Billings Breweries in Montana: a Cheerful Guide

Billings Breweries in Montana a Cheerful Guide to all the beer by BoozingAbroad

Looking for a guide to the Billings breweries in Montana? Billings Montana is the largest city in the state of Montana with right around 100,000 people. There are now nine breweries in Billings MT scattered throughout the city.

Because of their antiquated brewery laws, hopping is encouraged so we took full advantage of it (more on that later).

Psst:  We have a bunch of guides about Montana. See some of the most popular posts below:

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Where to Stay in Billings 

The hotels in Billings, MT are clustered together in 2 main areas: downtown and along Interstate-90. 

For downtown locations, we suggest these hotels for their locations and high ratings!

If you are looking to be closer to the Interstate or more towards the stores, we suggest these:

To see all of the hotels in Billings, click here.

Montana Beer Laws 

Montana beer laws

Let’s start this thing out with a quick lesson on Montana beer laws because they can be rough for the local Montana breweries (if you like to drink the amounts we do).

As of 2019, Montana ranked second in the nation for breweries per capita. 

But Montana state law sure makes it difficult for beer-lovers to saddle up at a Montana brewery for a few pints.  That’s because breweries can only serve customers between the hours of 10 AM and 8 PM.  

Also, it is unlawful to serve a customer more than 48 ounces of beer in a single day.  That’s 3 pints FYI.  Even worse, if your brewery produces more than 10,000 barrels a year, you can only provide free samples to customers. (There are some loopholes to all of these, for what it’s worth). 

These rules are all in place to “protect” the bars and restaurants of the world. 

Although unfair to the craft breweries across Montana, it did force us to brewery-hop (and the rest of Montana) and taste everything that these local Billings breweries have to offer.  Poor us!

Map of Billings Breweries

Click the interactive map below!

HOW TO USE THIS MAP: To view the layers and see the names of the places on this map, click the tab in the top left corner. You can select the check marks to show or hide certain layers. If you select the icons on the map, you will get more information about the point of interest.

HOW TO SAVE THIS MAP: If you select the star icon next to the map name, you can save this map to your Google Maps account. To view it, open Google Maps in desktop or on your phone, select the menu button, go to “Your Places,” scroll to the right to Maps, and you will see this map.

Breweries in Billings, MT 

By All Means 

by all means billings

As the name suggests, By All Means Brew Lab is doing anything necessary to push the boundaries on brewing bold, yet approachable, beer. 

This lab is where the mad scientist-brewers come together to create some innovative and original takes on craft beer.

By All Means, sister brewery to our other Billings-favorite Überbrew, is the first brew lab of the Billings breweries to use a centrifuge in its brew process, which filters the beer without stripping it of its integrity and richness.

The vibe of this place is really cool too with a huge outdoor patio area, large bar and upstairs seating areas, and even a viewing room for their foeders (pronounced FOOD-er).

These large wooden barrels have historically been used to age wine, but have been used a lot recently by brewers to create some out-of-this-world sours.  Patience is a virtue with these foeders though as each batch can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months to be ready.

by all means beer

And don’t think typical bar food is all you’ll get here either. 

As much as they like to experiment with beer, the kitchen loves to do the same to make some delicious Latin cuisine that perfectly marries spice and citrus to complement the bold beer. 

Our pork and chicken tacos with a side of guacamole rounded out our experience which included a flight of beers (41 Peaks Rocky Mountain IPA, Peach Billingser Weisse, and Krystal wheat beer) as well as some samples of other experimental beers like Bamberry, a blackberry and raspberry maltshake IPA with vanilla bean. 

Angry Hank’s Microbrewery 

angry hanks montana
As unfair and convoluted as Montana’s beer laws can be, Angry Hanks simplifies them for us. 

Dubbed, “A great place to have a pint,” that’s exactly what you get at the most straightforward of the Billings breweries. 

Cash only, no flights, and any pint of their craft beer is only $3!  Don’t worry, if you forget about the three-pint maximum rule, they use wristbands to track your progress (see picture below).

angry hanks brewery in billings

The beer is made with yeast that is grown in-house, Montana-grown barley, and water from the nearby Yellowstone River which is the longest free-flowing river in the country.

The Street Fight Irish Red Ale was malty yumminess and the Anger Management Belgian Wheat is an absolutely perfect summer beer.

Thirsty Street Brewing Co. 

thirsty street

In case you couldn’t tell from the picture, that’s pure excitement on Samantha’s face when we got a flight of sour beers (and one lone IPA for Chris). 

Having been on a sour kick for a while now, Thirsty Street was the best spot of the Billings breweries to satisfy her sour cravings!⁣

Thirsty Street recently purchased Yellowstone Valley Brewing, located at the other end of the Billings Brew Trail, which is Montana’s only walkable brewery trail, and is shifting its production to this new and bigger space that will free up the original location to produce Samantha’s sour beers, which can take a year or even more to age in barrels which obviously take up a lot of space.⁣

You’ll find all sorts of sour creations at the original location like the Blue Note Blueberry Sour, Lemon Drop American Sour, a 3.14 Apple Pie Sour (math nerds rejoice), and the Go Figure Sour which is aged and then re-fermented over dates and figs.

If you’re not into sours, there are many other types of beers on tap, as well as cider, seltzer, kombucha, and wine.

Überbrew 

uberbrew brewing billings
Located smack-dab in the middle of the Billings Brew Trail and the cluster of Billings breweries,, Überbrew is on a constant quest to create a superlative drinking experience. 

A quick vocabulary lesson: Über (not the ride-sharing company) is simply defined as a “superlative example of its class or kind”.  We’d say they are living up to the name quite well by bringing home some highly-coveted craft beer superlatives.  

Over the past few years, Überbrew has won numerous awards and medals, including the Great American Beer Festival’s Small Brewery of the Year and Brewer Of The Year awards in 2016! 

Today, two of their most popular beers in the taproom are the White Noise wheat (gold-medal winner at the GABF) and the Alpha Force Double Tap (bronze) which is a surprisingly-smooth black ale for the seven additions of hops.

If you’re brewery-hopping around the Billings breweries like we did, make sure you grab some of their delicious food too.  The wings are great, but we loved our giant soft pretzel, served with beer cheese, of course.

Montana Brewing Co 

montana brewing fb-2
In the heart of downtown Billings, and amidst all of the other downtown Billings breweries,  Montana Brewing Co. is a brewery, full bar, and restaurant that is considered Montana’s first brew pub.  The full bar and food menu complementing their brewery operations is perfect so you can satisfy any type of alcohol-drinker and food-eater in your party.

Try their Whitetail Wheat ale, the Fat Belly amber, or Custer’s Last Stout to go along with your nachos, burger, or sandwich.  If you’re still hungry for some dessert after your food and beer, head across the street to the Big Dipper Ice Cream shop.

FreeFall Brewery 

free fall fb-2
FreeFall Brewery is located in a mall in Billings, a bit of an unassuming location compared to the other Billings breweries.  But don’t let that fool you.  FreeFall is proud to use Montana malt in its beer recipes which gives them a chance to embrace the best that Montana has to offer.

In addition to their full lineup of craft beer, they also have homemade root beer and even three different flavors of hard seltzers.

Carter’s Brewery 

carters brewery in billings

Located within walking distance of Überbrew and several of the other Billings breweries, Carter’s Brewery is situated on historic Montana Avenue and is named for the brewer’s son who was born around the same time as the opening of the brewery.  

Of all of the Billings breweries, Carter’s probably has the most rotational beers on tap as they have a fairly small brewing system and are constantly churning out new recipes.  The tasting room is located in the old train station, which recently closed its doors, and has allowed Carter’s to remodel and expand their tasting room.  You’ll still find a lot of nods to the old train station while you sip on your beers.

Canyon Creek Brewing 

canyon creek billings montana
Canyon Creek Brewing all started many years ago when their now-brewer was crafting his own recipes in a garage and his friends asked when he would start his own brewery.  The answer was December 2013.  Canyon Creek opened its doors in 2013 and claims to be the first of the Billings breweries to actually be built from the ground up.  

It’s one of the few Billings breweries on the western side of the city and has a really nice patio and huge tasting room where you can enjoy any of their brews, including their Copper ale or the One Night Stand blonde ale.

High Plains Brewing 

high plains yelp-2
While High Plains Brewing isn’t technically one of the Billings breweries (it’s located about 15 minutes southwest of Billings in nearby Laurel), we’ll include it here anyways because we like you.

The father-and-son owners originally purchased the building in the early 2010’s for warehouse space for the family ranch and water-hauling business. 

Since then, it’s been modified to house the brewing operations and tasting room.  The tasting room has a definite Western-feel to it with the family’s ranch sign hanging on a wall, plus another sign that says “Dirt Rich, Cash Poor.”

Some of their popular beers include the honey porter and the honey wheat beer, which is made with honey from Larson Apiaries in Billings.

Diamond X Beer Co. 

Diamond X Beer Co. billings montana

Photo Credit: Diamond X Beer Co

The newest Billings brewery is Diamond X Beer Co which opened on the west end of the city in 2020. Quickly becoming a local hot spot, Diamond X offers both craft beer and food as well as mini-golf at their location.  Their location is set in a large barn-like structure and the inside is decorated to match with exposed beams and vaulted ceilings.

With 18 beers on draft, you can try many of their house-made beers or even some of their guest taps. They seem to favor the lighter ales and lagers while they continue to find their niche.

Bonus Stops 

Yellowstone Cellars & Winery

billings yellowstone montana

When we travel, we rarely go back to a place since we want to support as many local businesses as possible (we call it retreading). Our exception has been in Billings, MT, at Yellowstone Cellars & Winery. We’ve went back three times during our week and a half visit (included a time we assisted the winemakers with HAND-BOTTLING their delicious wine).

Yellowstone Cellars prides itself on making the more traditional wines using grape varietals from the Old World regions like Burgundy, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Piedmont, and Rioja. As you might expect though, the grape-growing conditions aren’t fantastic here in Montana, so Yellowstone Cellars sources its grapes from vineyards in the well-known Yakima Valley in Washington state.

But it isn’t just the yummy wines (Samantha is partial to her favorite Petit Verdot and Chris loves the Cabernet Franc) that have brought us back several times.

Winemaker Clint, along with his daughter and son-in-law Sarah and Brandon, are some of the nicest people you will meet and are always thrilled to talk shop with you and show you around. You might even get to taste something right out of the barrel in their cellar if you’re lucky!

Trailhead Spirits

trailhead spirits billings Montana

From the small Western town charm to the big city attractions and hikes galore to some great breweries and distilleries, it’s no wonder that Billings is known as Montana’s Trailhead because of the vast number of things to do in Montana’s largest city. Trailhead Spirits Distillery plays on Billings’ moniker and is no exception to the fun things to do around Billings.

The founder’s family legacy dates back to Prohibition when his great-grandfather was one of the prominent bootleggers in southwestern Montana. Today, Trailhead Spirits is still keeping the family tradition alive by sourcing grains and other products from the family farm in Highwood, MT. With an award-winning lineup that includes vodka, gin, whiskey, and even a chocolate whiskey, you’ll be sure to find something you like in either a tasting flight or one of their tasty cocktails.

We tried the Old Fashioned for consistency purposes and it was tried, true, and delicious. Chris went out on a limb and ordered the Crazy Mountain which is their Healy’s Gin, lime, simple syrup, cucumber, basil, and a habanero salt rim. The habanero salt paired with the crisp coolness of the cucumber just perfectly. After this drink, Chris said that he is starting to come around on gin! Well done, Trailhead Spirits, well done.

Overall Billings Breweries

billings breweries

If the number of Billings breweries above surprised you, you’re not alone.  But for Montana’s largest city, there are a lot of thirsty beer drinkers out there who need to be satisfied with great local craft beer. 

Just remember those annoying Montana beer laws (3 pints per person per day) and you’ll have some fun hopping through the Billings Brew Trail and beyond.  

Still not sold on the Billings breweries scene? 

Well, Billings has been named a couple of times to the list of one of the best cities for beer drinkers in the US by SmartAsset.  This is based on several factors including the number of breweries, the number of breweries per capita, the number of bars per capita, average rating scores from review sites for breweries, and the average price of a pint.

Now you should be convinced.  So come visit Billings to check out all of the great Billings breweries! 

For more information on Montana, click on the image below:

The Top Places to Visit in Montana by Boozing Abroad
The ultimate guide to the breweries in Bozeman by BoozingAbroad
Guide to breweries in Missoula Montana by BoozingAbroad
Total Guide to all the Butte and Helena Breweries in Montana by BoozingAbroad

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We are Samantha & Chris and we are Boozing Abroad (literally). Both stateside and overseas, we are connecting people with local cultures through local booze!

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