Montana Journals

Yellowstone Country: Beds and Breweries

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A September 2004 trip to Montana by Mr. Wonka

Chico Hot Springs Resort Photo, Livingston, Montana More Photos
Quote: The first of three journals detailing an autumn "Bikes and Brews" tour sponsored by Yellowstone Country Montana. In this first installment, join me on a tour of microbreweries, accommodations, and a yearly festival in this beautiful region of Montana.

Chico Hot Springs Resort

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Hotel

Chico Hot Springs Resort Photo, Livingston, Montana
Quote:
You won’t have any luck finding accommodations at the heavily guarded RV trailer cemetery up the road, so press on through Pray, MT, until you find Chico. Centered around an early 20th-century lodge, Chico Hot Springs Resort offers rural seclusion and a host of luxurious amenities for visitors, including a mineral hot-springs pool that can reach temperatures of up to 112°F. A "historically romantic site since 1900" set amidst rolling hills in the Absaroka Beartooth Mountains, Chico began as a bathing spot for local miners, and later evolved into a boarding house, medical facility, gambling site, and dude ranch before settling into its current role as a relaxing getaway for families and honeymoon...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 2, 2005

Chico Hot Springs Resort
1 Chico Rd
Pray, Montana
(406) 333-4933

Hibernation Station

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Hotel

Hibernation Station Photo, West Yellowstone, Montana
Quote:
Come for the second-largest bronze elk sculpture in the world, stay for the luxurious cabins and close proximity to Yellowstone Park. Located in West Yellowstone, just a short walk away from the western entrance to the park, Hibernation Station is a community of hand-built log cabins that’s perfect for families or couples looking for something out of the ordinary. Rustic? Not really. Full of personality? You bet. As you walk past the aforementioned bronze elk, perpetually locked in battle and standing at 9-feet tall and 22-feet long, you’ll immediately be struck by the hand-carved cowboys, ranchers, and local wildlife lining each of the 40 on-site cabin’s roofs. That’s your first clue that these...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 2, 2005

Hibernation Station
212 Gray Wolf Avenue
West Yellowstone, Montana 59758
1(800) 580-3557

Wingate Inn

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Hotel

Wingate Inn Photo, Bozeman, Montana
Quote:
Yep, that’s me, Mr. Executive Suite. Who would have thought that my first semi-luxurious stay at a hotel would happen in the sparsely populated, yet wildly scenic, North American outpost of Bozeman, Montana? You might even call me a go-getter because, according to a slogan found in the hotel, the Wingate Inn is "where the go-getters go." Excellent! My ascension up the corporate ladder has begun! From here on out, it’s expensive whiskey on the rocks, poolside champagne, and long, relaxing massages as angelic servants pluck grapes and Rochelle chocolates into my mouth. Yes, my stay at the Wingate was sure to change my life for the better... for good! Okay, I’ve gone and got carried away....Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 2, 2005

Wingate Inn
2305 Catron Street
Bozeman, Montana
(406) 582-4995

Super 8 Belgrade Bozeman Airport

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Hotel | "Belgrade Super 8"

Super 8 Belgrade Bozeman Airport Photo, Belgrade, Montana
Quote:
Is it possible that these hotel owners have ESP? Did they somehow tap into my psyche and know ahead of time that I would be arriving with a roaring appetite for fresh, homemade chocolate-chip cookies? As Greg Graffin of Bad Religion once said, "sometimes truth is stranger than fiction." Telekinetic powers or not, I was pleasantly surprised by the at-home feel of what I expected to be just another average Super 8 hotel. After all, how much personality can a mid-grade chain such as this possess? Quite a bit, actually. As I signed my check-in papers and was handed my room key, I couldn’t help but eye a huge plate of cookies lying on the counter. Pupils dilating, eyeballs rolling in my sockets, I an...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 2, 2005

Super 8 Belgrade Bozeman Airport
6450 Jackrabbit Lane
Belgrade, Montana 59714
(406) 388-1493

The Wolf Pack Brewery Company

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Restaurant

The Wolf Pack Brewery Company Photo, Billings, Montana
Quote:
"This ain’t no fast food joint, so if you’re looking for fast food, take your Happy Meal-eating @$$ down the street!" And with that, welcome to the Wolf Pack Brewing Company, one of the finest eateries you’ll find in West Yellowstone. Established in 1999 and one of only three nonsmoking, alcohol-serving establishments in town, Wolf Pack doubles as a restaurant/brewery, with numerous awards won in the Yellowstone, Great American, and North American beer festivals adorning the walls throughout the cozy seating area. There are about 15 tables total, with a few hanging TVs and a very, very large illuminated picture of horses rounding out the decor. There’s also a small "store" selling various Wolf P...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 2, 2005

The Wolf Pack Brewery Company
111 South Canyon Street
Billings, Montana
(406) 646-7225

Neptune’s Brewery

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Attraction

Neptune’s Brewery Photo, Billings, Montana
Quote:
Of all things, and in of all places, the last thing I expected to see on the wall of Neptune’s Brewery was a vintage poster featuring former Detroit Lion great Alex Karras. And of all the people I expected to meet at this family-run jewel located in tiny Livingston, MT, population 6,000, was a fellow Detroit-area native in Bill Taylor, the amiable self-made brewmaster who eagerly led us on a tour of his labor of love. But I swear that the glowing impressions I left with of the brewery had absolutely nothing to do with the Motown connection... no, really. Located on a tiny side street off what seemed like Livingston’s only main road, Neptune’s is part bar, part brewery, with Taylor running the sh...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 2, 2005

Neptune’s Brewery
119 North L Street
Billings, Montana

Bozeman Brewing Company

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Attraction | "The Bozeman Brewing Company"

Bozeman Brewing Company Photo, Bozeman, Montana
Quote:
A few blocks off Bozeman’s main strip, in an unassuming building tucked away in the industrial part of the city, a small transistor radio blasts classic rock music on a sunny fall afternoon. A knock on a dust-covered front door bearing the Bozeman Brewing Company insignia yields no response from within. Cell phones are dialed, and finally, contact is made. The (brew)master of the house is indeed home... along with his treasure chest of fine microbrew beer. Once the head brewmaster at Spanish Peaks for 11 years, BBC owner Todd Scott is now knee-deep in the throes of remodeling his own space, where his one-man operation churns out about 27 barrels a week of Bozone Plum St. Porter, Hefeweizen, and ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 2, 2005

Bozeman Brewing Company
504 North Broadway
Bozeman, Montana 59715
(406) 585-9142

Great Brewing Company

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Attraction | "The Great Brewing Company"

Great Brewing Company Photo, Billings, Montana
Quote:
Stop! If you are one of a million Americans suffering from Six Pack of Beer Syndrome, look no further! The Great Brewing Company and owner Howard McMurry have created the seven-pack of beer to make sure that when six just isn’t enough, you never have to go to the store to get another! GBC’s clever seven-pack packaging might be their hook, but their beer is what seals the deal. A four-employee operation handles this, the biggest brewery in Yellowstone Country, with an on-premises bottling machine handling about 1,000 cases a day once or twice a week. That comes to about 10,000 barrels of beer a year, which is a boon for local farmers since McMurry gives away all the leftovers from the brew...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 2, 2005

Great Brewing Company
20900 Frontage Road
Billings, Montana

Brewfest

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Attraction

Brewfest Photo, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Quote:
Brewfest is supposed to last until dusk... but according to one of the brewmasters on-hand serving up their signature suds, it depends on what your definition of dusk is. "When all the beer is gone, that’s when it’s dusk!" he said. What began in 1999 as a small celebration of the area’s many fine microbreweries has now blossomed into a full day of music, food, and, of course, drinking, with 11 brewers represented in 2004. Held at a small park in Gardiner, and shadowed by Teddy Roosevelt’s arch entrance into Yellowstone, Brewfest was one of the events I was most looking forward to during my tour of Montana... and who wouldn’t feel the same way? With mountainous terrain and blue skies as a backdro...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 2, 2005

Brewfest
Near Arch Entrance of Yellowstone Park
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming