It was a beautiful spring day for a drive from Great Falls over the Kings Hill Scenic Byway and in to White Sulphur Springs. US Hwy 89 was clear the entire way but snow still clung to the roadsides. Belt Creek was partially covered with snow that looked like dollops of marshmallow cream.
My first stop was 2 Basset Brewery in White Sulphur Springs. I had been to 2 Basset Brewery several times but I was looking forward to getting the brewery’s history from owner, Barry Hedrick.
Barry is the brewmeister and was also the contractor who renovated the building that now houses 2 Basset. He was quick to credit his wife Chris though, and it was clear it has been a team effort.
2 Basset is just beginning their 4th year of operation in a building that once sat vacant on White Sulphur’s Main Street. The building housed the former Meagher Motors and was being used for storage when 2 Basset was just an idea.
Barry was raised in the area, left for college and found his way back. He had done home brewing and both he and Chris felt a local craft brewery would be a strong draw to bring visitors to this community of about 1,000 people.
White Sulphur Springs is the county seat of Meagher County (pronounced Mar) and sits at the southern end of the Little Belt Mountains, east of the Big Belt Mountains, just west of the Castle Mountains, and close to the Crazy Mountains. Add in some waterways for fishing and floating, a ski hill and over 200 miles of marked snowmobile trails nearby, and you could easily say that year round recreation opportunities surround the town. That sounds like a good place for a craft brewery.
We talked beer, I learned about beer, and I drank beer!
2 Basset has 15 brews on tap and my request was one that wasn’t an IPA, fairly smooth and probably
fairly pale. It was obvious I wasn’t a beer connisseur and the gal at the taps suggested I try Damn You Jack. I was told it was similar to a Vienna lager, which didn’t mean too much to me, but I learned that this style was originally brewed in Germany, then Mexico where a bit of maize was added.
I liked it!
My Damn You Jack beer had an ABV of 4.4 and an IBU of 19 which made it smooth enough for me and yet it still had good beer flavor.
If I had been more adventurous I would have gone for one of the beers named after the resident pups.
Yes, 2 Basset Brewery really does have 2 bassets. Basset Leroy has a brown ale named after him called Leroy Brown. Stanley gets a milk stout named after him called Stanley Stout. If you follow 2 Basset on social media you’ll come to love these droopy eared canines.
Some of the other brews are named Drooligan, Whistle Wetter, Breaking Basset, Woofta and Bassito. All told, you’ll have the chance to pick from 15 beers on tap, in addition to seasonal ones.
While I was sipping my brew I asked Barry what his favorite was. It was a tough decision but he said he always likes a good red ale.
I loved the decor at 2 Basset. A beautiful copper-colored ceiling, warm orange and gold colored walls, and the tables and bar were handmade by Barry. Table tops were wooden slabs coated with a glossy resin. One wall features photos of Leroy and Stanley.
I asked Barry how the dogs became part of the brewery.
When Chris and Barry’s son left for college he wanted a dog and that’s how Stanley (now age 10) joined the family. Leroy’s story is similar story except that request came from their daughter. Leroy turned 7 on his latest birthday.
The beer was delicious, the brewery was beautiful and the dog story is heartwarming.
2 Basset Brewery in White Sulphur Springs is open Wednesday – Sunday from 2pm to 8pm, closed Monday and Tuesday.
Stop by, chat with the locals, and enjoy some small town hospitality.