It’s almost been a year since Gally’s Brewing in Harlowton, Montana opened their doors to seekers of craft beer. Their first anniversary is December 15, 2018 and plans for a celebration are underway.
Gally’s history – over three years ago Drew Galahan got the idea of opening a brewery in his hometown. A vacant building, most recently occupied by a dentist, was calling his name. I hesitate to call the location just a vacant building. It’s a beautiful old stone creation that once housed the Montana Bar. Old timers will call it the Montana building. More history – Drew’s grandparents had operated a Five & Dime variety store near that location in the 1960s.
Fast forward to December 2017 and the dream of a brewery became a reality. The first year of operation has seen not only the change of having a craft brewery on Central Avenue in Harlowton, but some amazing community involvement.
The day I sat down and visited with Drew I found out he was president of the Wheatland County Chamber of Commerce. He had also spearheaded the idea of the summertime Harlo Music Project. The community raised money to bring musicians in four times during the summer for evening concerts on Central Avenue. I suspect Drew could be a number cruncher because he had statistics relating to just how much the concerts benefitted the community economically by bringing in folks from outside the area.
Now, let’s talk beer and find out what’s on the menu at Gally’s Brewing! Many of the craft brews have names tied in to Harlowton and Wheatland County.
Harlo Honey Blonde Ale (I tend to always seek out the lighter ales) is made with honey from a local apiary. Rusted Rail, an Irish red ale, touts the community’s ties to railroad history. Harlowton was once a railroad town and most noted for the electric line. When steam and diesel locomotives came to Harlowton the locomotives were switched to electrified locomotives on the electric line that took them over the Rocky Mountains as far as Avery, Idaho (438 miles). Today, the E57B electric locomotive graces a park on the corner of Central Avenue a few blocks from Gally’s, and the Milwaukee Depot on the other end of Central houses memorabilia from several rail lines.
You can bet that there is a Five and Dime beer to honor Drew’s grandparents’ legacy, a blonde pale ale 4 malt brew. 1913 is an English Porter with roasted and chocolate flavors. The beer named 8 Second has to be a nod to bronc riders who need to hang on (for dear life) for 8 seconds! It’s also a blend of 8 hops from the Northwest US region, has an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 8.8% and an IBU (international bitterness unit) of 100. I love the name but this IPA isn’t for me. 8 Second could also be in honor of Harlowton’s huge NRA rodeo over the Fourth of July.
One special seasonal brew was called Pride of the Judith which was a Montana amber ale made from malted barley from Farm Power Malt (Power, MT), raw barley from Heartland Seed (Moccasin, MT) and whole leaf hops from Fresh Hopped Farm (Sidney, MT). This beer was also sold in Hobson and Utica and $1 of each pint was donated to a fund to keep Hobson’s iconic grain elevators standing (a favorite photo subject of mine).
Other brews are named after the area’s agriculture and ranching (Mad Heifer Hefe) a Bavarian Hefeweisen, and Harlo Harvest IPA with all Harlowton grown hops.
Gally’s logo features a windmill in the center of it, tying in the windfarm a few miles north of town.
Community involvement remains a priority for Gally’s Brewing. Giving Tuesday benefitted the Harlowton Library and Head Start, one Saturday in August featured $1 off a pint if you visited the two local museums, Hops Against Hunger (MT Food Network), local Christmas caroling at the brewery with Norwegian treats
and homemade lefse and krumkake for sale (you had me at Norwegian treats!) and the list will continue.
Many travelers tend to bypass downtown Harlowton when they get to the junction of Hwys 191 and 12. Drive into town, don’t overlook the chance to learn some history, see some locally owned shops and sample the beverages at Gally’s Brewing. Stroll Central Avenue and admire all of those old stone buildings.
If you’re a golfer Harlowton’s 9-hole Jawbone Creek Golf Course just might be a good place to practice your swing. A beautiful folf course ambles through Chief Joseph Park so there really is something for the entire family.
Before leaving town, don’t forget that Gally’s Brewing has growlers available in a couple different styles so you can get favorite brew to have at home.