict on brewing and distilling. It wasn’t until 2009 that the first distillery opened in Montana (RoughStock in Bozeman). But have no fear, several distilleries have since opened, and Montana actually has one of the strongest craft beer scenes in America. How strong? Well Montana ranks No. 2 in America (behind Asheville) for craft breweries per capita.

But rather than bore you with statistics, I’d rather show it off to you in photos.

Thirst Gear Brewery Tour Montana

You won’t catch us drinkin’ and ridin’ dirty…Our ride upon arriving in Missoula, the Thirst Gear “brew ‘n’ bike,” as I liked to call it. New to Missoula, Thirst Gear is a multi-stop beer tour through town. That’s right, you’ve got to work for that pint.

big dipper ice cream in Montana

Because ice cream. It may not be boozy, but Missoula’s Big Dipper is a Montana institution, even featured on Good Morning America. You won’t be disappointed.

James Bar Missoula Montana

The final stop on our Thirst Gear tour was at James Bar, a local wine lounge and cocktail bar which feels more like something I would’ve expected in L.A. What I liked about James Bar was that most of the cocktails featured local spirits.

Big Sky Brewing Missoula Montana

Big Sky is probably the one (and only) brewery that is familiar from this list since it’s one of the only that has distribution far beyond the state of Montana. Located in Missoula, it’s been brewing beer for three decades, and was the first stop on our brewery tour with Tap Room Tours.

KettleHouse Brewing Company

Stop num. two on our Missoula, Montana brewery tour took us to KettleHouse, which is home to one of my new favorite beers, Cold Smoke Scotch Ale, a hearty and smooth ale with a little smoky finish. However, you’ll have to go to Montana to get it.

Cold Smoke beer at KettleHouse Brewery in Missoula, Montana

Cold Smoke Scotch Ale in all its glory at KettleHouse Brewery in Missoula, Montana. As you can see, looks like (and even drinks like) a Guinness, but much better in my opinion.

Bayern Brewing in Missoula, Montana

Stop num. three on our Missoula brewery tour: Bayern Brewing. What I loved about Missoula’s brewery scene is that each brewery (both the brewery and beer) has its own distinct characteristics that are different from all the others. Bayern was no exception. Bayern has been brewing beer for a couple decades, but is unique since it’s the only German brewery in the Rockies and one of the oldest in Montana.

Beer sample at Bayern Brewing

One of the numerous German beer samples you can get at Bayern Brewing. You can also do growler fills.

Bayern Brewing and Brewpub in Missoula, Montana

Not exactly the attractive photo you’d expect from a beer/brewery post, but important nonetheless because it’s not something you’ll see in just any brewery. Bayern is one of a few breweries in the nation that recycles (or reuses) its entire packaging material. People can use a Bayern Ecopack to recycle their glass and get a refund for bottles returned to the brewery, making it one of the most sustainable breweries I’ve visited.

Draught Works Brewery in Missoula, Montana

The fourth and final stop of our Missoula, Montana brewery tour, Draught Works, a full-on brewery and brewpub, featuring a long list of beers, from IPA to red ale to cream ale (with huckleberries) to amber to pale ale and more. If it’s vibe you’re after, they have it in the summer when their patio is open.

Montgomery Distillery in Missoula, Montana

A rare sight in Montana…A distillery + tasting room, and one of the first distilleries in Montana, Montgomery Distillery.

Missoula, Montana distillery, Montgomery Distillery

Montgomery Distillery in Missoula features a big bar above their distillery, where they serve cocktails using their spirits, including gin, vodka, aquavit, and the latest, whiskey (which won’t be available until next year). This uses their aquavit, and naturally, includes a shrub in the cocktail.

Many Glacier Hotel Glacier National Park Montana

I’d be remiss not to mention how much huckleberry-infused booze there is in Montana, from huckleberry beer at Great Northern Brewing Company to huckleberry cocktails, like this huckleberry margarita at Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park.

What are your favorite boozy destinations?