Hiking and Beer

If you know me personally, the first word in today’s title is no surprise. I recently moved to Montana and have been a hiker pretty much my whole life. When I moved here in July, I intentionally took some time to get adjusted to my new surroundings. Fortunately, my new best friend here is also a hiker and has shared some stunning locations with me. I’m also getting familiar with some convenient local trails.

This month my friend has found himself temporary unemployed while he waits to transfer to a new position. For me, this happily means even more hikes and opportunities to explore the beauty of the Flathead Valley in autumn.

So where does the beer come in? I have celiac disease. Beer is generally not on my agenda. I’m not really a big consumer of alcohol either. Just one, or maybe two drinks—that’s it.

As my new bestie has introduced me to the area, we have also been out experiencing all of the wonderful live music that the valley has to offer. One night in August, we ended up at Bias Brewing in Kalispell. (I can give a plug, right?) I thought I would be stuck drinking water, but I took a chance and asked the server if there was anything gluten free on the menu. She replied, “Yes, it’s all gluten removed.”

I was stunned, but also a bit cautious. I decided to play it safe that night and just had two little four-ounce tasters. The next morning, I felt fine.

On the next visit, I had twelve ounces. Still no reaction. Since then, I have indulged and had as much as twenty-four ounces. (Yes, I got a little crazy that day.)

Needless to say, Bias has become our new hangout. And with the arrival of fall, there is now Attic Window Pumpkin Ale on the menu. It is pure bliss! I never knew I could love a beer so much. Why do people get so excited about all of those pumpkin spice coffee drinks when beer is so much better?

With my flexible schedule and my friend’s temporary unemployment, “Hike and beer this afternoon?” has become a common text message. We have to savor as many autumn days as possible before October ends.

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